My last post in Adventures in Dating had me sharing what I learned by being married for a year and it got me thinking. I was also single for a year before I met my husband and I definitely learned a lot from that experience as well. Now, I didn’t decide to be single for a year on purpose. It just kind of happened. I went through a super rough breakup, but created an online dating profile three weeks later and got right back on the horse after being out of the dating scene for three years.
I dated a lot during this year (hence the creation of Adventures in Dating). I got my hopes up. I got let down. I had a lot of laughs and after thinking about it, I learned a lot.
Don’t rush it.
After I created my dating profile, a mere three weeks post break up, I thought, “Okay, so I’ll date for a few weeks, find a new guy and that will be it.” After a month, and a string of bad dates, I quickly realized this was going to be a longer process than I anticipated. I became desperate at times. Going on more dates and trying to ignore obvious red flags just so I wouldn’t have to be alone. Eventually I learned that rushing something wasn’t going to work. I’d end up dating a guy just like my ex and would just be starting the cycle all over again. Patience is not my strong suit but in my year of being single I learned to hold out for the right one.
Being lonely isn’t just a single person thing.
There were days when I was having the time of my life and there were days when I was so lonely I could almost feel and taste it, like it was a tangible thing. I felt sorry for myself, thinking I was the only person in the world that was this lonely and that being single wasn’t fair. Later in life, I realized that not all single people are lonely and not all lonely people are single. When I first moved to Ottawa with Mark, I felt extreme loneliness and I wasn’t single, just away from my family and friends. I also learned that fixating on that loneliness just makes it worse. When I decided that being lonely felt bad and I could change it, I did. I spent more time with friends or went for a walk or to the gym. By spending time away from my secluded apartment, and also by allowing myself to know that being lonely is a normal and okay thing, I was able to move past it. I also learned to embrace loneliness because sometimes you just want to be alone and that’s okay too.
Doing things alone is awesome.
One of the first thoughts after my breakup was “Who will I do things with?” This thought frightened me so much for some reason. I remember one afternoon sitting alone in my apartment and really wanting to go see a movie. I didn’t have many friends living in the city so I decided I would go alone. I took the subway to the theatre (and even picked one where I knew I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew). I bought a popcorn, found a seat in the corner and sat anxiously waiting for the lights to dim. I had a great time at the movies by myself and decided I would start doing more things without fear of being by myself. It was a liberating feeling realizing that I could enjoy doing things alone and that life didn’t end because I saw a movie by myself.
The world is your oyster.
The #1 lesson I learned while being single is that the world is your oyster. There is so much out there to see and do and, for me, I was never able to see this when my eyes were fixated on a man. I made new friends. I took up hobbies. I was busy all the time: going to baseball games, concerts, travelling, getting in shape and doing whatever the heck I wanted, when I wanted.
When I stopped rushing relationships, stopped looking for love, quit being lonely and got out there on my own, I realized the world is an awesome place. Once I realized this all, I met my husband Mark. It was when I wasn’t looking or putting pressure on myself that we found each other. It was the right time and thankfully that time was after I learned and absorbed all these valuable single lady lessons.
What has being single taught you?