We all know the stereotype of the happy old couple that have been sweethearts since high school. They couldn’t possibly live without each other and every moment together is an absolute joy. They still smile and kiss and hold hands, and cry happy tears when they give each other meaningful anniversary presents after all those years.
That’s the dream right? But how hair-tearing is the frustration of finding “the one?”
From the title you know that this is an article about learning to be okay with being single. But it’s about much more than just seeing that “you’ve been ‘the one’ for yourself all along!” (though that is sort of true).
Happy or Dependent?
Think back, what’s the longest stretch of time that you’ve ever been single? Do you find yourself always keeping an eye out for potential romances? Have you ever considered why you do that?
We love to be loved. It boosts our esteem and self-image, and makes us feel secure because someone is always there for us. But what about the in-between times? Being able to stand on your own, and create feelings of worth and beauty in yourself is extremely important. If you can’t do that, you’ll always need someone around to remind you that you’re great, and someone won’t always be there – whether you like it or not.
You don’t need me to tell you how unhealthy dependent relationships are. Ever had a boyfriend or girlfriend that just will not stop calling, or won’t give you five minutes to yourself? Ever been that boyfriend or girlfriend?
A relationship consists of two unique, independent individuals, linked by an appreciation for each other’s uniqueness. It’s okay to want each other, but there’s a difference between that and needing one another to survive or be happy.
Despite what Valentine’s Day Incorporated would have you believe, being single is not a disease or a curse. It is 100% possible to be 100% happy without any kind of partner or significant other. Company, cuddling, and sex are wonderful, but let’s take a look at the positives of single life:
• Do things you’re interested in
– No need to consult someone else to decide on the day’s activities
– No naysaying or fun-making about the things you enjoy
• No one else’s schedule to consider
– You don’t have to wait for someone else to be free
– Improptu trips are totally do-able
• No outside expectations
– Don’t feel like shaving? Don’t!
– Don’t need to dress up for anyone
• Be your uncensored self
– Ever felt like your boyfriend/girlfriend wouldn’t like a certain behavior?
– Being completely yourself leads to greater happiness
Of course these things are possible inside of a relationship, but they require practice and confidence that is easier to learn when you’re free of judgment and pressure.
Getting to Know You
You probably know yourself pretty well. Mexican food, horror flicks and Bacardi on the beach, right? But what about your long term goals? Your core beliefs and values? These sorts of things are easily swayed by a partner you love.
Ever had a liberal friend who became surprisingly conservative the longer they lived with their partner? It happens to all of us. But it is so important not to lose yourself in someone else, because if they leave, you’ll only have their beliefs to live by.
Really getting to know yourself, and discovering an unshakable personality requires spending a lot of time alone. Many of us fear the idea. But there are going to be a lot of times where you are alone anyway, so why not get used to it instead of being afraid?
If you want to be able to stand up for yourself and others, and develop a strong sense of character that other people will recognize and remember, you have to know – unmistakably – who you are, independently of the people around you.
Take Your Time
Life seems to be ticking away faster and faster the older you got. Chances are you think you’re way behind on your life plans and are never going to make it to where you want to be. 20-somethings everywhere are rushing to find the perfect partner and the perfect job, get married and retire in the perfect home, probably with a few perfect kids. But life doesn’t work like that. Instead, it’s full of surprises — and sometimes disappointment.
Take your time. Rushing has never made anything easier, not even racing (see: The Tortoise and the Hare). When you slow down, you are able to think more clearly, and recognize things for what they are. Instead of dating 12 wrong guys in 12 months, try dating 1 guy when 1 comes along that has the things you’re looking for.
Besides, relationships are exhausting! Take a breather. There are a ton of people in the world. Try meeting a few before jumping into a commitment with any of them. Give yourself some time to decide how you feel. Not everyone you lock eyes with is worth your time.
Your time is valuable! Save some for yourself.
You’re Not Alone
Many of the people who hate being single are actually afraid of being alone. Whether they think they need guidance, emotional support or just physical intimacy, they look for people to lean on. But there are plenty of places to find support and happiness besides a romantic partner.
Your friends and family are always there for you, and you’ll have a lot more quality time to spend with them if you’re not constantly attached to a partner’s hip. Ask them for help, tell them about your life. And if your needs are more sexual in nature, there are lots of people looking for the same thing without necessarily wanting a long-term commitment (but be CAREFUL, and get to know them first anyway).
Don’t rush into anything. Take your time, get to know yourself, and if you still find yourself looking – go slow and look for quality. You deserve it.
If you’re still struggling, or want some more advice on how to be single and happy, call or email me here at the office, and we can talk in-depth. There’s nothing more freeing than being able to stand on your own two feet, with or without someone by your side.