Unfortunately, this is not a 1-10 bulleted list on how to be happy and single. That’d be too easy.
Instead, this is a story about experience, and it’s one that needs to be shared (even though this is written from a gay guy’s perspective, it definitely applies to the lesbians, bisexuals, and trans* too!).
So, read on! It’s for your own happiness.
I have a scary phrase for you, so you’ll need to prepare yourself. It’s something that most people run away from into the night, screaming like a haunted child. Ready?
*THUNK* That noise? It was half the gays dropping their rose gold iPhones in horror of reading such a phrase. Lets not forget the lesbians who screeched their uHauls to a stop to catch their breaths.
But yes, I said “happily single,” and it’s definitely something more people need to work towards. To give you a brief insight into my personal world, I recently went through my first LTR breakup (that’s “long term relationship” for those of you out of sync with online dating lingo). And, all in all, it was as text book as you can get: we are still very good friends, and it was an amicable split. But now that I find myself back in the single world, I’m noticing a trend that I didn’t see before: most of my friends are asking me who my next boyfriend is going to be. When am I hanging out with what’s-his-name? Do I want to go on a date with such and such? Liiiike, hold up, hold up, hold up. Can we just chill for a minute? I’ve barely finished giving back my exes stuff that over time had made a home in mine.
Honestly, I would like to say that I am working on being “happily single.” There are those scary words again. No, I don’t plan on being alone for years, but I am also not planning on diving head-first into my next relationship when I’m pretty sure I haven’t given myself the chance to figure out what it is that I actually enjoy doing…by myself. Awful, right? But with that, I’ve found my mind wandering into a relatively shocking realization: not many people DO give themselves that chance.
What is it that scares our community so much into refusing to be single? Is it stigma? Stereotypes? Why must we pine for affection, yearn for attention, and be mortified by the thought of going to sleep alone at night with no one to send a kissy emoji to?
I do have a theory, although I can only speak for the men here (I learned a long time ago not to stick my opinion where it isn’t wanted, and one of those places is in there land of lesbian affairs). The theory: gay men are very visually wired. Not just sexually, but under the scope of the public eye too. We have this idea that we need to (figuratively and literally) have someone desirable on our arm, someone that’s ours. Every day we see advertisements and videos of guys holding hands, going on vacation, enjoying their 7th cocktail at bars, or elegantly tying the knot in what looks like a sickeningly perfect escape to the tropics. It’s an overload worse than my mother’s constant nagging over when I will bless her with a grandchild.
It’s become the unfortunate norm to jump from boyfriend to boyfriend; partner to partner; trick to trick. It’s like there’s a bizarre cloud of disapproval that will follow you around if you aren’t actively seeing someone, or at the very least talking to someone.
But I digress.
You know earlier when I said that I was working on being happily single? Well, I am. It’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just different. And it’s something that people need to try. You know those people you call “friends?” Hang out with them. Remember the luxury you have of doing what you want. If you’re hanging out with them and you want to go home, you go home. Why? Because you’ve only got yourself to look out for. You’re free of pressure when you’re single. You don’t have to worry about someone hitting on you with your significant other around, or explain why it made you blush. If you want to make a bed out of your couch and call it home for the weekend, then you can do it. If you want to start going to the gym for 5 nights a week, then you go!
Single means that you can try new things without judgments, or concerns, or a fear that a new hobby will take away time from your relationship (for those of you in relationships who want to say, “well you shouldn’t be with someone who limits you,” please – that’s so much easier said than done and you know it).
Join a new sports team, stroll into new bars, have a one night stand. But more importantly, enjoy yourself and everything that makes you you.