I’m just going to throw this out there for you all: I’ve been single for nearly five whole years. No dates, no boyfriends, no hook-ups, nothing. I’ve had one relationship in my whole life, and it wasn’t exactly an ideal one. When my ex and I broke up, I decided that I didn’t need nor want that kind of shit in my life, and that I would only settle for the best of the best. It sounds pathetic and lonely, but honestly I’ve learned so much in those years away from the dating scene.
1. Self-Reliance. In these years, I’ve learned to depend on no one but myself to get shit done. No shoulder to cry on, no man to come home to. I’ve dealt with all of my struggles and trials on my own. I learned how to live (basically) alone and on my own. Doing stuff alone does not scare me or intimidate me. I go out to lunch by myself all the time. I go shopping alone. I go to the gym alone. Pretty much everything I do alone, and I am able to do it. Most times I even enjoy it.
2. Dedication. During those five years, I poured myself into my school work. While I was dating my ex, my schoolwork started to slip when I would spend all night on the phone instead of studying for an exam, or going up to his frat house for the weekend instead of writing a term paper. Afterwards, I spent the next four years of college and grad school completely dedicated to excellence. I’ve been successful because I was single. Now that school is finished (and I’ve graduated at the top of my class), I’m more ready to spend time working on a relationship.
3. Being Happy for Others. At first, it was really hard for me to be happy for my friends who were either already in relationships or friends who entered new relationships. Over the years, I realized that bitterness gets no one very far. Now I am genuinely happy for friends in relationships, getting engaged, getting married, and welcoming children into the world. I have days still when I feel the slightest bit of jealousy or feminist rage, but 99% of the time, I’m happy for my friends.
4. Putting Myself First. Not in a selfish way, of course; rather, in a healthy way. I’ve taken control of my own life and made myself #1. I don’t depend on others for my happiness because I make my own happiness. I don’t let someone else’s misery affect me, or the comments and judgments of others sway me. I buy cute clothes. I wear makeup. If I want something (reasonable), I buy it for myself. I take care of myself first because that’s all there is. I don’t have another person’s needs in the equation, which is important for me because I am a giver and a people-pleaser by nature. I had to learn to put myself first before I can bring someone else in.
5. Creating Myself as a Human Being. I’m a big advocate of creating oneself in your twenties. Humans must learn to have an identity apart from any other humans. Identifying yourself first as someone’s husband/wife/significant other is no good because if/when that person is no longer in your life, you will lose yourself completely. I’ve spent my life creating the human I want to be for the rest of my existence. Now that I finally know who I am and what my purpose is, I’m ready to share my existence with another person, but never define my existence by that person.