I was talking to a close friend the other day about relationships. Our mutual friend is a bit of a serial dater and someone had called her out on it. Her response? “I’ve been single for years.”
Despite this, she was always in some type of relationship with someone, serious or not. I couldn’t remember the last time she didn’t have some type of man in her life. To this, my friend said, “there’s a huge difference between being alone and being single.”
Being single can mean you’re on datings apps; Bumble, Hinge, what have you. It can mean going on dates, keeping in contact with your ex, or flirting with that guy from back home. You can still be regularly sleeping with someone and giving them effort and energy but fall under the category of single. With today’s day and age, realistically, the reason you’re not in a relationship in the first place is that you want to date around. “Single” is still a label that is generally followed by “and looking”. It’s often a word that means “open” or “available.”
But being alone? It means dating isn’t a priority. It means being completely comfortable with yourself and who you are, and being whole enough to not be searching for someone to come into your life as a missing piece. It’s knowing that a relationship would be complementary rather than completing. It’s not above those who are searching for love, it’s just different. It looks like eating dinner by yourself and going to the movies on your own. It feels grounded and intentional; and while it can definitely look a little selfish, it can also be very healing.
If being single is fun and exciting, being alone is content and calm. If being single is full of romance, being alone is full of self-discovery.
And being alone does not mean being lonely.