Being by myself has always been a challenge for me. In fact, I’ve spent much of my dating life avoiding it at all costs. Lately, though, I’ve been embarking on a journey of being single by taking a break from dating. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it and I wouldn’t change things for the world.
- At first, I had difficulty with the time off. The idea of stopping dating absolutely terrified me at first. I was a serial monogamist and a serial dater. I rarely took the time to be alone because the prospect of being without a distraction terrified me. The first few weeks of being away from my dating apps were really hard. I went through what felt like withdrawal symptoms.
- I still do struggle sometimes. It’s been some months now that I’ve been single and not dating. While I’m doing a stellar job, things aren’t perfect. I do still sometimes yearn for a relationship or get angry at happy couples. I can be self-pitying, asking myself “why me?” I can also beat myself up and tell myself that I’m a mess and that’s why I can’t date. I can be harsh! Nonetheless, I’m pushing through and continuing to not date. Most of the time I’m OK with it. It’s a process.
- For the most part, I’ve reached acceptance. I say “for the most part” because I’m far from perfect. I still desire relationships and I think that’s normal. Still, I’ve reached a point of acceptance in knowing that it’s just my time to be by myself. It’s not my time to date or find a partner. Acceptance helps me keep this in the day, taking one day at a time rather than thinking about being single for an extended period of time.
- I’ve had to understand that I’m good enough. A big hurdle that I had to overcome, and I still continue to struggle with daily, is believing that I’m good enough. When I was out there dating, I felt as if I needed someone else’s validation and approval in order to feel worthy. In being by myself I have no one to deliver that validation, I have to serve it up myself. I’m learning that I’m a lovable and worthwhile human no matter what.
- I’ve had to realize my worth comes from within. After spending so much time seeking outside of myself, it was challenging to look inwards for love and validation. I had to learn that I have a source deep within me that glows bright and that is inherently good. I truly believe that all humans have this source deep within them. I had to connect to that, realizing that my sense of worth can’t be found outside of myself.
- It’s healthy to take alone time. I think everyone could benefit from taking alone time if they have the opportunity to take it. For me, it’s been a really healthy thing to just unplug and regroup. It’s helping me try to break patterns and think about how I can be better in the future. It’s also helping me to be a healthier partner for when I do start dating again.
- So much growth can happen while alone. It’s inevitable to be introspective when you’re alone, thinking about the ways you relate to the world and to yourself. For me, immense growth has occurred because I’m doing some hard work like participating in a 12-step program for relationships. If I just give myself the space to grow and I water myself, I will bloom.
- Some people never take the time to be by themselves. Hey, it’s not my place to judge, but I have noticed that some people have never been alone. They jump from relationship to relationship or settle down quickly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, I just know that my alone time has been crucial to my personal growth.
- For now, I’m working on friendships. Being single is a great opportunity to spend more time with my friends and to build up those relationships. I know they appreciate the extra time I have to go out and do things or to just hang around. After all, friends are usually there through the thick and thin when partners come and go more often than not. I have to invest in those beloved friendships.
- I will be with someone sometime in the future. While much of the reason I’m taking a break is so that I can build myself up and learn to love myself, I’m also doing it so I can be a better partner in the future. I don’t intend to be alone forever. In fact, I very much look forward to dating again someday.
I know that one day, I’ll find the perfect relationship for me and I’ll be glad I waited it out. In the meantime, I have an amazing life that I’m going to live to the fullest so I can look back years from now without regrets.