What I Learned from Being Single.

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Being single is not as bad as we may think.

Recently, I read in a Facebook post shared by one of my friends the following quotation:

“People who have been single for too long are the hardest to love because they have become so used to being single, independent, and self-sufficient that it takes something extraordinary to convince them that they need you in their life.”

I have to admit, when I saw it, it made me pause.

The word here that draws most of my attention is the word “hard,” which can, of course, be used in many ways. You might say that something is “hard.” Yet, the fact that it is difficult also makes it fun or worthwhile—like a hobby, or some sort of intellectual puzzle. When we say that somebody is “hard to love,” this is rarely the way we mean it.

Usually, “hard to love” refers to an individual who is unpleasant, difficult, or generally unlikable—the personality equivalent to that old phrase “a face only a mother could love.”

In this quote, the person who is “hard to love “is someone the reader is not meant to be related to. Yet, the person who is trying (and failing) to love “them” is referred to as “you”—the reader. People who have been single too long are “them,” the difficult ones to be loved. Those who are trying but are unable to love them are “you,” the relatable one, the everyman.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been single for a while. In the past few years, I’ve been on dates, and I’ve flirted with people. But since I had some personal issues and had no stable home, I didn’t settle down into any sort of serious relationship.

At first, it bugged me for admirable reasons and less admirable reasons. I wanted someone to be with, but I was also worried about petty, stupid things like: “Would I be able to afford a house, a car, and a life if I didn’t have a partner? Would I ever be happy if I didn’t have anyone to share my life with?”

I started to think that I should latch onto the next person who came along so I could have someone, anyone, even if I didn’t actually like them. Fortunately, I wasn’t in a place to maintain a relationship—physically or emotionally—which made it easier for me to resist this urge.

Instead, I remained single.

As time passed, it not only became easier—it changed the way that I saw myself and any future potential partners.

There is something true about the quote that I gave at the beginning: when you have been single for a long time, you learn how to live on your own. You learn that you don’t need someone else to live or be happy; there are always other options.

When you’ve been single for a while, you began to learn that relationships are nice, but they aren’t a requirement.

I think that’s an important lesson to learn. I have seen many people start relationships for no other reason than that they want to be with someone. I have seen many people stay with people who treated them poorly only because they were afraid to be single. I don’t want to pass any judgement on people who have done this; I completely understand the fear of being alone.

Whether it be remaining single or choosing a mediocre relationship, both come with life lessons. Once we have learned that we don’t need someone to be happy, we understand that there’s nothing wrong with being single.

Indeed, we should be able to love ourselves, to respect ourselves, and to treat ourselves well. We are beautiful and we are important. We deserve relationships that are going to make us happy. We don’t need relationships that hold us down or that we choose because we think we have no other choice.

At the end of the day, people who have been single for a long time are not difficult to love. They have simply learned that they deserve a certain kind of love—a constructive love.

We won’t settle for any old kind of love; we won’t settle for something mediocre, something destructive, or something unnecessary. We won’t settle because we have options—such as another lover or our own company.

No love is perfect, of course, but love is intended to make our lives better. Love is meant to build us up, to help us grow, to make us see new things. And if it doesn’t do that, then we don’t need it. We already have the love of our friends, the love of our passions, and more importantly, the love of ourselves.

 

Relephant:

4 Self-Care Tips for Single Women.

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Author: Ciara Hall
Image:  Flickr/ Stefan Schmitz 
Editor: Angel Lebailly
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: 

 

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Ciara Hall

Ciara Hall is a young writer who enjoys weaving tales of fantasy and blogging about her personal thoughts, feelings, and the everyday happenings of her life. Follow her work on My Trending Stories or visit her website.

Jodie Letat Jan 21, 2018 10:05am

Tim I find your comments quite insightful but I think what becomes the issue is that when we desire someone else in our life we measure our worth by it as well as only see one way to achieve someone else in our life. You see I'm coming to believe that it's not about sharing our lives with one single person, we can share our lives with many many people. We can have friends that like particular things that we do and others who don't. I don't think it is reasonable to require someone to be interested in all of the same things that we are - we are different people and that's what makes life interesting, otherwise we become codependent I believe. And I believe this is where we lose our own identities and our individualism in relationships. Overall though I agree with your comment about relationships being a requirement for humans, but it doesn't mean they need to fit a particular structure. I'm trying to learn to think outside the box ;) Enjoyed reading your comments :)

Carol Myers Jan 15, 2018 7:37pm

I became single after 28 years of marriage. I also became a single parent to my teenage son. After 10 years of short term relationships, on and off dating and being alone, I became very comfortable with my singlehood. In fact, I believe this period of my life was an opportunity to grow, get to know myself, and realize that I did not "need" a man to be complete. My confidence and self worth grew during this period when I traveled, bought my own home, supported myself and my son, and expanded my network of friends and support. I married again a few months ago after 10 years of singlehood. At first I was reluctant to marry again, but I realized I could create a different marriage than my first one. Most importantly, I did NOT feel desperate and this helped me meet a man with whom I have amazing compatibility, passion, communication, acceptance and a deep love! My heart was open, and I knew I could trust again. One of the challenges in being married again is learning to rely and depend on my husband. I am by nature an independent person, and after a decade of singlehood, I am reluctant to ask for financial, physical and emotional support. I am also reluctant to accept it when offered. Beign comfortable with interdependence is something I am working on, while being aware that it doesn't negate my own independence. I truly beleive that singlehood is a blessing, and in no way a curse. It is better to remain single than be in an abusive and unsatisfying relationship. The quality and health of our reltionships is far more important than just being in one because it's the norm or we cannot be alone. Thank you Clara for sharing your experiences and making singlehood an accomplishment, rather than a failure.

Tim Dibble Jan 15, 2018 3:05pm

This is true and false at the same time. Emotionally, a long term single person has a much harder time with the interdependency required for a positive relationship. It is one thing to be whole and capable of living life alone, it is a fine line to being blocked and unable to open your space and heart to another person. While we can love ourselves, imperfections and all, there needs to be a desire for someone else in your life. Often, ladies with children build a huge barrier to entry, they've built a protective world for themselves and their children. Often they erroneously believe that children come first and that their sacrifice of relations is for the goood of the children. Children do not come first and without Mom in a relation, they never learn how to do it themselves (remember kids mimic the parents even when they are establishing their own personality). Our culture has created this cult of the child which is ruining many things and will take a while for the social penduluum too swing (we are starting to see it with the Love yourself first movement, but it will take time) But back to your point, relationships are a requirement for most humans. Few are equipped to deal with isolationism, particularly if you live in society where human interactions happen daily. The awareness of their importance shifts over time, but it is often the little things: listing your beneficiaries on a life insurance policy or retirement plan once your parents have passed, which drive home your alone-ness. And love is messy. It will contain conflict, differing opinions and will not always be supportive. It will have highs and lows, times when you really don't like each other. But love is something that endures (and to a large extent) is built by the messiness.