I have never been great at relationships. I’ve been in several, but I’ve never been great at them. I always become either way too invested, or way too distant. I went through a 2 and a half-year relationship trying to fix someone who didn’t want to be fixed, and I went through a year-long relationship with someone I didn’t even really like. I’ve always looked for relationships, though. I’ve always constantly thought “could I date you?”, “who would be a potential match for me”. Anytime I went out, I went out with the sole purpose of looking for a possible relationship candidate.
Then, I met Chris ( we will call him Chris for the purpose of this article). When I met Chris, I was going through a pretty hard time. I had just lost someone close to me, I was having financial struggles, and my life was just pretty chaotic. I met Chris in the midst of this chaos. He was so… fun. He was always wanting to go and do something and he was always so optimistic in a time where I could only see the bad things around me. I got pretty close to him really fast. We dated for a few months, and while I was happy with him, my life wasn’t seeming to improve any. I was still having financial troubles, still mourning my loss, and still being met with chaos at every turn. Chris was my rock through that.
Until one day, I was having a particularly hard day, and I asked Chris if we could go to lunch. I just wanted to see him because he seemed to make everything better. So, I went to meet him at his house, and he asked me to go outside with him. I agreed, and we sat on the back porch, and he looked me straight in my face and said: “Hallye, I just really don’t have time to care about your problems”.
Then he left. And I haven’t seen him since. I think he moved halfway across the country for a while, I’m not too sure. But those words hit me pretty hard. He “didn’t have time” to care about my problems? I didn’t even have time to care about MY OWN problems, I didn’t ask HIM to care about them. I just asked him to be there. It made no sense to me. But after that, I re-evaluated my past relationships and realized that I was always investing too much energy into these guys, and I had never really invested any time in myself. So, I told myself that I was done seeking out relationships until I found time to take care of MY OWN problems. Not to say that I would refuse a relationship if it came my way, but I am no longer actively seeking anything serious in my life. I wrote down a few things to motivate myself, so here are my reasons for staying completely single and celibate for the past year.
1. YOU CAN INVEST IN YOURSELF
I am an investor in people. I always invest so much time and energy into the people I care about that I often forget that I need a little investment too. And expecting others to invest in you just because you are investing in them, will only lead to disappointment. But taking some time to invest in yourself and your mental and physical health, will do wonders for your emotional state.
2. YOU CAN GET SOME SHIT DONE
I have so many things I have always wanted to do, but never could because I was too worried about helping my friends/boyfriends achieve their goals. When I stopped focusing on relationships and started focusing on myself, I got so many things done. I started eating healthier, I started going out and enjoying myself more because I was actually socializing rather than scouting for relationship prospects, and I was able to invest my time into more constructive things. I began writing again, I got back into my art, started reading more, and I have turned my online vintage boutique into a somewhat-successful side business. I found I have so much extra time when I am not worried about anyone but myself.
3. YOU CAN MAKE TONS OF FRIENDS
I never had a solid group of friends, because when I got involved with a group of people, I always ended up dating one of them. So when it didn’t work out, I lost all of my friends along with my boyfriend, because they were his first. This is one of the reasons I have never had any close friends and I only ever hang out with the same people for a few months at a time. It sucks. But since I decided to stay single, I have made so many connections with people who I probably never would have even talked to if I was just there to seek out a relationship. I have way more female friends, and I finally have friends that I met organically and genuinely without the ties of another person that may be broken at any time.
4. YOU RE-EVALUATE YOUR POSITION ON SEX
With my “vow against guys”, I also vowed not to have sex with anyone that I didn’t see a serious commitment coming from. Now, I’ve never been one to just casually sleep around the whole town. But, I’ve never been very serious about sex and it’s never been a very big deal to me if I slept with someone I wasn’t super serious with. But now, going almost a full year without having sex with anyone, my perspective has changed. The next time I have sex, will be important. It’s almost like I feel as though it would be my first time again. I’ve realized that sex is a very important part of life, but having sex with just anyone only makes you feel like shit. I have been single so long, that I don’t even desire to have sex with any of the guys that have tried to talk to me. When a guy flirts with me or propositions me, now I don’t even consider it because its like, “he probably won’t even be any good in bed, and I don’t want my first time in a year to be shit”, or, if it is really good, then I’m probably just going to want to keep talking to him but I know that he doesn’t want something serious so what’s the point anyway since I don’t want anything casual. There is really just no upside to casually sleeping with guys that I don’t really care about.
