After being dumped for someone else in that pseudo-unofficial-untitled relationship almost everyone encounters, I was heartbroken for a long time. Not because I was in love, but because I had let infatuation get the best of me and settled for something which I did not deserve.
The months I spent crying each day following the breakup were painful, but they released a lot of my anger. Most of it was directed at myself. For the next year or two, I sought out new guys to band-aid the deep wound of insecurity that the breakup caused. It rarely ever went further than obsessing over that crush and then finding a new one when it didn’t work out. But after enough attempts, I caught onto the pattern and learned to finally let go and let myself be.
At this point, I’ve been officially single for almost five years. Okay, I’ve had flings here and there, but the longest one lasted a month and a half. That should give you some idea of how single I’ve really been. The last time someone officially called me his girlfriend was when I was 17. Today, I’m 23. There were countless nights where I used to come home after a night of going out, crying my eyes out because I didn’t find the love of my life. Now, I look back on them and laugh since I can honestly say that I’m the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve ever been for that very reason.
After being single for a long time (and five years is a pretty long time), you learn to see things for how they really are. That sometimes it’s just circumstance preventing something from happening. That it’s not your fault. That sometimes what you have with someone may be fun, but not necessarily enough to fully commit to.
When you’re single for a long time, you get to focus on yourself. You have the time to figure out what kind of life you want, with or without someone special in it. You seek out your passions and interests; you focus on your friendships. Most of all, you learn to cut out the things that don’t make you happy. Whether that’s an unfulfilling career, a bad living situation, or someone who’s affecting you in a negative way. I’ll always regret the time I gave up an opportunity to go on a school trip to Tanzania because my ex-boyfriend didn’t get into the program. To him, if he couldn’t go, I couldn’t go. With my years of singlehood behind, I know better. If the same thing happened today, I’d have dropped the loser boyfriend and gone on that trip in a second.
What’s more, is that when some people are on a constant hunt for a hookup at the end of a night out, you prefer to let it happen on its own. Because to you, that’s not the only thing that constitutes a good time out. The success or failure of your night does not depend on the amount of people that hit on you.
When you’re in love, you see the world through rose-colored glasses. And some relationships lead you to see the world only through that person’s eyes, which can sometimes be a good thing. But when you’re single, you get to see the world through your own eyes, which is a far more important lesson to learn, especially while you’re still young.
The time you spend being single gives you perspective. You become wise enough to know that you’ll find someone someday, but that you’re not in a rush to get there. The stories you’ve told, the crazy types you’ve encountered, all happened because you were out there having adventures on your own. And you’ll continue to enjoy them until Cupid strikes you again. Eventually.