I’ve been living in New York City for four interesting years now — two of which I was in a super serious, committed ass, monogamous ass, and long-term ass relationship! I was in said relationship for nearly five years. We spent the beginning of our relationship in Florida before moving to NYC. For the majority of my early 20’s, I was focused on building a life with someone, compromising myself and interests for someone and prioritizing the “relationship” over my other personal goals.
Fast forward a few years: NOT NO MO! I have been single since early 2016; a little over two years. This is the first time I have been alone, free, capable of making decisions for myself and only myself in over four years! In the beginning it was difficult and felt weird to be single in NYC, after all, I did move here in a very serious relationship. It was the months of reflection, crying, blabbing to my girlfriends about my ups and downs, battling loneliness, not dating or seeking intimacy that made singlehood less of a shock and more of an obstacle that I would eventually get over. It was much like trying yoga for the first time. On Instagram all the single yogi’s seem so zen, happy & carefree. Then when you take your first yoga class (back in the pool of single folk) you’re like “holy shit even downward dog is hard as fuck!”
I didn’t plan on remaining single as long as I have but now, I truly embrace this single status. I’ve had casual hook ups and people I’ve “talked to” or dated for extended lengths, but for me “single” is doing me and not giving anyone the title of “girlfriend”. I used to be embarrassed to say how long I’ve been single, but now I am unapologetic about not settling. My good friends and I talk in depth about how navigating through singlehood has its perks, pits and potential. So, I wanted to open up a bit about my experiences while offering some Do’s and Don’ts that have worked for me in my time of singlehood.
1. Casually Date and Get to Know Other People
I know you’re all thinking ‘Oh how profound Trae! Really?’ But yes — casually date and get to know other people! This is ACTUALLY something I’ve learned from my good friends. Every date acceptance doesn’t have to be you analyzing if the person is marriage material, would your mom like them and if you will agree on names for your kids. “Casual” means go grab that drink and “date” can simply mean being in someone else’s company. Casually dating does not have to mean 3-4 dates with the same person, detailed planning, intense activities, trauma bonding and talking about your parental issues. Also getting to know new people also doesn’t have to mean romantically, you can end up on a date with a future close friend, a connector of some sort or a casual acquaintance. My friends have tried countless times to convince me to follow through with going on dates to see how I like them despite my reservations. We end up putting too much stock in things that can be simple. A bonus for going on these dates is it can help people who aren’t great on dates feel more comfortable when you are looking for something serious in the future.
2. Be Selfish!
After a long relationship or a string of back to back relationships we really can lose touch with ourselves. I remember how liberated I felt one day while I was on the train deciding what I wanted for dinner and not needing to ask anyone else if they wanted the same thing! I spent years saying “I want sushi! Oh you want Thai, okay I guess we can get Thai” and not even being disappointed because it was normal for me to always consider what the other person wanted. Once you do this for small things like dinner, you do it for spontaneous trips, vacations, solo activities, selecting a nail color, shopping, staying out late (& possibly staying out all night), telling people “no” without reason, just every possible way you can be selfish — try it! It feels lovely!
3. Think Outside of the Box!
Again something that sounds so simple, but this can really be life changing career wise, dating wise, hobby wise, friend wise, etc. Some of us get particularly boxed in due to societal norms, comfortability and personality traits when we’re in a relationship or a string of consecutive relationships. We tend to keep picking out of the same box and putting ourselves in the same box! Although the box is metaphorical, that shit really holds us back! Some of our boxes are even restricted by astrological signs. How many of us have heard “I can’t date X zodiac sign.” Or the “I’m only compatible with X sign.” Those boxes restrict a world of unknown. Try new things! Take a leap on an instrument you never pursued in the past. Take yourself out on dates. Do a new type of exercise or switch up your gym routine altogether. If you run on a treadmill, try running outdoors. If you’re doing CrossFit, try yoga or kickboxing. If you already have Beyoncé-like vocals but have never pursued singing in front of an audience, sign up for an open mic.
1. Don’t Mislead People
To mislead, by definition, means to give the wrong idea or impression. I think living your best life and being misleading can happen unintentionally and can happen due to loneliness or insecurity. In my own romantic life, I have downplayed or played up my interest with someone based on different factors and it ended up making me feel shitty in the end. Not only does misleading people waste time and cause moral questioning, it also wastes the other person’s time and can really fuck with the other person’s mind.
2. Don’t be Bitter
Whew! This is a hard one but so worth it once you can block out this particular emotion. Being bitter happens but bitterness is like Shaquille O’Neal — the ultimate humongous blocker! Blocker of happiness, blessings, clear vision, hope and so much more! Bitterness shows up in mysterious ways and suddenly you’re the person no one wants to talk to because the scent of bitterness looms around you. If you’re bitter about being single, realize that the right person will come along, you’re the baddest, and your time being single is for the greater good of learning yourself and growth!
3. Don’t Let New Prospects Validate You
This last one is by far my favorite and the most important piece of advice that I can’t even take credit for. When I asked my amazing friend and fellow singleton for a ‘Don’t’, she contributed this magical piece of advice. This doesn’t only mean the number of prospects (which could also impact validation) but also the prospects themselves and who they are. If you’re attracting people with “status”, or individuals with highly regarded titles (doctor’s, lawyers, CEO’s) or socialites that could negatively impact our self-esteem when it ends up not working out! This also goes into letting other people status validate your own self-worth, importance and overall value. You should know that independent of anyone, you are valid and anyone you attract is only a bonus and they’re privileged to be in your company — NOT the other way around!
I hope that there is something or a few gems that you all can apply to your single life and how to navigate it! Keep in mind that utilizing this advice may cause you to find ultimate happiness, embrace yourself, inflate self-esteem and attract your soulmate. Results may vary!
What are some of your singlehood Do's and Don'ts? Drop a comment below!