Falling in love is a rush and it should be pursued hotly and respectfully, but that’s not what everyone is doing when they make things Facebook official. What seems to be the norm (though I’ve never done it) is dating someone you like, being exclusive, and then gradually falling in love. There’s nothing wrong with this model. It’s deliberate and charming. There’s a lot of personal growth to be had by both parties — the lessons are invaluable, no matter the story.
What I also notice, though, is that another invaluable period of personal growth is often swept under the rug or avoided as soon as possible: being single. We all have those friends who are never single for more than a few months. Somehow, invariably, there’s a new boo that they dive right into. They may last several months, a year, maybe two. Break up. Couple months of solitude and then right back on the saddle. And so on. This style of romance strikes me as being hugely flawed.
Full disclosure: yeah, I’ve been single for two years. No, I’m not hurt or bitter as it’s mostly been my choice.
The reason solitude — being single — is important is because you can’t know who you are if you’re constantly with someone. Further, you can’t really appreciate the lessons and have proper emotional closure from your previous relationship if you’re almost immediately sliding into a new one. Old wounds — if there are wounds — never heal this way. You have to take time off. Relationships are work and you have to allow yourself a period of time to rest and reflect.
This isn’t me preaching negativity, it’s the exact opposite. This is me saying that after every heartbreak you have to reconnect with yourself completely before you fall for someone new. Otherwise, the wind will blow you every which way and you’ll find yourself settling more often than not. Which will lead to unsatisfying relationships and the cycle will continue, so on and so forth.
Of course, some of you may suggest that you never disconnected with yourself, but I’m of the opinion that any worthwhile relationship is built on communication and compromise. In short, making decisions with someone else in mind. It’s very easy to get lost in that and forget a few things about yourself. It’s not insidious and it’s not even particularly tragic. It is, that’s all.
This reconnection can be done however you see fit, whether it’s new hobbies or letting your brain turn to sludge as you binge watch your favorite show. Or the show you’d been meaning to watch while you were still in that relationship but never quite got around to. You can fuck a lot of folks or no folks whatsoever. Spend tons of time with friends or blow them off completely (which I don’t recommend unless they want you to go bowling). The important thing is that you be alone.
It’s when you’re alone that your roots grow deeper.