As someone who is rarely in and mostly out of mediocre relationships, I know what it's like to be perennially single. And most of the time, I'm fine with it — to be honest, other people tend to be the ones most bothered by my dating habits. But every so often, especially if all of my other close friends are ~in love~ and ~happily monogamous,~ I get down. And that's when I turn to quotes like these, feminist quotes about relationships that empower single women, to help get me back up.
Some of these quotes are old favorites that I've bookmarked and scribbled down in various journals over the years, and some of them I found while writing this article. But the theme throughout, which I hope is evident, is the necessity of loving yourself, of owning yourself, of knowing yourself, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not. Because you are in a relationship, always — with yourself. And you should be kind and loving and compassionate to yourself in the same way you would be those things for a partner. Obviously there's nothing wrong with being in a happy relationship with someone else — but there's also nothing wrong with not being in a relationship with someone else, and these quotes are a good reminder of that fact.
I saved my favorite quote for last on this list. It's by Warsan Shire, the Somali-British poet who's been on a meteoric rise since she collaborated on Beyonce's Lemonade. The first time I experienced her poem "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love" as a recorded reading on Tumblr several years ago, it filled me up and reminded me of my own strength. Also I cried a lot, but you know, that happens. I hope these quotes do the same for you.
1. “One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others. ... It is silly, isn't it, that I would dream of someone else offering to me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself."
- bell hooks, writer, professor and activist
2. “You think because he doesn't love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn't want you anymore that he is right — that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don't. It's a bad word, 'belong.' Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn't be like that."
- Toni Morrison, poet and novelist
3. "Don't let what he wants eclipse what you need. He is very dreamy, but he is not the sun. You are."
- Shonda Rimes, television writer and producer
4. “'You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?' Aunty Ifeka said. 'Your life belongs to you and you alone.'”
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, novelist
5. “On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself — on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger.”
- Simone de Beauvoir, philospher
6. "If love does not know how to give and take without restrictions, it is not love, but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus."
- Emma Goldman, radical anarchist
7. "You can't make homes out of human beings / someone should have already told you that / and if he wants to leave / then let him leave / you are terrifying / and strange and beautiful / something not everyone knows how to love.”
-Warsan Shire, poet