I love being single. Really, I do. That isn’t something I say to convince family members at weddings that I’m okay being without a plus-one; I really mean it. When my long-term relationship ended, I wasn’t sure that I’d be okay. I dreaded being lonely, losing myself, and never finding my person again. But let me tell you, being single has been the best thing for me. In fact, it’s opened up so many new opportunities in my life that I would never have had otherwise.
It forced me to meet new people.
When I went through my breakup, I needed a change. I ended up accepting a new job, moving to a new state, and starting over. I joined exercise groups, I started conversations with strangers, I downloaded dating apps. Being single took away the crutch of having someone there for me at all times when I was lonely. I had to find other forms of social interaction, and it introduced me to a lot of incredible people that I otherwise may not have met.
It freed up my time.
I spent a lot of my time on my ex. Between the dates, FaceTime sessions, and texting, I was investing 15+ hours a week into him. I don’t regret one minute of it, but being single has given me back all of those hours and allowed me to explore my hobbies and my interests. With all of my new free time, I ran a half marathon, I wrote a book, and I got a promotion at work. A lot of these things wouldn’t have been possible if I’d still been devoting so much time to my ex.
It allowed me to do things I never would’ve done.
When I was in a relationship, I stayed in my comfort zone. We watched the same shows, ate at the same places, and traveled to the same states. When we broke up, I made it my resolution to say “yes”. This “yes” resolve led me to trying so many new things. I went rock climbing, I ate octopus, I flew to Greece with a guy I barely knew, and more.
It answered the question: “What If?”
My ex and I were together for a long time, and more than once I found myself wondering what it would be like to be with someone else. Being single has allowed me to kiss, date, and have sex with other people. It gave me permission to go after guys I liked in high school, guys I found cute, and guys I never saw myself with. Answering the “what if” has made it easier to picture myself being with one person in the future, and that’s really important for me going forward.
I became more self-reliant and mended my emotional well-being.
Being in a relationship was easy. When I felt lonely, sad, or anxious, I had someone to turn to. Being single has forced me to deal with my issues more introspectively. Rather than immediately reaching out to my partner when I’m struggling, I have to reflect. This act of living in my discomfort has made me a better person and helped me to heal some deep-seated things that I ignored when I was in a long-term relationship.
It let me be an individual again.
I met my boyfriend through a club in college. As a result, we shared a lot of the same friends. People watched as our fling blossomed into a serious relationship, and for a long time, they associated us together. When people saw me, they didn’t ask about me, they asked about him. Now, I’m not one of two. I’m me, unattached, unassociated, and that feels incredible.
I became the “main character” of my life.
After my breakup, I began to focus on myself first and foremost. I stopped having to take someone else’s wants or needs into consideration with the things I did, and I focused on my own wants and needs. Now, I put myself first and I treat every day like a new, exciting adventure.
I learned more about myself.
Being single forced me to spend more time alone with my thoughts, especially as I was going through my breakup. I learned more about my likes and dislikes, my hobbies, and my passions. I’d spent so much time looking at myself in the reflection of his rose-colored glasses that I didn’t know what I looked like anymore. Without him, I was reminded of who I see myself as, not as who anyone else sees me as.
I have grown exponentially since ending my relationship. It’s ironic, but being single has helped me mature enough to be ready to be in a long-term commitment. Now when I decide to settle down, I know that I’ll be a good partner, and that’s something I couldn’t have said a few years ago. I’ve learned to love myself on a deeper level, and as RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
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