In my younger days I considered my default state to be that of being in a relationship. When I was single it was merely the gap between partners, a combination of waiting and seeking, I couldn’t relax and I couldn’t feel comfortable when I was not with someone. When I was single it was like I’d fallen off a boat and had sunken underwater, I’d hold my breath and frantically attempt to swim toward the surface where I could breathe again and everything would once more be OK in my life. This way of living caused three major problems:
- The quality of my life as a single person was compromised. I could not fully enjoy the benefits of being single because always in the back of my mind was a nagging sense of inferiority, this irrational dread that I’d somehow be alone forever. And that if I was alone forever that it would somehow be unbearable. Single status has many perks. Sure you don’t get to enjoy the advantages of having a partner, but you do get to live free of the responsibilities. However I could not enjoy the freedom because I saw singleness as an inferior state, one to be gotten out of ASAP!
- My standards were lowered. I don’t mean to say that I’m special and that I deserve a certain standard of person. I simply mean that due to my desperation to be with someone I would become involved with people who weren’t right for me just as a means to get into a relationship. I would overlook clear signs of potential difficulties and conflicts, I would ignore my intuition in favor of maintaining the relationship simply because I felt that I needed to be in one in order to be worthy.
- I couldn’t full enjoy the relationship. When you are in constant fear of the relationship ending, when the status of being in a relationship is more important that the quality of the relationship itself, you are asking for trouble. I used to fret and worry about every single word or text or email I’d say or send to my girlfriend at the time. I’d obsessively reread texts and emails making sure I hadn’t said something to make her want to leave me. And I’d torment myself with worry should I not hear from her for a minute longer that I would expect to. Fear of the relationship ending was more important than the quality of the time we had together.
As you can see this is a horrible predicament to find yourself in. However everything changed in early 2012 for me, I no longer suffer like this in the slightest! Over a year ago now, when a multiple year, long term relationship of mine ended I decided “No More”. This was my chance to learn and make the changes necessary to no longer be a victim of my own need for relationships. I said “Rohan, no relationships for 6 months at least, and even then no relationships until you can honestly live happily as a single man”. This was my challenge. The 6 month rule was in place in order that I could heal properly and not jump into anything too quickly and make the same mistakes as before. The second rule was trickier, “No relationships until you can honestly live happily as a single man”. And so I began to heal and research and meditate on the subject.
I read material by the likes of Bettie Dodson, Laci Green, Wilhelm Reich, Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy and trawled the forums and blogs of the web for all the info I could find. I immersed myself in Sex Positivism, and the study of self love and self sexuality. I learned that not only is being single OK, it’s actually a viable lifestyle choice, just as valuable as choosing to marry, or choosing to regularly date a number of people. This was a revelation to silly old me, I knew vaguely that some people chose to remain single, but to study it in detail was a real eye opener. I thought to myself “Well if some people can actively choose to remain single, and still remain actively self sexual and happy, it can’t necessarily be a bad thing”. It dawned on me that a relationship is not “Better” than being single, that this concept is utterly ridiculous. They are totally different things, both with their own pros and cons, and the fact is that a bad, dangerous or unhealthy relationship is always worse that being single!
It felt as though a curse had been lifted, I was no longer terrified of being single. And you know what! It solved all three of the problems listed above. I was now able to fully enjoy the perks and benefits of singledom, knowing that I will most likely be in a relationship in the future as that’s what people tend to do, they get together. But that even if by some unlikely series of events I find myself remaining single for the rest of my days, I can still live a rich, enjoyable, loving, sexual, and meaningful life. Secondly my standards rose dramatically! Opportunities I would have jumped at in the past I now turn down if I don’t feel good about it. I listen to my intuition and if my body tells me this person is a little too dramatic, or that we might have serious conflicts in the future I stop right there. Or I enter a period of probation in order to get to know the person better before jumping right in. Finally when I do engage in a relationship I enjoy it so much more. I no longer fear being single and so I trust that if things should end between us it’s not the end of the world. Because I do not fear being single I stand up for myself and ask that my boundaries be respected, no one can emotionally blackmail you when they know that you do not fear being alone.
This has been my experience, and I just know that there are others out there who are dealing with this kind of thing. Let me just say that you can overcome a morbid fear of being single, and that when you do, it improves all aspects of your life. I’ll leave you with six tips to get you started on your journey to living without fear of being single
- Educate yourself! The mainstream media is filled with really unhealthy messages regarding relationships, for example that you need another person to make you “whole”, these romantic notions work great in books and movies but are highly destructive if taken literally. You are always a whole and indivisible being, capable of immense self love, self acceptance and self sexuality. Look up some of the authors I mentioned above, learn about self love and self sexuality.
- People choose to be single! This is one of the most powerful concepts that helped me, the fact that many people actively choose to be single. And I’m not talking about nuns or priests or monks who live a life of asceticism and chastity (which is fine if that’s their thing), but normal, healthy, sexual beings who simply enjoy their own sexuality and love, as opposed to sharing their life with another in the tradition sense. If people can do it on purpose it can’t necessarily be bad, or evil, or worse to be single.
- Be self disciplined! Instead of remaining the victim of your own fear of being single, take control! Tell yourself that you will actively remain single for a set amount of time. 3 months, 6, months, even a year! One of the co-authors of a very good book called The Ethical Slut (highly recommended for anyone dealing with a fear of being single) chose to remain single for a full 5 years after coming out of an abusive relationship! I used to tell myself “What is a measly 6 months in the grand scheme of things, when my goal is to gain long term and permanent improvements to my relationships?”
- Love and accept yourself fully! Once you’ve studied up all you can on the subject, begin to put into practice all that you’ve learned. Enjoy your masturbation, try things out, experiment, see how much fun you can have with yourself. Masturbation for so long has been tainted with shame, in the past by religious institutions and in the modern age by the concept that you only masturbate if you can’t get any “real” sex. Masturbation IS real sex, and it’s some of the best sex you are ever going to have regardless of whether or not you are single. Meditate on unconditional self love, find or create affirmations on absolute self acceptance and begin to heal yourself from all the bad advice and bad psychology that’s out there regarding this subject!
- Do what you want! In the end your relationship status is a personal choice, there is no right or wrong, no good or bad. Instead of being the victim of cultural assumptions and societal norms, take the time to find out how you really would like to engage with other people. What kind of status would you choose if there was no pressure, no assumptions? Take your time and find what’s best for you. If you think something is a good idea then there have already been many others who think the same, and have most likely blazed a trail for you to follow. The way you engage in relationships, or don’t is not what’s important, the important thing is doing in consciously, and doing what’s right for YOU!
- It’s ALWAYS better to be single than to be in a bad relationship! There’s not much more to say here. Keeping a failing, abusive or unhealthy relationship alive simply out of a fear of being alone is a really bad idea. It takes a lot of courage to take that leap into being single, but it’s always, 100% of the time worth it when the relationship is causing more harm than good.
I wish you luck. It’s no fun having a fear of being single, it effects all aspects of your life and can be very depressing as I know from personal experience. The great news is that you do not have to live like that. I am living proof of that fact. I hope my experience and advice can help you on your journey
Good luck! And thanks for reading
- Girl on Girl Hate
- Full Frontal Sluthood
- Sex Positive Feminist
- Literally Discriminating Against Single Women
- The Advantages of Being a Single Woman
Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.