What’s your love and relationship problem?
Ask Meredith at Love Letters. Yes, it’s anonymous.
I’m a 28-year-old man. Growing up, I was always a late bloomer when it came to dating and relationships. No successful relationships in high school, but definitely a lot of crushes. Didn’t even have my first kiss until college. When I was younger, I was heavily influenced by rom-coms and quickly became caught up in finding a relationship. I spent a lot of my college years looking for one.
I’m now getting out of a four-plus year relationship, and for the first time in a while, I’m single. It’s been a month since the breakup. Part of me wants to spend some time being single on purpose, learn to be on my own, and hang out with friends. At the same time, I can’t shake the feeling of wanting a relationship again, and I’m feeling very uncomfortable being single. I wonder if I struggle with general feelings of validation and am looking for that in the form of a relationship, but maybe that’s not where I need to find it.
I have friends who are super comfortable being single and independent, going on solo vacations, etc. I want to be like that, but I’m not sure that’s a point I can get to or if it’s just a personality thing. Anyway, all of a sudden I’m single again and have regressed to 19-year-old me, desperate for romantic connection. Am I capable of enjoying being single? Thanks y’all.
Sometimes when I’m feeling weird about life, I tell my therapist I’m very uncomfortable. She looks at me and says something like, “Yes. That’s true.”
What she’s telling me is that discomfort is part of life. It’s not always bad, even if we don’t like it. It’s a feeling that pops up when we experience change, and once we get used things, it might feel better.
I don’t believe you have to learn to love being single before you date the next person. Some people are happier coupled, and that’s OK. I do believe that if you can have fun while you’re alone, and set up a life that brings you happiness without a romantic partner, you’ll pick a better one. You don’t want to jump into the wrong relationship because you’re scared to do things by yourself.
My advice is to sit with the weirdness and spend time alone or with friends. There’s no need to take a huge vacation without companionship, but how about a day of errands and a movie? Or maybe try a full afternoon of doing stuff alone around the house, and then dinner with one person who won’t be going home with you.
After more time by yourself with less discomfort, consider dating – not because you need partnership, but because you can date for fun, to see who’s out there, without jumping into the next relationship. Odds are, the next person you have a romantic dinner with will not be your life partner. Part of this is learning to take the next step without jumping too far ahead.
For now, though, get through another four weeks. Make a playlist and see some nature while listening to it. Find a show to binge. In moments of discomfort say, “Well, yes.” It would be weird if everything felt simple and easy right now. I’m sure your single friends would tell you that too.
Readers? How do you get used to being alone after you’ve been partnered for years?
‘Am I capable of enjoying being single?’ You may not have a choice, at least for a while, so you’d better get comfortable.The-Blog-Consigliere
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