A few weeks ago I laughed about how I had been deemed a relationship advice guru. I was advising friends on how to mend their relationships when the other parties expressed that they were unhappy. I coached them through communicating with their partner that they wanted to work together to mend things. Thankfully, I was successful in each case.
I started thinking about what I would say to them if their partners did come back and inform them that their attempt at mending things just wasn’t enough, that they still wanted out. Luckily, both friends were able to fix the problems and continue to work on their relationships, but I wanted to write a post to all those who may not have been so lucky.
The change from a relationship to being single can be a scary one. You’re in the habit of seeing a sweet “good morning” message, going to them for support with every problem, and knowing they’ll be the last person you speak to each night. In the past I’ve felt half like my heart has been broken and the other half like an addict trying to beat the addiction of constant contact. So many friends always repeat the line “when you’re tempted to message [x], message me instead,” but, it’s not the same. You have a very special bond when you’re in a relationship that unfortunately no one can fill in the moment.
This situation has additional difficulties when the friends around you are all becoming engaged or married. How are their lives progressing along so beautifully and you’re at home with a pint of ice cream watching Netflix, hoping that suddenly tomorrow you’ll wake up and the pain will no longer be there?
Here’s some of my advice for those who may be struggling with being single.
You only have a certain amount of time; don’t spend it feeling sorry for yourself.
Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, you only get one chance on this planet. There is a discrete amount of time you are allotted to make the most out of things and leave your legacy. If you’re spending your time crying with ice cream over your ex or wallowing in self-pity, you’re just wasting the precious time you’ve been given. Develop your career, learn something that you’ve always been interested in, take a class, or be the best friends you possibly can be. Take this time to make yourself the person you want and will be proud to be.
With singleness comes adventure.
This point relates to my first point of only having a certain amount of time. Sure, your former partner may have been the greatest thing in your eyes, but that’s over now. Now you can decide what you want to do. You can sit around hoping and praying they’ll come back or you can rebuild yourself, go on adventures, do the crazy things you’ve always wanted to do. Eventually you will find your person. A person who will move mountains to be with you. You’ll be a lot more desirable if you really embraced life and have a few great stories to tell.
My family and friends laugh at me because I have a tendency to do things that are really out of character when going through a breakup. After being dumped a few years ago, I decided that I wanted to prove to myself that I’m strong and athletic. With a dangerous level of being unprepared, I climbed Kilimanjaro. Prior to this, my longest hike was a tourist hike in Banff, Alberta where there is a lovely little tea house once you reach the summit. That hike only takes an hour or two. I went from a two-hour hike to a seven-day expedition. It was a lot more beneficial than crying in my room. I developed confidence, found a new hobby, was forced to spend time with six strangers everyday as we all conquered an incredibly hard and demanding task. I came back with a new appreciation for my life and six new friends.
In my last breakup, I decided that I was tired of being scared of heights. I’m the woman who will not even go close to the edge on the Eiffel Tower. Sure, I know that there are safety protocols and the chance of anything bad happening to me is minimal, but my nerves kick in. What better way to conquer that fear than jumping out of a plane? I wanted to know that I could conquer my fears as a display of my strength. I was terrified and did not expect to be pushed out of a plane but the second I reached the ground, I not only was happy to finally be able to feel something below my feet but the sense of accomplishment always stayed with me. I continued on with level five white water rafting. I should note that I’ve been deathly afraid of roller coasters since I was little. There was no chance you’d find me on the “Ghoster Coaster” five years ago.
I had many friends and family start to plan an intervention because most of my activities were entirely out of character. I just needed to know I was no longer someone who let fear control her life.
When you go through a breakup, part of you feels broken. You feel small. But by pushing yourself beyond your boundaries, you slowly regain the joy for life and become again the person you once were.
There’s no rush to finding your life partner.
This seems to be a constant conversation I have with my friends now that we’re hitting the late 20s/early 30s age group. We watch as peers and friends get married. Our Facebook is bombarded with adorable newborns and engagement photo shoots. So many of my friends ask me what’s wrong with them. Why aren’t they getting married and having children?
Instead of giving them the usual female speech, “nothing is wrong with you, you’re too good for [x],” I look at the big picture. I remind them that ideally, you’re only going to spend your time on this planet with one person. Why do you want to rush into something with that one person if you’re not sure he/she is the one you want to grow old with and be sitting beside you on your death bed? You’ll meet the perfect person—or a person you can work through problems with—eventually, but for now, why not dedicate your free time to becoming a person you love? After all, we all know that if you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to expect someone else to make you happy. There will be plenty of time later on for engagement shoots and newborns; use your precious time now to travel, conquer fears, and pick up new hobbies, because once you have a newborn, you’ll no longer have that free time. Check off as many bucket list items as you can so that once you do find your soulmate, you can dedicate your time to them.
Being single can be terrifying; I completely understand. But you can pick how you want to use this precious time. Do you want to make yourself better or lock yourself in your room?