I have been single for almost a year now. It’s amazing to think that it’s been that long, because I used to be the girl who couldn’t go very long without being with someone, even if that someone was the wrong person for me. I’ve been in many bad relationships… relationships that pulled me away from family, relationships that tugged me away from faith, and relationships that tested my very strength. I’ve been hit, I’ve been verbally kicked in the gut, and I’ve been hurt. But I’ve also been mean, I’ve screamed, and I’ve said things I shouldn’t say.
Being single for almost a year has, in many ways, been trying. I can’t remember a time since I was about 13 that I didn’t have a boyfriend… or, rather, I can remember short periods, but nothing longer than a few months. A year-long dry spell? That’s a big deal.
I’ve learned a lot from being single, though. I’ve learned a lot about myself, a lot about other people, and a lot about what I’m looking for when that amazing man finally does come along. Here’s a little about what I’ve learned.
- My values are important, and they’re valid. I shouldn’t toss my thoughts, my values, and my dreams aside because someone discounts them. My dreams and values are just as valid as my partner’s. If he can’t accept that, or if he holds values that directly compromise or contradict mine, he isn’t the right guy for me.
- My family is more important than any relationship. My son, my parents, my brother… they’re the ones who have been there in the wake of breakups and makeups. They’re the ones who have stayed consistent, even when I’ve pushed them away for a relationship. That’s important.
- I don’t have to have a man to feel important. This is a big one for me. In the past, I’ve always felt like I needed someone, a partner, to feel valid. I don’t need that. My God is my first big relationship that validates who I am, outside of any romantic connections. My family validates me, my career as a blogger validates me. My faith in God, and my own successes, dreams, and thoughts, are what validate me as a person… not a guy.
- When I do eventually find the right guy for me, it will enhance my other relationships, rather than detracting from them. The right guy isn’t going to trash my family or my faith. He’s going to say “you know what? Those things are very important.” and he’s going to be okay with a) spending time with them, and b) understanding when I want to spend time with them occasionally instead of with him. I can’t count the number of holidays that I have spent running over to boyfriends’ houses or something, instead of spending it with my family. My very last Thanksgiving with my aunt before she passed, was a Thanksgiving dinner I left early to see a movie with my boyfriend. Wow. Just… wow. That’s not to say that spending time with him won’t be frequent, or awesome, but I believe the right man will understand that my family is a huge part of my life… and it isn’t all about him.
That’s not to say my journey as a single woman hasn’t been hard. There are definitely many times when I wish I had someone to turn to. I definitely have my concerns that I won’t find the right father figure for Zach when it comes time for those important things where he needs a dad. He has an amazing uncle, and an amazing grandfather, but a father figure is invaluable. I also wonder, “will I always be living with my parents, single?” And then I realize all of the awesome things involved in living with my family, and the great times that we have.
Being single is hard. I spend a lot of time in prayer, both hoping that a man will eventually join me on my journey through life… but I also spend a lot of time thanking God for the people who are in my life… my very cool best friend who I don’t see enough, but always seems to balance me. My mom, who is my rock. She’s the one I go to every time I need to bounce an idea off of her, the first person who suggested I consider blogging as a full-time gig, and the one who has supported me from day one. My awesome dad, who CHOSE to be my dad (he legally adopted me when I was nine). My brother, who has been a great influence and role model for Zach so far… all of these people are important.
The most important thing that I’ve learned from being single is this.
Relationships and significant others are more than just boyfriends/fiances/husbands. Relationships… significant others… those are the SIGNIFICANT people in your life. I don’t have one significant other. I have a lot of significant others. God. My son. My mom. My dad. My brother. My family around the world. My best friend. These are the significant people in my life, and they have nothing to do with a boyfriend-girlfriend-husband-wife situation.
It’s okay to be single. My time being single has brought me closer to family and to God… that, to me, is more important than any relationship with a guy.