There is no cure for our single status.
The reason we don’t need a cure for being single is because there’s actually nothing inherently wrong with our status.
There’s nothing wrong with us. We aren’t single because we’re lacking something. We’re not single because we’re being punished by the universe. We’re not single because we’re not worthy of having the love we desire.
Sure, I believe in self-improvement, but I think it’s a good idea whether we are single or coupled.
I think we have a personal responsibility to be happy and healthy, for the good of all the other people we interact with. Improving ourselves shouldn’t be a task put just to single people, as this implies that we’re doing something wrong: go forth and improve thyself so that thou shalt find a mate.
I hated hearing this when I was single. The heavy implication is that we must be doing something wrong if we haven’t found someone.
Every relationship story is different, so I cannot provide a clear roadmap for anyone who wants to go from being single to coupled. But, I can share a couple of things that were personally helpful when it came to being ready for a relationship, when the timing was right.
I got to the point where I was just plain happy being single.
I’m not just saying this because I was tired of the sh*t I was dealing with in the dating game. I decided to stop investing my time in dating until I found someone worth it. So I took a little dating timeout.
I began to look at all the things I enjoyed about being single: full possession of the remote control and DVR programming and hours of enjoyable alone time after my kids went to bed, that could be spent in the idle pursuit of my choice. Being single gave me the freedom to plan every day to suit my own particular interests. There were so many good things to do, and I decided that I could create a beautiful life that didn’t include being coupled.
Being genuinely happy with the reality of my life was important to me. I found a healthy balance in myself where I could enjoy my single status and not feel like I was being short-changed by life. I was simply happy and open to whatever the universe had in store for me.
I also decided not to date out of loneliness or boredom. I didn’t want to use someone else to feel less alone. I didn’t want to venture into the dating world from an unhealthy place. I could tell that I was in an unhealthy place when dating gave me more anxiety than joy.
Taking a dating timeout helped me have a healthier mindset and to get truly comfortable with my single status. It also allowed me to focus on being a better friend and building those relationships. One of these friends actually became the person I started a romantic relationship with recently, and I know that I’m in it because I want to be.
I’m not doing it because I didn’t want to be single or because I’m settling. We should never do this to another human being. It’s harmful for us and for others, and so often we end up in these situations when we’re dating from an unhealthy place.
Every relationship story involves perfect timing, as frustrating as this is to hear when we’re tired of being single. But the universe tends to give us what we need, when we need it. I’m trying to learn to trust the universe’s timing, but it can be frustrating at times. It serves me to lean into my thoughts, feelings and experiences—trusting the timing is part of this.
“You’re going to be happy,” said life, “but first I’ll make you strong.” ~ Paulo Coelho
During the time I was single, whether I was loving it or hating it, I learned so much about myself and my relationships with other people. I learned about what I want and need, and definitely about what I don’t want or need.
There’s no cure for being single, and being single isn’t something that is wrong with us.
Society tries to make us feel like we have to follow a particular plan: obtain a significant other, get engaged, get married and have children. Do it when everyone else is doing it. This checklist is heavily heteronormative and doesn’t factor in the many different circumstances of our lives.
It doesn’t factor in personal preferences or dreams. It doesn’t factor in families who choose not to have children or ones who adopt or foster. It doesn’t factor in blended families or families where only one person raises the children alone.
Societal relationship norms are seen as some kind of ideal, but ideal for who? They create pressure and stress for everyone who isn’t meeting a societal set of requirements that deem us worthy.
These norms are likely the root cause of our unhappiness when we find ourselves alone and lonely. We begin to suspect that there’s something wrong with us. We wonder if we’ll ever find someone who will share our journey through life. Dating feels like an uphill battle where we’re constantly destroying and being destroyed, but never finding what we need.
I can’t give anyone a map out of the single wilderness into a stable relationship.
I don’t think we need one. Instead, if I were to give any guidance, it would be to encourage an inward journey; I would even encourage this for those who are in a relationship. The real work of life is the effort we put into ourselves: on our outlook, perceptions and the way we treat others.
We can be healthy and happy human beings regardless of our relationship status, whether or not society approves of all of our choices.
We don’t need a cure for being single. Maybe we need a cure for caring about it.
Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being on our own for all or part of this journey through life. There is something wrong with wasting our lives waiting for a certain set of circumstances to happen before we allow ourselves to be happy.
So let’s just be.
Let’s be happy in this moment and with our lives the way they are right now. Let’s embrace all of the people we love and filter out the sound of anyone else telling us how we should live. Let’s chase our bliss, relentlessly pursue our dreams and love everything and everyone who crosses our path.
Let’s make single just another word, and learn to pursue love through our words and actions.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Noel Foglia/Flickr
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock