Single ≠ Relationship-free

My life has been a string of singleness pickled with moments of undetermined relationship statuses lasting no more than 4 months.

I LOVE IT!

My single life has given me the opportunity to focus. I’ve been able to develop a sense of self and spend time growing; doing things that I love and being with people I love too. I wouldn’t change the relationships that went wrong or hurt or went too fast, for anything. Because they are as much of my journey as the times I wasn’t with anyone.

I have learned. I have loved. I have been.

But although I love my single life, there are times when I wish for something more; a hand to hold, to listen to a heart beat through a t-shirtless chest, someone to share everything with.

But I realise that these are things that are momentary. Fleeting, and yet if I listen and cave in to them they often lead me to problems.

But now I’ve decided to be actively single for 1 year.

Yeah… there’s not many of my friends wanting to do this. In fact, when I tell people – which is infrequently and often whispered – the reaction I get is;

Really?! WHY? I mean, good for you. Let me know how it goes.

It feels like in this day and age, or perhaps at the stage of my life that I am, wanting to be single seems weird. It’s not that I’m holding off a man so I can go travelling. It’s not that I’m still trying to get over someone. It’s not that I’m waiting for someone I already know to be ‘the one’. I’m simply giving up relationships for a year, whilst I continue to live my life as is normal.

This is not a year:

  • without love
  • without men
  • where I hole myself up in my bedroom and cry over the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘but-right-now-I-could-be’s…’

This is a year for REFOCUS.

Why?

I read an article in May about a man who had given up sex and relationships for a year. He wanted to find more of himself and learn to view women in a different light. I mean the title of the article was: “Why Staying Single For A Year Is The Secret To Finding Your Soul Mate” – but that’s not the reason I’m doing this.

I promise.

There are hundreds of articles on the internet that tell you to try being single for a year if you are always in relationships. That’s not me. Yet, I don’t know if I’ve actually had a fully single year.

Single ≠ Relationship-free.

I have always been on the look out. Lining every man up like they were candidates on Take Me Out.

Could YOU be the one???

That thought governed my life. I got to know men for their potential rather than for friendship. For what they could be rather than their solid in-the-moment worth.

The man in my article had learnt respect. He had learned to put friendship over a relationship and had learned to treat women less as a piece of meat; objects of his desires, and more like the beautiful individuals they were. As I read on, I knew this is what I needed.

I had never really thought that I had treated men this way. I rolled with my emotions. If I was happy being single, men could be friends. When I wanted something more, I starting going through the people I already knew or started hunting for new prey.

Its actually a bit embarrassing to think that I thought like this. Why couldn’t I treat people normally? Why did everything have to be about finding love? And, worst of all, why did I always make everything about me?

And so on the 8th of May this year, I embarked on a relationship-free year.

2 and a half months on…

And I’m really enjoying myself. There was a lot of unexpected things that came out of this little experiment with my heart. I feel like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders. There is now no pressure.

Part of my decision to do this single year was because I wanted to get closer to God. I felt like focusing on Him was a far more valuable use of my time than pursuing people, when He already has a plan for me. And it is that; He already has a plan for me. Whilst I don’t believe that my life is mapped out completely, I do also believe that there are part of my life that happen for a reason because they are in line with God’s will. By surrendering myself, I have learnt trust. I trust the future with God more than ever and in that security, I have been able to live a lot more in the moment.

I have also been able to reflect on who I am. I feel like I’ve found myself. With all my travelling and time spent alone in new experiences, I’ve found myself about 100 times over. But there are always new things to be learning about yourself, as I am finding out. I realise what motivates me and areas of my personality that I want to change. I am:

  • stubborn
  • resistant to be proven wrong
  • very conscious of what close people around me think
  • controlling of myself

This may sound harsh, but it’s so important for me to know this because from here I can change or at least be aware that this is who I am. And to be more flexible and understanding of others.

Knowing these things, I have been able to develop. Whilst that aspect of self-consciousness is quite evident to the closest people around me; namely my mum, I know that in myself I have come a long way. The way my body looks does not bother me half as much as it used to and I have learned to love and not hate it. I have learnt to surrender control, slowly, in many ways (although this area of my life needs a lot more development – thank God I have another 10 months to do this).

But it’s not just been about me.

My relationships with men feel a lot more genuine. I feel as though I have taken them as people rather than potentials. It’s horrible to think that for so long I wasn’t doing that. (I mean, granted, I didn’t act like this around every man, but the few that I did, I felt like enough was enough). I am also a lot more respectful of myself in these newfound friendships. I feel confident to be able to tell people that being single for a year is important to me and I’m not prepared to compromise. I have realised that just because you tell people that, they are not going to hate you and leave. And if they do, then could they really be worth your time anyway??

My heart gets less involved, although I still love. Lots. I have surrendered control in this aspect and let things just take their natural course. In fact, I’ve found being single is much easier but not because, as I had previously thought, it’s less heartbreak and agro. But because I take myself off my high-horse and realise that there are more important things in life and more treasures than being in love.

So yes, 2 months on and I’m sticking at it. I’m always one for a challenge and I’m super excited to see how this pans out. I’m still learning and creating routines that will help me to develop the most. It’s all a learning curve and I’ll keep you informed!

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