It was almost two years ago that I had him, and he had me, and we completed one another. Being in a relationship and living with someone at the young age of 26 seemed like a fairytale. We had a beautiful apartment together in Tel Aviv, with a garden full of fresh flowers, which hung from our balcony that overlooked the dog park. Our apartment was filled with love, kindness and genuine happiness.
From the outside looking in, you would think we had the perfect life. I felt this way too, in the beginning at least. However, six months after moving in together I started to long for more. I felt bored, depressed and anxious. Suddenly, being in a relationship felt more like a burden than anything else.
Time passed and the relationship eventually ended. I left Tel Aviv and moved to San Francisco to pursue my writing career. Looking back, I have no regrets. In fact, I've been single for almost two years now and have learned so much that I never would have understood had I stayed in my previous relationship.
Being single has taught me about these five things in particular:
#1. True Independence
I've always considered myself to be an independent woman, but being single has helped me truly recognize my independence. Going out to eat by myself, seeing improv shows alone, attending events without a plus one, reading books in the park surrounded by couples, etc. (the list can go on forever), has been a big part of my "single life" in San Francisco. I must admit that doing things on my own felt awkward and almost embarrassing at first, but over the course of time I have learned to embrace my own company. Doing exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it, is a true feeling of freedom and independence that I never could have experienced while I was in a relationship.
#2. Career Growth
I always had an extra sense of security when I had a serious boyfriend. For example, I knew that if I were to lose my job, or decide to do something different, I would have my other half there to support me. Now, however, I live on my own in one of the most expensive and desirable cities in the world. I do not have an extra layer of support to fall back upon, and I can only rely on myself. Knowing this has encouraged me to focus even more on building my career to ensure that I can provide myself with the life I want to live. Plus, I have no distractions of a relationship (arguments, family matters, compromises, etc.), allowing me to focus 110 percent on my career.
I have always thought that being in a relationship has helped me understand myself better. I beg to differ, however. Being single has made me more aware than ever before in regards to my personality, the people whom I want to surround myself with, the lifestyle I wish to live and the flaws I need to improve upon. When I make a mistake, for instance, I no longer come home to someone who will immediately tell me it's okay. I have to be aware of what I did wrong and understand how I can improve and do better in the future. In terms of friendships, I have to evaluate the new people in my life on my own and decide whom I want to spend time with. When I was in a relationship, I always had the comfort of "him" as a fallback. Now, however, I can only rely on myself to ensure what's best for me. Being single has made me more self-aware than I have ever been.
Paying bills on time, making sure my rent check isn't late, filling my own taxes, cooking my own meals, taking out the trash, cleaning every Sunday and much more are all things that I have been forced to do on my own since being single. Having just me, myself and I has taught me the real meaning of responsibility, one of the most important lessons in life.
#5. What to Look for in a Partner
Some people say that once you are satisfied with whom you are, you will then attract someone similar. To a certain extent, I do believe this is true. Being single has helped me understand myself better, which has also allowed me to seek out a man who "has his sh*t together." Just as I'm able to take care of myself, I have realized that I need a man who can do the same.
Sure, there are times that I feel like the loneliest woman on the planet. Yet there are other instances when I feel like I'm on top of the world knowing that I've achieved so much on my own. Yes, I might have a love-hate relationship with being single. Once everything has been put into perspective, however, I truly couldn't wish for anything else.
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