This memo is not to tell you all the wonderful things about being single and unattached because as liberating as single-ness can be in your early to mid twenties, there comes a certain point in life when being single truly sucks. Everybody encounters this moment. For some, it may come later than others. For others, it may be a realization they’ve carried with them for a while. But once you get to the point where being single no longer feels like a choice but rather a burden, there’s no turning back.
You become entirely consumed by your feelings of dissatisfaction in your current state. You question why something so (seemingly) easily attained by others hasn’t happened to you yet. When every other post on your newsfeed becomes a harsh reminder that you are not getting engaged, planning a wedding, or having a baby, it can be difficult not to get weighted down by your own feelings of failure. When your once adventurous nights on the town suddenly become mellow couples dinners with you as the fifth, seventh, or eleventh wheel, it can be hard not to question what it is that is lacking in you and preventing you from attracting a mate. This memo is not intended to make you feel better about your situation because I get it; it sucks. It is rather to help you understand that this is a phase we must all go through.
This phase of intense loneliness, frustration, desperation, and self-doubt. This phase of questioning everything you thought you wanted versus everything you suddenly realize you need. This is the moment we must allow ourselves to freely ask for things we may not have allowed ourselves to ask for before. Desiring a partner does not make you seem weak or desperate; it makes you human. It shows your growth as a person. It is a natural evolution we must all make, and it is in this moment when you ultimately recognize truth–what it is that you truly desire. And as raw and terrifying as truth can be, it is necessary in order to move up to the next stage in your life where the perceived comfort of togetherness suddenly outweighs the perceived freedom of singleness.
Once you arrive to this realization of truth, that is when the process of self-reflection can finally begin. You must ask yourself the difficult questions that you’ve spent years avoiding:
“Why are you still single?”
“What is it that is preventing you from finding a partner?”
Although it may be easier to brush off these questions with a simple, “All the good ones are taken” or “I’m just waiting for the right one to come along,” this is the moment when you must be honest with yourself. What is really holding you back from stepping out of single-ness and being in a relationship? Is it because you aren’t fully ready for commitment? Is it because you are afraid of rejection? Is it because your expectations in a partner are too high? Whatever it may be, once you accept the fact that the real reason lies within you and not anything external, you can then start to make those adjustments in order to get your desired outcome.
Begin by leaving behind any fear, pain, and/or baggage that you’ve been carrying around with you from the past. Throw out all those lists of unattainable qualities stating what you hope to find in a long-term partner. Lists are for grocery stores not for relationships. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, be honest, and keep an open mind. If you are not willing to step outside your comfort zone, you will end up in the same place time and time again. And once you’ve realized that single-ness is not the place you want to be, the only way out is to start actively working on yourself first in order to get to a happier place.
A Fellow Single