Lesson Learned: Appreciate Your Singleness
Around my 25th birthday, I kept questioning what I believed my life should look like. I began to feel the pressure of seeing my peers, family, and friends get married, start families, and fall in love. I thought that I was missing out because I’ve never had a serious relationship in my adult life. The thought of not having love worried me. I always believed that there was someone for everybody, but I relinquished my availability to possibly exposing myself to being hurt. After many attempts of testing the musty dating waters, every experience chipped away at what I thought my dating experiences would feel and look like.
I expressed the love and relationship aspect of my quarter-life crisis with my therapists, and she questioned why I desired a relationship so much. Initially, besides seeing other people experiencing them and wanting to know what it was like to have that kind of relationship with someone, I really didn’t understand why it was so important. I’m a college student building a media company and working a job or two. Her question of the importance of a relationship tormented me, and I needed to understand why I felt the way I did. When I left our session that evening, I sat in my bed and mulled it over until a lightbulb finally went off. When I was younger, I saw things in my parent’s relationship that made me develop a negative perspective about being vulnerable and transparent with men. I grew a sense of mistrust and fear in placing something as precious as love in the care of someone else, and at 25, I wanted to change it.
I flushed all of this out to my therapist at my next session and I ugly cried like a man-child because I allowed that suppressed feeling affect my reality and it hurt. I was bothered that things that I saw in adolescence that I never considered in detail molded my subconscious. I allowed myself to feel all the feelings of what I felt and sought solutions as to how to go about dating. At the time, I was seeing someone and felt unsure about where we were going. I told my therapist about him, and she noticed that I wasn’t excited while talking about him. This guy was someone I unsuccessfully tried my relationship hand with previously, and I knew both the pretty and ugly sides of him, so gushing over him was something that I couldn’t allow myself to do. After explaining out history, Dr. Therapist immediately looked at me with the ooh chile, the ghetto face and said, “are you sure you two are compatible?”
I honestly couldn’t answer her question because I didn’t know. Our experience with each other began in our late teens through early twenties, and I am a firm believer that people grow and change. The way he presented himself this go-round was full of potential and more mature than before. As women, we sometimes accept potential in the hopes of seeing action later down the line and most times, it never happens.
During my last session with Dr. Therapist, we flushed out all of the things that I wanted and valued in a mate. After coming up with a list of about 11-12 qualities, she asked me which ones did he possess. I did not hesitate to tell her that he had only three of the qualities that I wanted. Again, she questioned our compatibility, and I left the session wondering if I should stop talking to him. I thought to myself that he wasn’t doing anything wrong and how would he know what I wanted and expected out of our relationship if I never told him. That night, I told him about my last few therapy sessions and went over my list of qualities and expectations that I and Dr. Therapist worked on, and he seemingly understood.
I eventually stopped seeing Dr. Therapist and my relationship with began to get more serious. I started to recognize behaviors that didn’t make sense and noticed that I did not sleep well while laying with him. Because I understood that I developed a distrust with men, I questioned if I was being paranoid, but my gut screamed otherwise. I had no hard evidence that he was doing anything behind my back, but I battled with what his actions showed me. When I would express my concerns or how I felt, he would gaslight me and make me feel as though I was acting crazy. Beyond that, we argued constantly. After one argument, I chose to stop talking to him, and I entered my macking and hanging phase. I realized that I was single and began to live as such. Over two weeks, I literally had a lunch and dinner date every day. It was nice to go out and connect (…or not) with other men to test the waters and just have fun. After the first week, I forgot about ol’ boy, and I began to think why did I want a relationship with him in the first place. After the second week, we started speaking again, and he apologized for being a shitty person, and I accepted his apology. Shortly after we began talking again, I told him that I started to date and I enjoyed it. I expressed that I could not be bound to a relationship that I wasn’t in. A week later, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
When he asked, every nerve in my body screamed RUN BIH. But I thought that because this is what I wanted for so long, why not. After having a long conversation about our expectations and what we wanted out of our relationship, we made it official. I thought that because we were officially in a relationship things would change and they didn’t. It all boiled down to the fact that we weren’t compatible. After the honeymoon phase died off, all of the suspicions that I had about him and our relationship began to seep through the cracks. I couldn’t keep questioning when his potential was going to come to manifest, and out of frustration, I broke up with him.
After our break up, I learned that everything he ever said was a lie. And I felt that I hurt myself by not listening to my gut. After we broke up, I vowed to myself to put all the love that I tried to put into him into myself. I couldn’t understand why he would do the things he did and the unnecessary lies that he told. After thinking about it for weeks, I couldn’t blame him because something in me knew that the relationship wasn’t right before it started.
Being single teaches you that you are whole all by yourself. When you are intentional in your singleness, it is a beautiful and transformative time. When I think about the two week period that I wasn’t talking to him, I remembered how much I appreciated being single. It wasn’t the dates that made it a highlight, it was the emotional stability and peace that I possessed. I had more time to focus on loving and satisfying myself. The freedom in being single isn’t emphasized as much as relationships are. You have time to figure out your needs and wants without the influence and consideration of someone else. Pastor Michael Todd’s relationship series gave me a biblical perspective on what to do while single. Instead of trying to force different outcomes to change my negative perspective of men by trying to recreate a better outcome of what I’ve seen, I have to heal myself of what’s already there.
I am completely healed from that relationship and honestly writing this blog was the final piece to complete the puzzle. I cherish my alone time, and I make sure that I love on myself in all of my glory. I’m focused more than ever before. I have a better idea of what I want out of a relationship, and I am not willing to settle. I also understand that the season that I’m in has no space for that right now. I’m using this time to be a better woman in general, so when that time does come, I can quickly discern if it’s worth my time. Until then, I’m forever mackin’.
Sike, I’m working on this degree and building my business.