"I love my freedom and I don't want to lose myself." That's a line a lot of us say when we're debating the pros and cons of being single versus being in a relationship. Hell, I've said that exact sentence plenty of times when friends would ask me why I've been single for so long, but I was also missing the point.
Yes, I still believe it's healthy and beneficial for someone to be alone for a significant period of time. How long? Depends on the person. There is no universal time table for how long it takes to find yourself and become a stronger person solo. And yes, I obviously believe you can be genuinely happy single. There is, however, the possibility of falling too deep into the single mentality that you become jaded and misguided.
Trust me. I know.
As I've previously mentioned time and time again, I've been single for six years now, and by that, I mean I haven't been labeled as someone's "girlfriend" in six years, but please believe, I've had very substantial relationships with men throughout this time that felt very much like a relationship without the title (#theproblemwithdating).
Regardless, I found myself falling into this abyss of the single crutch. I had been "alone," for all intents and purposes, for so long that I began to feed into the misconception that I would somehow be sacrificing my happiness or my free time or my sanity if I chose to get into a relationship, and so, I'd kind of push that entire concept away.
It made sense why I thought this way--all of my previous relationships made me feel as though relinquishing those parts of myself (very important parts, mind you) were necessary. All I knew was sacrifice, because I had to sacrifice a piece of happiness with every male relationship I had, so that became how I viewed love.
I was basing everything off a faulty prototype.
Now, after years of self-reflection and analysis and refusal to feed myself bullshit that would keep me comfortably cocooned in my erroneous beliefs, I know that love was never meant to be a reward given to me for my sacrifice.
Don't get me wrong. Every relationship involves some compromise, but a compromise is different than giving up a part of yourself for a relationship, and I would hope you can decipher the difference.
One of the main distinctions between being single and getting into a monogamous relationship is just that--monogamy. With that said, I already stay committed to one person when I date even though I technically don't have to, by today's standards. I can't date multiple people at once, because it's too exhausting and I feel like I'm cheating myself out of genuinely seeing where it could go by keeping the situationship in a bin of potentials. Plus, when you find someone you're really into, nobody else matters anyway. At least, that's the case for me.
So, really, the focus is finding the right partner who could be my co-pilot, especially now that I'm venturing off into this new lifestyle of entrepreneurship. My days are busy and different and hectic but also open and flexible. Some days I want to just chill on the couch and marathon something on Netflix and other days I want to jump in the car and take a mini adventure to see where I end up. Some days I'm not going to be able to text you back right away and other days I'll want to FaceTime for an hour just to see that cute mug of yours in between meetings. So, the right person for me is someone who understands and accepts the life I lead, because it's the life that makes me happy.
I also don't have to give up my time alone. We all need some alone time to re-calibrate and get our minds right. Often, the mistake we make is suffocating our partner because we're afraid to give each other distance. That fear is rooted in the idea that they'll love that distance so much they won't want to come back to you.
Yes, post-ghosting stress disorder can be a bitch to overcome, but if you can build a strong foundation of love and trust with someone, you won't need to worry about whether they're going to leave. You can give each other healthy distance without the fear of never hearing from them again. It's all about communication.
However, we keep feeling like a relationship means giving up or letting go certain aspects of our lifestyle that make us happy, and that shouldn't be the case (unless, of course, you're talking about fucking around with a bunch of people, then, yes, probably not the best approach).
A healthy relationship should not make you feel like you're giving up the parts of you and your life that help you feel alive. It should feel like you're now adding someone special into the equation to share those experiences with, and that's a beautiful thing.