Written by Kelle Salle
Image by @TheGirlJT
I’ve been single for a few years now, five to be exact. Contrary to what many believe, singleness doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have an expiration date, but we live in a society that equates a person’s relationship status with their desirability and this explains why some single people might see their status as something that needs to be fixed, instead of embraced. I know because I was one of these people. From my late teens to mid twenties, I was almost always in a relationship. If I did take a little hiatus from coupledom, it was always for less than a year and looking back, I learned absolutely nothing during my time as a single woman when I was younger because I always found myself in the same unfulfilling relationship I had been in before.
The cycle was always the same. I’d get into a relationship with someone and things would be great at the beginning but when they were bad, they were awful. The people pleaser in me would always prioritise my partner’s needs and this would lead to a lot of frustration on my part because my own needs weren’t being met. I was the girl who always wanted to heal, fix or save someone’s son. Hindsight is a beautiful thing because I can now look back and acknowledge that I didn’t make the right choices when it came to dating and relationships.
When my engagement ended, I decided to embrace single life. It didn’t come easy at first because I had been with my ex for almost three years, so going from a long term relationship to having no partner at all was tough. In addition to embracing single life and what it had to offer, I also had to heal. At this present moment in time, the longer I’m single, the more complex my relationship with dating becomes because I know exactly what it is that I’m looking for and I refuse to settle. If you’ve been single for a while and you’re finding single life difficult, I want you to know that it’s ok. It’s normal to love and hate single life simultaneously.
While you wait for the mutually fulfilling relationship you deserve, learn how to appreciate your time as a single woman. Find comfort in experiences that will help you get to know yourself better, surround yourself with people who you uplift and support you, do more of the things that set your soul on fire and don’t be afraid to centre yourself. It isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
Here are a few tips that will help you appreciate your time as a single woman:
Be mindful of what you share about your life as a single woman – I learnt this about two years into my single journey. Whenever I discussed aspects of my single life with a friend, they were quick to offer solutions instead of just listening to what I wanted to share. Some people see singleness as a problem, so if you are sharing details of your life as a single woman with someone, pay attention to how they respond. As time goes on, you’ll know who you can talk to about life as a single woman and who doesn’t have the ability to hold space for your experiences.
Single life isn’t always fun – I used to feel terrible when I started to realise that single life isn’t always roses. Society loves to portray this unrealistic idea of single life – like it’s a never ending party or something. Things won’t be perfect all the time. You’ll have moments when you want to spend half the day in bed eating a whole bar of chocolate and you’ll also have moments when all you wanna do is live life like no-one’s watching. Define single life on your own terms and not anyone else’s.
Take yourself out – If you find the idea of going on a solo date pretty daunting, start small. Take yourself to the cinema or the museum or for a quick coffee. Once you become used to the idea of a solo date, you can even start travelling to places in the world that you’ve always wanted to see. Travelling solo is a little scary at first but as long as you plan, prepare and go to destinations that are safe for female travellers, you’ll be fine. We have a whole article on it here!
Date without expectations – This might be an unpopular opinion but stop expecting your next relationship to be your last. Find a balance between enjoying dating and getting to know new people and managing your expectations at the same time. If you’ve been single for a while, it can be tempting to give anyone who shows you a little bit of interest a chance, but you run the risk of being unhappy in the long run because your heart may not be in the right place. So when you eventually do decide to put yourself out there, always remember your ‘why’ as well as what it is that you are looking for in a potential partner.
Get to know yourself better – This is probably one of the most cliched things single people are told but it does work. Being single is a great opportunity to get to know yourself better, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time in a relationship that wasn’t bringing out the best in you. It’s common to experience a loss of identity when you’ve put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, so this is your time to pour into yourself. Be bold and navigate life on your own terms. This is your time to shine!
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