Life lessons from a serial monogamist.
2022 was looking smooth for the first couple months, until I was hit in the face with a massive “see you around” from a three-year relationship. In the pouring rain on a Sunday outside Picadilly train station. The day before Valentine’s Day.
Now this will make 3 unsuccessful attempts at being in love since starting adulthood. On first glance, you might feel sorry for me. You should to an extent, heartbreak is not an easy ride, especially when it is completely unexpected on your half, when you genuinely thought, you were going to spend the rest of your life with this person (big woof).
But what you must know is that until recently, the idea of being without somebody else was quite literally my biggest fear. And in thinking this, I discovered my own insecurities of being alone stood in great stride of me ever having a chance of being in a successful relationship, as I had no idea how to look after myself.
5 months have passed and thinking back to meeting my friend in the pub a few days after the traumatic Sunday evening where she said, on quote “we’ll laugh about this in a few months”. We have finally made it to the laughing stage. And I am ready to share with you: The five things I’ve learnt from being single.
- 1. It is okay to have days on your own.
Sunday hits, and you are hungover in bed. What do you do? You wallow about not having anyone to roll around in bed with. No one to split the extortionate price of a Chinese with. WRONG, Sundays have become my day. My day to roll around with extra bed space, no arguments over the Chinese order, and I can choose a film in under 15 minutes without argument. Having days to yourself is important for checking in on how you are feeling as an individual, a quiet space to figure out what needs to be done physically and mentally for the next day.
- 2. Do not settle for less.
This is not in terms of physical attributes to a significant other, but more in the way of your relationship dynamic. There are times in my previous relationships, that in pure desperation for gratification, I would sacrifice everything in my personal life in order to be around the other person, for not a lot in return. Holding down jobs, social life, university work. When in reality- I should have stepped back and realized that maybe, they were just losing interest. Recognize that there needs to be balance in both corners, not sacrifices. If the person cares enough for you, you can work as a team.
- 3. Listen to your gut.
When you feel your gut instinct telling you that something is up, 9 times out of 10 you’re probably right. This doesn’t mean that you should act out on all the small possibilities that something could be wrong. But work through the doubts in your head. Ask yourself if this still feels right. Don’t be afraid to admit that there could be problems. And instead of ignoring them and trying to bottle them and pretend like
2 / 2everything is okay, work through them with your partner, and if they react in a way that adds to the instinct, you know what to do.
- 4. Relationships cost money.
I reckon if I had started University as a single individual, I would not be in half the debt I am in today. In my case: The commute, the nights out, the cabs, food, the lot. Completely rinsed, with not a lot to show for it. This is partly my fault for splashing money I didn’t really have, and not being able to hold down a job in utter fear that my boyfriend may leave me if I didn’t spend one weekend with him. Being single has opened a door to financial freedom, aka, I spend all my money on myself and no one else. Within this, I have started looking after myself better, leading to a much better mindset mentally and physically.
- 5. Save your tears.
Why are you crying, girl? This man is not worth this amount of drama. The only man that is allowed to make me cry is Gerard Butler in PS I Love You. And you realize when you take a step out of the situation, just how much arguing and crying takes it out of you as an individual. I became exceptionally good at pretending to everyone else that everything was fine, which adds to the shock element when it all comes crumbling down. But it is exhausting, since being single, I look prettier, I’m sleeping better, my anxiety is close to nothing. And for so long I was trying to figure out why I was so depressed, and it was because I was relying on someone else for my happiness. And by learning to make myself happy, there is no room for disappointment.