Breaking Up With The Single Life

Today feels like a good day to write. I’ve never claimed to be a dating expert, my words stem from experiences (the good and the bad) and it’s experience which has made me sit down and write today. I’ve always been quite emotional for a guy, sometimes it’s the smallest things that hit you the hardest. Today I’ve reflected on times when I myself have hurt people, not because I’ve done something really bad, but because I am the way I am – over complicated, too much in my own head and often non-committal.

I’ve spoken previously about the pressures people put upon themselves to find love, to find the one, to settle down. There comes a time in life where it consumes us. I myself was a quiet kid up until about the age of about eighteen and had never really had a proper girlfriend until then. Fast forward ten years and I’ve wracked up a solid seven or eight serious relationships one after the other and spent a grand total of just five months being single. ย This decade of relationships is where my experience comes from and what inspires my writing, but it is also one of my biggest flaws and I hope people can learn from that.

The point I’m makingย is that being single doesn’t have to be a negative thing. I’ve heard loved ones speak about being single as if it were a disability. This of course is complete nonsense. I ask myself how many of my relationships I regret and as much as I try not to regret things in life there’s certainly three or four I could’ve done without. We need to learn to value the positive side of being single and no not playing the field, I mean self-development, discovery and finding out what you actually want from life. These are the very things which can lead to long-term happiness. What is it they say ‘short-term pain, long-term gain’? I truly believe this can be applied to dating and relationships.

I always champion the idea of loving yourself before you can love someone else, but perhaps I’ve too often been guilty of not taking my own advice. When I have taken that advice however, life seems to be that little bitย smoother. Then when the time comes for that long-awaited relationship, you’ll feel like Rocky reaching the top of the steps (somewhere I’ve been – take a jacket it’s freezing).
What happens when we put too much pressure on ourselves to meet someone? We end up with the wrong person. Simple as that.

Have faith that the right person will come along at the perfect moment. In the meantime, make the most of the single life. Get to know yourself before you get to know someone else. If you do, breaking up with the single life will be harder than you ever thought possible.

“Trust the path you’re on, if you don’t
nothing makes sense.” – Paolo Coelho


follow me on Twitter @paulthomasbell

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56 thoughts on “Breaking Up With The Single Life

  1. And sometimes you are not looking to date but it happens anyway. If you are not aware of what’s going through your head you won’t be ready to date and have long-term relationships. That’s what happened to me with the ex turned friend.

    Don’t rush getting to know someone….work on self-development and taking care of all your needs.

  2. This was an enjoyable piece. Single life at a certain age is seen as a taboo in these parts (Nigeria) and people start to think that there must be something wrong with you. I can only imagine how many people (including myself) have felt this way and border on being desperate to make a relationship work with a not-so-compatible person.

    Look forward to reading more of your work. Subscribed and now following you on Twitter! Here’s my take:

  3. I think this mindset is helpful for most people and time for self-discovery and self-reproach is a paramount process in order to grow. That said, after a long while, being single can feel like a rut one can’t get out of. Being alone for too long can start to work against you and leave you feeling broken. I suppose it all comes down to having the ability to choose and being wise with that choice.

    1. Yeah I do agree, I have no doubt being alone can be really tough I suppose the message I’m trying to put across is just to see the positives for as long as you possibly can. They say there’s someone out there for everyone but I honestly believe there is about a hundred people out there for everyone it’s just a matter of time before your paths cross. Sincerely hope you find/have found what you’re looking for. Paul

  4. I’m not saying I disagree with loving yourself first and not treating being single like a disability but at some point being single, even if you’re not miserable, can become annoying.
    I am a bit like you, I feel everything way too deeply and am in my own head way too much but after almost 2 years alone I’ve come to realise that I’d like to share what’s in my head sometimes and that is probably what bugs me most about being single.
    Desperately searching for “the one” though can never be a good thing and I was probably guilty of that for a while before pretty much giving up on the whole dating thing.
    Still doesn’t mean I don’t have days where I’m having a hard time with all of it and wonder if it’ll ever happen for me.

