Oh valentines day, how you needlessly taunt the nation so.
If I get one more email offering me the perfect way to induce a chocolate vomit armageddon all over my budget bouquet of red roses during my Thames cruise with three course dinner, coffee and complimentary cocktail laced with a hint of orgasm I will swing for someone.
I am a fan of sweet gestures. What I’m not a fan of is devoting entire days to pushing people into thinking they need love and sex from someone, and intentionally making people feel left out of the celebrations if they haven’t found a person to share that with just yet. So in an act of rebellion, I’m here to share what I learnt from my happiest and most triumphant times as a single lady.
Being alone does not EVER make you lonely
Let’s not fall into that emotional dependence trap. Yes, ok, deep down it can sometimes set off those wistful little pangs when everyone around you is wedding planning, but the key word here is FRIENDS. They’re going through the happiest times of their lives and you get to be part of it, without worrying about the cost or the stress or the 61 dress fittings that go with it. And in general, when was the last time you ever had a cake and board game night with your friends and felt alone in the world?
Dating is a fickle thing until you find the right person (I notoriously hate it. HATE IT) – if you ever do. So realise that it’s your friends you’ll share the best memories with, and make sure they’re second to none.
Independence is the most attractive thing you can wear
Before I met Sam and started The High Tea Cast, I was having a crisis. I’d split up with a boy I was going to marry, and had been in the process of moving to Cornwall. Regardless I continued on this quest without him, meaning I was taking my first trips alone 300 miles from home. I came out of it unscathed (apart from that slight brush with a Cornish tractor) and with renewed confidence. I’d learnt how to navigate my car without a sat-nav, I learnt how to travel on a budget, I learnt how to make connections that led to bigger things while stood in a room armed only with business cards and a limited CV. Although I never succeeded in moving so far away, my new independence became a badge I wore with pride and built on. It helped me realise I absolutely didn’t need a man to initiate and achieve big ambitions and… well… look at me now: Digital whizz, networker extraordinaire, Editor, radio DJ, female podcaster, burlesque dancer and freelancer. Not many of which I’d ever have done with a dubious man in tow.
Fill your days with what you love
Seems like a strangely straightforward one, but actually being single contributes to pushing you to do things. You literally have no one else’s needs to think about, if your new hobby doesn’t work out how you’d imagined it’ll make a great story to tell in the pub, and most of all there’s no unnecessary fear that you’re spending potential relationship-building time elsewhere and inadvertently letting the apple of your eye slip away.
I realise the final reason for a new experience boost might be regarded as a somewhat airhead temperament. I’m just being truthful. The fact of the matter is that the pressure to find a lifelong partner is very real, as are the insecurities that come with it. It’s so important not to lose sight of what makes up you as a person, and if your new someone is right for you it’s up to them to fit in around what you do on top of your day job.
When there’s someone new on the scene, don’t drop everything
Following on from above, do what you can to shake those creeping insecurities. Standing by your phone achieves nothing, and you tend to find that if you spend all your time trying to stay in contact with someone by phone, you consequently have nothing to say during those special few hours you planned for when you get to go out with them.
As the most non-calm person ever, I know how hard it is for some to take this on board (I am the queen of worrying and getting attached – I know this struggle too well!) but chill out as much as you can when you’re dating. As much as I truly wish it was, it is not a quick process, and while I champion being true to your own expectations and speaking your mind you really have to keep up your own independence and interests – even if it doesn’t fit in with your partner’s. It’s an admirable trait to possess, and the harsh reality is that he wouldn’t drop everything for a precious extra hour with you. So you shouldn’t either, and you should both be fine with that – I bet it doesn’t jeopardise things the way you think it will.
Develop your coping mechanisms
So the person you’ve been seeing has delivered the horrible news that despite the fact you are awesome/hilarious/talented/inspiring/great in bed, they’re just not feeling it. GREAT. Cue three weeks of sobbing, chocolate gorging and explosive and public rants when the song that reminds you of them has the gall to play out loud on the ASDA radio station while you’re picking up both Bridget Jones films.
Or… don’t. Develop a coping mechanism. Here’s mine:
- Delete every single thing from your phone with them in it – number, pictures, Facebook, everything
- Call one friend, text another, and see one or both of them that night if you can
- Plan something that means you’re not sat alone mulling it over. It’s done now, forget it, and revisit the happy memories when it’s less raw.
Resilience is a wonderful thing
That coping mechanism above? Use it. Be proud that you can stop that person bringing you down, and apply the relevant bits of your strategy to everyday life. Getting a handle on those emotions – be it through ignorance, falling back on friends or replacing them with something else – builds you up to be made of stronger stuff, and there’s real pride to be found in that.
Not being shacked up with someone has huge positives. You can starfish in bed! You can spend money on yourself instead of expensive dates! You don’t have to worry about impressing someone! Embrace the selfish bits – you have your whole life to share yourself with another.
Pink is a great healer
I mean the pop star. Not the colour.
I haven’t heard many Pink songs that don’t hold true to the difficult maze that is human emotion. She’s covered insecurity:
And acceptance of a failing relationship:
She’s the unsung heroine of life crisis. Listen to what she says.
You’re safe from heartbreak
My favourite bit of being single? You’re not opening yourself up and making yourself vulnerable to anyone. I like self-protection, and the ball ache of having to factor a partner’s feelings into any equation is something I’m happy to do without until I find the person worth the worry.
Never, ever listen to fucking Cosmo
Real, meaningful, valuable relationships are not dependent on empty sex. Don’t let media pressure you into thinking you’re missing out on something – they’re wrong.
Ok single ladies and gents. Put your hands up – what will you celebrate about being single this Valentines day?
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