Most of the time, when someone writes a column about the perks of not being in a relationship, it’s usually in an effort to convince everyone (and him- or herself) that it’s perfectly acceptable to be single. Seeing as how we are not complete idiots, we, of course, know that being single can actually be pretty awesome and that we certainly don’t have to convince you smart ladies of that. You all know the obvious perks of being single: the extra time with your girlfriends, sleeping right in the middle of the bed, total control of the remote, being able to wear your ugly comfortable underwear whenever you want because no one is going to see it anyway. But what about the deeper, more important perks of being single?
You Can Keep Your Seat On The Hot Mess Express
Most of us spend the beginning of our relationships in full hair and makeup. We spend our evenings and weekends in the perfect outfit for whatever charming date location we are headed to. There have been guys I’ve dated for months who never saw me in my glasses or my (super awesome) poodle print pajamas because we never progressed to that level of comfort. In a relationship, particularly at the start, there’s a desire to impress our other half, and that usually involves real pants and the “no makeup” makeup look, even if he’s just coming over to “watch a movie.” But when you are flying solo, there’s no one to impress during your down time. Showering is optional, makeup is not a necessity, and the only time you put on pants is to greet the pizza delivery guy, and even that’s not a given. While this may seem silly, there’s something really freeing about having time to not give a shit about what you look like, and being single gives you more opportunities to enjoy that. Also, how great it is for your skin to not have any makeup on it for a whole weekend?
Your Time Is Your Own
When you are in a relationship, much of your aforementioned downtime is spent in the company of your significant other. While it’s awesome to have a partner to spend time with, it can also be really great to be able to determine what you want to do with your time without having to consider someone else. Want to go for drinks Friday night with the girls? Great. Want to go skiing for a week? Go ahead. Want to binge on “Friends” for 36 hours straight this weekend? No problem. With no one else to consider, you’re free to decide for you, and only you, how to spend your time.
You Don’t Have To Compromise
One of the keys to a successful relationship is compromise, on both sides. He doesn’t like Mexican, so you only eat burritos on your lunch break; you aren’t eating carbs this month, so he never takes you to an Italian restaurant. You suffer through the nightmares that horror movies give you so you can watch one of his favorites with him once in a while, and he’ll watch five episodes of “Sex and the City” with you and only make one or two snide comments. While it’s definitely important to practice the fine art of meeting in the middle when you are in a relationship, one of the perks of being alone is that you don’t have to. The only person whose wants, needs, and desires you have to consider are your own, and that can be awesome.
Figure Out What You Like…
A side effect of not having to compromise can be the opportunity to figure out what your own personal tastes are without the influence of anyone else’s opinions. Many times in relationships, we can fall into the habit of spending most of our time doing things that “we” like to do, which is only natural since there are two people involved. But another perk of being alone is having time to explore new interests or hobbies and find new things that you may be passionate about without having to worry if your partner likes them, too. Or maybe you’re able to rediscover old passions and hobbies that had fallen by the wayside when you were a “we.” Either way, you don’t have to give a shit if he thinks knitting or “Gilmore Girls” is lame, because there’s no he to worry about.
…And What You Really Want
Alone time can help you figure out exactly what kind of relationship works for you, believe it or not. My past relationships were of the clingy variety; we just wanted to be together all of the time. But after being single for a while, I’ve realized that I really like my alone time. It’s time that I can use as my own to read, watch mindless television, sleep alone in my bed, or write columns for you. While that together-all-the-time relationship works for some people, it doesn’t work for me–and I never would have known that if I didn’t have the time to myself to think about it. Using your alone time to figure out what you really want, both in terms of what kind of relationship you want and what you are passionate about in life, can only serve to help you later on, when it’s time to be in a relationship again, because you’ll have a clearer picture of what’s important to you..