    1. Hi Sera,

      it’s nice to hear from someone with similar traits to myself even if at times these traits can go against us. I totally understand being single can be the source of great unhapiness for people I suppose my message is really just to see the positives in order to prevent such unhappiness. As I’ve just said in another reply I sincerely believe there is someone out there for everyone, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered people who’ve found everything they’ve ever wanted when they stopped looking. Don’t give yourself a hard time, it’ll happen for you ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. It has taken along time to even see this truth. I still have not mastered it. After 16 years of being in a relationship I panicked that I’d be consigned to the past it bin. I have grown a little over the last 10 months and now love my space. I spent this weekend rearranging my bedroom and my sons’s room and cleaning. Bought some second hand furniture didn’t have to ask anyone! I then watched the whole of Game of Thrones season 1. (Now I see what all the fuss is about!)
    I miss my sons when they are away with their dad but my goodness I’m loving being with me!
    Thanks for these wise words.

  6. Great post. I think so many of us are under the impression that being single should only be a temporary thing and is therefore negative. I sort of wish the general population was more comfortable with the idea of being single permanently. We fear this so much that we do end up with the wrong person. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to go your entire life single, not because you couldn’t find love but because you are equally happy on your own. As a society, it seems we just don’t value independence enough. For the first time in my life, I truly love being single. Not because I am lying to myself to make myself feel better about a temporary situation but because I enjoy it so much I would be accepting if it were a permanent situation.

  7. Love the picts! And you’re so right. One year, I set put to document single and successful individuals. I started with Madonna, though she (like me) has been married occasionally. You can be single and happy, and more importantly, you can thrive!

    Thanks for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. Us captains aboard the Relation(ship) were discussing this exact same issue the other day, constantly getting the question: “How are YOU still single?!” Perhaps a compliment, but also can be construed as “single” being a wholly negative life situation. I’ve had a similar experience as you: not much dating until I was 18, then in a series of four relationships, one after the other, serial dating for ten years. I have only been single for two months during that time frame (currently). One thing I fear is that if I don’t “put myself out there” and “meet new people,” that I don’t even have a CHANCE of finding anyone! Your post says not to worry about it and things will happen naturally. Surely we have to put some effort in, right? If I’m not careful, I’m guilty of spending days alone in my apartment (I work from home). I also feel as though I am rarely approached by men in social situations with romantic intentions – I have to make all the first moves. If I don’t try, it seems I don’t have a fighting chance. Any thoughts? Even if the relationship is a throwaway, do we not learn and grow from each person we meet?

    Sincerely, Captain Crรจme

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your comments. I wouldn’t stress too much about putting yourself out there, sometimes we put ourselves out there ‘too’ much and it leads to bad situations. I do believe things will happen naturally but I wouldn’t necessarilly dont try, just be open-minded. You could be on a dating website for 5 years without success and then meet the love of yyour life in a supermarket, I honestly believe these things can happen.
      Learning from each person we meet is a fantastic point I’ve always believed this as well, even some of my most regrettable relationships have served as some form of learning curve plus it’s life experience and that’s one of the most valuable things we’ll ever gain.

      Don’t stop trying but try to relax and have faith that the right person is out there, don;t put pressure on yourself as well that’s when you meet the bad eggs.

      Feel free to email me if you wanna chat more.

  9. “The point Iโ€™m getting at is that being single doesnโ€™t have to be a negative thing. ” but most of the time being with someone who is not even too mmuch harmonies with you, is far better than being alone.

  10. Ok what I’m about to say is going to sound sarcastic and possibly bitchy but 5 months of single doesn’t exactly make you an expert. Come back after 5 years of single, going on what feels like a million bad dates, watching most of your friends pair up and then tell me your not mentally going “what did I do to piss off Cupid”. Single is fine to a point but eventually you start to crave companionship and someone to share those insider moments with.

