These are the 6 stages of single life freedom – how to overcome the fear of singleness and reach the freedom of being single.
Four and a half years ago I was newly singled, and behind the relief of ending an unhealthy, exhausting relationship… There was an abundance of fear. The same fear that caused me to overstay my welcome in the relationship that drained me. You probably know that fear well as well, the almost paralyzing feeling of not wanting to be alone. According to society, if you want to be happy, you need to be in a relationship. And being single is miserable and lonely, and something to be ashamed and embarrassed by. So instead of facing that fear, I escaped it by remaining where I was. In the wrong relationship with a man, who was wonderful, but just not for me.
By the time I finally hit the breaking point and took the long overdue plunge into singlehood… I had completely lost sight of myself. No matter how difficult that was, I do believe I had to go through all those stages to get to where I am today.
1. Locked up in the wrong relationship
Most of us have dated at least one person who was the total not-package for us. Someone who was either a bad / wrong fit or even toxic for us. I think that somewhere deep down in our subconscious we know that they’re bad for us, but we shove it down as much as we can. We stay in denial, we convince ourselves that we can either make it work or it just needs time or whatever.
More often than not, this is due to society’s pressure to not be single. Because being single automatically means that you’re pathetic and sad, and that there must be something fundamentally wrong with you. So you stay in that relationship, no matter how many people try to warn you. And I do believe that no amount of convincing from others will help. Because it’s always something we need to learn for ourselves.
It’s harder that way, but definitely more effective and long lasting.
This may be a slight exaggeration, but I felt like I had a collar choking me, cuffs and a ball and chain restraining me. I felt lost and trapped, and it took me way too long to realise that it was due to the relationship. Then it took me more time to actually do something about it. For far too long I convinced myself that it was better than being single. That I would never find anyone else.
And let’s face it, we’re all worried about what people would think or say, at one point or another. And it makes us do stupid things. Like live in denial and stay in a toxic relationship, or jump into a different one. Relationships that make us feel like we’re locked up with no escape. We’re in so deep that we no longer see a way out, nor do we want it in many cases.
When you finally come to your senses, usually due to being choked out, and get out of that prison… There’s an immediate relief, like a weight lifting off your chest and you can finally breathe again. I was so drained from that last relationship, that all I wanted was to hibernate for a decade or two. I wanted nothing to do with relationships and commitments, I wanted and needed time to heal.
But I was still very far from reaching that point of true freedom, and made some grave mistakes along the way. At that moment though, I felt like I was just enjoying being free of the shackles. I went out a lot, got drunk, smoked and became so much more adventurous. I was done with limitations, I just wanted to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Which was really good in a way, because it helped me grow my wings back, which were chopped off by my ex-boyfriend.
While I did have a great time, and I did feel like I was recharging, it was still not 100% right. Because I may have taken the time to rest my heart, but I didn’t spend any of that time actually reconnecting with myself. Instead of using this time and new found freedom to get to know myself again and develop a self relationship… I used it all up instead to just have fun. Which is great, but not enough. I should have used that time to not only explore, but use what I learned to embrace myself and my singleness. Because I may have been having a great time, but it had nothing to do with me.
As a result of just chasing excitement and highs, without actually taking the time to get in touch with myself… I reached a new low very quickly, without even realising it. By the time I got there, it was a tad too late and I had no idea how I even got there. I definitely had no idea how in the world to get out of it. Somewhere along the way, a deep yearning to not be alone, despite still being drained… Attacked me from my blind spot and knocked me off balance. This made me do stupid things. And I mean, we’ve all been there. We’ve all made mistakes. But at the time, I was in an uncontrollable, downward spiral.
I started chasing men who didn’t deserve it, driving myself insane over them. I even tried to beg my ex to take me back. You know that feeling when you obsess over someone and they don’t put in any effort? But you’re so enamored and infatuated by them, that you start wondering what’s wrong with you? Because there must be, if they aren’t interested. You put them on a pedestal, despite the fact they don’t deserve it… And allow them to make you feel crazy. Either that, or you’re just relationship hopping – jumping from one relationship to another. Hoping that one of them will make you feel something, anything at all.
