We’ve all experienced periods of loneliness while single, times we want nothing more than to be in a committed relationship. I spent a lot of time wishing for a guy to come sweep me off my feet, but here’s how I stopped craving love and started embracing my life as-is.
I stopped panicking. A big part of my problem was my total misinterpretation of the situation. I really thought that just because it hadn’t happened yet, it meant it actually never would. I was desperate for “my” guy to come along to prove that this wasn’t the case. Once I admitted to myself that I was panicking for nothing, I was able to relinquish this fear.
I realized it was a symptom of a bigger problem. I didn’t so much want or need a relationship. In reality, I craved a semblance of order in my life. I wanted to be living in sync with my priorities, and joyfully. The relationship part was a mask for what was really missing in my life: my own sense of fulfillment.
I let everything fall away. Once I focused more on myself and my life as a whole rather than my relationship status, I let everything that was out of sync with my highest goals fall away. I quit my job, left my apartment, moved cities, and did a 360-turn on my lifestyle. I needed a blank slate, so I gave myself that gift.
I focused on myself. Once I had my blank slate, I was free to rebuild my life with only those people, conditions, and experiences that I truly wanted. I learned self-care had a lot more to do with making time for my projects and side-hustles than bubble baths and pamper sessions.
I stopped going on dates. Dating for the sake of it absolutely sucks. There’s nothing more demoralizing than the umpteenth date in the pursuit of that elusive and seemingly unattainable “One.” I stopped forcing myself to look for what I was not having any luck finding and again focused on the things that are right in front of me.
I realized I’m not actually like my friends in relationships. I don’t want the same things, and that’s fine. Where their priorities are domestic, warm and cozy, mine are intrepid, open-ended and independent. That’s not to say that people in relationships don’t also share those goals and qualities, but rather that I’m currently in a place where I’m not prepared to sacrifice a single one of my goals or desires for somebody else.
I built new friendships. It’s hard enough to be single when all your friends are getting engaged, married, or even pregnant (on purpose). It’s even worse when every gathering you now go to involves married couples, and you’re the only one there without anybody to even drunk text. Focusing on friendships with people at my stage of life turned my focus from what I don’t have, and onto everything amazing that I do have going on, including everything I’m grateful for and excited about.
I removed the rose-tinted glasses. For some reason, I grew up with an incredibly naive idea of coupled-up bliss. As I got older, I realized being in a couple comes with its own set of problems, and I really can’t be bothered with that kind of drama right now. I have enough on my plate as it is without dealing with someone else giving me grief or putting myself through the wringer about why he has/hasn’t [insert transgression here]. On the more extreme side, as I watched seemingly stable partnerships crumble, it made me want to be ultra-cautious about the person I will one day choose. It’s not a decision to be rushed or glossed over, and I intend to take my time.
I stopped telling myself it was because I wasn’t enough. When you’re single, everyone tells you its time to focus on yourself and be the best person you can be. I internalized this to the extreme and began interrogating myself about why I wasn’t sizing up to those around me in relationships. Was I boring? Uninspiring? A bad listener? A poor communicator? Eventually I quit trying so hard to “improve” myself. None of my friends had had to become the Dalai Lama, attain Enlightenment, or win a Nobel Peace Prize before meeting their partner. Neither do I.
I actually allowed myself to feel bad about being single. The problem with brushing stuff under the carpet is that it never actually goes anywhere, it just lurks at the back of your mind until you can’t take it anymore. I let my guilt, hurt and disappointment pile up, creating an unnecessary burden. When I allowed myself to finally acknowledge how I was feeling, I was able to pick it apart piece by piece and wave goodbye to all those feels forever.
I started to feel bad for others who were just looking for someone. As I moved forward, I started to notice many others who were back where I had started. I saw others jumping from almost relationship to almost relationship, desperate to have somebody regardless of whether or not it was feasibly a long-term option, and I felt bad for them. They still weren’t ready to deal with being alone and then embrace it for all the positive things it can bring.
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