What is it like being single? The stereotypes range from the Bridget Jones type, alone in a flat miming the words to “All My Myself”, to Rebel Wilson’s party girl character in How To Be Single. In reality, most of us probably fall somewhere between the two extremes.
Besides one brief relationship at university, I’ve been single for my entire life. No, I don’t have commitment issues or anything like that. Quite the opposite actually. There’s nothing I’d love more than to find a good guy who made me happy. I just never had much luck with dating. Either I wouldn’t meet anyone I liked, or I’d like someone who happened to be taken, not interested, or not a very nice person. Perhaps I was doing something horrifically wrong. Perhaps I had some kind of deep-rooted childhood issues that made me drawn to the wrong people. Or perhaps I was just really, really unlucky. But either way, as my friends drifted in and out of relationships, single seemed to be my default state.
Over time, this took it’s toll. I’m not the co-dependent type who hops from one relationship to the next due to a fear of being alone, but it would just be nice to have something, you know. I’d like someone to kiss and cuddle. Someone to share my life with. Someone who made me their priority. I’ve never really been the “single life” kind of person. I don’t enjoy getting with guys in bars, or one night stands, or dating people casually. I’m a relationship girl. So being single took it’s toll on my quality of life. I’d see everyone around me having these experiences and wonder why it wasn’t happening for me. But more than anything, it took it’s toll on my confidence. I was convinced it was something to do with me. That I wasn’t pretty enough, or outgoing enough, or there was just something intrinsic about me that was deeply repellent.
The problem is, that mindset becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. People are attracted to confidence. If you’ve had a lot of attention from the opposite (or the same) sex and had healthy relationships, that makes you more confident- and that makes you more attractive. If you’ve experienced rejection and negative experiences, this makes you less confident- and people pick up on that vibe. Or sometimes you end up self-sabotaging and missing opportunities due to lack of confidence. It’s a bit like a vicious cycle.
One of the things I realised I had to do to move forward was snap out of that mentality. I banned the phrase “out of my league” from my vocabulary. I challenged those thoughts. I realised those ideas were based on labels I’d been assigned in school over a decade ago, rather than reality. I realised you didn’t have to be perfect to find someone who adores you. It’s important to develop a sense of confidence, irrespective of your relationship status. After all, relationships don’t always last forever.
Another thing that shifted my mindset towards singledom was an exercise in a dating self-help book. The exercise was to visualise your ideal life. Interestingly, the first thing that popped into my head wasn’t a romantic relationship. It was having a better work-life balance, a larger blog following, and strong friendships. Hmm… perhaps, I don’t even want a relationship?!, I thought to myself. I considered it, and I realised that I did, or at least, was open to it. But I wanted to meet someone who complimented a life I loved, rather than devoting my entire life to one person. Who let’s face it, may not end up sticking around.
Being single isn’t always fun and parties and hooking up with a different person every night. It’s not about being all “I DON’T NEED A MAN!”, or convincing yourself that you’re actually far better off alone. But it should be about loving your life regardless. It should be about having strong friendships. Sadly a lot of people these days don’t put enough into the platonic relationships in their life, but no matter your age or relationship status I think you need at least one or two besties that you can talk to about anything. And ideally a group you can party with too. It should be about having passions and working on them. It should be about self-improvement. It should be about living your life so that when you meet your person, you have a wealth of experiences to share with them, rather than tales of pining over being single.
If you shift to a positive mindset about dating, one of the most exciting things about being single is the potential of what could be around the corner. Too many people stay in relationships that aren’t working due to a feeling of obligation or fear of the unknown. And even with the best will in the world, the initial excitement can die down in a long-term relationship. Being single means the exciting stage, the honeymoon period, that feeling when you first start liking someone, the first kiss, the first time having sex- you have it all to come. But whether that happens next week, next month, or in two years time, in the meantime make the most your life.
What are your thoughts on being single? Let me know in the comments!