Finding a relationship is easier than ever. But so is being duped. We’re all playing the dating game with apps and smartphones on our side to make it that little bit faster. But what if looking for a relationship means denying yourself some of the best years of your life? We spoke with dating experts to understand how to be single and why it really is an important step in finding love.
It’s not all doom and gloom
Singledom is usually akin to loneliness in people’s minds. But there are plenty of silver linings if you know who to ask. Relationship Psychotherapist and Coach, Natajsa Wagner, says that being single is one of the greatest gifts in terms of personal growth and finding love in future.
“Being single can be one of the most insightful and enjoyable times of your adult life. It's a time where you get to focus on ‘doing you’. Being single allows you the opportunity to:
1. Focus on knowing who you are and what makes you happy as an individual, which is a prerequisite to a having a successful relationship in the future.
2. Get clear on what qualities you are looking for in a partnership for the future. During the time you are single you’re not locked into a relationship, you are free to allow yourself the opportunity to date and enjoy the company of others as you get a feel for what you do and don't want in a relationship.
3. Spend quality time with those closest to you. This is the time to enjoy nights out with your friends, movies that you like, time at home alone or new adventures. The world is your oyster and you only have to answer to one person - you!”
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It’s time to treat yourself
Buy that blush pink furniture you’ve been dreaming of. Take that cooking class or book the trip of a lifetime. When you have the luxury of spending all your money on your own wants and needs it’s a great opportunity to splurge. Someday you’ll have a partner and possibly kids in tow. By then you’ll be thinking of them more than yourself, but you’ll always have your blush armchair to remind you of those fun, single days of yesteryear.
You get to love yourself first
The end of a relationship can leave you reeling. Asking yourself where it went wrong? What could you have done differently? But as dating coach Iona Yeung knows, it’s the time between relationships where you ask the most important questions. She says every breakup is a chance to understand yourself better. It was her own formative breakup in 2013 that led her down the path that ended with her husband.
“As a dating and relationship coach for young single women, I see so many women rush into relationships but those who embrace being single often end up in the best relationships. This is because they’re not waiting for someone to complete them or make them happy. They are whole themselves giving space for the guys she meets to do the same. If you want to really enjoy single life, trust the timing of your life. Take the time to know what makes you happy, what you need emotionally to feel fulfilled. Because when you know this you can communicate it to your future partners.”
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Celebrate the little things
Maybe you miss having someone tall to reach the top shelf, or a strong hand when there’s a tough jar lid between you and the Nutella. There’s a lot of times having a partner comes in handy. But there’s also a lot of little things to celebrate when you’re single. Like having a massive bed all to yourself. Make a list of all the things you love about being single when you’re having a good day and refer to it on the bad ones. If you remember to enjoy the small things it won’t be long before you don’t have to remind yourself why being single is the best.
Try dating yourself instead
If the point of dating is to get to know someone then dating yourself is going to be the ultimate learning experience. Charlotte Sapwell found herself lost and confused when her husband left. She could have let being single defeat her but she chose a much better path. She decided to date herself and along the way remembered why she’s such a catch. She shared her journey on her blog and has a post about dating yourself. Here’s 3 of our fave suggestions:
1- “Go to a restaurant, sit down order a drink and people watch. Order something new, or order something you love. Don’t stress when the waiter asks ‘are you waiting for someone’ they won’t think you’re weird. You’re brave.”
2- “Shave your legs put on some fake tan even put some lippy on or wear something that makes YOU feel fantastic. Doesn’t matter that you’re at home, you’ll look great if the mailman comes a knocking (I got really dressed up once and forgot to put the bins out so when I rushed out to the bin man I knew I looked good)”
3- “See your friends, I know this is about dating yourself but they’re your friends for a reason- they want to help you because they love you. Ask them what they love about you, ask them to give you 30mins to yourself and ask them for help!”
At some point your time being single will come to an end. Whether it’s for a short-term fling or a love to end all others; single doesn’t last forever. You’ll be glad to have made the most of your time by yourself when it doesn’t look like it’s coming back around. Because as much as we love being coupled up, some nights you wish you had the whole bed to yourself again.