When I was faced with the offer to write about why I am grateful to be single, I panicked a little. Who, except for person getting out of a horrific relationship, is grateful to be single? I enjoy being a free agent, but grateful? I just wasn’t sure. I’ve read so many “this is why it’s awesome to be single!” articles in my day, and I never once believed them. So, in an effort not be either stale or false, I decided to give the traditional single girl narrative a make-over. The following are not reasons I’m grateful to be single, but things, as a single girl, I am grateful for. You see the distinction, right? Right? Oh well. Just read the article.
1) I’m Not Bitter (Yet)
My biggest fear about being single is not that I will remain that way forever, or that the cat I will own in the future will suffocate me with their hair sheddings, but that I will become bitter. No one likes a bitter single gal. Friends and strangers alike would much rather I be a super fun single girl, up for anything, anytime, anyplace. And you know what? I would rather be that way too. I’m grateful that I have yet to become bitter about my single status because once I become bitter, all hell is bound to break loose. I imagine myself becoming that girl who has convinced herself her soulmate ship has sailed and I cringe. Or worse: what if I become that bitter spinster who thinks all men are shit? I try my best avoid such tired clichés by remembering that being single is not a life sentence, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Aside from a theme song (and fancy hand-flipping theme dance), a positive attitude is pretty much all we single ladies have, so I’m grateful mine is still intact.
2) I Don’t Have To Compromise (Unless I Feel Like It)
When you really boil it down, relationships are all just one long compromise. Movies. Friends. Sexual positions. In a relationship, you have to come to an agreement on all these matters and more. Sure, compromise is just doing one thing for one person and then another thing for the other person to make up for the first thing, but that still means that half the time you might be engaged in some pretty boring and/or unpleasant activities. And I’m just talking about the small stuff. Getting older means going from compromising over where to go to dinner to what to name the baby. Yikes. As a single lady, I get to be as selfish as I please. I don’t have to be nice to anyone I don’t want to be. I don’t have to hang out with anyone I don’t want to hang out with. I don’t have to leave the bar early because my significant other has an early meeting and simply cannot stay for one more drink. (Side note: single ladies can always stay for one more drink). My new-found selfishness doesn’t mean I’ve thrown my manners out the window. If anything, I think being single has made me a more polite individual. It goes like this: being single means being able to do whatever I want, and when I get to make choices based on what I want to do rather than what I’m obligated to do, I’m more happy to do them and thus in a better mood and thus more polite and more pleasant to be around. And I think we’re all grateful for that.
3) I’m Friends With The Right Kind Of People
One of the biggest perks of being single is getting to spend more time with your friends, right? Wrong. Well, half wrong. The reality is that even though I’m single, it doesn’t mean all of my friends are. In fact, up until very recently, the majority of my friends were in relationships. Being the only single girl in a group of friends is really, really hard, but the best way to cope is to have amazing friends who value their existing friendships enough un-glue themselves from their significant other for ten minutes in order to have a good time with you, the single one. This is a tactic that goes both ways, however. I always try my best to not give my girlfriends a hard time about spending exorbitant amounts of time with their partners, and to make sure they know I respect their choice to be in a relationship, even though I’m single. As a result, my friends also respect my choice romantic-status and don’t assume that being single means being available to hang out at a moment’s notice. Friends who act like your personal time isn’t as valuable as theirs just because you are single, are bad friends. You must respect each other’s choices. I am grateful that I have friends who respect mine.
4) I Don’t Understand This “Sexual Rut” You Speak Of
Whether you are willing to believe it or not, sex with someone you love is the best sex you will ever have. Period. That being said, sex with someone you have been loving for years, even months—especially if you bore easily and have no imagination—has a tendency to become…routine. The same positions, the same problems, the same person every single time. As a single girl, it would take a very earnest effort on my part to fall into such a sexual rut. Part of being single is exploring everything the world has to offer—and that certainly includes sex. I’m not advocating sleeping with more people than you’re comfortable with, but as long as you’re single, why not take advantage? If you see someone you’re attracted to, flirt with him or her even if they’re not your “type.” You never know what you might learn from someone you’d previously never imagined sleeping with, and you better believe I’m always grateful for a good education.
5) My Emotions Are At The Mercy of No One But Myself
Let’s be real: being in a relationship is not all fun and games. Sometimes, it’s just games, and usually that game is protecting your feelings at any cost. Vulnerability comes with the territory of having a significant other, but that doesn’t mean that letting someone into your most private thoughts and feelings is always an enjoyable experience. Relationships are a gamble at best, and when it’s your feelings you are betting with, anticipating the potentially disastrous outcome can feel precarious to say the least. I would never call myself anything less than a part-time emotional wreck, so I’m not going to pretend that being single removes all romance-induced hurt feelings; it doesn’t. What does change, however, is the absolute control you have over the emotions those mishaps stir up. Instead of having to unpack two loads of emotional baggage and be forced to sort through issues, separating the ingrained to the fixable, single people have the option of simply moving onto the next conquest. Or, if I prefer to dwell on my failed romantic lift-off, the only person responsible for making myself sullen is, well, myself. And as someone who loves being in control, yes, that is something I am definitely grateful for.