I have had a lot of trouble being independent of men, and have always been in a relationship. I have found recently that I value men’s opinions of me more than my own, and have trouble feeling confident without a guy to lean on. How should I deal with this? I want to be as happy single as I am in relationships!
Dear Happily Single,
Boy oh boy, do I know this story all too well. I “dated” my first boyfriend from first grade to ninth grade, had my first kiss in third grade, had two boyfriends in high school, got engaged in college, and had two more relationships in graduate school. I was a serial dater who never fully understood how to be independent of men, single, and happy until after graduate school.
Four years later, I’m still standing on my own two feet…alone (for now), loving myself more than I ever have before because this love isn’t based on how others feel about me, but it comes from within. Now, the road to this point wasn’t easy. I griped and moaned about being single (#foreveralone was written on my forehead). I was actually quite miserable for a while because it was the first time I’d ever been single for more than a month or two, and I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. What I eventually realized, however, was that my dependence on those relationships, in many ways, made me forget who I was. I lost sight of myself, my goals, my dreams because I’d constantly put my partners’ wants and needs before my own.
When I, for one reason or another, broke things off with those significant others, I unconsciously began a new, more important relationship with myself. I learned how to love me for me. I rediscovered my passions without the influence of others. I got to try things I wanted to without checking in with someone else. I got to travel and accept opportunities I don’t think would have happened if I were in a committed relationship at that time. I got to invest in myself without feeling guilty. I learned how to enjoy my singleness, and you will too. You’re not going to like it at first, trust me. You’re going to feel lonely, but you’ll soon realize that being lonely doesn’t mean you’re alone. You have your friends, your family, your work, your hobbies, and most importantly you have yourself. It takes practice, it takes time, and it takes effort, but figuring out who you are outside of a relationship is the best thing you could ever do for yourself. You owe it to yourself to let go and be the woman you deserve to be: one who knows how to stand on her own two feet. Best of luck, and keep us posted!