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- It’s nearly Valentine’s Day – and Galentine’s Day.
- If you’re single, you’re likely to be reminded of it.
- But being single is actually really important for learning about yourself and your needs.
- Some people jump from relationship to relationship and carry their baggage with them.
- It can be hard to give up your solitude, but the secret is finding new experiences and places the two of you can enjoy – rather than trying to shoehorn someone into your perfectly crafted life.
It’s nearly February 14, so get prepared to be reminded of how single you are. But not only is it scientifically proven to be better for you, singledom is also really important for preparing you for future relationships. But how long on your own is too long?
Old relationships have a habit of affecting your new ones, especially if you haven’t been able to let go of some of the pain you’ve felt in the past. Taking some time to yourself, and not immediately jumping from relationship to relationship, can give you the space to work out what you truly need. That way you’re not trying to fix past mistakes with partners who are wrong for you.
Read more: 11 signs your old relationships are affecting your current one There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone. Loneliness affects everyone at some point in their lives, but learning to be comfortable in solitude is vital for figuring out who you are. As an article in Bustle says, “when you’re single, you inherently learn to become more independent.”
“Independent people who have a clear sense of self make the best partners,” LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, told the website. “People who enjoy their lives and have good work/life balance are able to show up to new relationships with healthy boundaries.”
If you’ve been single for a long time, you might even start to wonder how you’d manage to find time for a partner at all.
“After a lengthy period of singledom, it can be challenging to get back into the dating world,” psychologist and We-Vibe’s relationship expert Becky Spelman told INSIDER. “People can feel that they have lost their touch or worry that the behavioural norms for dating might have changed since they last ventured out.”
You also might wrestle with the worries of trying too hard or not putting enough effort in, especially if you’re juggling the conundrum of “playing hard to get.”
“People are often tempted to calm their nerves by having an alcoholic drink before going out on their first date in a long time,” Spelman said. “But that’s really the last thing anyone in that situation should be doing and is potentially a recipe for disaster.”
It’s better to prepare for a date by investing some time and thought, she added, by choosing an outfit you feel comfortable and confident in, or even getting a haircut.
“When you feel confident about how you look, you will be more relaxed, and you won’t feel the need for anything stronger than a nice cup of tea before you go out,” she said.
You may have been single a long time for various reasons. Maybe you struggled with unresolved feelings after a difficult break-up, suffered from damaged self-esteem, or maybe you’re simply too busy with work, friendships, and everything else that takes up time.
“When we get used to doing everything on our own terms, it can be tricky at first to find a way to let someone else into our routine,” Spelman said. “Rather than trying to shoe-horn a new person into a pre-existing routine, it is a good idea to try to find new routines just for the two of you.”
For instance, if you often walk in a particular park, try looking for another one neither of you is familiar with. Or explore new restaurants and pubs that don’t have associations for either of you.
“As time passes, you will develop new, shared routines and experiences that are special to you as a couple,” Spelman said.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you do put yourself out there again is there’s no need to rush.
“You’ve been single for some time – you can wait a little longer before pressurising either of you to make a commitment,” said Spelman.
“One of the great things about being single for a while is that it gives us time to get to know ourselves really well, to mature, and to figure out what our priorities are.”
That means when you’ve taken enough time to feel ready for a new relationship, you can go into it with a clear head. And you might find things fall into place a lot easier.