In my 20 years of life, I’ve never had a real, official guy to call my boyfriend. I’m still somehow always the girl that’s in love or dating. I can’t remember a time when I was truly alone, even if it was just in my thoughts. I always felt the need to have a romantic interest in my life, someone to keep my mind busy with. I’ve had plenty of guys I’ve dated, flings, almost-relationships, but never a real boyfriend.
So to speak, I’ve been “single” my whole life. But what does single really even mean? For the first time in my life, I think I’m actually buckling down and figuring that out. I’m learning how to be truly alone, and this is what I’ve learned.
When you stop focusing on a person, you have all the time in the world (literally all day, every day) to pay attention to different parts of your life you’ve been slacking on. You don’t wake up in the morning waiting for a text. You wake up and make yourself a coffee and get to work.
When you do start putting your energy into these other things you’re interested in, you become more interesting yourself. You’re not the girl that only talks about guys, you get deeper into yourself and become a more developed person.
Songs stop reminding you of people, and it feels great.
But on the flip side, it also feels unfamiliar. It’s almost a weird sensation, like you don’t have any emotions left. You feel a bit numb.
You stop doing things for someone and start doing them for yourself, and realize it’s so much better that way. You don’t go to the gym because you want to look great to impress some new guy or girl, you go because it makes YOU feel amazing and that’s the beginning and end of all things in this new chapter of your life.
You start dating more casually, and because it’s not at the forefront of your priorities anymore, it actually goes a lot better. You stop thinking every single guy that you meet or that asks you out is Mr. Right or Prince Charming, you don’t stay up in your bedroom all night thinking about how amazing it was and obsessing over when he or she will call. You just go on the date and move on to whatever you were doing before.
You feel a little bit odd because you’ve almost been doing most of this all along, you’ve been single, but it’s different this time. Your intentions are different.
You feel weird when you tell your friends any of this, because they just reply with “but you’ve never even had a boyfriend (or girlfriend) to begin with.” They don’t get it.
You don’t really care when an ex-boy or girl reaches out to you, because it’s not a priority anymore. You see the text, think “oh, that’s odd” and keep going with your day. You might respond, but it’s not the sitting on your kitchen floor meltdown calling your best friend freaking out about what to reply fiasco anymore. And the ex will take notice of that too, and probably be confused and reach out even more. Jokes on you this time, buddy.
Speaking of which, you call these people “exes” for lack of a better word and long explanation, and people who know you were never officially in a relationship with them scoff at it. Sorry, what would you like me to say to this random person asking me about it? “This one guy who I had an on and off thing with for a year but we didn’t really work out and we kind of dated but kind of didn’t, ya know?” No thanks, I’ll just keep on saying ex, you know what I’m trying to say.
You’ve kind of craved love all your life, and you realize maybe that’s why you obsess with it. You’ve never fully had it. You’ve never had that official title or feeling, and you wanted what came with it to much that you spent so much of your life towards finding it because you never really knew what it was like. But you realize that that’s not love, and you have to love yourself first and foremost. And that’s what you’re doing now.
Finally, when you’ve been single all your life but are finally actually alone for the first time, you feel whole- almost. You’re getting there. It feels new and unfamiliar, but it feels good. Really, really, good. You have your first sense of being whole, and it’s not with another person to complete you. It’s just you. And you fill all the little empty spaces you used to try to fill with a person, and you discover new parts of yourself to pour into them.