The Importance Of Being Single For A Serial Monogamist

The Importance Of Being Single For A Serial Monogamist

I went on my first date when my high school sweetheart turned 16, I was 15. I only waited so long because her Dad didn’t want her dating until she turned 16. I would’ve dated her earlier if I could have.

I went on my first date when my high school sweetheart turned 16, I was 15. I only waited so long because her Dad didn’t want her dating until she turned 16. I would’ve dated her earlier if I could have.

I hopped from relationship to relationship with as little time in between as I could manage until I was 25. At that time, a relationship ended in which I was totally crushed, and frankly I wasn’t ready for a relationship afterward. I found myself trying to get into a relationship right away, as if by habit or a defense mechanism, but nothing clicked.

At last, I decided (was forced) to actually spend some time single. I told myself I’d be single for one whole year. It was an internal street fight. I’d never been so miserable and lonely. I told myself that I was born to be with someone else and that this stupid experiment was a masochistic game I was torturing myself with. One year turned into three, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

In three years, I became a fundamentally different person, the person I was actually born to be. Some changes presented themselves at the time, and others presented themselves now that I’m back in a relationship, but they’ve all been for the better.

“You can do it all by yo self!” –Lil Jon

For serial monogamists like me, codependency is the unfortunate byproduct of a relationship. When you’re dependent on someone else, or someone else’s happiness, for your own, you don’t know how else to make yourself happy.

I had very little idea of how to make myself happy because before I was able to turn to my relationship for comfort, like a drug addict going to their fix. Learning yourself takes time. The withdrawals are strong, but you make it through.

Everyone is different, of course, but I was able to restart the reading habit that I’d lost after college, get in shape, take up hiking with my brother, and other things.

Now that I’m in a relationship with someone else, I’m careful to maintain the relationship that I’ve built with myself. This means setting aside time for myself to do things I need to do to make myself happy. No longer am I dependant on someone else, I’m dependent on myself. I’m happier because of it and so are they.

“I get by with a little help from my friends.” –The Beatles (or Joe Cocker)

We all have that friend who, when in a relationship, disappears off the face of the earth. Don’t be that friend. That friend sucks. I was that friend. When my happiness was dependent on someone else, they received all of my attention, and my other friends tended to go by the wayside.

Having more than a single great friend at a time is incredibly important to maintain sanity. When your only deep conversations happen between you and one other person, it’s only twice as good as talking to yourself, which isn’t enough. Plus different people draw out different strengths in us and those dynamics are important in living a full life.

Keeping an outer friend circle benefits the relationship as well. Not only can you download your day and troubles and interests on more than one person, but you can also get an outside look or conversation about that relationship, which is incredibly healthy. There’s also less pressure on bae to be your everything which benefits them as well.

I’m on to the next one.” –Jay Z

Too often couples stay in relationships for much longer than they should for fear of being alone, but if you’re okay being alone, your decisions are made much more clearly. Stop making relationship decisions based on your fear of being alone. You’ll be fine even if “the next one” is just you.

This may seem callous or selfish, but your partner benefits too. Trust and jealousy issues are born from a fear that if your partner leaves you, you’ll be all alone and sad. So having the confidence that you can make it on your own helps because you can take solace in knowing that if your relationship were to end, you’ll be fine whether you find another person or not. Besides, who wants a partner who wants to stay with them just because they fear being alone?

“Any Adele lyric ever!” –Adele

One of the worst parts of being a serial monogamist is that when you look back on your life, memories are always tied to an experience with someone else. I used to despair when doing things alone that I didn’t have anyone to share my experiences with. Then, when looking back on things I’d done, there was a pang of sadness in my nostalgia.

This is the worst way to go about life. Being present and in the moment starts with yourself. The best part of The Grand Canyon isn’t that you shared it with your ex. It’s the freaking Grand Canyon, it’s enough on its own if you let it be.

Learning to live a single life, or simply living as yourself in a relationship, means that you can experience life in your own head.

“And I’m free, free fallin…” –Tom Petty

Trust me, as a recovering serial monogamist who’s seen the light, you owe it to yourself to be single. As an adult, making decisions for yourself is the most liberating thing in the world and it simply cannot be done from within the confines of even the best relationship.

Suddenly, everything becomes practical because the only thing that matters is your own happiness. I took the opportunity to live all over the country and even took a job that required me to be on the road almost constantly. These aren’t decisions I would’ve been able to make if I was tied to someone else. Even if I could’ve, I likely would’ve used it as an excuse to stay put.

If you’re like most people, you’re going to probably end up in a relationship for the majority of your life. Don’t waste your youth living one style of life. Be single, take all of the advantages it has to offer, and when you want to, your single life will benefit your relationship life.

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