What Being Single By Choice Is Really Like

I like being single. I know that sounds like something people tell themselves when they're about to embark on some clichéd rom-com journey on a search for true love, but honestly, I do. I am eventually going to settle down and marry Grant Gustin because, with eyebrows as fierce as ours, it is our moral obligation to the universe to procreate (you're welcome in advance, Hollywood), but right now I am young and ambitious about my career and I feel no need to tie myself down by committing to a relationship.

That being said, if it does happen, I'm not going to turn the other cheek to it. The difference is that I'm not actively looking for a relationship. If it happens, it will be a happy coincidence. And like I'm learning with a lot of things in my mid-twenties, you have to accept that things happen when they happen—and that sometimes, they don't happen at all. In the meantime, I have everything that I want and need, and am happy with who I am. It will be nice when I eventually share that with someone, but I don't feel a particular need to seek them out. And it's annoying when people assume that just because you aren't in a relationship that you are actively looking for one. That is definitely not always the case. Being single by choice is a lot different then waiting for your next relationship. Here's what happens when the former applies to you:

You Do The Things You Enjoy

It was a longstanding joke at the first college I attended (which skewed significantly more female than male) that girls would boost up their GPAs so they could take one of the classes with more men in it and afford to bomb it while they scoped out guys. (Obviously this is a terrible motivation to take any class, so I emphasize, this was a joke made in admittedly poor taste). But I could see just the smallest grain of truth in the eyes of some classmates, and I got the impression that people were only going to parties or joining certain activities hoping that we would meet a certain type of someone, and not even fully enjoying wherever they found themselves. When you're not actively looking for someone, you end up doing what you love and enjoy in your spare time.

You Change For The Right Reasons

I'm in my 20s, and seeing how much I have changed even in the past few years reminds me that I have some significant room for growth. Every other week I recognize some kind of reaction to a situation that I want to curb or some kind of habit I want to kick, but all of those motivations are intrinsic and something that I want to do for myself. I think those kinds of changes are much more lasting and meaningful than changing for the sake of getting into a relationship, for the sake of what you think will appeal to someone else.

You Never Let Opportunities Pass You By

The idea of waiting for a relationship sounds so stifling and stagnant. It's like how they tell you when you're lost you should stay put to make yourself easier to find. I don't ever want a what if, what if feeling about waiting for a relationship stop me from taking chances or going after my goals in life. The experience of going on adventures alone is much more enriching than waiting for someone else to take them with you.

You Never Waste Time Feeling Sorry For Yourself

And why should you? Not being in a relationship does not mean there is anything wrong with you. Relationships are about timing and chemistry and mutual understanding. Being alone is not a reflection on your character and shouldn't affect how you view yourself, but if you are waiting for your next relationship, it is easy to get caught up in self-pity. Don't get me wrong: We all feel sorry for ourselves now and then, single or not single. But if you are comfortable in your own skin and not waiting for something to happen, odds are you will bounce from it much more quickly.

You Value Time With Your Friends And Family That Much More

Being single by choice, I have much more time to spend with the humans I already love, and feel so much more connected to them as a result. Being in a relationship is a huge commitment for anyone, and I have seen time and again how friends and even family members can fall off the map once they start dating someone. If you're just waiting for your next relationship to happen, you're already one more degree of detached from that inner circle before the relationship even happens. I prefer being in the present moment instead.

You Experience Happiness With No Strings Attached

When I am happy, I am happy. When I am proud of myself, I am proud of myself. There is no "but" at the end of those sentences, because I don't feel like there is something missing from my life. When people are waiting for a relationship, it is as if there is some kind of hole that they need to fill, and I think that need will always interfere with how you view yourself and your situation. When you're single by choice you don't ever compromise the way you feel with whether or not you happen to be flying solo.

You Let Your Heart Pull You Instead Of Pulling Your Heart

As I said before, if I happened to meet someone and it felt right, then I would not ignore that happiness for the sake of being single by choice. But I would much rather just happen to find that person than commit all this time and effort into engineering it to happen and constantly hoping that something will work out. I like the idea that love comes to you when you're not looking for it. Maybe that's what will happen to me, and maybe it won't. Either way, I'm happy being single right now—and no, that's not just a thing I say while I obsessively search online dating sites for the love of my life.

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