You Don’t Have to Be In a Relationship to Feel Whole

For years, I have read articles online about relationships.

It started as a young teenager, reading Seventeen magazine and taking a quiz to find out if my crush liked me back. Those quizzes moved online to a website I’ve long since forgotten the name of and I recall filling out hundreds of those 50 questions bulletins on Myspace about what I wanted in a guy.

Things haven’t changed much. Buzzfeed can now tell me my perfect match based off the type of bread I enjoy the most. And while Cosmopolitan has moved past generic sex articles, the underlying pressure to be in a relationship is still there.

I’m exactly midway through my twenties. I have friends who are married, getting married, engaged, and in long term relationships. Despite having an overwhelming amount of single friends, I can’t help but sigh wistfully a bit at engagement pictures on my Facebook timeline.

There’s no denying that being in love and being in a relationship can be absolutely great.

But guess what people in relationships: this post isn’t for you. It’s for all my single pals out there.

Whether you’re freshly single, always have been single, looking for love, or somewhere in between, this post is for you. Because the truth is, we need to stop wasting our time wishing and waiting for something we don’t have, and start celebrating the single status.

The first thing you need to do in order to begin celebrating is to get over your fear of dying alone. Because we both know (but hardly acknowledge) that this is your number one reason for hating the single life.

The concept that romantic love trumps friend love is some bullshit perpetualized by every quiz you’ve ever taken and every romance movie you’ve ever watch. The friendships you have built with your friends are just as important as any romantic relationship that exists. And if anything, your “love story” shouldn’t just consist of your romantic love for someone. Your love story should be built on that time you called your friend at 3am and they came to get you. Or the time your friend held your hair back while you were sick over the toilet. Or that time you and your friends danced your hearts out seeing your favorite band live in concert together. There are about a million of these friend moments that you have that are not less important than a first kiss. You can have all the romantic love in the world, but if you lack the unconditional love between friends you’re really missing out on something special and important. You will never die alone if you surround yourself with the right people.

And here’s another point to mention- I’ve been seeing a lot of posts floating around about how you need to “love yourself before you can love someone else.” I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true. You deserve love even when you can’t love yourself. But here’s the catch: learning to love yourself is the most important thing to strive. You shouldn’t let your self-hatred stop you from letting people in, but that doesn’t mean you should keep wallowing in that self-hatred. It’s easier said than done, but it’s time to start taking an active role in loving yourself. How do you do that? Lie. Lie to yourself. Tell yourself you’re incredible every morning in the mirror, even if you don’t believe it. When somebody compliments you, accept that compliment- don’t respond with “no” or “stop” or a million other denials. Just say “thank you” and take it in. This time in which you are single in your life (whether it’s temporary or permanent or fluctuating) is the time in your life that you need to focus on YOU.

Nobody said being single is easy. But we have to stop making it so hard for ourselves. Romantic relationships or sexual relationships can be just as difficult as spending Valentine’s day alone. We as a society need to begin treating being in a relationship vs being single as equal as they actually are.

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