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