As Love Island finishes and churns out another hot young celebrity couple, it seems that the world is obsessed with coupledom. Despite the rising numbers of singles, we are portrayed as clueless wing-men or crying into our tubs of Ben & Jerry’s night after night. Even scientists say we are so lonely we will die young. Thanks for all the bullsh*t. Turns out it is easy to enjoy being single without getting lonely.
Now don’t get me wrong. I want a relationship. Many of us do.
It is just that I am not prepared to settle for the same toxic behaviours that led me to spending 15 years in the wrong relationship. Feeling lonely with the supposed love of your life next to you is Hell. Nope. It is going to take someone incredible to make me change my single status. But let’s be honest.
Being Single does get lonely at times.
There were times after a bad day I longed to come home to someone. I wanted someone that would listen and care about my goals. I needed to go out and talk to someone who completely respected who I was. Don’t get me started on those times where you just need to get laid.
But as the saying goes, there is no point wasting time wishing.
The fact is that right now. You. The person reading this. Like me. Are Single AF. It need not be a bad thing. The last four years have been the happiest of my life.
I learned how being alone does not have to mean lonely.
Here is how I did it.
Take time to Meet the new YOU.
If you have been in a long term relationship, then you are used to running every decision past your significant other. From what film to watch, to bigger decisions such as the impact of career moves. Over the years you will have compromised on your goals and values at times. Maybe parts of you feel watered down, weak and unloved.
Being single removes the validation that a decision is the right or wrong one. That is scary I admit. But it also removes any restrictions. This is a good thing. It is a life-affirming thing.
Think about it.
You can now be unapologetically and authentically you.
You can now go for that promotion if you want. You can go to that fancy restaurant. You can ignore the pots and go out for a walk. You can learn Italian. You can spend all day reading – or writing – that book. You can put yourself forward for the football team, or the local theatre group. You can say no to that film and yes to that one. You can make the decisions as to whether you should invest in property, or a new business venture, or a holiday. There are endless possibilities and no one to answer to but yourself.
You call the shots, and in doing so, you are discovering who you really are.
In building a life that makes you happy, you feel alive rather than lonely. So take time to try out new activities or work on that breaking those bad habits. Trust me, it will pave the way to a happier future whether you are single or in a relationship.
2. Adopt a furry friend.
One of the best things I did to beat loneliness was to adopt my cat, Luna.
Even though my sofa has been wrecked and there is fur everywhere, I adore the endless loving purrs, head butts and cuddles. There are countless animals in shelters that desperately need loving homes. It is a two way relationship that reminds you of what love is again. Even science says that having a pet around can reduce symptoms of depression and lower blood pressure.
However, maybe owning a pet just is not practical for you. Maybe you travel away a lot or you can’t have pets in your building. Don’t worry! One of my friends signed up to Borrow My Doggy and now has a fun-loving friend to take on walks on his days off from being a GP. Another friend adores horses but her time and money is spent on her PhD currently, so she rides as often as she can at a local riding school.
Either way, animals are a fun distraction from the single life and are good for you too!
3. Expand your Social Circle.
One the biggest challenges I faced during my relationship breakdown, was seeing how small and stagnant my circle of friends were.
Now I love my friends to bits, but a break-up changes you.
You soon feel stymied by the same old routine with the same people. I needed to meet new people who I shared my new-found interests with. Fortunately I bumped into Stephen at a networking ‘do’. A few cocktails later I was signing up for my first free event.
Three years later I have social life that makes my married friends turn green with envy. Just last night I was out with an amazing bunch of people and chatting away as we sampled the exquisite menu at Tattu in Manchester. After a hard week, it was just what I needed. We still all chat about the memories from the various weekends away we have been on. More importantly, through Social Circle, I have met a great bunch of new friends who remind me how great life can be.