One of the biggest lies we’re told throughout our lives is that we need to be in a relationship to be happy. We grow up thinking that somehow we’re not complete until we have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, someone we could really see ourselves with for a long time. Being with someone is amazing — the laughter, the inside jokes, the cooking together, the Netflix and chilling — but we shouldn’t be so relationship focused that we feel empty when we’re single.
If you’re not happy when you’re single, how can you be happy in a relationship?
All this is coming from a serial monogamist. Hi! Ever since my second year of college I have always had a boyfriend, each guy lasting generally one year to nearly 5 years. Now, in my 30s and newly single for going on three months, I look back on it and realize I’ve spent a very small chunk of my adult life as a truly single gay man. Instead, I’ve hopped from boyfriend to boyfriend with little time in-between.
When you’re a serial monogamist, someone who can’t bear the thought of facing the life single again, you derive happiness from being in a relationship. You can’t imagine being alone, so you focus on having a love interest so you can procrastinate falling in love with yourself. The moments of joy in your life come when your boyfriend or girlfriend messages you, and there’s no greater emotional stress than when they don’t respond or when you start to worry things are going down hill.
But your boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t be the central focus of your life, which they nearly always are if you’re a serial monogamist. You should be the focus of your life. What you need in your life is you. You need time to explore yourself, to develop your interests, to fuck up and to fuck other people without strings, to get better, and to learn how to love yourself so that somebody else can, too.
The problem with serial monogamy is that you spend time with people who maybe aren’t the right fit but you stay with them anyway because, well, that’s totally better than scrolling through Grindr or Tinder again and going on terrible dates with investment bankers with terrible business cards. You have fun with them and it’s great and you don’t necessarily want to ditch them and all but there’s still a little piece of you that’s like hmmmm.
Being single gives you the chance to really find yourself and be ready when the person of your dreams pops into your life. I can’t wait to fall in love again — when the time (and the guy) is right.