How to Stay Single--when you want to be
As of one week ago, I was selectively single. Today, I’m still single. I’m just more convinced that I’m ready to seriously consider being in a relationship—or at least ready to commit to he idea of getting to know people I would seriously consider being in a relationship with.
That wasn’t always the case.
After my divorce I decided I needed some time to just be: Be a mom; be myself; be alone. During this time I rediscovered things I like to do; music I like to listen to; things I want to experience. I rediscovered myself not within any of the number of roles that define slices of my life—but me when my roles are off.
To society being single is a cause.
Eventually I expect to see walks, telethons and drives to eradicate the state of being single. Friends, family, coworkers worry about singles; I’m not sure why. Reveling in my singularity I’m statistically more likely to be happier, to live longer, and to smile more—at least more than I did during the declining years of marriage—than if I were in a relationship for which I was not ready.
And they—relationships I mean—seemed to be everywhere.
When I was young “Excuse me, can I talk to you for a minute?” usually resulted in my having conversations I did not want to have. “Can I have your number?” resulted in my dodging phone calls or in giving the number to some phantom residence.
Rejection always seemed kinder when I wasn’t around to do it.
Today, these questions are met with “no, thank you” or “no”: I don’t indulge in conversations I don’t wish to have: another benefit of divorce and maturity.
Remaining single in 2012 is not as easy as it looks. Here are a few tips—not a few easy tips; not a few nice tips—just a few tips.
1. Just say no: friends, family, coworkers and strangers will try to set you up on dates with people they presumably care about. If you aren’t ready for a relationship, why say yes? Say no early and often. Saying no after asking what he does for a living, how he looks, and why he is available only make it appear that you are weighing the option and he’s coming up short.
2. Develop confidence in your own skin: spending time with men you have absolutely no interest in dating is one of the fastest confidence builders. First, love yourself and the skin you’re in. If you need to make changes for you to love the way you look—do that. Then, spend time in places where you least expect to find someone you would go for. Warning: love doesn’t typically adhere to plans or timelines, so just because you aren’t looking for it, doesn’t mean it’s not looking for you. Still, when you are not ready for a relationship and if the wrong person comes along, you’ll be able to strike up conversations, etc…without the possibility of anything more lasting forming.
When I wanted to be in a relationship but wasn’t quite sure, I spent time looking in a place I was least likely to find one. I met a lot of interesting people, but I didn’t seriously consider them. I admit, this probably wasted a lot of people’s time, but I never pretended to be more ready than I was. I didn’t string any one along—intentionally. Still, spending time there only made me more sure of what I want when I want it. It also helped me appreciate things like: the importance of telling people no; the value of my time; the value of other people’s time and the art of beginning and ending a conversation.
3. Immerse yourself in life: find the thing you are truly passionate about and start doing them. Join or cobble together clubs and groups that are doing what you like to do. More time doing leaves less time to get to know anyone.
Warning: while you are out living life and doing what you love—you may find yourself meeting and getting to know people you identify with; people you want to know more—people you can consider friends. Some of my best dates have been with friends…Having friends in your life who share the same interests when you aren’t ready for a relationship means you won’t jump into a relationship just to have someone to go to readings with you. It also means when you are ready for a relationship, you know where to find people who share your interests.
Ok, so it turns out there is no clear cut formula, no magic, no list of tips that will make life less messy. The only advice is make a choice.
If you aren’t ready to date: don’t.
And if you are, when you find yourself ready to make room for someone else—jump in with both arms open wide.