It's tough to be single sometimes – and it can be even harder to be coupled. What are your love, dating, relationship, and single-life questions?
My ex and I broke up a little over a month ago. While I was sad about it at first, the sadness quickly wore off when I realized that my life is a lot calmer and more peaceful without her.
We argued a lot, and she was very critical of me, as well as controlling and manipulative. Because of this, I found myself crying frequently around her, and getting very emotional and heated. I feel a lot better about myself now that I have no interaction with her.
I've been a serial monogamist ever since I first started dating at 17 (I’m 28 now). I went from serious relationship to serious relationship, with breaks of only one or two months at most in between. Because of this. I feel like I need to give myself at least a year of being single to get to know myself better, soul-search, focus on self-love, healing, and personal growth. I want to hone my skills in the areas of independence and self-reliance as well.
I’ve been enjoying being single so far, for the most part, but at certain moments I catch myself being attracted to people, and even accidentally flirting. I wish I could just turn attraction off, but I know that's impossible. Do you think it's necessary/realistic for me to impose a year of singlehood on myself? I really do want to be single for that long (and don't feel at all ready to date right now), but I'm afraid I'll be tempted by someone to stray from my plan.
Would not letting myself be tempted cause me to miss out on exploring a connection with someone who could be the love of my life? Is being single for a certain amount of time something people can or should really plan out? I will ask my therapist about this as well, but I'm really curious about your thoughts on this. It feels like I have to (and need to) choose my own journey of self-development over romance at this time, but does putting an exact time duration on this journey block me from potentially wonderful and life-changing romantic opportunities?
– One Year
First, you can flirt and be single and independent at the same time. This isn’t about putting blinders on. Flirting without coupling up might be part of the process. Not every connection needs to leads to commitment – or even a date.
Second, the whole “I will be single for exactly one year!” idea sounds pretty arbitrary. It might be better to commit to a certain amount of time off apps (if you use them), so you’re not spending all of your free time searching for another partner. If you meet someone offline, you can try taking your time getting to know them. It doesn't have to be all in at once.
It helps to be busy with lots of other things. Have you connected with friends? Met platonic strangers? Tried activities you can do on your own? If you’re doing all of those things – prioritizing your own stuff over having a date – you’re on the right journey. If a date winds up happening in the middle of all of that, great. Then it’s about fitting that experience around everything else, as opposed to dropping everything for the date.
Ask your therapist for input, but to me, this is more about a mindset than a specific duration of time. It’s about doing a bunch of stuff you like as a single person, and maybe, at some point, adding romance to the mix.
You can also work with your therapist to figure out a way to evaluate dates – and relationships – when you have them. Romance should make you happy for a long time. If you don't feel great, you want to know how and when to leave.
Readers? One year? How long? What is the issue here? Happy to hear from other serial monogamists.