So its been almost a month since my boyfriend of five years broke up with me. I'm not going to lie; I was devastated. I shed many tears and spent many nights lying awake dwelling on my former relationship. I even went through the cliché post-breakup ritual of binging on junk-food and watching sappy rom-coms. As painful as this experience was (and still is), It has been a real learning experience for me, and strangely enough, I can honestly say I am happier then I have been in a long time.
Yes, breakups suck, obviously. But at the same time, I see so many women (and men) stuck in unhappy long-term relationships because they are afraid of being single. And to be honest, I believe that I myself was in denial about the state of my former relationship because I was also afraid of being single. I want to use my journey after the breakup (so far) to show others that you can be both single AND happy!
So, what's so great about being single? Here are 5 positive aspects that I have experienced during my post-breakup journey:
1. Re-assess What I Want in a Relationship (and Life)
I think one of the most important aspects about being newly single is being able to re-assess what I really want in a relationship and in the broader context, life. I am able to take a step back, objectively look at my previous relationship, and learn from this experience (something I wasn't able to do during the relationship). For the longest time, I believe I was in denial about the state of this relationship, somehow passing-off major issues as "normal". It is clear to me now that my ex and myself are two different people, moving in opposite directions in life, and ultimately, breaking up was the right decision. I know it will take time, but I believe this is very crucial and necessary process before even considering starting a new relationship.
2. Focus on Myself
There is no doubt that maintaining a relationship takes a lot of time and energy, and quite often, our sense of self can get lost. In my previous relationship, I found that I was so focused on us, that I began to neglect me. I feel like I was investing all of myself into making our relationship work, and it was honestly exhausting. Post-breakup, I am now focusing on myself again. I want to use this time to become a better me for me, not for someone else. I know that self-care is the only way I will be able to get my life back on track and feel whole again.
3. Reconnect With Friends
Another positive aspect about becoming single is being able to reconnect with friends. Obviously romantic relationships require you to spend more time with your significant other than your friends, but I believe there needs to be a balance; something that I did not have in my previous relationship. Both myself and my ex socially isolated ourselves from our friends because we thought all we needed was each other. I also think my ex's negative attitude and mistrust of others in his life (yes, he had a lot of issues that I will not elaborate on) began to rub-off on me, leading me to delete my Facebook and other connections to friends. It is something that I now regret, and I am beginning to reconnect with my long-lost friends. After all, social support is something everyone needs.
4. New-found Independence and Freedom
Obviously, being in a relationship equates to less independence and freedom to do things own your own. Its only natural to want do things as a couple, after all. However, in my previous relationship, I found that my ex was mostly the one who dictated what activities we would do together. There was always a focus on his hobbies and interests, rather than mine (I admit now that he was somewhat selfish and controlling, which is something else I was in denial about during the relationship). I began to forget about the joy that I used to feel when engaging in my own hobbies and interests. Now that I am single again, I am beginning to rediscover that joy these things brought me. I now have time to do things I want to do, own my own, and it feels liberating!
5. I'm Okay with Being Single!
Above all, I believe the most important thing that I have learned from this journey is that I am okay with being single. I am learning that don't need to rely on others, especially a significant man in my life, for my happiness. Although my journey as a newly single woman has just begun, I am growing stronger and more independent every day. One day I know I will be ready to pursue another romantic relationship (and hopefully, find the man that I will spend the rest of my life with), but for now, I am single AND Happy!