The More Time I Spend On My Own, The More I Understand These Things

When I’m single, I end up impressing myself every day. I remind myself that I’m capable of so much on my own. I realize that while partners are nice, they’re not everything, and that these days, “the future” comes in different packages. I could be alone my whole life, with kids as a single mom, or with a partner who loves me and they’d all be acceptable paths. Here’s what else I’ve realized while being single.

  1. Women really can do anything. Women are fearless and brave. While it may be nice to have someone to pass some of the responsibility on, it’s also great to know that I can function perfectly well (if not better) on my own. Even things I don’t know how to do, I’ve eventually learned. Need to change a tire on a highway? Google an instructional video and figure it out for yourself. You’ll feel much better.
  2. The best partners are your friends first. My best relationships have been with people I’ve known a long time. Any time I’ve gone to a bar and met someone there, or even had a Tinder date, it barely lasted. Who do you want to be partnered up with, someone who just wants to have sex or someone who actually cares about your well-being? As I’m getting older, I’ve realized that I stopped caring about the physical aspects of a relationship. Instead, I’m more focused on how someone makes me feel.
  3. Being single makes it easier to prioritize me. I’m a people-pleaser, but when I’ve wrapped up work for the day, it’s nice to know that I only have to think about myself and what I want to do. It’s really helped me a lot, especially this year. I’ve finally gotten to dive into self-care, and have gotten to spend so much more time with my friends — mostly on Zoom, but it’s better than nothing. I feel content with my life. Right now, I’m only looking for a guy if he can improve what I’ve already created.
  4. The best clothes are the ones I feel comfortable in. I don’t have to second-guess if my mirror is lying to me, or ask the dreaded stereotypical question of, “do I look okay in this?” I have a collection of crazy, warm, funny clothes that make me feel good and calm. Turns out, having someone else’s opinion isn’t necessary. I feel sexiest when I’m comfortable, and a few flings have definitely taken notice.
  5. Laughter is one of the best traits to have. Ever date an angry guy before? It’s the worst. You’re constantly on edge, waiting for him to explode. It’s a total red flag for me. Instead, I like to surround myself with funny, positive people. Single or not, we only have so many days on this planet — and I don’t want to waste mine around people who take life too seriously, or have too much baggage they refuse to get help for. The way into my heart, either as a friend or romantic partner, is through laughter. Dating should be fun.
  6. I don’t need a man to have a family. Single moms understand this quite well. Any goal I have in life, I can achieve without a man present. Granted, kids aren’t for everyone. But even so, family comes in so many forms. I can make a family out of my friend group, or simply form a closer bond with nieces and nephews. If I want to feel complete, I can do that all by myself.
  7. Living alone is amazing. Of course it can get lonely after a while, but that’s why (in better times) I always invited friends over. When you live by yourself, all of the decorating is up to you. If you want to change something, you don’t need anyone else’s opinion. You can create your own safe space and do it however you please. Also, there’s never a fear of somebody barging into my room, whether a roommate or an inattentive boyfriend. Privacy is wonderful, and it’s something I miss when I’m in a relationship.
  8. I am worthy. I don’t need a man to feel worthy. Even when I’m single, it doesn’t mean I’m incapable of making long-lasting connections with people around me. When I’m single, I’m more likely to meet new people while attending art classes, or another program I’m interested in (and can freely attend without checking anyone’s schedule.) I don’t need a relationship to tell me I’m a good person. I know I’d make an excellent partner to the right guy but have no problem waiting until I meet him.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.