I’ve been going back and forth with myself lately, feeling this need to talk about something I’m going through, but knowing it involves another person and it’s always dicey to talk about things that involve multiple people. But I’ve had a few people ask me about this and I feel like I should talk about it.
The last day of January, I broke up with my boyfriend.
We broke up for a variety of reasons, which I’m not going to discuss because it’s not my place. I will say that the breakup was mutual and it was drama-free. I still think he is a great guy; he just was not the guy for me.
What has been most interesting for me has been my process through the breakup. I mean, let’s be honest: it’s not as if this was a long-term relationship. We were together for a little over a month, but as someone who likes to refer to herself as “chronically single” and does not really date, to give myself over to a relationship for even a short amount of time is a Big Thing for me.
But I’m not here to talk about dating or our relationship. Rather, I want to discuss my guilt.
You see, ever since we made the decision to break things off, I’ve been outrageously happy. My immediate reaction to the breakup was one of relief (which is telling, yes?) and since it happened, I’ve been… happy. Really, really happy.
I’m happy in my singleness. I’ve always identified with being single. I’ve never been the girl that needed a boyfriend. I was single through high school, single through college, and have remained single in my post-collegiate life. I don’t have insane dating stories. I don’t have a ton of ex-boyfriends littering my past. I don’t spend my days perfecting my online dating profile. My weekends are filled with things solely for me: freelancing, time with friends, time with my mom and my brother and my nephew, reading, working out, writing.
I never realized how much I craved the independence that a single life brings me than I do right now. And, yes, I’m certain people who are in serious relationships also have their own independence and I’m not saying that can’t exist, but it’s just different. It’s different when there’s no one to check in with, no one to worry about. When I can make the plans based on my schedule alone, and not anyone else’s. I suppose I’m just in this time of my life where I want to be single because I’ve yet to find the guy I’m willing to give up my independence for.
And maybe it’s also the introverted HSP in me – a girl who has limited amounts of energy, and who needs incredible amounts of alone time to recharge. I can’t spend entire weekends away from home. I get depleted, I get tired, I get upset. I need my home, my bed, my dog, my comforts. I need quiet, relaxation, peace, stillness. I need it more than most people. I need it to stay sane, to stay in tune to myself.
So being single again doesn’t feel awful. I’m not sad about being single, not sad about the breakup. I’m relieved and I’m happy and I feel so satisfied and content with the life I’m building. It’s a good life. It’s a really good life. And, right now, that life just doesn’t seem to have a place for a romantic relationship. There are other things I want to expend my time and energy on.
But I feel guilty feeling this way. I feel as if I’m wasting time – I’m in the latter half of my twenties, this is prime time! This is when I should be dating, should be settling down, should be considering building a family. And yet… none of that appeals to me right now.
And even though I’m happy and I feel fulfilled and content… there is guilt. There is worry that if I stay content and happy in my singleness, then I’ll grow comfortable and complacent and not ever try to move on to the next season of my life. That I’m wasting my most precious years, holding tight to my singleness.
I mentioned this to Nora, whom I could also consider my life coach for all the pep talks she gives me. She is wise and brilliant and completely understands me because she was in my shoes once, too. And this is what she told me (I stole part of our conversation because I want to remember it forever and ever amen): “Be you. It makes you happy. The rest will come when it’s meant to. You’re not wasting time. You’re becoming and are the person you are meant to be. You have the rest of your life to be with someone, to love them. Don’t feel guilty!”
Wise, right? And so completely right. The single life makes me happy right now. It’s not wasting time to be completely in love with being single and want to spend time focusing on myself, discovering more deeply what I want out of life. I’ve known for a long time that I’m someone who likes to swim against the current. I dance to the beat of my own drum, do things a bit differently than other people. I’m not going to be the girl dating around, worried more about finding a partner to build a life with than building a life I love on my own. And I’m young! I’m 27! I have so much of life yet to live and I want to live it the best way I know how. Whether that includes meeting someone in the next few months, the next few years, when I’m in my forties, or never, I’m going to build a life I am proud of. And I’m going to stop feeling guilty and start appreciating this season of my life.