Single. For some its a four letter word and for others it signifies freedom. You see I spent most of my life resenting the word single. And I wouldn’t have been honest about that, until about a year ago. I was not a good single person. Like I was REALLY created for relationship in my mind. I know that God created everyone for relationship but I was like MADE for it. Ya know? I needed to help someone, I needed to be needed (yikes), and if I am being really honest I wanted to be admired. I used a relationship to fill my need for love, closeness, and belonging. And I would become whatever my significant other needed in order for things to work. If that meant breaking personal boundaries, ignoring my needs, and losing my identity, so be it.
This is SUCH a hard subject for me to talk about because I don’t want to admit that about myself. I want to tell you I was only that way when I was a young foolish high school girl. That I wasn’t that bad because I even did the whole “be single for a year” thing. I spent time with myself and truly got to know more about who I was. But the truth is my poor dating habits were hard to break. And they were doing to take longer than a year to break. So when I met “the one” immediately after (ok during but we stayed friends) my year of being single I thought I was READY. I knew what I wanted, I wasn’t going to compromise my belief system, and I surely had my own identity. Wrong. I held onto my identity but I got lost in translation of what compromise meant. He never compromised, and I always did. And that was the beginning of some really unhealthy habits. Long story short(ish) I wound up in a VERY unhealthy marriage and staring down the barrel of divorce at the ripe age of twenty-five. This is what finally forced me to confront my perpetual avoidance of being single.
So there I was, a twenty-five year old that had spent my entire life avoiding being single only to end up divorced. Not just single at twenty-five but like a failed marriage, doesn’t know how to be in relationship, quarter life crisis kinda single. It was excruciating, but oddly enough, I did NOT want to be in a relationship. Marriages or relationships ending the way mine did will do that to a person. I was terrified of speaking to another man and if I am honest I still am. But this earth shattering breakup has forced me to open my eyes. I’ve had to look in the mirror and come to terms with all my bad habits. I needed to understand what closeness meant, and why I had always failed at finding it. The truth is I was looking for closeness with a man that didn’t have the capability to be close to me. And let me be direct here, NO man has the ability to be the kind of close women need to fill the God-sized hole in their heart. I had to stare at my need to be needed, and get to the bottom of it. That meant understanding that I am worthy of love even when I can’t give, do, or be all my partner needs. I’ve had to understand there are some things I will never compromise for any human being, and that's not rude or unkind. That’s called having healthy boundaries in my life.
I might even say being good at being single is harder than being good at being in relationships. Because when you’re single you’re confronted with all the areas you can grow. You have to choose to invest in yourself. Choose to see your worth separate from what you can do for another human being. You have to place your identity in Jesus and know that he has called you worthy, loved, beautiful, and daughter. You have to fall in love with who God created you to be apart from someone else, and since we are our own worst critics that is a hard thing to do. All of this isn’t to say that relationships are easy, because even the best of relationships require work. But I believe that if you put in the work of understanding yourself while you’re single, relationships become so much easier. You know who you are, you don’t compromise your beliefs, and you see value in yourself. So you don’t end up settling or striving to be married or in relationship. You end up shimmering in the light of God’s love. And that is where everyone wants to be.
You see I spent most of my life carrying around the weight of what I thought being single was. I thought this was like an anchor on the bottom of my ankles keeping me from moving onto the next steps in my life. But let me tell you this, the weight was not in being single. It was in my palpable desire for relationship. In this idea that I was incomplete without another person. It took me getting married and divorced to understand that in order to lose the burden of singleness, I had to face my desire of looking for love in the wrong places. I confronted the notion that I was half of a person, and that my worth relied another person loving me. I opened my eyes to where my worth was all along, and that is the unconditional irrevocable reckless love of God. I don’t have it all figured out and I am sure I will still make mistakes, but I now know I have the freedom to do so. I no longer dread the idea of being single. Because I’ve realized am free to find myself for myself for the first time ever.
And I want you to be free too. I want you to find your identity separate from relationships. And not begrudgingly so, but with fervor and excitement. Speaking from experience here are some things I want to leave with you:
The last thing I want to say is if you’re dating, and this blog has made you question your relationship or yourself… Lean into the questioning. Listen to your gut and whatever she may be telling you. Because there are WORSE things than breaking up, and MUCH worse things than being single.
“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom”
Maggie is a Psychology Enthusiast, Writer, and an Advocate for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing. She has walked through brokenness and learned that she’s not alone there. She wants to bring radical, relatable, and raw content that allows people to see into her journey and find hope there that illuminates their darkness. Connect with Maggie to learn more.