5. YOU WILL DRASTICALLY RAISE YOUR STANDARDS
When I was always seeking out relationships, I pretty much just talked to any guy that would give me attention. This led to some embarrassingly poor relationship choices. I would date anyone that asked me. Since I have chosen to stay single, the idea of dating again in the future has made me realize the caliber of guy that I want. And I don’t think I would let myself settle for anything less again. I have come to recognize the signs and red flags in guys like the ones I’ve previously dated, and I steer clear of them. Most of the time now I am just disgusted by most of the guys that I am around, and would NEVER think of dating any of them. They’re shit. I will wait for a decent guy to come along this time.
6. YOU REALIZE YOUR WORTH, AND THE WORTH OF THE WOMEN AROUND YOU
Since I have stayed single, I have noticed more and more how the women around me are treated, and how much I do NOT wish to be treated that way. I have a few couple-friends that have GREAT relationships, and those are models for me to aspire to. But for the most part, I have noticed how badly my guy friends treat their girlfriends and, despite my personal opinions about these girls, I’ve realized how shitty that is. No girl deserves to be subjected to a relationship where she is being treated like shit and doesn’t even know it. Most of my guy friends hide the things they do, and their girlfriends just look clueless and dumb. It’s sad, and those girls don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve that. Seeing this has made me become a stronger believer in “girl-power” and uplifting one another. I know that I value another woman’s opinion far more than any guy’s. So I have started taking every opportunity I can to uplift other women; tell them how strong they are, how beautiful they are, or even just comment on their photo to let them know they are killing it. This kind of positive reinforcement I think drastically helps boost women’s self-esteem and in turn helps them realize their worth, that they are worth more than they are getting from that scummy guy.
7. YOU CAN ACTUALLY TAKE TIME TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF A RELATIONSHIP
I’ve always just settled for guys who have something I thought I wanted, even if they only really had that one thing. i.e. a guy who makes me laugh sometimes but is also very controlling and chaotic and violent, or a guy who can take care of me but then treats me like I am dependent or ignorant. I was settling for people who had just ONE things that I thought I wanted. Staying single has helped me realize that I need to find someone who has most or even ALL of the qualities I am looking for. Now, I know that nobody is perfect, and you have to take the good with the bad with most people, but there are definitely certain things that I want in a guy, and things that are certainly reasonable. I want a guy who will make me laugh without being demeaning, a guy who never makes me feel stupid or condescends me, and a guy who is willing to take care of me while still understanding that I do not NEED him to. I want a guy who will value my opinion, and also tell me when I am being crazy, but in a way that won’t make me feel attacked. I don’t feel that any of these things are wildly unreasonable to ask for, and I now know that I shouldn’t settle for anything less, because anything less is bound to fail.
8. YOU LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF
In the past year that I have been single, I have found so many things that I love about myself. I have always been so focused on finding things to love in other people to make up for the shitty things they were doing, that I never really focused on anything positive about myself. I just accepted the negative things that I saw and heard about myself from others, and didn’t think anything of it. After my last breakup, I came to a realization. I kinda rock. I started thinking about all the amazing things that I have done, how far I have come, and what I have accomplished. I have lived and supported myself for the past 4 years, despite only being 21 years old. I have a great job, and a cool hobby that I love and that is rapidly growing, and I consider myself to be pretty damn responsible. I may have financial struggles sometimes, and I may struggle to keep up with bills, but I always figure it out. I realized that at the end of the day, I can always count on me to get things done. I can always count on me to figure it out, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Since I’ve stayed single, I have found my style, since I really don’t have to dress to impress anyone but myself these days. I have also found writing, and I am no longer afraid to express my opinion or my insight because I no longer worry about anyone thinking that what I say or do is stupid. I have broken free of those mindsets that all of those guys put me in, which in turn will help me be more confident in any future relationship that I do have.
I have always heard the saying “how can anyone love you unless you love yourself.” I always thought this was sort of dumb because I love tons of people who don’t really love themselves. But I love them anyway because everyone deserves to be loved. But since I have stayed single, I have found that the saying isn’t wrong, it is just wrongly worded. I think it should read “you cannot accept love from others unless you can love yourself.” I know that people love me, but I have never been able to accept their love and appreciate it because I didn’t even appreciate myself. Now, I recognize the people that truly care about me, and I am more able to reciprocate that love.
Staying single for a year has helped me realize my worth, my values, my wants and needs, and also some things that I do not want or need. Now, this “vow off of guys” is not over just because a year has passed, and I am not going to suddenly start looking for love again. I am still going to be patient, I am still going to keep loving myself, and