Love is a beautiful experience, one that changes and brings out the best in us. However, what we don’t know is that a long-term lack of love can have some very negative consequences, no matter how happy we are on our own. How is that possible, you ask? Not being intimately emotionally connected to anyone for a long time can affect your psyche. Here are some of the disadvantages of being single for too long and how to deal with them.
You become very selfish. Because you get used to thinking of only yourself, it becomes difficult to imagine having someone else in the picture — or, even worse, putting their needs and desires above your own. Being single for too long makes you build impenetrable walls around your heart that isolate everyone else. Ultimately, you slowly become self-obsessed and struggle to be selfless. When you do eventually get into a relationship, it takes a very long time for you to adjust and you often end up pushing people away before you get there.
You miss out on lots of beautiful life-changing experiences. Being in love with someone who adores you and vice versa is beautiful and lets you create many amazing memories, ones that will last for a lifetime. But that’s not the case when you’re single. It’s just you navigating life and it can get so lonely and boring. Walking your dog in the evening is nice, but even nicer if you’re doing so with a partner. Aside from the emotional support you have to do without, you can also miss out on career opportunities, knowledge, and networking. That’s not to say that you’re destined to be miserable without a relationship, but rather that your incredible life becomes even richer when you’re sharing it with an equal.
You begin to develop trust issues. Being an emotional lone wolf could damage your sense of self-worth and start to make you paranoid. You might start seeing yourself as not good enough for love, and anyone who tries to get close to you therefore ends up getting a dose of your misjudgments. You may think that a prospective partner has ulterior motives when all they want to do is love you.
You self-sabotage date prospects. Honestly, this stems from trust issues. Being single for a long time gets you to a point where you’ll find yourself canceling dinner dates at the last minute or even intentionally pushing a prospect away. You’ve grown so used to being alone that it’s scary even thinking about sharing your space, heart, and life with someone else. A lot of times, it ends up feeling too good to be true even when it’s just good.
It’s super lonely. A healthy romantic relationship offers an opportunity for support, warmth, and companionship. Whether or not you want to admit it, you move through life easier when you have a partner by your side. You have someone to talk to whenever you feel overwhelmed, someone to share your little wins and exciting moments with. Unfortunately, that’s not the same when you’re single. On days when you just want to talk to someone or a random reassuring hug, you have no one by your side. It’s just you dealing with life challenges alone. Yes, you have amazing family members and a great support group, but it’s not quite the same.
You struggle to fit into a community. You’re okay being a couch potato, buried in your work, movies, and books. Being in a midst of people where you have to mingle and create bonds gives you anxiety. Whether it’s a book club or a house party, you’re reluctant to mingle with other people. You start believing that you’re enough company for yourself and that you need no one else to survive. If uncontrolled, you might end up narcissistic, vain, and emotionally cold.
You’ll most likely struggle in your next relationship. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of being single long-term. From my experience, if you’ve stayed single for so long before finally getting into a relationship, it’s going to be a rollercoaster and you will definitely frustrate the hell out of your next partner. Because you’re used to flying solo, you’ll rebel a lot, finding it difficult to listen, empathize with, or understand your partner. Rather than cooperate, you’ll become very bossy, hardly seeing things from another’s perspective. The worst part is that you’re always ready to walk out the door once the sh*t hits the fan.
How to cope with being single for too long
There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re out of the dating game. Rather than letting your current state limit you, here are ways to cope with it.
Go on a journey of rediscovery. The first step to coping when you’re single for a long time is to ask yourself difficult questions and be genuinely honest in your answers. Why are you still single? Do you have issues you’re dealing with? Maybe a past relationship? Maybe you grew up in a loveless home? Get to know yourself and understand what’s holding you back. You’re constantly evolving and so it’s okay to unlearn and relearn. If it means seeing a therapist, then please do.
Learn a new skill or start a project. It’s easy to slip into loneliness and become miserable when you’re single. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, brace up and keep your mind busy. You should learn a new skill, focus on your career, and seek to volunteer on projects you’re passionate about. Doing all these not only opens you up to meeting new potential love interests but fills you with a sense of accomplishment and elevates your confidence.
Find and join a community either online or in person. I’m sure there’re lots of fun groups in your city that you can join to keep your schedule busy and help build your interpersonal skills. Or, if you’re new in your town, search for groups that suit your interest around you. Who knows? You might even find love there.
Take things slow. You don’t have to be in a relationship if you’re not ready. Take your time and don’t be in a hurry to find that special someone. Decide on what a relationship means to you and only commit when you’re ready.
Let go of past hurt. This could be one of the reasons why you’ve been single for a long time. Understand that “what’s meant to be will be” and if your last relationship ended badly, it simply means that it wasn’t meant to be. The universe wants the best for you. Find solace in this and forgive your ex. Let go and adjust your mind to give love another chance.