being single

“You’re going to be lonely”, your friend may tell you after a break-up or divorce. “Um… Maybe… Well… No”.

Of course, there are downsides to being single. You can wallow in depression and most do after a devastating break-up. I know all about it. You need to be hurt, an experience that deep sorrow and negative emotions, and heal your heart. It takes a lot of time. You will have drunken nights of sorrow alone in your apartment, perhaps eating ice cream, or binging on alcohol and a show to keep everything out of your mind, and numb the stinging pain.

You will move on when you’re ready for it. It’s important to give yourself that healing experience, and take your time before ‘Taylor Swifting’ into that next relationship. You know when you’ll be ready for it. For men, it takes 6 times longer to move on from a relationship than for women. Men are actually deeply emotional people. Well, at least I can speak for myself.

You’re healing after your break-up, now what? Perhaps you’ve been with your girlfriend or your wife throughout your 20s and 30s like I have. Seems like my whole adult life that flashed before me. I didn’t know how to be single. Where do I go from here? I felt frightened about my future, then I realized that it’s just the beginning. It’s all about your positive mindset. I’m starting fresh now on a clean slate and I can say that being single definitely has its perks.

Do whatever you want

You will always have the memories and the old photos to prove that your relationship once existed. Now you have a newly discovered, fresh perspective on life. You can do whatever you want. It’s called freedom. It means that you can finally do all of the stuff that bothered your ex back while you were in the relationship. You can sleep in on the weekends and not feel guilty about it. You can feed your kids Pop-Tarts without being nagged about it. You can pee in the corner of your apartment if you want to! (I don’t recommend doing this though — go outside for that free experience).

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You surely remember all of the loving and wonderful things about your previous relationship, but what about the shit storm that you had to endure and survive? What about that cheating or verbally abusive ex? What about all of the slights and putdowns? What about the disrespect as you got to know each other much better after the cohabitation? It’s history. All of that baggage, all of the fighting, all of the arguing that you had to deal with, not to mention all of the ridiculous drama that made your life a daily living hell. I’m clearly painting a bad picture here, but you get the drift.

My relationships certainly weren’t all horrible. I had some of my best times in my marriage, and with my ex-wife and previous girlfriends. The last thing that I’d want to do is bash the experiences with a giant hammer. I learned a lot from my relationships with them, and it helped me to grow with real-life experience. I loved my exes while we were together. We had fun times. I traveled the world with my ex-wife, went parasailing in Key West, spent countless quality hours with her, as with my ex-girlfriend. I had a very passionate relationship with my ex-girlfriend (although it could be stormy and tempestuous). No relationship is trouble-free, after all. I was certainly no perfect angel, but I can look back at my past relationships and confidently say that I loved with a glowing innocence, and a big heart. We had good times together. I craved the romantic dates, the walks on the beach, the sunsets over the Grand Canyon. It was a beautiful and wondrous time of my life. I remember that night when I got along so well with my wife at the time, sipping beer at the Clevelander on South Beach in Miami, listening to the excellent cover band play Earth, Wind & Fire’s song ‘September’, into the starry night, as the waves from the ocean pierced the beach into the darkness of this distant memory back while we were once in love.

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They are memories to be cherished, and now I find myself single again. For me, it was like flashing back into my 20s. The last time that I was truly single was back when I was 24 starting out at the university (it seemed like a lifetime ago). My future was so ahead of me. Now, I’m 42, but it’s like I entered a Time Machine, or a Time Warp, it feels surreal. I’m free yet again! I can do whatever I want, and my future is ahead of me.

Become more independent and confident

I am now responsible for my finances, my laundry (yes, there was actually a time in distant past when my wife or girlfriend did my laundry and I loved them for it), my job, and my wellbeing. It actually toughens you up, because you have to deal with reality alone. There was once a time in my previous marriage when my wife made more money, and she also budgeted our money for us. Everything was joint. We had a joint checking account, we were basically joined at the hip. Now I am solo. That means that I’m more independent and confident in my own skin.

I can look back at that married William and think to myself, ‘What a schmuck’… He had no clue. Single me is much more powerful and in control of my daily existence. I don’t need to rely on anyone else anymore. I do everything alone. It’s a liberating experience. The sky is the limit for me. Screw the sky… The stars are the limit — deep in space!

The married me took it all for granted. I took the financial stability for granted, my wife for granted, hell… I even took my laundry for granted. It’s different now because I understand what it’s like to live alone, not depend on anyone, and live within my means. Sometimes I still spend money like a drunken sailor, but I can only blame myself now.

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Focus on your personal interests

I’ve discovered a newfound freedom with being single because now I can focus more on my personal interests. The result is that I’m able to write more, shop and spend time with my kids without having to argue with someone else over parenting styles. This is a huge advantage of being single — doing what interests you or pleases you.

I will often wake up in the morning on a sunny Saturday, and think to myself, ‘Maybe I’ll go shop at Best Buy, or go check out that movie that I like, or just do something that I want to do’. I enjoy my own company, and I enjoy the self-indulgence and freedom. If I want to write, I write, without having to worry about being nagged for taking out the trash, or raking the leaves, shoveling snow, doing the dishes or laundry. I can do it now on my own time. I can go to that cool event that I want to attend, and not have to worry about arguing over plans or going to that birthday party that I’m obligated to attend, or having to try to get along with her mother-in-law who hates me for some ridiculous reason.

I admit that this may sound a bit selfish or self-centered, but I don’t have to please people anymore. I can just be myself, and not worry about what she thinks, or why her interest level is plummeting in me (or mine in her, for that matter). I can also blast music in my Jeep (like AC/DC’s ‘Moneytalks’), or I can now talk to myself. Doesn’t everyone?

Being single isn’t all that bad. In fact, it is absolutely awesome, and you need to make it a positive experience. This is how you grow as an individual. Ideally, I’d want to be in a loving relationship, but what’s wrong with exploring the freedom of being single? Absolutely nothing. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Image: flickr

William is a graphic designer and creative writer. One of his favourite interests is reading books about relationships. He recommends ‘How to Succeed with Women’ and Doc Love’s ‘The System’. He has two adorable children that he enjoys spending time with. William is currently single and is preparing for his next relationship. You can follow him on Twitter.

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