    1. Hi that’s ok I respect your opinion all I’m saying is being single doesn’t necessarily always have to be a bad thing and it helps to at least try and make the most of it and I say that based on the experiences of those around me not just my five month spell on the sidelines. Also, I may only have been single a short time in the last ten years but I also grew up the quiet teen who desperately longed for a girlfriend but couldn’t even muster a simple introduction so I have been there ๐Ÿ™‚ hope you find what you’re liking for, thanks for reading. Paul

  11. So well said! I’ve been single for a quite a while after doing just what you said…not loving myself enough and feeling like it was inferior to be alone so I got into (and stayed in) a relationship that made me miserable. It was my first serious relationship and it was much later in life than most people. The happiest years of my life though have actually been these I’ve spent single working on getting to know myself better, learning to love myself and growing. It’s so much more of a blessing than a curse and I wish more people would see it that way and see past the societal pressures and our own self-pressure. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much I’m so happy to hear of your positive experiences. Sounds like you are living proof of the benefits of being single even if it is just temporary. Thanks for reading, much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚ Paul

  12. I really did enjoy this post, I had the same issues that were stemmed from my mother’s bad habits. I’ve finally broke free of those habits and am as happy as ever…And as single as ever.

    I adore that you quoted the great Paulo Coelho as well…He’s amazing.

  13. I totally agree with you you.. finding love or a lover or getting married should not be a wish.. but one must feel it when the right person comes his way. You shouldn’t search for love cause when you do.. you will never find it.. Love mostly comes when you least expect it.. so enjoy being single and finding yourself and if love shall cone knocking on your door.. then let it in.. thank you for writing such a beautiful and o the point post.. I enjoyed reading it. Take care .

  14. I think that between the two of us, my singleness over the past decade and you being in relationships we would know far more then we should about life and people. I enjoyed the read !

  15. You are a really wise writer. I broke up with my boyfriend back in April and I feel ilke I should be looking but deep down I really don’t wat to be. If that makes sense. But your article really helped me put things in perspective. Thank you big time! I love reading your stuff. Watch the video I’m putting up tomorrow. You will laugh your ass off.

  16. “Today I feel like Iโ€™ve hurt people, not because Iโ€™ve done something bad but because I am the way I am โ€“ complicated, too much in my own head, non-committal.” This is me to a T. I spent 5 years in one bad relationship, only to land in another one and stay there for 13. I have dated two men since then, each for several months. I am free now, and I can see where I went wrong, why I made the choices I did, and how much better off I am standing on my own two feet. Even if it’s not the life I planned. Even if I’m in debt. Even if I have lonely moments. I have probably been on 20 bad dates over the past two years. Some men just don’t look anything like their profile pictures. Some appear to never leave the home, and consider quotes from Family Guy conversation. Some are soooo needy and all about me after one date that they want me to meet their children on the second. All are so off-putting that I’d PREFER to be alone. This is unpopular. It may make me seem like a super-bitch, but I’m ok with that. I have my priorities in order. I can see why I made the mistakes I made, and I am confident that I won’t make the same ones over again. I will NOT introduce someone I am dating to my child until I have been dating them for some significant period of time, and a guy wanting me around theirs after one date is a red flag. I don’t want someone because I need someone. I want someone because I still believe it is possible to find a person who gets you, respects you and will cherish you. But I’m in no hurry. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great post!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I hope you remain positive but absolutely there is nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of you time. I always believe that no matter how long it takes we all eventually meet that one person that really truly allows us to look back and laugh at all these crazy experiences but like you say what’s the rush. It’s a total cliche but life is a journey and the right people will appear at the right time – eventually ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for reading, Paul.

