When I broke up with the man I thought I was going to marry, I knew my life was about to change. When you share your life with someone you learn new ways of doing things like cooking dinner, cleaning and paying the bills. You are in a partnership so it’s only natural for things to change in your life. After the break-up I was back to learning how to live and take care of myself on my own. It wasn’t hard for me since I have lived on my own since I graduated college. It was just a change in lifestyle for me and change can be difficult when it’s not welcomed.
As I look back at the year after the break-up, I have to say I’m pretty proud of the woman I have become. While my ex-boyfriend was already in his next relationship days after he moved out, I decided I was going to work on myself and not think about dating and it was a great decision. I learned how to live and be comfortable on my own again. I discovered my own identity and I forced myself to be uncomfortable sometimes so I could allow myself to grow. I’m not the same person I was before or during my past relationship, but I can say that I am a better person.
Why I felt I needed to be single for a year
- I needed to figure out who I was as an individual again.
When you are in a relationship I believe it’s normal to lose a part of yourself. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just two people sharing their lives with each other. You gain a part of the other person’s life and lose some of your own. Once I was single again, I had to learn how to get my individuality back. I figured out what I liked about myself and what I didn’t want to give up the next time around.
One thing I lost during my past relationship is REAL friendships with other women. I got into the habit of hanging out with my boyfriends friends. I met some great people and I still occasionally talk to them. But they were technically his friends, and when my boyfriend and I separated, I saw less of them. I needed to start over and find my own friends, which I did.
I learned a lesson from all of this: Any relationship requires work including friendships. It’s so easy to get caught up in a new relationship, you may neglect other friendships. Now I know better and in my future relationships I won’t take this for granted.
2. I wanted to feel content about being single
I have accepted the fact that I am no spring chicken! I have lived on this earth for almost 37 years. I have seen people the same age as me get married, have one, two and even 3 kids and I’m still single. I believe my time will come and I will have a husband and a child or two but it’s just going to take me a little longer than others to find it. I don’t know how long that will take and there is always the fear of it not happening. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to get married and have kids. Maybe God has a different plan for me?
I don’t want these questions to be the focus of my life. I want to live my life, have fun and have meaning in my life. I have seen people go on day after day making their focus on finding “the one.” They get discouraged if they must go out-of-town for work and miss a weekend of going out on dates. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. I want all of this too but I have trained my brain to focus on other things. When my head goes into “poor me” mode, I force myself to think of the positives things about being single. It takes practice but it really worked for me and I have come to accept that I am where I am for a reason. I may never know that reason but here I am and rather than cry about it I’m enjoying my life and what it throws at me.
3. I wanted to learn how to be more independent
I am already a pretty independent person but I wanted to challenge myself. I think when you first become an adult doing things alone can be scary. Then when you start dating someone you always have that person to go out to dinner with, take you to appointments if you are unable to drive and even help catch that bug that’s on your ceiling that you can’t reach! When you are single you either have to ask a friend for help when you need it or do it yourself.
After my last break-up I decided to be proactive and challenge myself to do things by myself. Over the past year I have:
- Sat at a bar by myself
- Took a 10 hour road trip to Nashville with no agenda on my own
- Ate lunch alone at a restaurant
- Went to a Disney Park by myself
- Took a tour of a museum on my own
- Tried out a new church by myself
- Killed a HUGE bug by myself (I really REALLY hate bugs)
These things my not seem too big of a deal to some people reading this but it was to me. I forced myself to break out of my comfort zone and to be OK with doing things alone. I have become more independent and comfortable in my own skin.
Being single can be very lonely. You see people around you getting what you want and you are constantly trying to figure out why it hasn’t happened to you. It can really mess with your head. Part of me believes that finding your soulmate when you are older is a blessing. You have more time to figure out who you are and what you want. So maybe we are actually the lucky ones!