I am well into my 3rd year as a single woman. I had two long-term relationships back-to-back right after highschool, totaling 5 years in a relationship. I had a great time during those 5 years, but what I found coming out of it (after the obligatory mourning period), was that I quite enjoy being on my own. I knew this was true for most of my life, growing up the youngest child fending for myself and growing into an independent woman. I REALLY knew it after experiencing 5 years of being with another person literally ALL OF MY TIME, then being thrust back into solitude.
While I have adjusted to my life with myself and my dog, some people have a very hard time imagining a life for themselves that does not involve a significant other. Fear not, I am here to educate. As a lover of lists, here are some pros and cons of living single:
I cannot stress this enough, this has got to be the most rewarding part of being single that I have experienced. After going through my breakup with my first love, I was able to REALLY look at myself and my life through a lens not clouded by judgement or fear. I had become a person that I did not know, completely opposite of who I was before the relationship. Most of that had to do with naivete on my part. I always wanted to be the “cool girlfriend” that just went with the flow, when really what I was doing was denying my own personality. I became dependent, shy, and meek. After getting colossally dumped, I realized that I had built my life around my boyfriend and in no way around myself. I had alienated my friends who I never talked to anymore and I had put my own goals on hold to make sure I could be flexible in case I needed to adjust my life around his goals/accomplishments. Needless to say, it was a shock to the system when I figured out what I had done for the last 3 years of my life. I made some real changes, begged my friends for forgiveness and proceeded to have one of the best summers of my life.
I had many honest discussions with myself, who I had become during my relationship, and who I knew I really was. I picked myself up and made the decision to never apologize for being true to me, and to accept and love myself. If you are able to sit in a room by yourself and genuinely enjoy your own company, you can honestly do ANYTHING. There is something so profound about knowing who you are, what you want, and where you are going. Sure, inspiration can come from outside sources, but it is only you that can bring your true desires to life.
I GET TO BE AS GROSS AS I WANT
I like to think I can be pretty “put-together” when I want to be…. BUT there is something sublime about not having to shave, like ever. To be honest, I don’t find body hair to be gross or unhygienic, but we all know the crippling insecurity of getting to know someone new and OH MY GOD DID I MISS A HAIR DID HE SEE IT OHMYGOD. You get the point. I haven’t necessarily given up on my own grooming, but it is quite fantastic to do it on my own terms.
NETFLIX – ALL OF THE NETFLIX!!!!!!!!!!
I know Netflix is just an disembodied entity out there somewhere in the ether, but if it was a person, it would be my person. I just don’t think I can share my life with Netflix AND a boyfriend, how would that even work? Would I have to talk sometimes? NO THANK YOU! Getting to choose all the shows/movies all the time is so, so underrated. God bless you Netflix, God bless you every one.
If you are unfamiliar when the song “No Drama” by the angelchild, Mary J. Blige, then please do yourself the favor of introducing yourself. Enough said.
Single ≠ Unhappy. I don’t know why this myth won’t die. Yes, many many years ago, a woman’s sole purpose in life was, hopefully, to score an advantageous marriage and start a family. How that ideology manages to stick around, I just do not understand. There are many women happily married or in happy relationships, there are just as many happily single. The key word is HAPPY. What makes you happy is what counts. Just beware, long-term singledom can lead to pity from the smug marrieds.
THE “WHY ARE YOU SINGLE?” GUESSING GAME
You are going to get asked why you are single, a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. Also, when you don’t give a good enough answer, the guessing begins. My least favorite guess in the guessing game is: “Are you gay?”. Don’t get me wrong, this does not offend me because I do not find being gay offensive. As a very logical person, I am offended by the sheer lack of logic or reason behind the question. What does being single have to do with being gay? Last time I checked, there were plenty of people in gay relationships. If I were gay and single, would you ask: “Are you straight?”. In what universe does that make sense? Also, are you saying that if I were gay I would be so ashamed that I would want to hide it by not dating ANYONE? The irrationality of the guessing game is a huge CON.
Also, most of these guesses have to do with what could be wrong with you and what you may be doing to frighten potential suitors away. These life-sucking dementors don’t seem to understand that I am the one being selective. I’m not going to date someone just because they are there. I want someone amazing and if I cannot find that person, I find comfort knowing that I am with someone amazing already: myself.
I know this is on the Pros list, but I’m a snuggler and it is nice to snuggle while watching Netflix for 8 hours straight. Not having someone to snuggle with when the mood strikes, makes it con-worthy as well. This is an easy solve with a pet or BFF.
Family functions are where 99% of the aforementioned guessing game takes place. I hope this only applies to me and everyone else’s families are supportive, understanding, and pleasant. I love them, I really do, but they can be BRUTAL, especially my siblings. It is nice to have someone there as a buffer. You know they’ve got your back when the nit-picking begins.
I think relationships can be really, really great. I just think it is important for people (women especially) to know that taking time for yourself can be wonderful, and even improve future relationships. There is no shame in wanting to find yourself and truly understand what it is that you want. When you know what makes you happy, you will be happy and bring happiness to others around you.