Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How can I better learn to embrace being single?

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  • #859685 Reply

    Hi all! I’m a 31 year old gal who is currently single. I was in LTRs all through 19-28 years old, ending two years ago when I ended up leaving my ex-fiancé (together 6 years) who was abusive.

    The past 2.5 years or so have been a huge roller coaster since I left. A HUGE part of me was assuming and hoping that I would find “the one” shortly after my ex and I split up. Ya know, because that’s what romantic comedies and celebrity gossip tells me Articles praising Ciara and Cassie for finding love quickly after heartbreak come to mind. In hindsight, I think I should’ve taken at least a year off dating in general.

    Ive had a few relationships since ending my engagement, with one 7 month one ending really recently. I’m getting frustrated I haven’t yet found the right person but I have found I am getting more relaxed about it as time goes on. I have been slowly embracing single life and just living my life for ME. I’m contemplating taking a dating break altogether now. I am certainly not a man hater or one who thinks all the good ones were taken but I am tired of getting disappointed.

    I do know that so many of my friends and peers unhappy and settling in their own relationships. My one friend & coworker lives with her boyfriend of 2 years and her boyfriend refuses to even talk about marriage even though she’s ready to move forward. Hearing things like this make me even more confident in my choice to hold out for the right person.

    I do however struggle with self-doubt and anxiety about my single status, especially when friends and family ask about my relationship status. I know this is normal – but I would still like advice on how to better embrace single life & live for me.

    Have any of you had this experience? What’s your story?

    #859700 Reply

    Hi Sara- So good that you broke away from an abusive situation. I think although you want a relationship-your main focus should be to pay attention when you meet someone,so you never are treated badly again. Better to be single of course,than miserable/stuck in a bad relationship.
    I also think when you are busy living “your best life” for you, that is the time you could meet someone when you least expect it! Figure how who you “are” and how you want to live and focus on developing that for yourself. So embrace your hobbies and skills. Get out and about,meet up often with friends etc.-keep yourself busy and “engaged” in activities that give you pleasure or teach you something new.
    True friends won’t pressure you-that will be supportive of your “path”. When people do comment,just simply say. ” If I meet someone ,and I hope I do someday,great. For now I am really enjoying my life as it is.”

    #859728 Reply

    Ooh here’s something I know a lot about. It sounds like you’re on the right track with accepting being single and working on yourself for a while. You’ve been a serial monogamist, and it’s scary to try to break that cycle and be alone. It can be so rewarding though!

    The pros: this is a great time to deepen your friendships, discover and get obsessed with your passions, and develop a rhythm & routine that helps you feel your best. Look at awesome single celebs for your inspiration- Emma Watson’s “self-partnered” declaration prompted a lot of articles this week about why it’s so important to love yourself first. Plus, all those other celebrity marriages you’re reading about? They get divorced like 90% of the time. Anyone can find someone who will marry them. Building the foundation to be able to support a solid, lasting relationship is a lot harder.

    Remember too that being partnered does not fix loneliness, sadness, worry, etc. I bet you spent plenty of time in your past relationships feeling awful, and even in a great relationship, our demons follow us! The loneliness you can sometimes feel being single is no scarier than host of negative emotions you experience for other reasons throughout life. Plus, as I’m guessing you know, being single is SO MUCH BETTER than being trapped in a bad relationship. You can always choose to be kind to yourself! Whenever I’m in a relationship, I’m always a little jealous of my single friends: so much freedom, and so many fun, exciting experiences out there for the taking.

    Embracing singlehood will set you up for a better relationship in the future. You might not meet Mr. Right tomorrow or for years, but he’ll be a way better match if you are comfortable with yourself when you meet him. We are all attracted to people who know themselves and have a lot going on in their lives. I think it’s pretty universal that we prefer to feel WANTED, not NEEDED. Which means you want your life to be so rich and full that a great partner enhances your life, not fixes or completes it.

    I’d also like to make a strong recommendation for therapy. Sounds like you may need help processing some tough stuff in your past. My therapist and I did very little work on dating, but the whole time I was in therapy, my dating life got better and better. I had more confidence and felt more in-tune with my needs. This helped me weed out bad prospects earlier and be open to new experiences. I ended up with a guy who did not seem like my ideal match… but with my new skills, I knew he was the right choice for me.

    TL;DR – you’ve got this! Being single can be awesome if you let it. Put on some Lizzo and put the si-i-i-ng in single.

    #859733 Reply

    Oh LW, I feel you girl. I could have written this exact letter a couple years ago. To be honest, mine has much more self destructive behavior after walking away from my 7 year relationship. I hope you have managed to escape that, but incase you just didn’t share with us, be kind to yourself.

    I took a complete break from dating and found myself as an early 30’s woman, we back to school, discovered a passion that has drastically changed my life and as lonely as it has been I would not have changed it for the world. Every relationship I was in was toxic because I wasn’t in a good place.

    I have just re-entered the dating world with a really healthy, open attitude and have had such a different experience. I’ve met someone who wouldn’t have crossed my path without my journey.

    I encourage you to take a complete break, turn down offers to be set up, don’t put energy into men. Invest your time and energy into you. find your bliss. I know it sounds a bit basic, but I am the happiest I have been in a really really long time, and the new beau isn’t the cause, he’s a welcome addition.

    #859754 Reply

    I would agree that taking a break would be a good thing. Stop dating for awhile. Make yourself a life you’re really happy with. When you do that, the right guy will be a welcome addition. Because at that point, you’ll really weigh whether someone is adding something good to your life or not. You’ll consider whether the time and investment is worth it. You’ll value your time more.

    And seeing a therapist would be a great thing to do in this period. Work through your stuff. It can help you look for the right qualities in your next partner.

    And yes, please blast LIZZO and feel really good about yourself, all on your own.

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