They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and that's no truer than when it comes to people in relationships and single people. When I was single, I dreamed of having someone to hold (and more) at night. When I'm coupled up, I miss being single.
I used to wonder if I felt this way because I was with the wrong person. But this feeling has continued popping up even now that I'm with a great partner and everything's smooth-sailing. I chalk it up to pure wanderlust. Being single, after all, is pretty fun. You can go wherever you want whenever you want, you're open to meeting people, and there's no limit on the interactions you can have with the people you meet. It's a pretty sweet deal.
So, are people in relationships forever destined to feel like they're missing out on this? Or is there a way to get the excitement of the single life while you're in a relationship? "If you're happy in your relationship but miss the single life, there are a few things you can try to regain that sense of freedom," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle.
The key is maintaining an active life outside your relationship.
The key is maintaining an active life outside your relationship. It's totally fine to want time away from your partner, says Hershenson. If you feel like you need more independence, you could designate a night per week to spend with your friends, go to a class, or do something else just for you. You could even plan a trip by yourself or with your friends. In fact, you should be spending at least some time every day alone. Anyone can start to feel suffocated if they're with someone 24/7. "Whether it's getting up early to work out or read the paper or watching some TV after work by yourself, alone time is really important for your mental health," says Hershenson.
But How Do You Know If You Really Want To Be Single?
Or maybe, you really do want to be single. Missing single life doesn't always mean you should be single, but it could. If you're always wondering who else is out there, lamenting that you didn't sow your wild oats, or finding small flaws in your partner, spending some time single may be in order.
"Feeling settled in your life and truly knowing who you are as an individual are very important before settling down with a partner."
A good rule of thumb to figure out if you truly want to be in a relationship is to ask yourself if you'd like to be with your life partner in five years (if a life partner is something you want), says Hershenson. If part of you hopes your relationship will be over by then, you may not really want to be in it now.
"Career and self-discovery are important aspects to a person's life, and if there are other priorities taking immediate precedent, then the focus should be on other areas of your life. If climbing the corporate ladder is your most important priority right now, for example, it is often difficult to have your attention divided," she says. "Feeling settled in your life and truly knowing who you are as an individual are very important before settling down with a partner. Feeling secure with one's self leads to more security in the relationship. If it takes later in life to achieve this, that is OK."