Oh man! This is a post I have secretly wanted to write for a long time but have really shied away from. As open as I try to be on my blog, writing about my love life has been a line I’ve been really scared to cross. As I sit here writing this, my stomach is in knots! But, I have been getting SO many questions from clients and friends about being single and how to manage the ups and downs and I really want to share what has allowed me to not only “manage” being single but actually embrace it as an incredibly beautiful, fulfilling and amazing time in my life. So here goes!…..
As some of you know, I was in a serious relationship for a couple of years that ended last year. After a really rough breakup, I’ve been more or less single for the past year or so.
Being single in my late twenties (almost 30s!!) after being in a serious relationship felt like I was walking without feet for a while. Everything felt awkward. I had gotten so used to having a boyfriend (and a roommate) that I really stumbled through being single at first. Scratch that, I am still stumbling through being single 🙂 I think it’s hard for anyone. There are SO many ups and downs, so much unknown, so many decisions to make, really hard conversations to be had, and hellloooo vulnerability… there is no escaping you. There have been many times I’ve called up one of my girlfriends saying “I HATE this so much. I can’t wait for this phase to be done.”
With all that being said, beneath all the craziness, I’ve had this underlying feeling of “I am SO grateful for this time. This is one of the best possible things that could be happening for me.”
Even amidst the frustration, uncertainty and fear, I have so much love for this time in my life. Here’s what has helped me:
- Realize that – just like that – this phase could be over: This might seem obvious, but it dawned on me recently that just like I can’t control how soon I meet someone, I also can’t control how NOT SOON I meet someone. Meaning that tomorrow I could meet someone and all of a sudden I’m not single anymore. That could be it, forever. I know from my past that relationships can come out of nowhere, and we just never know when it’s going to happen. So, knowing that I could meet someone at any point and never be single again makes me want to seriously cherish every single moment of being single instead of always “wishing and waiting to meet someone”. Remember, you can’t control when the next phase will come and when this phase will end, so make sure you cherish every moment of your current phase of life. It can be over – just. like. that.
- Relish in the fact that you don’t know a lot of how your story will unfold: Sometimes I look at my friends and get jealous – they know who their husband is, they know where they want to live, maybe they even know when they’re having their first baby. Things are figured out to an extent. I don’t have so much of that. I don’t know who I’m going to marry, where we will live, when I’ll have kids. One of my mentors recently said to me, Jamie can you relish in the fact that so much of your life is open ended and how awesome that is? How cool is it that you don’t know and you still get to figure it all out? You have so much to look forward to. This really hit home for me. My life is so open-ended right now, there are so many things for me to still look forward to and figure out. While that can be frustrating at times, it’s also exciting. Remember, in many ways, you won’t get this open-ended time back. At some point, so many things will be more “figured out” and there won’t be as much mystery and exciting unknown. Relish in that!
- Soak up how amazing it is to have all the “firsts”: There have been so many times in the past year when I’ve felt like a 16 year old again. I’m gonna get real sappy for a sec but… can we all agree that there are few things as awesome as a great first kiss? Or the first time you hold hands with someone you really like? Or when you have that moment hit you when you’re like shit I think I like this person. Or when you have an amazing date that you don’t want to end? I know, I know, it’s not ALWAYS like this. Some kisses, dates, and hand holdings are less than ideal. But sometimes, it is like this. And when you are in a relationship at some point, you won’t get these firsts. So many great things will come from being in a relationship when you are, but there is so much fun, anticipation and tenderness in these “firsts”, and you still get to have them.
- Do things that you might not be able to do as easily if you’re in a relationship: One of the main reasons I solo traveled to Asia for two months is because I knew that I was in a rare time in my life. I was just out of a relationship, and I knew I wouldn’t be single forever, so I jumped on the opportunity to fulfill a dream. Remember, you will not be single forever (unless you want to be) and things will get more complicated, so this is a rare time when you can do so many things you want to do. Travel, meet new people, spend lots of quality time with yourself, go on adventures, move, try out lots of new hobbies. Make the MOST out of this solo time by doing things you might not otherwise be as inclined to do if you’re in a relationship.
- Practice exceptional self-care while dating: Let’s just call a spade a spade. I’ve talked about lots of great parts of dating, but we ALL know there are lots of not so fun parts. So much uncertainty, anxiety and fear. Dating brings up a lot of my crap. I get really scared. I shy away from being vulnerable. I find it hard to end things that I know I should end. I get scared of someone else ending things with me. I wish I could tell you that I’ve figured out a way to go through dating without ever feeling anxious or scared, but I haven’t, and I don’t really think that’s possible. Vulnerability takes courage; it IS scary. What I have learned is to take care of myself through these feelings. At this point, I know myself well enough to know that putting my heart out there will cause my fears to come up, and rather than expecting them not to surface or getting mad at myself for it, I manage them. I started to type out the ways I do this, but this post started getting way too long, so maybe this will be another post (would you like that?). For now, just recognize that dating takes exceptional self-care and make it a point to give that to yourself, big time.
