Seven years. That’s how long I’ve been “single”. I put quotations marks around the word single, because before I was dumped over a text message, I was “in a relationship” with a guy who lived almost 1,000 miles away. See, my family moved from Texas to Minnesota when I was in high school and after visiting my friends down there the summer after I moved, my best friend and I decided we should make long distance work as boyfriend and girlfriend. I made it work, he didn’t. However, I was a young girl who thought she was in love and stuck it out…until he dumped me over a text message before he went to college.
But we’re not here to unpack my baggage. We’re actually here to discuss how my life has changed during my time being single. I want to start this off by saying: I love being single. Being single is my comfort zone. I’m jealous of people who have found the person they want to marry (I mean, I have too, but Harry Styles never tweets me back…). I also don’t think the things I’ve learned from being single are exclusive to single people — people in relationships probably have learned these things in a different way than me. Also, I refer to dating habits or routines from my perspective, which is why I use “him/he/his/guy/etc.”
Being single is a part of me and it’s given me the time to learn a lot about myself. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Being alone isn’t so bad
I always thought I was an extrovert. I thought I gained energy from the people I was around and never tired from it. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself enjoying my alone time. While this may not be exclusive to being single, I think not having another person to include in my life makes it all the more important to something I’ve learned. Now, when I need to include a new person, I find it uncomfortable and forced.
I’m independent to a fault
When people try to give me dating advice, I get seriously annoyed. I’ve had conversations around how uncomfortable I am when a guy has to pay for the date. I’d rather split things 50/50 or he covers the first round of drinks and I’ll get the second. I’ve gotten the “sometimes you have to let the man think he’s taking care of you” advice and it drives me bonkers. I know it’s traditional in the dating world, but I want to feel like I’m contributing in some way as well.
I’m very focused on my friendships
This is maybe my favorite part of being single. Since I haven’t had a boyfriend for so long, my main focus in the relationship realm has been on my family and friends. One of the best compliments someone has given me is “you’re truly the best friend someone could ever have. You constantly check in, you’re always there when someone needs you, and you go out of your way to make someone happy.” And what do you think my response was? “Oh gosh, thank you…but honestly, it’s easy to do all of those things because my friends and family are my only focus.” then I went into the fact that I’ve been single for forever. I’m grateful for the time and focus I’ve been able to give my friendships.
No matter what, this saying annoys me
“It’ll happen when you’re least expecting it…I mean look at me and so-and-so!” It gets old. I get it. And I will always respond, “yep, I get it, but thing is, I’m always looking…so, there goes that.” Also, sorry to get sassy, but when you’re giving this advice, realize you’re not original and it’s a bit demeaning to constantly be told that. So please, if you feel like giving advice…just…don’t. Unless I specifically ask what I’m doing wrong, please don’t give me advice just to turn it around to talk about your happy relationship. (Wow, that got bitter…I feel better…thanks for letting me get that out.)
The hope never dies, but I’m not afraid of the alternative
I’m a hopeless romantic who is afraid of commitment. I like to think of myself as a juicy contradiction. I know there’s probably some guy out there who I’ll really like hanging out with, he’ll probably have a super cute dog, he’ll like to travel, and he’ll be just as independent as me. He won’t even realize I’m tricking him into falling for me. But, I’m not afraid of a life being single. It’s not my ideal, but I won’t settle because I don’t want to be alone.
You see a lot of blog posts like this floating around. People write about why being single is the absolute worst or how they’ve grown as a person because of being single. Usually I can relate to a few things in each of these posts. I am not unique in my experiences. It’s trendy to be “forever alone” and “the single friend“. Self-deprecating humor is my wheel house and again, it’s the trendy way to be. I absolutely love my life and the part where I’m single just adds to it. I’ve had opportunities to date and as soon as it starts to get serious or close to reality, I back out as quickly as possible. It’s a vicious cycle, my friends…
I found it really hard to write about this topic. You sometimes go into a blog post thinking it’s going to go one way. Then, you end up writing about the good, the bad, and the bitter. You thought you’d be writing about your confidence, how you “don’t need a man”, and how much better of a person you’ve become because of it. Yet, as you’re writing, you realize how happy your friends are with their partners, fiancé’s, or husbands and you wish you had that…even though you can’t picture it.
Life is weird.
P.S. Are you single? What have you learned? Connect with me and tell me about it. Or, let’s go on a date, unless you live a long ways away…I don’t do distance.