Over the years I’ve been single (read: many) I have learned a number of things about dating and relationships, from observing friends’ relationships and being out in the field myself.
1. A relationship won’t make you happy.
Sorry to burst your bubble. If you’re not happy not in a relationship, you won’t be happy in one. The same demons, same insecurities, and the same dissatisfactions you have with your life now are the same ones that will continue to lurk beneath the surface if you find yourself in a relationship.
What I have learned is that you, *yourself* need to fix those things first. Through being single, you discover what exactly does make you happy; how to fill yourself up; how to fix things; how to figure out the right balance of activities, friends and adventures in your life.
2. Similarly, a relationship will not give you the validation you may desire.
I used to believe that once that “knight in shining armor” (that all the Disney movies have promised) noticed me, spent time with me, and gave me attention; I would finally feel special and realize how much potential I had and grow into the real me. Subsequently, I realized that a boy, that knight, a) isn’t coming and b) won’t fix you.
You need to love yourself and recognize your own value. Know your flaws, but love yourself in spite of them. Embrace them as those cute quirks, know that they make you unique and you.
Any validation you may get from a relationship is fleeting and when that’s gone you are left with a vacuous space, a constant yearning for someone else to say you’re enough. Let me tell you right now: you are enough. You have always been enough. Love yourself, be kind to yourself – and that way you will allow yourself to grow into the you you’ve always been.
3. A relationship or a boy is not the answer to your loneliness.
I know, I wish it was that easy. Instead of being despo for a relationship, the way you fill up your life and embrace alone time is little steps. Enjoy your ‘me’ time, take yourself out to do things alone: to a café for coffee, to the beach to read a book, for a drive. Realize that it is okay to do things by yourself. It is not the end of the world, no one is watching you alone and laughing behind your back. You do you, and be f*cking awesome. You cultivate your life; support network, friends, activities, and embrace them to enjoy your life…and loneliness won’t even be a blip on your radar.
4. You should not want a relationship just because you want to fit in.
On some level, hell, on every level, we all want to belong and feel like one of the group. There have been times when all my close friends had boyfriends and would have ‘boyfriend catchups’ which, I, the single pringle, was not privy to. Obviously, this was very lonely (but see step 3) and all I wanted was a boyfriend to fit right in here.
The hard truth I learnt was that a friendships predicated on whether or not you have a boyfriend, whether or not you subscribe to societal pressure to “couple up”, are not even worth having.
You should not have to fight to fit in, those people who truly like you for you will include you automatically. Find those friends. The ones who like you – as you are, without a partner – and are intrigued by you, who support you and have fun with you and want you to succeed.
5. Do not subscribe to society’s notion that you are incomplete or worth less without a man.
Listen right here girl, you are a big f*cking fantastic whole person, and you are not less, no matter what your relationship status.
The lies we learn and internalize growing up; that you need to aspire to marriage, aspire to have a family, that you can be successful but not more than your man, that you need a man to be happy – all not f*cking true. You live your life, and you be the kickass, strong, determined, resilient woman living a healthy, happy live by yourself. And remember, society may be constructed around a couple-mentality but life is rich and abundant and offers many experiences and adventures one can do with ones friends and family.