I Didn’t Realize How Being Single Forever Really Affected Me… Until I Got Into A Relationship Again

Before meeting my now-wife, I was single for a very long time. I had come to terms with being single forever – in fact, I’d actually chosen that life. I liked my own company and I’d settled in far too many past relationships. Being single felt like being myself for the first time… and then I met this girl and everything changed. Getting into that relationship was – and still is – the best thing I’ve ever done, but it taught me a thing or two about the effects of being single for a long time.

  1. I have a badass level of independence. I wasn’t even really aware of it because I was just taking care of all the basic, mundane BS you have to deal with as an adult. It wasn’t anything special; it was just what I did, you know? Upon getting into a relationship, however, I realized exactly how much I did for myself… and how much I liked doing it. There was a bit of a struggle for control at first – who’s going to actively, physically pay the bills each month, who’s in charge of meal planning, who picks the TV channel — but we worked it out eventually.
  2. Money became more of a worry once I was no longer single. I was in charge of my finances. If I needed to eat Ramen for a week, no big deal. If I wanted to drop a load of cash on some ridiculous luxury item, no problem. It’s not that I was suddenly financially accountable to my partner, but more that we merged our finances, so I was responsible for what I spent. It took a while to reach a place where we’re both comfortable. For us, it helped to have a joint account for bills and couple-y expenses while keeping separate accounts that were just for us.
  3. I lived like a slob and wasn’t used to having to split up chores. Whereas I was happy to live in clutter and chaos as a single girl, I suddenly had to stop being a slob and split the chores once my then-girlfriend and I moved in together. Here’s the funny part: happy as I was doing things on my own, I quickly found that I flipped out if my partner didn’t do her fair share.
  4. My couple friends accepted me when I was single, but they LOVE me now that I’m in a relationship too. That sounds worse than I intended because it’s not like my couple friends viewed me as a Black Widow during my single days. There was just that whole third wheel dynamic. Simply put, couples often find it easier to go out with other couples — provided that everyone gets along, of course.
  5. It’s true that I’m not as lonely, but sometimes I still prefer being alone. I crave that feeling of being alone — not all the time, but occasionally. The need to recharge my batteries still prompts me to kick my now-wife out of the house every once in a while (read: weekly). Being single for so long taught me that I can, in fact, be alone. I can dine alone, I can go to the movies alone, and it’s not the end of the world. I much prefer doing those things with someone else, but I still enjoy spending time with myself.
  6. Apparently, I’m not as comfortable with my body as I thought I was. While single, I was happily lax in the shaving department. If I didn’t want to wash my hair for an entire three-day weekend, whatevs. My partner didn’t care. In fact, she was well aware of my single girl grooming habits. However, I cared. I still care. I’m not comfortable with the razor ban now, and I don’t like rocking greasy hair.
  7. There are some things on which I just can’t compromise. I think that comes from the independence anyone gains when they’re single and on their own for a long time. I know what makes me happy. I know what I need in my life. It took me too long to discover my personal essentials. I wasn’t willing to compromise on them just because I met someone — and fortunately, I didn’t have to. Not everyone is so lucky, and trust me, there are plenty of other areas of my relationship that thrive on compromise.
  8. It’s harder to trust someone after you’ve been single for a while. It’s not even because the person is untrustworthy. For me, it was because I just hadn’t been so intimate or emotionally invested in such a long time. It was like my nerve endings were raw and I always felt vulnerable. I didn’t disbelieve anything my then-girlfriend said, exactly, I was just… tentative, let’s say.
  9. Loving someone else fulfills me in a way I never experienced before. I can’t say I wasn’t fulfilled when I was single. It’s just that loving someone this much, loving this particular person, fulfills a different part of me. It touches a part of me that didn’t get a lot of exercise during my fallow period.
  10. I’m my most reliable ally and staunchest supporter. My wife is my best friend. She loves me, supports me, and is always on my side. The reverse is true, too. I’m my biggest supporter, though. That’s one of the most significant ways being single for a long time affected me. I know that I can support myself and stand up for myself all on my own. I merely made a choice not to do it alone.
west virginia native, new hampshire transplant, parisian in the depths of my unimpressed soul. owner of an impressive resting bitch face. writer and reader. fluent in sarcasm and snark. lover of lower case and the oxford comma.