Many people come to therapy grieving a failed relationship or fed up with the boredom of being single. They ask questions like:
- “I thought he was the one, how long is it going to take to ever feel normal again?”
- “When I’m not in a relationship, I feel empty. How do I feel better when I’m single?”
- “I have always envied people who enjoy solitude and love their own company. How can I be more like them?”
The good news is that being single is supposed to feel different and somewhat uncomfortable. Not having the security and love of a committed relationship can seem challenging, but it’s a challenge worth embracing.
Here are three things to remind yourself of when singlehood seems daunting, frustrating, overwhelming, stagnating, or downright unbearable.
The security, companionship, and love we experience when we are in a committed relationship often come with added responsibilities. When one does not have the ‘strings’ of a romantic relationship, they can shower themselves with the support and effort they previously reserved for their partner.
Many people begin their journeys of introspection and self-awareness when they start spending more time alone. Here are a few ways you can get back in touch with yourself:
- Mindfulness training and meditation give people a window into their own selves. According to research published in Acta Psychologica, embracing a mindfulness practice helps you be more present, it builds resilience against distress, and it improves your physiological and psychological well-being.
- Reconnecting with old friends and family is a great antidote to the singlehood blues. Spending quality time with people you previously could not pay as much attention to is an act of service for both you and your loved ones.
Relationships often tie us to certain routines and patterns of behavior. Before we know it, we settle into a familiar groove. While comfort and familiarity can be psychologically easing, being single gives you the space to explore new terrain and build different relationships in your life.
Finding a new, like-minded community in a different sphere of life can be an expansive experience. For instance, research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology explains that even something as easy as visiting your local art museum can help you meet new people and calm your nerves.
Museums provide us the opportunity to be curious, reflect, and appreciate new perspectives, according to researcher Katherine Cotter. This makes museums fertile ground for finding and building new connections.
Dating in a non-serious way to better understand your romantic and sexual self is one of the biggest perks of being single. This is especially helpful for people who are experiencing singlehood after a long-term committed relationship and who feel like they have forgotten how to date.
Luckily, dating is a skill that can be dusted off and used again. In fact, according to dating coach Blaine Anderson, you can also hone and advance your dating skills – just like you would when practicing any other skill – by taking chances and assessing your progress.
Experimenting with the kind of person you wouldn’t normally go for or exploring your sexuality can help you integrate and evolve your image of your romantic self.
Media paints singlehood as a vague ‘in-between’ time where nothing much happens. However, what you do and learn when you are single informs heavily what you will bring to any romantic relationship in the future. In the end, the relationship that matters most is the one you have with yourself.