Cashing in on a label lovingly used by the chick lit community, I am currently a singleton. An unmarried woman who is enjoying her career and plans trips with friends and takes yoga on Saturdays and has more pictures of her dog on her phone than she would care to admit. (Not that there is anything wrong with that…) Anyways, since my singleton status is new-ish, I’ve found that I’m not just becoming reacquainted with dating. I’m becoming reacquainted with what is truly means to be a single twenty-something and how this affects my entire world. Sure, I was aware that things would change when I ended my relationship. I wouldn’t have a guaranteed plus one to weddings. Mementos I once treasured would be donated or thrown out. I would now have the freedom to flirt with and smile at other single men. However, there were other changes that surprised me … somewhat. Here is my attempt at summarizing the things I have found to be true.
- You Will Be Teased
Remember what I said about having the freedom to flirt again? Well, if you find yourself single after a long-term relationship, your loved ones will assume that you are always flirting when interacting with other singles. This is definitely not the case. (Especially if you’re just friendly by nature.) Sure, sometimes you are flirting, but it’s annoying to constantly explain who is in your “friend zone”. Take comfort in the fact that your family and friends just want to see you happy and probably don’t realize how intrusive their questions are. You will have to laugh off some light-hearted jabs. Being teased by these loved ones isn’t the worst thing in the world though. On a positive note, this definitely means that you’re done with the “My life is over” phase of the grieving process. Can it still be an irritating? Yes.
- You Will Set Stronger Boundaries
Speaking of loved ones, while you may endure some jokes at your expense, you will still have to draw some firmer boundaries in your life. For the sake of your emotional health, you will have some tough conversations where you ask others for space or sensitivity towards your situation. And the boundaries don’t just apply to others. They also apply to you. Whether this is blocking your ex on every possible form of social media or unsubscribing from wedding vendor email spam, you will need to practice diligent self-care when guarding your heart and mind.
- You Will Somehow Have More And Less Patience
Ok, so how can this be? First of all, you will probably have more patience for the silly annoyances in life. Having one’s world rocked is a pretty humbling experience, so don’t be surprised if you find your road rage cooling down. On the other hand, you will have noticeably less patience for other things. Like completely self-absorbed people. When you need to lean on others, it won’t take you long to figure out who actually cares and who only loved you for being a good listener. Personally, none of these realizations were mind-blowing, but they did help me drop off some baggage. And when you’re taking care of your emotional health, you just won’t have the extra energy to spare.
- You Will Re-Invest In Yourself
If you’ve been accustomed to planning your life around someone else, you will (hopefully!) start making good use of the time to embark on new endeavors or self-improvement plans. This could be the perfect motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle or finally enroll in that painting class you’ve always wanted to try. For example – I stopped biting my nails, started drinking more water, finally learned to cook, and refocused my attention on spiritual growth. There is no checklist that a new singleton has to follow. It’s just a good idea to set some healthy goals. At the very least, it will keep you in a positive, forward-thinking state of mind.
- You Will Learn To Like Yourself Again
Regardless of who was more at fault, no one is at their best in a spiraling relationship. Even though I had little hesitation to end things, I was shocked when I had to admit that I had been talking to myself in a very negative voice. For quite some time. Like many, I had gradually stopped liking who I was in that relationship. It has been a relief to reclaim who I am. I obviously still have flaws to contend with, but I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to remember that I am still a friendly, silly, and empathetic human being. You don’t realize how important an encouraging inner voice is, until it’s nearly extinguished.
With all of this in mind, I know that I have many more realizations in my journey ahead. As with the others, I hope to take them in stride and with an increased appreciation for peace.