Ask Babs: How to be truly happy being single

Too often with dating we spend our time living in the future. Therefore, when we are single it can be difficult to live again in the present. Questions about our future persist: Will I ever be married? Will I ever have children? What if I’m single forever? This last question can be the most painful and also the most poignant. From an early age, we tend to plan our future and all it’s most significant and live-affirming moments including another person. So when we are alone and realise that maybe there won’t be another person, and maybe we will in fact be alone forever, it can be difficult to see how to be single and happy.

During these times it can be beneficial to analyse what it is that we really want from a relationship. Not just the obvious initial assumptions, but what lies behind each of our wants and needs. For some, it can be simplistic: I like having a man around so he can fix things when they are broken. Ask yourself, is it worth the drama and pain of a wrong partner just so someone can fix the toilet when it breaks or do DIY around the home? Either pay a professional or learn how to do it yourself via YouTube; the satisfaction that comes with being self-reliant is addictive. Or it can be much deeper and more complex, how can I have children without a partner? This can be one of the most painful issues to deal with, especially if you are at the age when you can’t have children. If you are dealing with the guilt of not being able to pass on your family legacy you, let that self-imposed guilt go. Recognise how that revolves around yourself and not others, and how rewarding living selflessly can be. Lore has told us about the spinster who lives alone with her cats should be mocked and pitied, but doesn’t that sound like quite a nice life? If it is about not having a wedding, there is nothing stopping you from going to a bridal store and trying on a white dress once. Or hosting a huge party with all of your loved ones and celebrating a different important life moment. If you are looking for companionship, then make an effort to become more sociable with your friends and expanding your social circle.

Being able to understand that a partner is not essential for a worthwhile life but instead is a benefit will remove a lot of self-imposed stress. Recognise the freedom associated with being single and embrace it; from reading War and Peace all evening without bother, to taking up a new language, furthering your education in your free time, or even wearing what you want without caring for others’ opinions. This is a perfect time to focus on you, and all your life goals that may have been pushed to one side before, or becoming your authentic self and thus more self-assured and confident.

Through removing the stress of desperately seeking for a partner, you will now be in a much happier and stress free mental space, which is the perfect temperament in which to meet someone new if you want to. Nobody wants to be the desperate friend who will settle for anything rather than being alone, and so you can now go forward in a better and healthier mind frame in which to choose and select a partner. Achieving the self-satisfaction associated with being self-reliant will also lead to a better mind frame in which to date again. Knowing that you are perfectly capable of being alone, will mean you put up with less drama and the instant someone starts to treat you badly you can show them the door.

If you reach a stage where you recognise that everything will be fine without a partner, you can be truly happy being single.

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