It’s Okay to Be Single, Survivor

Maybe you need to hear it’s okay to be single.

The conditioning that forced us into codependency makes us think differently, at least at first.

And the emotional neglect, the deficit in love and respect we carry after abuse, makes us needy. We want to fill those holes, and fast.

But if relying on another person to make us happy didn’t work before, why would it work now?

In fact, maybe you need to hear that it’s necessary to be single, at least for a time. Longer than weeks. Longer than a year. Maybe a few years.

We have a lot to figure out as survivors before we’re ready for the kind of romantic relationship we want and deserve.

The key is inside work.

Your empowerment,

your self-fulfillment,

your self-love

are all key.

Don’t misunderstand. This is NOT the same thing as saying, “You have to love yourself before anyone else will love you.” That’s patronizing bullshit.

What I’m saying is that those pieces MUST come first, creating a solid foundation of peace and well-being that needs no external validation, before anyone else can “swoop in” and add TO your happiness.

And this is all coming from someone — me — who’s been single for almost 11 years. Not always by choice, and despite a fair number of dating trials, but out of a necessity the universe led for me.

Everything I said at the start of this essay was me, early in.

I only know all this stuff now because of my personal experiences in survival, dating, healing, the journey of self. It’s taken years upon years to internalize these truths, and be able to share them.

I’m to the point now where a boyfriend isn’t going to work for me unless they contribute to the peace and well-being I already have on my own.

It would be lovely to have a companion. Someone to come home to. Someone whose shoulder, arms, presence are a safe space. Someone who makes me laugh and makes me coffee, helps around the house and with responsibility, loves me for me. But do I NEED them? Absolutely not. I didn’t always know this.

It’s taken me a long time to embrace it. To really MEAN it from my core based on everything I’ve learned and accomplished by myself, and not just say it because that’s what people expect you to say when you’ve been single “too long.”

I will never forget that around the time of my divorce — I was all vulnerable and glowy-eyed and hopelessly romantic (not despite the abuse, because of it) — when a friend shared with me, in a wise-matron sort of way, that it took her five years to find her second chance and the love of her life. It was both a caution and an encouragement, subtle, well-meaning, though at the time I only rolled my eyes and thought, “That won’t be my story. I’ll never have to wait so long.”

And here I am, a decade later…

Wiser than ever.
Happier than ever.
At peace because I’ve done the work, because I MADE my peace.

And because I’ve learned it’s not just necessary to be single,

it’s also okay — more than okay — to be single,

even for a long time.

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