Going through the motions of suddenly being single, after having spent years of your life in a relationship with another, can be weird. Weird is an understatement. It can be an entire plethora of things. For example…this sudden singleness can be: terrifying, thrilling, liberating, depressing, empowering, discouraging, exciting, frustrating, exhausting, horrible…the list goes on.
Entering into the “single life” is like arriving on a new planet. Suddenly everything has changed and small details in your life that you hadn’t previously put much thought into, have made themselves known by not being there at all.
Wait what? I have to go to bed and wake up alone? I have to say goodnight and good morning to my cold bedroom wall? No one is going to snuggle me first thing in the morning, make toast and coffee with me, or get mad at me when I micro-manage in the kitchen? Suddenly you realize you are brushing your teeth in the mirror by yourself, without that person to make funny faces at. Small mundane acts like, going to the grocery store, binge watching Netflix, and taking an afternoon nap, suddenly feel completely desolate and painfully lonely. Your partner in crime is gone. And that hurts more than you could ever stand to imagine.
Not only is this new planet of singledom strange because of the sudden loneliness. Oh no, there is much more to it. You constantly experience more and more of this foreign planet as time unfolds. I believe assimilation onto planet singledom comes in peculiar, and surprising, phases:
Phase 1: Utter disbelief.
This is that shitty first moment of coming out of a relationship, whether you were the one to end it or not. It is that HORRIFYING moment of, holy shit I am entering singledom. The daunting moment of realizing what your life is about to look like. I am telling you - at first, this new planet is your worst nightmare.
Phase 2: “I am SINGLE!”
After a short period of time has gone by, before it really sinks in, you feel excited about your new single life. This is when you become intrigued by the new possibilities. It is when you get excited about going out with your girlfriends and kissing the cutest guy at the bar. Why? Because you can.
Phase 3: Dating Pt. 1+2
Pt. 1- Still not a lot of time has gone by since the big breakup, but that void is eating you alive, literally, and you are still so new in learning how to handle it. So what do you do? You date a lot of guys. Little do you know how completely unprepared you are for this. Often times you end up crying in the latest date's arms about your ex…That’s just uncomfortable for everyone…
Pt. 2: This is when you begin to feel like you are coming out on the other side, the pain is slowly fading away and you tell yourself you are taking time for you, but somehow still end up dating. You meet someone who (shockingly) allows you to temporarily forget how little faith you have, and you start to have real feelings for him. Long story short, that someone turns out shitty…which brings you to phase 4.
Phase 4: I am single, and I will be single forever.
Dating did not work. Surprise, surprise, you gave it what.. 3 months after your breakup? Sure dating is a great way to get your mind off things, but this is the phase when you realize that dating isn’t going to cure the pain of your heartache. This is when you truly believe you will be single forever and it breaks your heart all over again. You miss your ex an EXTREME amount in this stage. “Maybe I should just go back…Will anyone ever love me like he did? He’s the only one who really knows me.”…No.
Phase 5: I am single, and it is genuinely okay.
For me, this is the weirdest phase of them all. By weird I mean unexpected. It is when for the first time you become so busy with other aspects of your life, that you actually begin to forget about your love life. This is something you’ve always dreamt of, but never actually thought would occur. Of course the heartache is still there. You still cry when you hear from him in a distant email, and his birthday still feels like doomsday. But a serious shift has occurred. You find yourself genuinely believing yourself when you say things like “I’m just doing me right now”. You have said that so many times before, but this is when you actually mean it and are okay with it. Like I said, this is a weird, but exciting, phase…
The phases continue as life goes on. The good thing is new experiences are around every corner. So keep on keeping on, as my mom would say. When you are feeling horribly stuck in a phase you don’t like, feel comfort in knowing that it will morph into a new chapter sometime sooner or later. Singledom might not be so bad, after all.