I Was Single For 5 Years — Here’s Why It Was Good For Me

I Was Single For 5 Years — Here’s Why It Was Good For Me ©iStock/alexandr_1958

Five years, 60 months — whatever way you break it down, it’s a hell of a long time to be single, or so people have said. However, spending that much time on my own was good for me. Here’s why:

  1. I focused on my career. I threw myself into my work, which isn’t necessarily a healthy thing, but I really wanted to do it at the time. While people were posting selfies on Facebook with their S.O.s, I was thinking about how I could enrich my career, get better at what I was doing and save some money for the future. It became a priority for me to look out for myself, which was a great side effect of working so much.
  2. I made my passions non-negotiable. Any time that I had to spare went to connecting with loved ones but also focusing on my passions. They became so important to me and I knew that no matter what happened, I wouldn’t throw them aside as I had in previous relationships. They were a part of me and tied to my dreams.
  3. I didn’t run out of options. Yes, there were times when I was lonely, but the cool thing was that I learned that a guy isn’t necessary when you want to have fun!
  4. I dated quite a lot. I went on lots of dates, most of them one hit wonders, and sometimes the process was disheartening. But on the flipside, it was also really good for me because all that dating helped me figure out my type. I’d been going for all the wrong guys in my past, so now I could focus on the complete opposite.
  5. I got stuck on my standards, not stuck in my ways. There’s a misconception that being single for a long time makes a person get stuck in their ways, but this isn’t always the case. What happened for me is that I got stuck on my high standards so that I knew what I wanted in a future relationship, what would make me happy and how I wouldn’t compromise myself.
  6. Being single isn’t a waiting room. At first, during my five-year single period, I thought being single meant I was just having a break before the next relationship came along. But as time went on and I remained single, I realized single life was so much more than that. I wanted to enjoy it, whether or not a relationship came along, because it was my life and time really doesn’t wait for anyone.
  7. I didn’t date for the hell of it. I made it a priority not to date just for the sake of it. Going on a date when I was only sort of in the mood was okay, but I wouldn’t get into average relationships just to say I had someone. Being single for so long helped teach me this. I had learned that my time was valuable, so why would I ever waste it on someone who wasn’t going to be important to me?
  8. I learned to love myselfIt’s not always easy to be single for a long time. There were times I really felt like there was something wrong or unloveable about me. People would ask how I’d been single for so long and I’d always reply that I was fussy, but then I started to think of one or two of those first dates I’d been on and how I’d wanted them to become second dates but the guys hadn’t been interested. What about those? Did those show me I didn’t deserve love? I started to question this and I found reasons why I should have loved myself, irrespective of whether anyone else would. I realized I had never really felt like I deserved love in the past, and reaching this truth was shocking. I came to the conclusions that I not only had to love myself and that I did deserve love, but that I wouldn’t settle for the diluted kind.
  9. I learned how to make myself happy. There’s nothing like a lot of single time to make a person really figure things out and one of the things I learned was how to make myself happy. If I was having a bad day, I’d boost my own mood. If I was lonely, I’d reach out to good friends. I learned that happiness didn’t have to be something that happened to me. It could be something I brought into my life in various ways because honestly, there were great opportunities for it everywhere.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.