This week we have a guy who keeps jumping from relationship to relationship, but he's been dying to see what the single life is like. Will he figure out how to live it up solo? Or will he realise there isn't always a right way to do everything?
Some people have problems that require delicate advice from a qualified professional. Others just need a random guy on the internet to kick 'em in the teeth (with honesty, that is). I'm the latter. Welcome back to Tough Love.
This week we have someone who desperately wants to escape his soulless career and become a writer, but he's too busy to write. Should he leave his job so he can finally find the time to put pen to paper? Or will he realise that it's possible to make time for his passion if he's willing to dig deep?
Note: I'm not a therapist or health professional of any kind. People ask for my advice and I give it to them. End of transaction. If you have a problem with it, feel free to file a formal complaint here. Now that that's out of the way, let's get on with it:
I've been a poster child for short-term love, jumping from relationship to relationship, knowing that I'm not ready to settle down for good.
In the meantime, I've learned how to establish strong connections with others, have developed some amazing relationship skills, and have had many epiphanies about myself during those times. Some even ended mutually, and my average relationship lasts two years (longest was six years) with little to no lag time between them.
I have an awesome jealousy-inducing job, and I'm financially free and don't need to work. I'm very goal-oriented and have personal, family, career, financial, social, fitness, spiritual and other goals that I work on regularly.
I travel a lot (maybe too much) for fun with friends/lovers. I see all my close friends at least once a week and finally have a good relationship with my family. I'm happy with myself and my station in life.
I practise gratitude and meditation daily, and I have good control over my emotions and understanding about the triggers that cause them. I'm an avid lifehacker, and am always learning/trying new things and have a lot of hobbies/interests. I like working on my routines and am pretty good with staying productive.
But I'm 32 and am getting to the point where I'm ready to settle down and am done with casual and short term relationships.
There's just one thing I haven't conquered that I think I need to do before committing to something long-term. I've never really been single for more than a few months since I typically have a queue of people wanting to date me (I'm a bit of a catch).
I'm recently single and am ready to give it a good effort, but I'm having trouble understanding the point of being single.
What should I be looking to get out of single life? Is the point of single life to just do more self-improvement?
I have someone hitting me up that has long-term potential, but I've told her I need some time to be single, since this is my last chance to do it, but I'm not sure what I'm doing. I work on myself and my goals whether I'm in a relationship or not.
What do you suggest? Is my desire to understand single life even valid since I have my veritable ducks in a row? Is there something I'm not understanding correctly? Should I be working as hard as I can on my goals while not having the distraction of women? Do I need to be celibate? What can I do to work more on myself? What resources do you recommend? When do I know that enough singleness is enough?
Single Life Novice
Hey Single Life Novice,
Resources? You are in luck, my friend! I have the ultimate guide to being single right -
There is no actual guide to being single (despite what a cursory Google search might tell you). And there is no clearly defined "point" to the single life. The logistics of being single are simple:
- You're either single because you want to be single (you're in-between relationships, you need time to yourself, you don't care for serious relationships, you don't want to be tied down, you do want to be tied down but by different people, and so on).
- Or you were forced into being single.
Part of the problem, SLN, is that you're looking for the best way to do things when there is really only doing what's best for you.
There is no best way to be single, no unspoken rule for how long you should be single, or any universal laws that say what you must do while you're single. It varies.
Some people would be better off alone and working on themselves; others should sow their wild oats and date around to learn what works for them; and some know what they need and simply need to keep looking for it. And you don't ever have to settle down if you don't want to - you can stay single forever.
I know, you're looking for a how-to or some kind of formula tailored to your well-organised life, but that isn't how love works.
You talk about relationships as though they were jobs, going over data points, telling me what you learned, showing there are no gap years, describing your skills, and so on.
I mean, you sound like you're interviewing for a position as "single man" and asking me what the job requirements are, then hoping to crush it so you can hit the fast track to a career in life fulfilment with benefits and a healthy superannuation.
But it isn't a career, it isn't about skill sets, or what you are, or how you define yourself - it's about what you feel. Look for what feel's right, SLN, not what other people say is right.
Look, you're a Lifehacker writer's dream - you are. You actually take action and do all the things we write about to make yourself better. It's awesome to see, but there's a hidden danger in that too.
Last week, I got onto someone for not taking action on good advice. While you are a ready and willing individual, you also rely too much on being told what actions to take.
You have to be careful of developing a belief that there's always a right way to go about things, that there's a definitive answer to every question in life. There isn't, so don't let it freeze you up.
You're basically asking me to tell you what you want, and I have no freakin' idea dude! So, I'll turn this question cannon around so it's aiming at the correct target. There we go, lighting the fuse, and...
WHAT DO YOU WANT?!
Do you want to stay single? Do you want to be with someone? Maybe you're ready to settle down, but not with this person who's showing interest right now? I don't know. What feels right? What would make you happy, both now and in the future?
I'd love to try and sell you some "guide to the single life" - trust me, clicks through the roof - but I'm not going to. Here's what I'm going to recommend instead:
Let love happen.
You're in a position where you can simply explore and see where your feelings lead you. Don't push an amazing person away just because you think there are some single life milestones you still need to check off (there aren't), and don't feel obligated to settle down with someone who "seems fine" just because you think you have the rest of your life figured out.
Keep an open mind and an open heart, and listen to your gut. If some beautiful, wonderful person comes into your awesome life and manages to make it even better somehow, let them.