  17. Dear Paul, what a wonderful piece of writing. I have to echo everything you said and a couple of the comments here. Myself coming from a unique past (aren’t all pasta unique?) I jumped unashamedly from one relationship to another looking fir ‘The one’. I gave up after a fair few misfortunes (emotionally and financially!) So…how today am I a happily married man and father? I stopped looking. I concentrated solely on me. All that love I had to share I gave to myself in the form of education, positive affirmation and solid friendships. Just as you’ve said. That is when she turned up. When I didn’t need her and didn’t ‘want’ her, or anyone to complete me. I was happy alone. She was the missing peice I didn’t know was missing! Today I recommend to everyone who asks relationship advice ‘live alone for two years’ when you know yourself you’ll be in the right place to know another. 5 stars. Great post!

  18. Truly, I agree with you Mr. Bell (permit me to call you P.T.B) *smiles*

    This age has been inflicted with a totally unnecessary burden of being insufficient when still in the ‘societal status’ – SINGLE. And this is wrong.

    I’ve also realized that not only do you end up with the wrong person as you mentioned when people are under pressure wTo meet people. but, even though they eventually meet the right person, they meet in a wrong way and then the ‘meeting’ is unproductive meanwhile it would have been pretty cool if they were cool, calm annd collected.

    By the way, I didn’t know you were already answering PTB. I later saw it at the tail end. So… I would then from now call you PTB. Lol.


  19. Truly, I agree with you Mr. Bell (permit me to call you P.T.B) *smiles*

    This age has been inflicted with a totally unnecessary burden of being insufficient when still in the ‘societal status’ – SINGLE. And this is wrong.

    I’ve also realized that not only do you end up with the wrong person as you mentioned when people are under pressure wTo meet people. but, even though they eventually meet the right person, they meet in a wrong way and then the ‘meeting’ is unproductive meanwhile it would have been pretty cool if they were cool, calm annd collected.

    By the way, I didn’t know you were already answering PTB. I later saw it at the tail end. So… I would then from now call you PTB. Lol.


  20. yes. i agree with you. single life is NEVER bad. for anyone. it just means it’s not yet their time or luck. granted, i’m not married, so i may sound defensive. BUT i don’t understand how every couple i’ve met so concern about WHEN i’ll tie the knot with someone. i mean, i’m happy for them and all, but why push someone else into doing something that is not their business? isn’t it supposed to be a personal decision? one that should only be done when one is 100% certain and without pressure? this is the very reason i don’t attend weddings.

  21. Hello Paul! Just discovered your blog today. I’m 17 years old and, just like you when you were 17, never have really had a proper girlfriend. I know it’s good to stay optimistic, and I’m proud to say I’m feeling more confident in myself than ever, but at some point after being single FOREVER I have to wonder what is wrong with me? I feel like I’ve been on the sidelines, so to speak, for long enough and I’m ready to give this dating thing a go. I’m ready to put my abilities to the test. What’s depressing is that I am having trouble finding the right people to date.

    I guess what I’m thinking is that for some, like yourself, being single is a time to take a quick breather, rethink your goals and discover your needs. After that, quickly get back on your feet and go at it again. That’s how it should be. For others, like myself, being single is this invisible wall that I can’t seem to get passed. Really, I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve been thinking and preparing for a relationship long enough…and the only thing that can help me progress is simply experience. Time to take off the training wheels. Sadly, I’ve been denied this. I’m just trapped here in this single stage.

    I know it may seem like I’m young, but believe me…there are lots of people my age getting into the dating game, many have started a long time ago. It’s just so frustrated being left behind when I know I’m ready for this. It’s frustrating.

  22. Firstly thanks for following my blog, theater of my thoughts. Thanks because otherwise I wouldn’t have got to know about your blog. I love the way you have put it all in such a simple way… and this article came in at a much need time ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks. Wish you a better life ahead.

  23. Amen. First I would like to thank you for following my blog, I really enjoy your writing and outlook on dating in this crazy hyperactive digital world. Keep up the great work.

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