About a week and a half ago:
My editor: “What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?”
Me (warily, thinking I’ve got to cover some sort of V-Day event): “Why?”
Editor: “No big date?”
Me (snorting): “No.”
Editor: “Okay, well I may need you to cover the City Council meeting.:
Me (relieved): “Oh, okay.”
Now, obviously Valentine’s Day was a week ago, so this isn’t a post about that. Well, it is in the way that I’m (still) single and therefore had no plans, thus making working that night no big deal. I was also relieved because I didn’t have to take the time and money to think up and buy a gift for someone.
V-Day is sometimes referred to as Singles Awareness Day and while I did become a bit more aware of my single status once I became aware of the fact that Valentine’s Day was coming up, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I’ve been single for five and a half years and during this time I like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two about love, dating, relationships and owning your singleness.
1. Don’t make your significant other the be-all-end-all of your world.
- I am happy to say that this was not me when I was in a relationship. However, I have seen this among friends (and in some of those romance books I love to read). The way I see it, when you’re in a romantic relationship you want to spend as much time with the other person as possible, but it shouldn’t be at the detriment of your other relationships. It can be very isolating for you if you lose your friends and family. It also hurts your friends and family’s feelings. If things don’t work out, you may be able to turn back to the people you shut yourself off from and pick up where things left off, but sometimes you can’t no matter how hard you try and now you’ve lost more than one relationship.
2. Keep some parts of your lives separate.
- This ties in to the statement above a little bit. Don’t lose yourself in the relationship. Don’t be afraid to spend some time alone doing your own thing and with other people. Also, sometimes if your friends call to hang out, it does not always automatically mean your significant other is invited because they may want to discuss something private or it can just be a girls’/guys’ night. I say it’s best to check with you the other parties before bringing along your main squeeze.
3. Accept that sometimes relationships aren’t meant to be.
- I’m afraid this applies to me. Looking back, I’ll admit I was in a relationship much longer than I should have been. This does not mean it was a bad relationship. On the contrary, for the most part it was a good relationship and I look back on it with fond memories. But toward the end, I know I was just hanging on because it was familiar and I was used to being with him. I still loved him, but I just didn’t want to accept that I was no longer in love with him (trust me, there’s a difference).
4. Don’t allow your significant other to “forbid” you from doing something or seeing someone.
- And don’t be the one doing the forbidding. If there’s something I CANNOT stand, it’s when someone tells their boyfriend or girlfriend they aren’t allowed to do this or that or they’re not allowed to see this person or that or even have any contact with anyone of the opposite gender. Now, I know there are times when couples will jokingly forbid, but that’s different. That’s a joke. And I understand there are certain situations in which your significant other shouldn’t be doing something or seeing someone. But I think saying, “You’re not allowed to…” is too much. I think asking them and explaining why it’s important to you is fine, but ultimately, you can’t control them and they are free to make their own choices. But on the flip side, if your boyfriend or girlfriend understands how certain actions or their association with certain people bother you, then they should be respectful of your feelings. It’s all just about communicating.
5. Don’t stay in a bad relationship just so you don’t have to be single.
- Fortunately I never went through this, but unfortunately I have seen others in this situation and it kills me. So many times I’ve wanted to tell friends (or have told friends) to leave a relationship because it is so clearly bad for them. And it kills me even more when they tell me they know they should, but they can’t even though they’re miserable. Sometimes I wouldn’t know whether to shake some sense into my friend or kick their significant other’s ass.
6. Own your single status.
- Being single is not your entire being. It’s just a part of you. While I’ll admit to the occasional moments of loneliness, I don’t mind being on my own. I’ve saved a ton of money on gifts, eating out, etc. I can do my own thing. The drama and stress in my life has dropped dramatically. And most importantly, I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I want from myself and for myself and what I want in a man, which will hopefully keep me from making some of the above mistakes.