We don't have to give up on the good things about being single when we're in a relationship. We just need to change our perspective a little to adapt them to our new life.
Thanks to popular culture, when we think about single women, we think of Bridget Jones drinking vodka and crying. Yet when we think about single men, we think of Charlie Sheen having a blast with an army of high-end escorts. Overall, women are pressured to get married and have children while they're young, while men are more encouraged to focus on their careers. For now, let's set that aside and admit that there are good things and bad things about being single. It's normal to miss the good things when we're in a relationship and to misremember the not-so-great aspects: the loneliness, the anxiety and insecurities about dating, as well as the distracting emotional instability. But you don't have to give up on the good things about being single when you start dating someone. You just need to change your perspective a little to adapt them to your new life. Here are some things you might be missing about being single.
You miss feeling like an individual.
When you invest a lot of time and effort in a relationship, sometimes you reach a point where you forget what it felt like to have a life that was not about them. In that case, you need to reconnect with yourself by spending time alone. Do things that you can talk to them about later. Go to parties and act like you're not a couple. Talk to other people. Talk like you're just friends or even strangers that just met. It will bring back the excitement of the first weeks and make you both feel like you're together but separate.
You miss having secrets.
I know that sounds bad, but it doesn't mean you want to cheat on them or keep important things to yourself. It's healthy to have secrets. Small things like spending an afternoon at the movies without telling them about it or giving yourself time to think about whatever you're feeling or about ideas you're having before you're ready to talk to them about it. You really don't have to tell them everything, and it's good for both of you to know that there are mysteries and new things to discover about each other every day.
You miss your friends.
Who said that being in a relationship means neglecting your friendships? Your friends should be one of your priorities. Friendship, in general, shouldn't be considered lower than love in the hierarchy of intimacy. If you're in your late twenties, you probably know that making new friends gets harder and harder. Remember being a kid or a teenager and being able to develop an close friendship in just a matter of days? Those were the days. Now, you have to take care of the friends you have.
You miss flirting.
First, talk to your partner about your personal definitions of commitment to see if you're on the same page. It might sound strange to them at first but explain the fact that flirting is harmless. It's good for your self-esteem and social life. Having different people show you (in a charming way, not shouting things at you in the street) that they’re attracted to you makes you more confident. Also, seeing that other people find your partner attractive makes you appreciate them more.
You miss having an emotional connection with other people.
Cheating means a lot of different things to different people. Your relationship doesn't have to be strictly monogamous or completely open. We need to stop thinking that relationships will define themselves in an implicit, intuitive way. Setting rules sounds a little bureaucratic but it can be exciting. Communication is essential because the whole thing can be really complicated. For example, some people think it's okay for their partners to sleep with other people but don't want their partners to have an emotional connection with them. Others understand that their partners can be emotionally intimate with others (that involves talking, flirting, sharing personal ideas, anecdotes, advice...), but they don't want those relationships to be sexual. It's tricky, but if you know how to communicate, it'll open up many interesting possibilities in your relationship.
You miss being sexual with other people.
Is kissing cheating? Is hugging-for-a-bit-too-long cheating? Is a passionate makeout session without sex cheating? I know that can be hard to think about, if you're a traditional person, but it's worth discussing. Sex with a new person can be exciting but mediocre. They don’t know your body and have no idea what you like. It’s exciting because they can show you things you didn’t even know you wanted. But your partner, if the enthusiasm is there, can do the same thing. The trust that you build with time makes the sex better because it's safe to share the kinky fantasies that you wouldn't necessarily share with a person you just met. In case that your partner is uninterested in trying new things, consider a different partner.
Each day you spend in a relationship, you're making the deliberate choice to be with that person. Missing singlehood doesn't necessarily mean you want to be with other people. It just means you miss certain aspects of being alone. Your partner shouldn't feel offended or that they're losing you, if you're curious about other ways of being in a committed relationship. They should be excited to explore these possibilities with you.
Images by Kylie Morgan
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