You ask me why I’m single as though you think it is a curse.
You look confused, a bit disdainful, wondering if there is some fundamental flaw that makes me undesirable. You wonder if I am hard to love, hard to hold, or if I am commitment phobic.
You can’t seem to grasp what I mean when I say that I am single because I choose to be.
The idea that someone would intentionally choose a single life is beyond your comprehension. You imagine that I spend my days lonely and pining for a partner. You imagine that I cry into my wine glass as I wonder when my prince will come along. You think that you should parade me in front of your single friends with the hopes that they can rescue me from this prison called singleness.
I understand your confusion. There was a time in my life where I thought that being in a relationship was the main goal. I was so committed to not being alone that I would even sacrifice my happiness just to say I had someone. I settled for something less than amazing because it was better than being alone.
I was willing to give up myself just to avoid being single. I was so terrified of being alone that I was willing to become someone other than who I was just to be accepted. I bought into the lie that life is incomplete without a partner.
But time alone has taught me something else.
I learned that being single was not a curse, but rather a gift. Being single has taught me how to meet my own needs, how to be my own friend and how to find ways to fill my own cup without being dependent on another to do it for me. I have learned to stand on my own two feet, and have come to treasure my alone time because I have learned to love my own company.
I have had the opportunity to cultivate meaningful friendships that nourish my soul in ways that I couldn’t have imagined before. In my years of being single, I have dated, and that experience has helped me get crystal clear on the type of man I desire in my life.
It is not that I am anti-relationship, but I am unwilling to settle again.
I will remain single (and happily so) until I meet a man who is fulfilled in his own life and who will not depend on me to give him direction, meaning, or purpose. I will remain single until I find a man who has his own brilliance and is not seeking to siphon mine.
I will remain single until I find a man who does not want to use me as a prop or tuck me into a corner, but is as happy when I take the stage and shine, as I will be when he does. I will remain single until I find a man confident enough that he will not need my constant presence and reassurances.
I will remain single until I find a man whose character is so solid that I will never need to question his honestly, loyalty, or integrity. I will remain single until I meet a man who is strong enough to hold me when I am weak, and gentle enough to allow me to be strong for him.
I will remain single until I find a man who is not threatened by my unrelenting power and deep love—and who can meet me there.
Being single is not a curse.
Indeed, being in a relationship that is less than fulfilling is far worse than being alone. In my time of being single, I have cultivated the kind of deep, soulful life that meets all of my needs and then some. It has given me the opportunity to build relationships that are amazing with some of the most incredible friends I could have dreamed of. Their presence in my life has shown me that there are indeed people in this world who are exactly what I dared to hope was possible. I know that there are soulful men out there who can meet me where I am because I call a great number of them my friends.
I know that I can find fulfillment through my creativity and play. I know that I can have true intimacy and that it need not involve sex. Because I know that, I am willing to wait for the real thing, and not a cheap imitation that will eventually wear down and fall apart.
Singleness is not a curse. It is a gift. It is has given me the opportunity to learn to love myself enough to never settle for anything less than extraordinary—because I am extraordinary and I deserve someone who can see that, appreciate it, and meet me there.
I used to think that a romantic relationship was the main course of life, but now I know that it is not. It is the icing on the cake of an already fulfilling life. It is the bonus addition to provide sweetness and pleasure, not meant to be the total source of goodness. Because I am not empty without him, and he is the same, we will create a partnership that is mutually beneficial and exquisitely joyful.
No, it is not a curse to be single. It is the gift that has given me the freedom to choose to be a whole single woman which will make me a whole partner to a man who deserves the same.
Author: Lisa Vallejos, PhD
Image: Flickr/Katia Romanova
Editor: Travis May