For some of us, being single is just our natural state. We can be single for months, years, even decades and be completely OK with that independence. For others, being single is a rare experience. We obsess over being in a relationship and have trouble imagining why any would ever want to be single. While there's no right answer for everyone, if you're never single then you can miss out on a lot.
"Learning to be single and spend time with yourself is how you grow as a person," Dawn Michael, PhD, a relationship expert and author of My Husband Wont Have Sex With Me, tells Bustle. "You are forced to find ways to occupy your time, develop hobbies, friends, [and] interests." It can be a great thing. But even if being single isn't for you in the long-term, it's important that to make the most of being single.
And sometimes, it's time to take a break from the dating rat race and experience how to truly be on your own, for some time, at least. So how do you know if you need to stay single for a while? Here are the signs relationship experts say to look out for.
1. You Feel Pressure To Date
There can be a lot of pressure to pair up — from society or from your family — but that's not a good reason to be dating. "You’re pursuing a relationship because you are feeling pressure from your family or friends," Pricilla Martinez, a dating coach with Blush Online Life Coaching, tells Bustle. "This may be either be communicated to you directly in the form of your aunt cornering you at Thanksgiving dinner. Or indirectly, because all of your friends are in committed relationships and you are the perpetual odd wheel at every outing. Either way, if you are seeking a relationship, it should be because it’s what you want. Judging your life on someone else’s timeline is just going to lead to discontent." Take a break to figure out what you really want.
2. You're Scared Of Relationships
You may think that being scared of relationships is a good reason to go for one and overcome that fear, but sometimes you need to take a step back and work on yourself. The only problem is, having a fear of relationships isn't always easy to spot.
"Fear is one of the hardest feelings to determine when it comes to relationships," Martinez says. "It will disguise itself as other things, often small and insignificant, that you use to end a relationship when you are afraid of commitment. This pattern tends to repeat over and over. You find the slightest flaw to use as a way out. You should probably stay single until you’ve developed [a] healthy coping mechanism for your fears." Work on yourself first and you'll be in a much better place for a relationship.
3. You're Scared Of Being Alone
That being said, many people struggle with exactly the opposite — the fear or being alone. "On the opposite end of the spectrum, people afraid of being alone will compromise their standards or put themselves in compromising situations for the sake of pleasing the person they’re with," Martinez says. "They are so afraid of being abandoned that they take whatever is dished out. This is more frightening than a fear of commitment, because you are because you may rationalize away abusive behavior, your needs, your safety, and most importantly your self-esteem." This is definitely an issue that can take a while and come to terms with if you want to avoid getting into a pattern of bad relationships again and again.
4. You're Rebounding
Sometimes, we just want a distraction from our last bad breakup — but this is actually such an important time to be single. "Dating someone just to get over the last person can be a recipe for disaster, although it doesn’t have to be," Martinez says. "If you aren’t actually serious about the new relationship, make sure they are aware of your actual level of commitment. Misleading someone into thinking you are prepared for something long-term isn’t going to end well. Also, be careful that you aren’t setting yourself up to manage even more emotions than you’re prepared for. Dealing with feelings from your previous and new relationship at the same time may be overwhelming." Give yourself a chance to reset.
5. Your Baggage Feels Heavy
If you notice that your baggage from your last relationship is still affecting you, it may be time to be alone for a bit, Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and the owner of Exclusive Matchmaking tells Bustle. For example, she says if you were cheated on and now you can't get over the idea that everyone will cheat on you or you keep getting suspicious of your new partner, it's time to take a break and work through those issues. We all have baggage, but it shouldn't be totally dominating.
6. You Keep Picking The Wrong People
"If you notice yourself consistently not respecting the people you are attracted to, it’s time to be single for a while," Cohen says. "When this is happening, your experience of romantic interest has become devoid of respect for the other (which means your self-respect has slid as well). This means it’s time to do a bit of soul searching on your own to sort it out." If your exes all have some flaws or toxic behaviors in common, it may be time for a break.
7. If You're Feeling Very Sensitive To Rejection
Convinced that every person you meet on Tinder is "The One"? Feel totally frustrated every time a first date goes wrong? Sometimes, when we're feeling less than 100 percent, we start to invest too much and take every tiny slight very personally. If this is the case, Trombetti says it's time to take some time to be single — the stakes shouldn't feel this high. Take a break until you can get a perspective on dating again.
While being single is easy for some of us, for others it's more of a struggle. Don't be afraid to take a break and work through any personal issues before you start dating again. When the time comes, you'll feel much more ready.