I grew up on a diet of Disney films and fairy-tale romances. I lapped up rom-coms where the boy and the girl always get together in the end. I thought that one of the main goals in life was to find the perfect relationship, settle down, and live happily ever after.
But, recently I’ve been thinking. Why are there so few films about how great it is to be young, fun and single? (‘How to Be Single’ is one of my favourite exceptions to this). I’m not saying you shouldn’t be in love, and for those of you that are truly in love and truly happy, I salute you. But I do feel that in our society – and more so for women – there’s a pressure to be in a relationship.
If you’ve been single for a while, you’re labelled a spinster (here’s looking at Bridget Jones), or no one wants you, or there must be something wrong with you. Whether it’s pressure from social media platforms like Instagram, or from those many, many rom-coms, there’s an idea that you’re inadequate, if you don’t have a second, ‘better’ half. I’ve known plenty of people get in relationships almost for the sake of it, not really feeling anything, or staying in one for a really long time that’s not been working, because they’re scared of being single.
I’ve been single for over two years now, and one of the most-asked questions I get on dates, is ‘but why have you been single for so long?’ More often than not, I fire back with: why not? I have my whole life to find someone. More and more rushed marriages are ending in divorce. People are marrying later, having kids later. In my opinion, our twenties be about finding out about our career and passions, travelling, and most importantly, having fun. You’re never going to get your twenties back, so make the most of them.
So, here are the reasons why being single is the best thing that ever happened to me:
1. It’s made me stronger
I actually became single when I ended a toxic relationship I was in. During it I was at one of the weakest points in my life. My mood and self-esteem were at an all-time low, so it took a huge amount of strength to end it. To my surprise, I’ve only kept getting stronger since. I’ve taken steps to gradually build my self-esteem and self-confidence up to the point it is now, which is stronger than it has been for years.
2. It’s helped me “find myself”
Cheesy, I know. But I really believe that people need this time alone to find out who they are, what they’re passionate about. Having this time alone has helped me work on my personal issues, and discover passions, like fashion and this blog. I’ve decided what I want from my life. I never had to worry what another person thought about it. I learned the art of self-care. And I learned how to love the most important person in my life – myself.
3. It’s helped me focus on my career
Being single gave me the motivation I needed to apply for my master’s course and start a career in fashion. It gave me the time to work hard on this blog and my Instagram.
4. I know that I can survive alone
I don’t want to be in this position forever, but it’s amazing to know that I can survive being by myself. Well, not completely by myself, but single. Up until I became single, I had almost always been dating someone since the age of around 15/16. I’d had no long periods of being single. I know friends who still jump from relationship to relationship because they say they need a ‘rock’ – they don’t know what it is to be by themselves. Maybe they’re afraid to be. In my opinion, it’s always better to be able to survive without depending on anyone else. Our sense of security and happiness needs to come from within ourselves, not from someone else.
5. I know exactly what I want
I’m not a serial dater or anything, but being single for this length has definitely given me more experience. Now I know more clearly what I want, and I don’t want. I know what warning signs to look for. And I’ve learned not to take any shit, and that it’s better to just cut something off as soon as you know it’s not going to work out.
So, for all of that, I actively choose to be single. To quote Dakota Johnson (in ‘How to Be Single’):
‘The thing about being single is, you should cherish it. Because, in a week, or a lifetime, of being alone, you may only get one moment. One moment, when you’re not tied up in a relationship with anyone. A parent, a pet, a sibling, a friend. One moment, when you stand on your own. Really, truly single. And then… It’s gone.’
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
INSTAGRAM / BLOGLOVIN’ / TWITTER / TUMBLR
Dress: Boohoo (gifted)
Jacket: & Other Stories
Boots: River Island, similar
Bag: River Island
Beret: Nasty Gal