People in relationships are quick to tell their single friends that they should enjoy being single. Theyrewrong.
I got divorced back in May 2012. It was my fault. Not hers. The specifics dont matter much beyond that. Around the same time, my book came out. I was on TV on a bunch of occasions, and I was traveling all over the country. So much so that I practically lived out of hotel rooms for the next three years. As you might imagine, I did what any newly-single guy in his late 20s with a modicum of reknown would do: I went on a datingbender.
Telling people to be happy about being single doesnt accomplish much of anything. Its the empty calories of datingadvice.
But in 2015, I decided to stop cold turkey. It was time to heed the advice every single person in America gets: Get a hobby. Go to the gym and take better care of yourself, and enjoy the alone time. Embrace it, your friends in relationships might say, and have a blast. Except, I found that advice is great but only for a while. And after that, all youre left with is a sense of restlessness over being single and alone. What I want you to know is that this feeling of anxiety is OK. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship after youve done everything youve needed todo.
Until 2012, I had never been alone. Single, sure. But I grew up in a small house with a big family. Then I went off to college, met a girl, married that girl and moved into my first apartment with her. And for a short while, we lived with her family during the peak of the Great Recession. So that first bit of advice single people always get? Enjoy the time you have when youre alone? I didthat.
Being alone can be great for about a year. Maybe two. Then you start looking for someone to enjoy the things youenjoy.
It was awkward at first. Its still a bit awkward to go alone to places like the Denver Zoo, but being alone can be great for about a year. Maybe two. Then you start looking for someone to enjoy the things you enjoy. Its perfectly natural. Were social animals by design. We are not meant to be alone and happy. And while we live in a culture that prioritizes individualism and self-sufficiency above everything else, even the most self-sufficient among us eventually learn that we can only go so far before we need other people to help us take the nextstep.
As far as the personal care thing goes: That was something I indeed needed to do. For a while, my diet consisted of nothing but Chipotle and Starbucks. I didnt work out, and I was still barely functional with a lot of things most people take for granted. So in the course of that newly-found alone time after the divorce, I joined the gym, took up yoga and went full vegan. (OKI needed a hard shove from my doctor to go vegan, but I did it.) Finally, Ive suffered from OCD my entire life. Being single and alone, in addition to changing my diet and exercising, gave me the time and opportunity to better manage this disease. I still have it, mind you, but Im now aware of whats me and whats OCD behavior that I need to identify andstop.
Lastly, I took up a hobby. As a geek, I was part of the first wave of people to play Magic: The Gathering in 1994. I fell out of the game when I went to college and picked it up again briefly in 2009. On my own for a couple of years now, Ive been buying new booster boxes with regularity, building decks, and occasionally venturing out to the store to play others. In my time alone, I found something I desperately needed: a hobby that had nothing to do with being on the computer.
I had done everything I was supposed to do while being single. It was at that point I realized the limits of all the dating advice given to singlepeople.
All of this that Ive shared with you took place between 2014 and 2015. When 2016 rolled around, I realized I had done everything I was supposed to do while being single. It was at that point I realized the limits of all the dating advice given to singlepeople.
What you should know is that there comes a point at which youve done all the things single people are supposed to do. At that point, once you start putting yourself back out there to find someone, its OK to be frustrated about not being in a relationship. Theres nothing wrong with being frustrated. It means you care. Youre passionate about finding someone tolove.
Dating can be frustrating and expensive. Ive always felt that the people who tell you to shut up, relax and enjoy being single are giving you that advice from two different vantage points: 1) Theyre in a relationship and would rather be single themselves, so theyre living vicariously through you. 2) Theyre well-intentioned in wanting you not to be mopey and enjoy yourlife.
Thats sweet of them, but telling people to be happy about being single doesnt accomplish much of anything. Its the empty calories of dating advice. It sounds good, and the advice-givers think that information will be useful, but it just makes the person saying it feel better about him- orherself.
So what should you do? You should take the time you have while youre single and figure things out. Had I not done so, Id probably still be a mess and working on heart attack No. 2. So, get yourself together, if you havent already. Then, figure out what exactly you want to do with your life. Once you have a plan (a loose outline is totally OK, too), thats when you can jump back into the dating and relationship pool. It wont be easy. Its going to be tedious, frustrating and cost you some money, but I have faith that itll be worthit.