I’ve never been alright with not being in a relationship. For the first time, I’m trying to give it a shot. I don’t look at anyone, I stay away from dating sites, and I still feel attractive. While that’s all well and great, I still feel like I get too anxious about every new person who is a possible match who talks to me. I don’t know how to get out of the mindset of “needing” a guy. Is there any advice you could give me to be happy being single?
I think it’s great that you’re trying to be single and on your own for a little bit. Going from relationship to relationship without leaving time for just you isn’t very healthy. I always encourage everyone I know to be totally for at least a few months of their lives. It’s such an important way to get to know yourself, and to really be ready for a good relationship. After my first breakup, I was single for over three years, and I learned so much about myself during that time.
Once you’ve gotten used to a pattern of always dating someone, adjusting to be single can be difficult (as you can see). It’s totally normal to feel yourself slipping back into these old patterns. It might take some time to feel like you don’t “need” anyone around you. That’s okay! You just need to know that you have to give yourself that time.
Use all of your new alone time to your advantage. Focus on your hobbies and the things you love, or try doing new things. When I was single, I spent a lot of time making new friends and meeting new people – and no, not just potential boyfriends. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. This is your time to do that. Go to new places, experience new things, and experiment a little if you want to. Or you can stick to doing what you’re already into. Love reading? Go through a reading list. Obsessed with photography? Join a club, start a blog. Fill your time with things you enjoy so you don’t spend time focusing on how alone you are.
You should also fill your time with friends. Being in between relationships really allows you to develop strong bonds with your friends, because you have so much time to devote to them. Hang out with your best friends all the time. Have “friend dates” with them. Do stuff with them you’d do with a boyfriend, like going on little vacations or getting dinner and a movie. Having a friend by your side will make you feel less lonely too.
If you’re really bummed about being single, and you’re really having a hard time with this, consider seeing a therapist or psychiatrist. They can really help you deal with any co-dependency you might have.
Learning how to be happy being alone can take time, and it might be a slow process. That’s okay! Please remember that it’s okay to feel bummed about being single sometimes. You don’t need to be 100 percent fine with it every single day of your life. Let yourself be upset sometimes. Also, don’t cut totally cut yourself off from the possibility of meeting someone unless you really don’t feel ready. At the same time, don’t push yourself to talk to anyone if you’re not feeling ready.
And the next time you’re anxious about a potential match? Take a deep breath, and calm down. I always found that writing my feelings out in a journal was super helpful. I also found that directing my nervous energy towards something else was helpful, like work or school. You can also distract yourself with your friends, a good movie, or a long quiet walk. Keep your mind occupied on something else until you feel more calm. Good luck!
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