- Create supportive beliefs around men, dating and yourself: I have been pretty lucky – I’ve dated mostly awesome men. I think this comes back to the fact that I believe there are great guys out there, lots of them, and so I meet great guys. It’s so important to keep an eye on our beliefs, in any area of our life, because they impact our reality. If we believe that all guys are jerks, we will act accordingly. We’ll be more skeptical, less loving, more closed off, and we’ll gravitate toward the people and experiences that confirm those beliefs. So, if you’re single, take a look at what beliefs and stories you’re carrying around about men, dating, AND yourself (<– big one!). Work through inner beliefs / blocks and do whatever it takes to revamp your beliefs in this area to be more supportive of you meeting great people and creating a great relationship.
I could go on and on here, but there are a few nuggets to play with for now. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be single forever. One day you will look back on this phase and wish that you made the absolute most of it.
Be IN the current phase of your life. Each phase has its beautiful, unique qualities, some that you’ll never get back. If you want a relationship, know that you want that and get clear about it, while also being present in the current moment and enjoying what’s in front of you FULLY.
Remember, you are exactly where you need to be 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts below… if you are single, how’s it going for you? What do you love about it? What do you struggle with? And if you aren’t single, what advice do you have for the single ladies? Any advice you wish you could give your former single self?
Lots of love!
Natalia Egan says
Love this post! I feel like being single is a daily struggle for me. I have been single for a really long time and am anxious to move on to the next phase of my life. I’m 35 and really want to have a partner and a family. I do love the time I have had to travel and spend with my family and friends, but I feel stuck in a cycle of dating that doesn’t go anywhere. Thoughts?
Hi Natalia, what keeps coming up when dating? What do you mean that it doesn’t go anywhere? Let’s discuss! xo.
Natalia Egan says
Well, by not going anywhere I mean going from dating into a lasting relationship. It has been a lot of starts and stops that are frustrating.
This is so, so good — esp. #6. I think I’ve done a lot of work on the self-love stuff, but there’s definitely still some of that thinking most guys are jerks there.
Great words! I’ve been dating/married to my husband for almost 8 years now and I can reminisce about my single days and think about how I cherished them. I was 22 before I started dating my first boyfriend…who I then married… and I remember going through high school and college thinking at times a relationship would never come my way and sometimes would get really down about it. Looking back I think I did a good job enjoying them, no regrets here. But you said it perfectly. You have to embrace what you have in the moment and enjoy it because it could end at any time. My husband and I lost our first pregnancy earlier this summer and I can still apply parts of what you said today to our current situation. We thought we had things figured out, we were ready to become new parents and explore that chapter of our lives. It was set and we were on a path. But life had something else in store and we’re back to being the two of us. He and I are healing and trying to embrace the time we have as a couple before we step into parenthood. Enjoying our weekends, crossing things off our bucket lists, doing things because we can and want to do them. Savoring our time as a twosome. Because you’re right, it all can change in an instant. And while I look forward to that change, I can’t stop cherishing where I am today. I’m raising my (wine) glass to you tonight, Jamie!
Thanks for your honesty!!
I feel like I mostly enjoyed being single. (I’m 35 now and have been married for 10 years.) I liked going on dates, and my rule was to go on two dates with pretty much anyone, because the first date both people are generally nervous.
I think those feelings of longing to be at the “next stage” come up again sometimes in life with other stuff! It did for us with infertility and then waiting for three years to be matched with a baby to adopt. Now I feel it a bit again as we do our paperwork to adopt an older child.
I guess my only advice is that I think it’s really good to be proactive about finding someone if that’s what a person wants. I did online dating with the intent that if it didn’t work, I was going to switch to a larger church with more 20-something people in it. It’s perfectly ok (and not “desperate”) to want a significant other.
Jamie this is such a wonderful post! I think singleness in our society is seen as a phase that every women is trying to get out of and I think we do a disservice to ourselves by just hoping, wishing and thinking about life with a partner instead of really enjoying being single and seeing it as a blessing. I know that the time I have spent trying out different relationships in my 20s has been such a huge factor in allowing me to grow into the person I am today. I am actually very thankful for the experiences I have had (both positive and negative) with dating and at 25, am currently really loving soaking up everything wonderful about being single. I think most importantly, being single right now has given me the time and space to fall in love with MYSELF, which is the most important relationship of all. We often hear about singleness as a heavy, sad and frustrating phase, but you have shown that it can be exciting, light and fun. Thank you for all your insight!