Is it just that some people aren’t good on their own?

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, (Joe)’s just not good on his own”? I’ve heard it a number of times and it usually relates to men but what does it really mean?

I’m sure you’re familiar with the context; it usually comes up when talking about relationships and someone that flits from one serious relationship to another, but that doesn’t actually explain what we mean when we say it. Typically we assume that it’s not healthy to behave in this sort of way and I’ve lost count of how often I’ve heard people talking about friends who leave one relationship and land straight in the next. We all need to “learn to love ourselves”, “be comfortable just being you” and “embrace the freedom of single life”, yet some people slip through the net.

Joe, (or Mr. Bloggs as you might know him) gets away with this behaviour because he has been deemed beyond help. Despite being an intelligent human being, Joe couldn’t possibly be expected to look after himself physically or emotionally and he needs someone by his side at all times to help him out. Is this what Joe says or is this what we say? Why isn’t Joe being told to buck up and love himself / love the freedom to get down and dirty with anyone he chooses? Is it because Joe told everyone else to sod off and let him be or is it because poor old Joe really is entirely helpless? Maybe his mum did too much for him when he was a kid, maybe he cries at Bambi which is clearly a sign of a man on the edge or maybe, just maybe we’re not comfortable with people who behave differently to us so we’ve created a box and shoved Joe into it.

This really is one of those questions that I don’t know the answer to. It might be that some people really are better when they have a companion. Maybe it’s the age-old introvert vs extrovert problem of the different personality types not understanding each other. Whatever it is, I’m not sure it should matter to anyone other than Joe and I damn well hope that nobody ever says about me that I’m not good on my own. x

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