Going single and going strong
At love is respect, we’re obviously focused on helping people build healthy dating relationships. But we know that not everyone is currently in or wants to be in a romantic relationship! Although having healthy relationships with others is important, the most important healthy relationship you can have is with yourself.
Maybe you’re not ready to date anyone yet, maybe you’re choosing to be single right now (or indefinitely), or maybe you are considering breaking up with your partner but the thought of being single is terrifying to you.
No matter what, it’s really important to understand that dating someone or being in a relationship doesn’t “complete” you.
A lot of people might feel that if they’re not in a relationship, or if they don’t want to be in one, something must be wrong with them or something is missing from their lives. But this isn’t true! You are whole and complete just as you are. Being single may look lonely, scary, unfulfilling or boring to some people, but it doesn’t have to be.
So what's so great about being single?
- Being single helps you learn who you are
If you can’t be yourself, by yourself, it can be next to impossible to be yourself with someone else. That’s not to say if you are in a relationship right now you need to break up, but spending time alone can be a really healthy thing to do. Being alone with yourself gives you more free time to explore your own thoughts, feelings, interests and the areas of your life you might be tempted to neglect when you’re with a partner (and maybe even watch that TV show you’ve been wanting to see!).
- Being single helps you learn to set boundaries
Setting boundaries is key to being a healthy person because boundaries help you define how you would like to be treated by others. Figuring out what you are comfortable with, both in and outside of a relationship, can be really valuable, and while you’re single you can really think clearly about your own boundaries.
When thinking about your boundaries, some things to consider are your physical, sexual and emotional comfort levels in different situations (check out this handy list from Scarleteen to help you think through your sexual boundaries). While it’s possible for boundaries to shift during a relationship as you build trust with someone, having those standards in the back of your mind if something goes wrong can be so helpful.
- Being "alone" doesn't have to mean you are alone
Having a solid support system made up of people of all genders can be helpful during any phase of life. Members of your support network can include family, friends, co-workers, mentors or anyone else you trust and enjoy spending time with. It can sometimes be easier to create that system of support when you’re not in a relationship since when you have a partner, it can feel as though you don’t have time for anyone else.
Some ideas for building up your support system include reconnecting with that old friend you haven’t seen in ages, catching up on things with your bff, or making some new friends through a team or club. Hobbies, clubs and shared activities are also great ways to continue connecting with the people who are already a part of your life.
- Being single helps you learn to take care of and trust yourself
Learning how to take care of and value yourself – rather than another person – is so important, and it doesn’t have to be scary! It can actually be a really cool learning process. Feeling good on your own is a useful skill whether you’re in a relationship or not. It’s great to know that you are happy on your own and able to love yourself and have that love be enough. It’s also hard to trust other people if you don’t already trust your own wants, needs and instincts, and trust is a key foundation in any kind of healthy relationship.
You can be happy single, just like you can be happy in a relationship. It’s a great time for being good to yourself and exploring new things. So kick back, relax and enjoy the single life!