I DID NOT WRITE THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE. That distinction is the Angry Therapist, John Kim LMFT. However, it read and seemed like something I would write. I love it, and agreed with it.
“I’ve been single. Many times. I’ve struggled with loneliness. Rejection. Not believing I was desirable. I’ve tried “dating myself” many times and it was bullsh*t. The truth is we’re humans and we’re not meant to do life alone. We want to love someone. And that’s okay. We’re biologically built that way. What’s not okay is losing ourselves because we don’t have someone to love. Or losing ourselves in the person we’ve chosen to love.
I have struggled with singlehood, and also lost myself in relationships. I have jumped into things way too fast after a breakup was still fresh. Within days, I’ve been “back on the market” swiping to find someone else to lose myself in. Because I didn’t want to be alone. Because I didn’t want to eat by myself. Because I like sex too much. But on a deeper level, because I needed to prove to myself that I was desirable, loveable, and worthy. And it’s really hard to feel that on a Friday night when you’re at home eating your feelings.
I’ve contacted exes due to desperation and later regretted it. I have wondered how many “ones” have gotten away. I have felt that deep loneliness, the kind that keeps you from washing your hair or wearing anything but sweats. I have done all the things: Gotten together with women I wasn’t that into. Been rejected by women I was really into. Tried to be someone I wasn’t for someone else. Forced things that didn’t feel right because I wanted them to work. Used dating apps to only be led on, catfished, and disappointed. All of this made me more and more crappy about myself.
We have been programmed at a very young age that happiness is not found alone. You need a boyfriend, a prom date, a husband. Finding love is what happiness looks like. If you’re single, you’re incomplete, defective, and less than. Sitting at a restaurant by yourself means something’s wrong with you or your life. People feel bad for you. When you tell someone you’re getting a divorce, the first words that come out of their mouth are, “I’m sorry.”
We go into them disconnected from ourselves. Because when we are single, we are just desperately looking. We are hiding, waiting, and searching to find our worth in someone else. So when we finally meet someone, we bring a lukewarm, disconnected, scared version of ourselves to the table, one lined with desperation and pressure for it to work this time because the last time was close but they had issue and problems and didn’t work on themselves. Because when they were single, they were doing what you’re doing now, just searching and wondering when you’re going to find “the one.”
And this is why most relationships fail.
Add to this how we meet people these days. Swiping on filtered photos. D*ck pics. Ghosting. False advertising—all setting us up for poor experiences that make us feel ugly, unworthy, and hopeless.
Relationships are hard enough. When you go into them in this state—the same exact same person you were in your last relationship but more desperate and with more pressure for it to work this time—you are going into the relationship loaded and setting yourself up for failure.
You are missing a huge step in the human evolution process. Taking what you’ve learned in your last relationship and growing from them so that you are a new person, wired differently with new definitions and perspectives. And the best chance of this happening is likely when you’re single, because it requires an inner journey that is usually prevented when you’re in a relationship. Yes, you can grow when you’re in a relationship. But all the baggage someone brings to the relationship will only create new problems and issues you need to work through and most people don’t work through them. Because they never acquired the tools because they’ve only been focused on finding someone. Instead of finding themselves.article continues after advertisement
1. The richest soil for growth is when you’re single.
When you’re in a relationship, you’re less motivated to examine the “black box” of what happened in your previous relationships. You’re in something new now. You’ve run from the crash. You’ve moved on. That door has closed. So the chances of you fully processing and taking ownership of your part in the expiration—learning and growing and becoming a better version of yourself—is exponentially lower. Especially if you’ve jumped into a new relationship shortly after the old one, which most of us do.
That is why the growth soil is so rich during the times between relationships. You have a limited amount of time to work on yourself and your life before you meet someone else. It doesn’t mean you can’t grow when you’re in a relationship (this book is about that too; more on that later). But let’s face it. When you’re in a relationship, you’re building something with someone else. You’re a part of something else. So it’s imperative to take advantage of the time you’re unattached. Instead of searching for someone to be with, you must explore you. Your patterns. Your definitions. How you love and why. Your dreams. The dent you want to make in this world. You must explore your relationship with yourself. You must be with yourself first.
2. The picket fence has splinters.
We are finally being honest with how hard marriages are. We never talked about things like love languages, attachment styles, codependency, and frankly how hard it is to live with and build a relationship with someone, even if you guys get along swimmingly and are best friends. People grow and change. Our wants and needs change as we change. We are not constants. “Happily ever after” was a staged house that was sold to us. A house that is now in foreclosure. Monogamy was only one choice. But not the only choice. We have finally taken down the Normal Rockwell painting.
What does this mean? There is no rush. Exploration is the new rush. We don’t have to run toward anything. Except ourselves. There is no one blueprint that fits all. We create our own. That’s it. That’s the new picket fence. Exploring life with your own definitions. Letting go of old ones handed down by parents and society. Taking the power back by building a life that’s honest to you. And there’s no better time to build one than when you’re single.article continues after advertisement
3. There is no “the one.”
The idea that there is only one person you’re supposed to be with forever is yes, very romantic, but also limiting and a sure-fire recipe to stay in your head and in a chasing state. It leaves no room for acceptance and gratitude.
The truth is “the one” is the one you choose to love. Right now. Today. And if there is no one you are choosing to love, then that person is you. You are “the one.” And if you don’t believe you are, then you won’t be to anyone else. Choosing yourself is a practice, one we are not used to. Because we have been so programmed to choose someone else. And this programming which results in patterns in unhealthy behavior = angry and resentment = feeling invisible and unheard is what has made your past relationships expire and will continue to make your future ones if you don’t break the pattern.
You start by choosing yourself first.
You start by believing that YOU are “the one.”
Being single on purpose is not about being single forever, nor is it anti-relationship. Being single on purpose is about being okay with being single when you are, connecting to yourself before someone else, so that your life isn’t on pause. And when you do find someone who deserves you, you can bring more to the table.
Also, no one got away.