Knowing how to be single is an essential life skill. There are so many benefits to being single, from learning about who you are as an independent person to holding out for what you really want in a relationship. The fact is, being single is great. "As a single woman, you should remind yourself that you have an amazing life," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. "Let your confidence in your own life exude into everything around you... Happiness and confidence attracts the same. Know that the right man [or woman] for you may be the very next person you date."
But some people still really struggle with being on their own. Maybe they've never done it for very long, maybe when they are single they just obsess over getting into a relationship— but some people never just settle into the rhythms of being single and standing on their own two feet. But without that skill, you'll never discover your potential and see how independent you can be— and you can easily end up getting into lackluster relationship. Because relationships are great when they work, but they can also be really unhealthy and a total drain. And you deserve way better than that. So here are the signs that you need to learn how to be single, because it should never feel like a chore— it's an opportunity.
1. You're A Relationship Hopper
If you've never been single for more than a short break in between relationships, it's time to think about taking a step back. “I think being single is an exercise that every person should go through at some point in their adult life. It is a time that gives us the distance and clarity that we need to get to know who we truly are as a person, and to firmly define what it is that we want in a future partner,” psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. If you've never been single for any length of time, you're missing out on essential learning time.
2. You Consistently Choose Your Partner Over Your Friends
If your relationship is a priority, that's fine— everyone's entitled to their priorities. But if you're always choosing your relationship over your friends and family, you're probably too dependent on it. Somewhere, there's a fear of being alone that's making you always put your relationship above everything— and you need to watch out for that.
3. You Never Turn Anyone Down
You need to know what you want out of a relationship— and not settle for less. If you go for everyone who shows interest in you, you're not making an active choice about who you want to be with. “When we are in a relationship, we are too close to a situation, and possibly habits that have grown to annoy us. When we have this time to step away and get some perspective, we can make some clear and honest decisions about what we are really looking for,” Martinez says. Some people convince themselves they have feelings for everyone who is interested in them— but they're missing out.
4. You Go Too Far To Please Your Partner
If you're desperate to stay in a relationship, you may be really accommodating to your partner. Like, too accommodating. If you find that you let your partner walk all over you, you're going to end up resenting them. "The real problem here is that resentment can build up over time and, like rust, it never sleeps – it just silently eats away at your relationship," Gary Brown, PhD, LMFT, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles who works with individuals and couples, tells Bustle. "As time goes on and the resentment builds it can reach the point where your partner actually begins to feel the worst form of resentment – bitterness. Once resentment reaches this state, a fair amount of damage has been done to the relationship."
5. Being Single Scares You
Some people are straight up open about being scared of being single. I had a friend who was distraught about a breakup, not because she missed her ex but because she didn't want to be alone. But you have to face your fears. If being single scares you, that's all the more reason you should do it.
6. You Get Bored On Your Own
You should be able to enjoy your own company. In fact, if you get used to spending time on your own, you might find you actually prefer it. "Being single is not societally dismissed or blasphemed as it once was," Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With A Narcissist, tells Bustle. "There are certainly temperaments that are better suited to being alone — some people are more solitary by nature, and may enjoy companionship from time to time, but actually prefer the rhythms of being single."
7. You Put Up With Crappy Behavior
Being in a relationship is not de facto better than being single. "I'd rather be single, in a comfortable relationship with myself, than trapped in a dysfunctional, toxic relationship with someone else," certified relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca tells Bustle. And she's totally right. If you find yourself feeling that any relationship is better than being alone, then you need to get better at being single.
Being single is an important skill— but it's also a great opportunity. If you find you can't be alone, jump into relationships, and often go too far to keep a partner, then you need to learn how to be on your own. It'll make your life better and your relationships stronger.