Embrace your “Single Era”

A photo of a woman with her back to the camera in a yoga pose with her legs crossed CREDIT: BETH EAMES
There is a lot that can be learned from being single, and that knowledge can even make your future relationships stronger.

From an early age, we are all exposed to relationships, marriages and basically any form of companionship. It can be so easy to fall into the trend of dating because it’s what we see all around us. It can be especially challenging when we hit our 20s and 30s, where there’s a perception that you need to be married with kids by a certain age. The truth is, many of us probably have an image in our minds about what we want our future to look like, and while that’s OK, how are you supposed to build a strong relationship with someone else when you don’t fully know who you are?

I’m very grateful to say that I’ve grown up with love surrounding me. That said, it certainly has had an influence on my craving to be in a relationship at all times. This pattern has resulted in dating people who I didn’t have much in common with, toxic relationships and, in hindsight, a blurred vision of what the future really looked like.

Most of us strive for happy and healthy relationships before taking the time to make sure we ourselves are happy and healthy. But what does that really mean?

Listen live on 1069TheX.com

After taking a look at some of the relationships around me, I realized that they weren’t quite full of love, but instead were in similar situations to what I was in, in the sense that they were with someone out of a fear of being alone. After knowing that I could never find myself in another situation like that again, I finally took a look inward and started to pour more love into myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive sucker for the lovey-dovey stuff, especially when it’s with the right person, but a change in perspective about being single had a complete 180 effect on my life.

These are a few reasons why I’ve appreciated my Single Era:

1. Choosing myself: When you’re in a relationship, it can be easy to choose your partners’ needs and happiness over your own. As someone who has always loved others before loving myself, this was one of the very first steps that I acknowledged in my Single Era. This experience taught me to understand that when in a relationship, yes, your partners’ needs are important, but yours are equally as important and it’s OK to find the quiet and listen to what you need.

2. Choosing my friends and building a community: As an international student, this was an extremely important factor that I always wanted to prioritize. It can be difficult to come from your home country where you’re surrounded by an immense support system, moving abroad and starting from scratch. Finding people who had similar interests and morals to me has always been so important and being single helped me carve out more time for my friendships. When you’re in a relationship, your focus naturally is drawn to your significant other, and whilst making time for your friends is by no means impossible, in my experience, saying yes to plans with your friends can be much easier as a single person.

3. Building a foundation: If you’re like me and you’re still in your early 20s, there’s still a lot to figure out. For me, these years are fundamental to sculpting myself into the person I aspire to be in the future. That means taking a look at who I want to be, what I need to do to get there, and making a plan to put it into action. Creating a foundation where I can feel stable on my own two feet is probably one of the biggest lessons that I have learned through my Single Era. Personally, feeling confident enough in myself that I’m OK with or without a significant other is important for my independence as there isn’t a reliance on someone else for my happiness. Just as a reminder, having a relationship should be an addition to your happiness, not your only source.

4. Knowing what I want: Being single typically means that you have a lot more time on your own to listen to what you personally crave. It’s common that thoughts and opinions of a significant other can weigh into the decisions you make in your life. When you’re on your own, you have no one else but you to influence what you want. For the first time in a very long time, being single brought me back to my passions that were once suppressed because of the sway of a significant other.

5. Creating new habits and routines: For me, this was a hard one and it took some time to grow on me. It can be hard to untrain your mind from what it was used to for such a long time when you’re in a relationship. However, I’ve come to appreciate new routines as a single person. Everyone’s routines are going to look different, but for me, there were things I wanted to do but didn’t while I was in a relationship, and those are the things that I have now incorporated into my routine in my Single Era. For example, I now take morning walks instead of relaxing and spending quality time with a significant other. Of course, creating new habits and routines when you’re in a relationship isn’t unheard of, but when you’re single, it can be easier because you don’t have to consult someone else.

This is only a handful of the many lessons that I’ve learned about being single and what I hope to take into my next happy and healthy relationship. I’m not telling you that you should be single forever. But I think being single can be such an asset to your next relationship. Wouldn’t you want to know that you’ve actively been working on the kind of person that you aspire to be when you meet the person that lets say will be the love of your life?

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.