Woah–“miss about being single”?! If that sounds extreme to you, please hear me out.
In our culture there is an overwhelming focus on finding and keeping a relationship. On blogs and magazines, you’ll find articles like, How to Find a Guy Who Wants a Relationship, X Signs He is In Love with You, How to Find Your Soulmate, What’s Keeping You From Finding Your Soulmate, How to Be a Love Magnet, blah blah. If it is anything to do with being single, it’s something like, Why Being Single is Awesome–but in a carefully modulated tone. Usually that means it’s okay to feel happy while you’re dating around and waiting for *the* big relationship of your life.
But I think this isn’t true to life–not to mention, frustrating. I have been in a relationship for just over six years now, and there are certainly things I profoundly miss about being single. But admitting this is supposed to be shocking–kind of liking saying out loud, “god I miss not having kids.” (!!!) It’s only natural that as humans, we can just feel a certain way sometimes. For instance, a married friend recently said, “oh man, this is the first night out like a single girl in a long time–so great!” She has an adorable baby. Do I think that just because she said that, she regrets having a baby and that her marriage is on the rocks? NO, of course not.
The truth is, your whole happiness doesn’t really hinge on “finding your soulmate.” Personally, I’m probably about the same level of happiness while being single, as in a relationship–though the “flavor” of happiness is quite different in each case. Does this sound true to anyone else? This doesn’t mean my relationship doesn’t bring so much joy and goodness into my life (I’ll get there later). I just wish for a more balanced view: that life on both sides are extremely compelling, with enough positives to make up for the negatives.
So, here are things I miss about being single.
Freedom and Independence: When you’re single, you’re free to do as you please. You eat what you want, sleep when you want, make plans (or not make plans). You can see, hang out with, or date whomever you want. All this goes away when you’re in a relationship. All of a sudden, you have to run dinner menus / take-out plans by each other over texts, hang out with each other’s friends when you’re super tired and need alone time, and wake each other up with respective alarm clocks going off. Moreover, you have to decide larger-stroke steps with each other in mind, which changes the course of your career and your life.
More time: Theoretically, it feels like you *should* get more free time due to chores being split up and being comfortably settled with a partner rather than trying to arrange many dates a week online. But you still have much more time as a single person, even with your Tinder dance card so full. Just trust me–the last time I remember having actually relaxed while doing my nails (as opposed to doing it in a hurry, thus messing it up and stressing out even more) was when I was single. This is because your me-time isn’t really “me-time” in a relationship, but us-time.
Self-development and growth: Being single allows you to turn your focus inward rather than splitting your attention between yourself and your partner. This is a time for you to understand and develop yourself fully: your likes, dislikes, passions, what you can’t accept, your past, and your dreams for the future. Without someone else chiming in on how you should think / feel (and yes, even the most well-meaning partners will influence you in many ways), your ideas are much more clear and true to yourself.
Excitement: Being single is naturally a lot more exciting than being in a relationship. It’s just the nature of things, the way a roller coaster is by definition more exciting than a porch swing. Doing things on your own, traveling solo, making new friends, dating different people, finding a new hobby, even experimenting with a new hair style, color, or wardrobe–all these things happen a lot more organically when you’re single. You don’t have to get a second opinion–if you want to get bangs, just do it!!
So if I miss being single so much, what do I get out of being in a relationship? Obviously, a lot. Being in a couple makes me about as happy as all of the above, but in very different ways. I know this because one of the phrases I utter a lot in real life is, “god I love family time.” Competing for leg room on my tiny couch with my boyfriend and my cat piled high, is one of the highlights of my day. Every single day. I love having a best friend. When I ask, “If we could have a repeat of a month, which month would I pick?” my boyfriend knows the exact right answer without even thinking–October. (duh!) Like any other couple, I have a lot of cute stories that are too squishy to mention on the web. But, a relationship doesn’t determine your happiness. You make your own happiness, and your status just comes along with you at different chapters in your life.
What say you? How do you feel about happiness as a single person vs. in a relationship?
Related: On Dealing with Couple Envy
Keep up on the latest and get exclusive content just for our subscribers: Subscribe to our Inspirational Newsletter!
Photo: Ville Miettinen via Flickr