Choosing to Be Single

Every movie you’ve ever seen seems to end with a successful relationship. Although it’s certainly a wonderful plot device to provide some closure, it’s not exactly representative of real life. It also seems to imply that being single is a temporary state everyone is trying to escape. But this isn’t about chasing down some idealistic rom-com relationship.

This is about choosing to be single.

There are a lot of reasons to be single, like being able to choose movie nights without a twenty-minute discussion on what to watch. But in all seriousness, unhealthy relationships are bad for self-esteem, productivity and stress levels. And staying in one just to avoid being single is one of the most idiotic things a person can do.

First off, let’s establish something: there was never anything wrong with being single. Even though it seems like being single can suck sometimes, you don’t need a relationship to be happy. Romantic love isn’t the only way to be connected with people. Friends and family and other personal relationships are so important, and at least until marriage, more long-lasting than dating.

Being in a relationship can also distract you from developing as an individual, and from figuring out what you actually want in life. Though people certainly have different priorities, focusing on yourself as an individual is incredibly important. If you don’t feel like yourself without a certain person, then you aren’t being true to yourself.

One of the hardest things about being an adult is realizing that you matter, regardless who you’re with, or what other people think.

With that in mind, it’s important to realize that choosing to be in a relationship is about choosing to be with a specific person, not just choosing not to be single.

So, if you’re dating someone because you don’t want to be single, please don’t. That’s not healthy, nor is it truthful to the other person. Relationships are about being committed to a person, not an idea.

There are a couple ways to figure out if you’re only interested in the idea, not the person.

For example, if you only want to see someone when it’s convenient, that can be a sign that you’re less interested in them, and more in the idea of them. There are a lot of little signs like this, but it really comes down to one simple premise: When you know, you know. If you have a sinking feeling that you’re not committed to the relationship, that’s a sign to at the very least, re-evaluate.

And if you decide to break up with your significant other, don’t worry about being single. Because you’re not “single.” You’re surrounded by friends and family who love you, and who are important to your life. Spend more time with friends, and spend more time on yourself. Ultimately relationships are fleeting, but you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.

Take the time to focus on yourself. Work hard wherever you are, and don’t spend your nights worrying about what another person thinks or feels, or thinks and feels about you. 

Also published on Medium.