You’re not a Jane Austen character, you can be happy single

I like to think that I’m not overly cynical about relationships, they’re worth it when they’re good. It warms my heart seeing my friends in love and happy. But when some people like to hop from one to another, to me that seems to take away the meaningfulness of each relationship. Those people seem to be scared of being alone, and have a need to define themselves in a relationship. Personally, I think when you’re single you should take full advantage of it and use the time to explore yourself and better yourself, so that your value is determined by yourself and not by others. Which in the age of social media when we can’t escape from people we barely know glamourising their lives, this is important.

Which is why I love this article, it says everything perfectly. The fact that people my age are settled/about to settle terrifies me. Not because I’m wondering if I should be in that position, but because I’m scared for them. Have they really explored life? How do they know this is what they want, or are they just desperately trying to establish a home life before they’ve barely moved out of the family home because adulthood is scary? Yet I also know this is SO patronising of me – some people find their life partner young, and kudos to them for making it work. They’re happy, and happiness is more important than whether you’re settled or single. But I know that I personally don’t want to settle before I’m 30. I want to spend this time living without roots, in random cities, not having a 5 year plan unless it’s to further my own career.

What I’m scared of is not being alone, but looking back with regrets. For not taking chances, or opportunities because there was someone who meant something at the time who I wanted to shape my life around, when I should only be shaping my life around me. Because if that person were to disappear from my life, too much of my life would disappear. I hate the idea of having the identity of being someone’s girlfriend, and not for being me. I’ve always prided myself on being independent, because that is what makes you strong. Able to take on anything by yourself, and achieve anything by yourself.

If I wasn’t single now, I probably wouldn’t be studying for my masters degree in Barcelona. And I am so bloody happy that I am (obviously) – even though this year and the past year and probably next year I’m not living somewhere permanent which makes a relationship even more off putting. That can sound lonely, but when I’m meeting people and making friends from all over the world, with all sorts of background stories, life never gets lonely or boring.

Life is about making mistakes – and yes, people and relationships are included in that. We cannot grow as people without learning from past mistakes, or stupid decisions, or things just not being right for us. I know what I want and don’t want from guys, and I will only learn more of this as I go through life and have a few bumps in the road.

I hate Sex and the City, but one quote: “Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.” has a good point. Whenever I’ve gone through difficult times, it’s friends who have been there for me. Take the whole bloody lupus situation: friends supported me when I was suffering and undiagnosed, and they were there for me when I was diagnosed with cards and presents and shoulders to cry on. And guys? I’ve had guys either get annoyed with me when I was crying and unable to move for the pain, or just kinda disappear when I was ill, only to pop up later when they thought I was healthy again. And when you have something like lupus, you can’t be wasting time on a guy who’s going to disappear when your health takes a turn for the worse. You need to know the guy will be there during a flare up. And that is why independence is even more important to me than ever. If I can’t rely on having a significant other to take care of me when I’m having a flare up, I need to know I can take care of myself. When your body is your own worst enemy, you have to be your own best friend. I love reading and hearing about other lupies who have a significant other to take care of them, take this story from Despite Lupus for example. To me it’s beautiful and a definite #relationshipgoals example. Maybe one day I’ll meet a guy who’ll be my best friend first and my (sexy) nurse second, but until then it’s just me, myself and I. And luckily I know how to take care of myself. Except when spiders are involved, but that’s a whole other problem.

I’m not trying to undermine relationships, or say everyone is better off single. Definitely not. But I see too many moans and complaints about being single, especially around Christmas time (please, it means less presents to buy!) Singlehood can be the time a person really makes the best version of themselves – all these rom-coms where the guy or girl is made a better person for meeting their other half: no thank you. Learn to do that by yourself, so when you do meet someone they will be unable to resist your fascinating self. And if they turn out to be a tool, well, you know you’re too awesome to let that hurt you too much.

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