In our culture, there are few conditions considered more tragic or detrimental (especially to women) than being single. This is portrayed as a state of desperation, despair, and loneliness. Think of Old Maids, Spinsters, and crazy cat ladies.
I see these stereotypes of singlehood and it makes me really confused. See, to me, being single can be a GREAT thing. I mean, you have complete control over your own time, you get to make all your decisions totally on your own, you even get your own bed to yourself as often as you want!
Let me zoom out and talk about why I’m so pro-single, at least at some point, for most everyone.
When you’re in a relationship, it’s hard to make big changes in yourself. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not easy. Your partner has agreed to a relationship with a “you” they know and are familiar with. They have certain expectations of how you will act and interact based on the patterns you’ve already established in your relationship. If you come home one day and want to communicate differently and approach interactions differently, for them that’s like asking them to start a relationship with a new person because that’s not what they knew from the old “you.”
Furthermore, when you’re in a relationship you have a certain degree to which you keep in mind your partner’s (or partners’) wants and needs when you approach situations. That’s generally a good thing – if we were to be thoughtless about our partner(s), we wouldn’t be in relationships very long. However, this means that we may end up stuck in patterns or turning down big changes because we know that it wouldn’t work for our partner(s).
To me, periods of singledom offer an opportunity to take a good hard look at who we are and what we want. We can take a look at what our boundaries have been and whether those boundaries are still serving us. We can think about how our past relationships have run into problems and determine what we can do to change ourselves to increase our chances of success in the future. We can try out new communication styles, new hair cuts, new hobbies, whatever we’d like. In short, we can try out being different versions of ourselves to see what actually works best for us, right now.
So take some single time. Celebrate your independence. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.