Single for a year
(Mind you, for the last 365 days, nobody has been banging down my door to date me—though I did have my “Sorry. I am not available,” speech prepared!)
Since I was 15, I’ve been in one romantic relationship or another, with the longest time between relationships being around 3 months. I’ve been in 2 relationships that were over 5 years long and 5 relationships that were over 2 years long. I've had some really wonderful partners, but it was often the luck of the draw. I was casting a pretty wide net.
A year ago, I had to end a relationship that was not healthy. I was scared of a lot of things, including being alone. I had been finding my value through romantic love, which meant my value always fluctuated. I felt that I needed to change myself to become whatever the other person wanted me to be. I now know that had the relationship not been so extreme, I probably would not have taken this time to myself.
I learned that I was using boyfriends as a crutch for my social anxiety and that (fortunate for me) I can actually manage it on my own. (Performing in drag and creating art has also helped me cope.) I can also just feel some anxiety and if I really don’t like a situation I can leave.
I learned to value being alone and to notice when I’m picking up the phone or trying to fill my schedule as a way to avoid really being with myself. I am learning to be okay just being okay, to have better awareness of my impulses and to just let feelings settle.
I had time to reflect on past relationships and what my roles were, positive and negative. When I’ve hopped back into the dating scene right after a breakup, I just tossed the baggage from my last relationship right on top of the pile of all the other relationships before it, without really learning much.
I’ve learned that my friends are even more wonderful than I had previously thought and that I can lean on them, and also be there for them, regardless of relationship status. Romantic partners shouldn’t be total emotional support partners.
Finally, there were some elements of my personality that I had originally hoped would change, but did not. To an extent, I still crave validation and want to see myself through the eyes of someone who loves me. I still get big crushes on people that I really don’t want to and I am still sensitive, but I can be discreet and limit what I share to someone I don’t know well. I’m learning to embrace more of my imperfections, have self-compassion and realize that there are benefits to having these traits.
Over the last year, I also had time to travel and accomplish a lot. I’ll be posting some photos from some of these adventures on my Instagram!
Thank you for reading.