Be single for one year? Some of us may be thinking, “One year? Please. All I know is the single life!” But others of us have had a deep discomfort and fear of being alone for so long that we don’t know how to function without being in a relationship. A lot of that may stem from the need for a guy to validate us with his love and commitment in order for us to have “proof” that we are truly lovable. Without it, we just aren’t sure how to measure ourselves. “How can we know we have worth if nobody wants us?” we think.
Do you struggle with being content alone? Do you believe that having a guy is the ultimate fulfillment, a requirement in order to have a happy life? If you’ve ever been the type to rebound from relationship to relationship and never really stopped to give yourself some space, then this is for you. Here are five signs you should break away and experience being single for at least one full year.
1. You need to loosen the bondage of codependency.
Longing to be in a relationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, God created us to be in relationship with others. Desiring love, acceptance and belonging is completely human and there’s more than one way to meet that need—but you might have a Cinderella Syndrome. This is the belief that one person’s love is going to have the power to save you and make you feel secure forever. The problem is that as long as we hold onto this belief, we will never feel fulfilled unless someone is constantly saving us from our loneliness, our fears, our insecurities by affirming us in a romantic relationship.
If you were to be honest and say that being in a romantic relationship is the only way you feel deeply validated as a woman, then it’s time to stare codependency in the face. It won’t be easy because depending on personal security from a guy may have become your way of life. This is why a full year of singleness would likely be very good for you. Think of it as a detox. Just like any habit that must be broken, it begins with ridding yourself of the old way of life and giving yourself the opportunity to experience a new way of life. This way of life looks like fulfillment in God and yourself first. It looks like being content whether you’re in a relationship or not. It looks like experiencing the fulfillment of a purpose-driven life that lives from a place of direction instead of dependence. Take the time for yourself to break the bondage of codependency. There is so much freedom on the other side, and you’ll be happy you did.
2. You need to experience the fulfillment of love in other forms.
I couldn’t blame any woman for feeling like romantic love is the highest form of love we can experience. Infatuation is addictive, and our media and culture haven’t made it any easier to reject this notion. However, anyone who’s been married for more than a couple of years will probably tell you that these emotional highs can’t be the basis of their marriage if it has any chance of lasting. It tends to be more about their unity in Christ, the fact that they’re best friends, the companionship of one another or other qualities about the individual they admire that complement the relationship. It’s not just the romantic feeling itself that makes a relationship worthwhile. So why are we so quick to sum up the highest form of love as romance?
When I went through a breakup and found myself having a hard time recovering from that longing, it helped me to start separating the parts of the dissolved relationship that I was actually longing for. It was the support, the acceptance, the companionship, the vulnerability of sharing deeper issues, the friendship, etc. Then the light bulb went off. Once you can separate the deeper longings from the idea of this “one person,” then you’ll realize that you can get these needs met in other, healthy ways. You may also need to learn how to open yourself up to experiencing love in more ways.
One way that we can experience the fulfillment of love is through deep-spirited and genuine relationships with good friends, family members or counselors. That means investing more time in rooted relationships that aren’t romantic, ones that grow to become a solid support system of love and acceptance. You may need to start being more proactive in spending quality time with others and experience vulnerability outside of romance.
Another way is through pursuing your own passions and goals. When we are in our “flow”—that thing we know we were created to do because it fuels our souls—we find ourselves in love with the pursuit of who God created us to be. Serving and investing in others is another way love flows back into our hearts. It expands our love as we shrink back into how great the needs of the world are and God’s love pours out from our hearts to another. The point is that there are so many ways to be full of love in this life that aren’t exclusively tied to being with a guy. It may be in different forms, but it’s still very fulfilling.
3. You need to spend time getting to know yourself as an individual.
If you’re the type of girl who easily becomes enmeshed in a guy and starts changing who you are to become more of what you think he’d like, then your identity probably fluctuates with relationships. It’s very easy to tie your identity to the person that you’re with. However, if you’ve been rebounding from relationship to relationship and never took the time to really dig into who you are, what you like and don’t like, your own personality traits, what your own passions and goals are, etc., then it might be a good idea for you to stop and take a good amount of time getting to know who you are. The best relationships work when two individual people come together and complement each other’s makeup.
4. You need to assess your standards.
This is a big one because it’s the difference between pursuing someone from a place of choice instead of dependency. You may have experienced that you responded to a lot of your past relationships because of the simple fact that someone desired you or showed you some level of attraction. You automatically followed into that relationship simply because the attraction was there. You didn’t take the time to assess if this person was even right for you and probably missed a lot of red flags. This usually leads to a lot of dysfunctional and eventually heartbreaking relationships because of a lack of foundational standards for ourselves to begin with.
If you’re the type of person who falls into relationships just because the attraction exists, then you might need to take some time to assess what you’re actually looking for in a relationship that would be healthy for you. Obviously nobody will be perfect. Be honest with yourself: Are your standards reasonable or are you too picky?
5. You need to be deeply content with yourself first.
Being content and genuinely satisfied with who you are, and where your life is, is an inside job. It comes from within, not from men. If you’ve never experienced the fulfillment of being okay and accepting yourself, then being single for a good year to explore self-love would be a good idea. Not only that, but chances are you may have been feeling a deep strain between you and God, and frustration with His plan for you. Take this time to rebuild your trust in His sovereignty. You’d be surprised how much discontentment simply comes from not trusting God and being grateful for what He’s already provided you with. Rekindle that intimacy with Him. Learn to see yourself the way God sees you. Understand and believe that He desires the best for you as His daughter. Once you have found yourself deeply rooted in this place, you will begin to find the freedom and fulfillment your heart aches for.
So I’ve given you five reasons why you should hold off on a relationship for a good year, but ultimately your journey is between you and God. If these points resonate with your spirit at all, I encourage you to pray on it and consider acting in your best interest. Think of it as a time of rebuilding so that you can go into life or your future relationship healthier and more individually fulfilled. Here are another 10 ways to do just that! All of us at Project Inspired are here for you and praying for you, ladies!