It’s been 4 years since my last relationship…As you all know and have read I have dated in this time but nothing to serious. I have lived alone for the past three years and I feel this more then anything else, has taught me more about myself then ever before. There are all these reasons that every dating guru, therapist and friend will give you for being a happy single gal, so I know I don’t need to give you all another rundown of that list. What I will tell you is what I have learned from this four year period about love, and myself:
I like my stuff the way it is: My closet is organized by item and color. Pants, shirts, dresses, etc. are all grouped together and in color groups from light to dark. My drawers are also obscenely organized and so are my cleaning products. Yup folks I organize my cleaning products, towels, and hair products…judge me all you want, but it’s my thing. And here is the thing about this being my thing…incorporating someone else into my space, and into my thing takes a lot of work. For the past four years that is work I have not been willing to participate in, which has taught me the fine art of compromise. I’ve always thought I was so good at this and willing to do this in relationships, but it was to keep my partner happy not myself. Compromise should be about both of you and not be one-sided. The past four years I have been very one-sided.
I crave quiet time: I grew up with my sister, brother and my parents. I shared a room with my sister my entire life, then had a college roommates, moved back home, got my own place, met my ex and almost immediately moved in with him, moved back home (post break-up), and moved back out again. I got tired just writing all of that! Anyway, outside of the ten months I spent in my first apartment, the past three years have been just me, myself and I…and it felt amazing. And actually it still does! I write, I read, I do pretty much everything in a quiet and calm existence. While I do adore my quiet life, what I had built up is a pretty big wall around myself. This wall is what I have been breaking down for the past six months. No reason why the future love of my life should have to carry around a rope and try to climb over my wall of protection MacGyver style.
I don’t want to share my remote: There are certain t.v. shows I am really into, and by really I mean watch obsessively like True Blood, Newsroom, any Food Network cooking show, and almost all home improvement shows. Then there are the cartoons that I love, oh yes you all I love Family Guy, American Dad etc. but I digress. When I am at my parents house they almost never watch t.v. together in the same room. When I asked them each why they do this even when they’re watching the same shows they both pretty much gave me the same answers: I don’t like the volume that high, I like to change channels during commercials, I like to watch this show and your mom likes to watch that show etc. This can be equated with my first point about compromise, but can also be about plain old selfishness. I have definitely been selfish over the past few years with my emotions and my heart. Literally not willing to let anyone receive my emotional love and attention, or get anywhere near my heart. Love can never come to a closed heart.
I am not at all complaining about being single or living alone because I have chosen to live my life this way, but what I am saying is there is a difference between being happily single, and closing yourself off to love. Most people end up doing the latter and I became one of them. In my need to maintain my singledom status and independence I unknowingly closed myself off to love in the process!
The thing is you can be independent, fabulous, fun and in a relationship or single. There is absolutely nothing sad about being single, as being single teaches you so much about yourself including your wants and needs. I refuse to settle for what I do not want, and also know what I need to work on within my own self so that when he (whoever he is) comes along, I am ready. Relationships involve compromise, letting your guard down and opening up emotionally. The ability to grow with someone and bring your two separate lives together with the ability to maintain your independence at the same time, and luckily I’ve had four years to learn these lessons.
What lessons have you learned in love? What has being single, in a relationship, divorced, or married taught you about love?
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Thanks for reading!