4. Self deprecation
When the man or woman you’ve been chasing keeps blowing you off, doesn’t put in any effort or just used you for sex…. You automatically blame yourself. When you go on one failed date after another, you feel like a failure. Once I reached this stage, where a man I chased kept me on a backburner… When I couldn’t hold a man past the one month mark, and then even a first date… I started wondering what’s wrong with me. Because there must be. There has to be something broken, something fundamental that isn’t working properly. I felt unlovable. Like I will never ever be happy, or find a proper partner. And that somehow those two were connected.
All of that mess created a vicious cycle. I wasn’t very pleased with myself, nor did I believe that I could find someone. So I was dating all the wrong people, which is why so many dates failed. Looking back on it now, I think I may have been self sabotaging. Counting down the minutes for something to end, will make it more likely to end. It was basically a self-fulfilling prophecy. – I truly believed that no one would want me, that there was something wrong with me. I embodied all of those beliefs so much that I was acting in ways that reflected them, and then they actually came true. Thus creating a cycle.
I can no longer remember the moment this happened, if there even was one moment where it all changed. All I know is that I finally came to my senses. After a long time of being miserable over being single and not finding anyone… I realised that I need to start accepting that it’s my current status quo. That until I find someone, I can’t just sit and wallow over what I don’t have and what I want. This is who I am, and this is where my life led me, and I needed to start accepting that and doing better with it. With time, it got easier and I learned how to enjoy and utilize it more. Which was what helped me cross that final threshold towards the true freedom singleness has to offer.
Albert Einstein wisely said that… “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Which was exactly what I was doing. I was spending endless amounts of time having pointless conversations (which were carbon copies of every other conversation) on dating apps. Like the answers to all my problems and my happiness depend on me finding a man. But most conversations and dates were a bust, and at some point I did feel like I was going insane. So I decided to make some changes.
Instead of just going through the same notions… I put an end to it and started taking advantage of my singlehood. No longer searching for an escape, gave me an opportunity to fully realise and appreciate this time. Helped me develop and maintain a strong relationship with myself, to completely envelop the new found single life freedom. I learned how to love myself and how to fully be single and happy.
Once I started using those lemons to make the best lemon juice I could, and finally learning what that saying truly meant… I was so much happier. My life was so much better. Not only did I start turning all of those mistakes I made and the regrets I had into life lessons… But I also started to appreciate them. Because they made me that much stronger. They taught me things that I would have never learned otherwise. They led me to places I would have never reached without them.
But most importantly, I learned how to appreciate myself and my singleness. Looking back on it all now, I thank the lord that none of those relationships worked out, because I would have ended up much more miserable. I truly believe that the main source of happiness should come from within us. Not from outside sources and people. When they don’t come from us, we’re less likely to be truly, and fully happy. Also, I believe that when we have a strong relationship with ourselves, we’re more likely to have stronger, better relationships with others. Not to mention, that had I actually ended up in a serious relationship out of desperation and escape from singleness… I would have probably ended up in a dark pit.
A relationship shouldn’t be born due to escaping singleness. It should be created from a point where you completely embrace it.
So when you take the time to go through all of these stages, and actually learn from them… When you actually learn how to reach the point of single life freedom… Not only will you be more likely to come out stronger from the other side, but you will also probably be at a much better starting point to build relationships with others. You need to take the time to be with yourself, to accept yourself as you are. When you do that, others are more likely to accept you, and if they don’t you won’t care as much. You’ll also be more likely to attract better vibes, things and people into your life. And you won’t ever again settle for less than you deserve.
Single life provides forms of freedom that nothing else can. Freedom which then provides you with so many opportunities. Freedom to do what you want, when you want, however you want and without feeling bad about it. Because you haven’t left anyone behind, and you have no one else to worry about. And you can only reach that point once you take the time to step through these stages. You need to learn how to embrace yourself and your singleness which is usually achieved only once you complete these stages.
“Single” is an opportunity to live life on your own terms and not apologize.Mandy Hale
Good luck on your journey to single life freedom!
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
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