Learning How To Be Single When You Really Want A Boyfriend Is Tough, But It’s A Necessary Life Skill

I want a boyfriend. I want a partner in crime so bad my chest aches with it, but I’m resilient enough to still find beauty in the solo life, even when I long for the opposite. Here’s why that’s so important.

  1. We’re all gonna be single sometime. Even a woman who’s usually in a relationship will likely find herself without one at some point. If she hasn’t built some immunity to it, that loss of footing can be incredibly painful. Sure, breaking up is tough for everyone, but the transition is most brutal for those who are unprepared. I’m glad I have the emotional survival skills to weather the storm. The only way to build your ability for going it alone is to gain some experience, and I could earn a merit badge with all the single-chick time I’ve logged.
  2. I know how to fall apart in a dignified manner. We certainly all need to vent sometimes, but when you’ve faced disappointment before, you do acquire some serious coping skills. I don’t burden friends with my tales of woe. I’m honest about my hurts and about my desires but I also know the world doesn’t revolve around me. Clearly if it did, I wouldn’t be stuck in this position of uncertainty while wishing for my ideal mate.
  3. I’ve learned exactly who I am…whether I wanted to or not. There’s nothing starker than holding up the mirror and seeing nothing but your own damn self, but I’ve done it and lived to tell the tale. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ll never startle myself with my behavior, never feel out of control when I’m on my own. Every woman deserves to understand her underlying motivations and even her negative qualities with the privacy only singledom offers.
  4. My self-sufficiency lets me be as picky as I want to be. We all deserve to find that ideal love but it’s a struggle to hold out for the best when your desperation overrides your good sense. Because I know how to thrive independently, I get to hold out for the perfect fit in romance. I refuse to cling to the subpar. And no, I’m not being “too critical” of the men I meet. I’m simply acknowledging that I have discerning tastes.
  5. I’m whole on my own and that makes me a better girlfriend. When I do find a dude worthy of my love, he learns quickly that I don’t consider a boyfriend to be a life raft. I free a guy to stay exactly who he is because I won’t express an interest in commitment if he’s not already what I need him to be. Unless he’s a total narcissist, he fell for me in the first place because I’m an individual. Of course I want us to be a solid unit but I also recognize that we both need to retain our unique personhood.
  6. I don’t attract codependent types. Some poor souls aren’t satisfied unless they’re miserable, fighting and falling into lovers’ potholes every mile of the journey. Truthfully, I don’t think anybody’s happy with such a destructive pattern. Better to train yourself early, never fall into those bad habits in the first place. Establishing who I am from the start wards off troubled relationships before they can even begin. I’m probably single more often than I would be otherwise because of it, but that’s okay by me.
  7. I don’t always tie my self-esteem to my relationship status. I might do it sometimes, in my weaker moments, but as a general rule, I’ve founded my sense of worth on what I’ve accomplished and what I believe in, not who I’ve bonded myself to. We’re all so much more than the boyfriend or husband at our sides. I’m not doing a damn thing wrong by being single in my 30s. A great love would bring me happiness, but it’s not a necessary ingredient in leading an impactful life.
  8. I don’t get soul-crushingly jealous of my happy coupled friends. If a girlfriend tells me she and her fella are doing great, that she’s even considering marriage, I get to be legit happy for her. Hell yeah, I want to feel that deeply for a man, but I don’t see her success as a form of competition or threat. I see it as inspiration. I love hearing about all the highlights, because happiness is a renewable resource. The more love and excitement I share with my gals when they’re at their best, the more good vibes come back my way.
  9. I know the grass is always greener on the other side. Anyone who chases one relationship after the next, always jonesing for that love fix, deprives herself of the opportunity to find loveliness in unexpected places. Life’s plot twists sometimes serve up more meaning and grace than the more traditional forms of romantic happiness ever could. Instead of worrying about all I’m missing out on when I don’t have a man beside me, I remember that everyone has to struggle in some way. Being in love doesn’t eliminate the challenging quest we’re all on and being single doesn’t deny us the chance to experience contentment.
  10. I find value in many forms of intimacy. Since I don’t have a boyfriend to lean on, I’ve diversified. I continue to develop meaningful interactions with all kinds of folks, from the lady in the grocery aisle who unexpectedly moves me to my core by reflecting on her life as an independent business owner to the best pal who’s spent countless late nights chatting with me on the couch. Rather than shrink my circle as I get older, I have to enlarge it. I still believe that no connection ever quite matches that of true love but I do know it’s possible to survive and retain my particular version of happy even while I’m still hunting for Mr. Right.
  11. I don’t regret anything. When I give myself permission to embrace my freedom, something crazy happens: I enjoy every moment. The poignant weariness, the triumphant romance, the whole enchilada. I never want to lose my hard-gained perspective. However much I’ve cursed my occasional loneliness, I’m more than satisfied with the compensation of character and pride in my individual self.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.