I have lost count of the amount of friends have told me that they ‘envy’ my freedom as a single woman. ‘Oh to be single again’ my friend Becky laments as she feeds her rosy cheeked toddler. “ You can go where you want, when you want, have long lie-ins on a Sunday and no in-laws.”My colleague, Sarah, tells me. “After 15 years with the same man I would love to be single again, do my own thing. You are so lucky”
Sure, there are times where being single is great. I have travelled to exciting places, I have my own routine and can spend time with who I like – even if that is just me, myself and my favourite movie at times. I genuinely am having the time of my life and I imagine the increasing population of singletons in the UK would agree. Research also confirms I am on track for a longer, more fulfilling life as a single pringle than my married counterparts.
But let’s face it. Sometimes it just sucks to be flying solo.
I want to share all these great experiences with someone special. I want someone who loves me exactly who I am, just like Mark Darcy did with Bridget Jones (even if it did take ten years and having a child for him to commit.) Dammit give me my happily ever after – even if I am influenced by generations of societal conditioning. But hey I am not the only one, the online dating industry is booming with almost half of all singles trying to find their match online. So much for the single life being the best life.
The advice you get when you are single and searching varies from the well-meaning to the genuinely disturbing. If I had a pound for every time someone told me ‘it will happen when you least expect it’ I could afford my next bucket-list trip without relying on my credit card.
Fortunately for you, I have sifted through all the bullsh*t to find bring you some great advice that will both increase your happiness regardless of relationship status, and hopefully introduce you to the love of your life.
Live Life in the Moment.
My four years as a single woman have been some of the best in my life. However, the trouble with single life – for those who aim to be out of it – is that one never knows when it might end. I say ‘trouble’, but it is also one of its many highlights. For, really, there is nothing like stepping on a plane and finding your single self upgraded to first class and sat next to a handsome stranger like I did in 2016. One thing is for sure, time will pass whether you are sat in your apartment block tower wishing your prince (or princess) will come, or whether you are skinny dipping with strangers in the Seychelles. So relax and enjoy life without worrying what the future holds. If you do happen to end up coupled-up, these are the days you will look back on with nostalgia.
Be Uniquely You
The best thing about being single is that you can take time to do some soul-searching and make decisions about your own long-term happiness. It is those major decisions which tell us which relationships continue to serve us, and which are holding us back. For example, I am glad I took time to rediscover my love of travel and it took guts to book holidays without my friends at first. However, when I went searching for trips that suited my interests, rather than appeasing my beach-loving girlfriends, it opened up new friendships with people who are just like me.
I also kicked a few toxic habits (and people) despite protests from my former friends who had done their best to discourage me from doing such crazy things as going to the gym regularly and eating well in my pursuit to be healthy and happy. I would like to think that living my life my way has built the foundations for a great relationship with a kindred spirit, rather than having to settle. Either way, choosing to set sail by my own star, rather than someone else’s, has lead to a new found confidence and fulfilment – which I am told are very attractive qualities.
Create a Dazzling Social Life.
Socialising can be a double-edged sword unless you do it right. On one hand, if all you do is hang around with the same married couples you are rarely going to meet anyone new. If all you do is swipe right on Tinder then you are just going to end up on more dates with little to talk about other than Love Island.
So how do you build a social life that will make you look fun and interesting and introduces you to potential partners?
I found by joining a social group that offered a diverse range of activities locally suited me down to the ground. I found a great bunch of people to act as my wing-women (and men) as I flirted my way across the dance floor, and to drag me a few hungover miles around Cheshire the following day. Soon, my weekends were full of fun and I was planning holidays all over Europe with my new found friends. My social life has benefited more than my love life. When I was interviewed for my dream job at a Times 100 company, my dazzling social life and varied interests was what landed me the job. After all, I seemed fun and interesting compared to the usual legal types.
A little savvy research from local Relationship Coach and Author, Sam Owen, in her article ‘What your social circle says about you‘ suggests that if we keep our ‘ideal self’ in mind when socialising we will soon begin to attract people and experiences that reflect our ideals. Like attracts Like after all. For me, this involved stepping outside my usual social circle, and comfort zone, by going to places and events that appealed to my new found sense of self.
As Sam sagely says:
The people we surround ourselves with impact virtually every aspect of our life. Is it time to think about what your circle says about you and what it’s doing to you and your chances of success, health and happiness?