Before you tie yourself down to a serious relationship (no matter how truly wonderful and life-changing and perfect it is), you need to learn how to be single—really be single. Like, truly revel in your singleness and embrace it, and love it fiercely. I think people who identify as “serial monogamists” seriously miss out on critical life lessons and experiences you can’t really make up for once you’re super serious with another human. Like, you can’t just pack a sundress and sunblock, book a one-way flight to Thailand and spend two weeks living in hostels, getting wasted with the friends you met along the way.
Sorry to break it to you, but once you’re in a committed relationship, all that wild, lush recklessness is not as much of an option anymore. If you want to go to Thailand, you have to tell your SO you’re going to Thailand, and maybe they'll even want to come with you, and then it's a whole "we're a couple planning a vacation" thing. Which can be great, but it's far different from the random flight of fancy it would be for just your single self. Likewise, if you want to wordlessly press yourself up against a stranger, you can’t (unless you and your boo are cool with those things, then by all means, press away).
Before you commit to a serious, monogamous relationship, you should take advantage of being single. These are some things you really should have under your belt before you tie the proverbial relationship knot.
1. Have A Terrible One-Night stand
Once you're in a real relationship, you probably shouldn't be going home with randos, or that guy from work whose shirt you've been fictionally unbuttoning with your eyes, or your friend's friend's cute brother. While you're still single is the time to dabble and expose your body to other bodies (if that's what you want, obviously). But not all one-night stands are hot and heavy. Sometimes they're just heavy and disappointing, and weird. Sometimes the deed is done in three minutes and all you can muster is a quiet "Meh." Sometimes you'll sneak out of their bed at 2AM because the thought of spending a second longer next to this person in their sweaty bed makes you feel sorry for yourself. And that's okay. Because learning what bad sex means is important—and it means you'll deeply appreciate the good stuff when you have it.
Also, I feel like laughing together about the terrible sexual experiences of your past is kind of a necessary bonding moment for couples. You wouldn't want to come up empty-handed when it's awkward story time.
2. Have An Awesome One-Night Stand
Also, take someone home and have a killer all-night sex fest. Do it up, let them know you're not looking for anything serious, and then never call this person again. I'm not saying you have to make this a habit (I'm also not saying you can't, if you want to) but it's an empowering, fun experience that will not only leave you with satisfied sex organs, but a healthy alternate angle on sex itself: That it can be about a meaningful connection, yes, but also about a really powerful physical one, and nothing more. That's a great thing to know about sex. What's the point of using something if you aren't going to explore all the things you can use it for?
3. Sext Someone You Shouldn't Be Sexing
Do something with another person you know is risky, at least once. Understand that it might backfire and do it anyway. Nothing career-ruining or completely immoral, but something slightly dangerous, like your friend's brother. Do something crazy enough to make you shiver with "Oh My God, I Can't Believe I Did That" excitement.
4. Fall In Love With A Hobby
Most importantly, focus on yourself completely. You should typically put yourself first most of the time, but selfishness is difficult to pull off as smoothly when you care about another person and want to integrate them into your life. You have to make room in your schedule for them. You have to include them, and support them, and allow them to support you. But before all that, be selfish. Become fully engrossed in art, or writing a book, or whatever it is that you love. Spend full weekends locked up in your room and avoid texts from other people checking if you're alive.
5. Fall Deeper In Love With Your Career
Love is important, but your career is equally (if not more) important. It makes my bones ache when I see people give up their jobs for other people, or assume their boyfriend or girlfriend will financially take care of them. No, girl. You need to make your own money, and then spend your own money however you want to spend your money, and take pride in your work, whatever it is. Before you commit, at least have solid work goals. Know that if you are to break up with this person, you will be okay. Don't ever depend on anyone for money or lifestyle.
6. Be In An Awful One-Sided Relationship
This is totally not a requirement, but I've been in a couple of these and the lessons I learned turned out to be weirdly useful, so thanks, Jerk Exes Of Mine. Knowing how awful humans can be actually illuminates how absolutely amazing others are.
7. Decide On Your Path With No One Else In Mind Except Yourself
If you plan on getting your Master's or PhD, your nursing license, a yoga instructor certificate or whatever it is you want to do, don't base your plans around the person you are seeing. Apply for programs across the country, the world, whatever. Find the right place for you, even if it means you have to move your entire life to Scotland. You can't exactly do this when you're with someone (it's definitely harder)—and if you're married and have a kid? Forget about it.
8. Go On A Wild Roadtrip With Your Best Friends
Cliché because it is the best! Spend an all-friends weekend driving to another state or Las Vegas with no solid plans except debauchery. Bring condoms, a handle of vodka, glitter, and a skimpy bikini. Blast Kesha the entire time. Say sorry to no one.
Images: martinak15/Flickr; Giphy(8)