I am a self confessed ‘chronic serious relationshipper’. That is to say since I was 15 years old, this is the longest I have been single. After 2 x 2 and a half year relationships and another lasting just over a year, I am now 22, and have enjoyed 15 months of single-dom and it has definitely taught me a few things about myself. So once again, in a post more for me than for anyone reading this, let me share with you the thoughts in my brain.
- It is okay to not want a relationship
What?! Hold the phone. This might be common sense to many others, but to me it is profound. Since I was a little girl, a huge goal of mine was to settle down, have a family and live that little white picket fence life of idealism. It never crossed my mind that I could be an adult woman, happily enjoying single life without the intent of finding a man and furthermore actively avoiding any relationship prospects.
- It is okay to feel alone
There is a reason we as humans eventually seek companionship and to an extent monogamy. It makes us feel safe, wanted and special; and who doesn’t want to feel that way. When you lack these elements in your life, sometimes those feelings of lonesome sneak in. The desire for a warm body in bed at night to cuddle you in the cold, to make you tea when you feel sick or to talk to when your mind is racing with a million irrational thoughts. It is not a sign of weakness to have these feelings.
- Points 1 and 2 are not mutually exclusive
It is okay to not want a relationship and still feel alone at times. Sometimes we are at points in our lives where entering anything serious or stable is just not practical nor is it desired. Sometimes you do just need to live for yourself. Telling your friends you don’t want a relationship and then feeling alone are not two contradictory things. The exist in balance with each other, it just depends which way the scale tips the majority of the time that helps you decide what you want in the end.
- Love yourself
No, this is not a reference to Justin Bieber’s latest chart topper. It is not a metaphor for saying go f**k yourself. I am saying truly love yourself. Learn to accept compliments when people give them to you, learn to be proud of you as your own person. You do not need someone else telling you how much they love you or exceptional you are as a person for it to be true. You are a glorious person with or without someone on your arm. Believe that.
- Doing things solo
Again, not a sexual reference, but that is probably also an important thing to learn. This is in relation to being able to go out and do the things you want to do without the need for someone else. You want to go to dinner, go! Book a table for one, dress up and look fabulous, strut into that restaurant, pour yourself a glass of wine and own it! Want to go to the movies? Who needs someone that’s constantly whispering their running commentary in your ear anyway? Want to go watch the sunset, lay on the beach or climb a mountain? Go do it, what is stopping you?
6. Feed your soul
Sometimes in relationships, even non toxic self imploding ones, you can lose a little of who you are. Take the single life to really focus on your hobbies, deciding what’s important to you and what keeps your mind and soul at ease. For me that is 100% my music. Since being single, I have rediscovered my passion for it and also realised how little time I gave it when I was busy being loved up. It is now a compromise I am no longer willing to make in future relationships.
7. Stop the ‘what ifs’
It is so easy to get sucked into a cycle of what ifs and what could have beens. STOP. That chapter has closed now, for whatever reason. Regret and wonder will not change that. It cripples you from living in the present and enjoying the now. Go back to point 4 and try again (do not collect $200)
8. Feel happy for those in relationships
This was a huge step for me who was never ‘the single one’. It’s okay to feel jealous, that’s human nature. But the next time you feel the pangs of jealousy, stop and wonder why. What are you missing that you are seeking externally, what are your own insecurities. It will help you on your journey to self growth and create positive energy. Want to know the best bit? Being genuinely happy for your friends in relationships will make you feel good about the idea of healthy relationships in general. Even as a single mingler you will associate relationships with positivity rather than the negative vibes you’re carrying with you from your last bitter breakup.
9. Go out and meet people
Being relationshipped up actually makes it quite hard to just go out and meet new people without any agenda or expectation. Go do things that excite you and find like minded people in the process. You don’t have to be there with the expectation of finding a soul mate but the more you realise that people want to be around you without any expectations and that you’re an interesting person you’ll do much better on the self love front. See point 4, this time collect $200.
And there you have it. My little epiphanies, realisations and steps I took to discover life as a single gal in a big world that is my oyster. I am still definitely a person who enjoys the life of being the doting girlfriend, but I think if being a solitary fiend is what’s on the cards for me right now, world you better watch out, because I am coming for you.
xox your local bohemian