Single life provides freedoms

Relationships take time away from personal endeavors.

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It’s been almost two years since I’ve had a boyfriend. It’s not that I haven’t had the opportunity to have one, I’ve just chosen not to. Not having a boyfriend in my life has allowed me to really grow as a person and as an individual.

My growth as a single woman helped me to have the self-confidence and respect for myself that many people I see in relationships tend to lack. I know more about myself; I know what I want and not what someone else wants from me or wants me to be. I’m not identified by someone else.

Too many times I have seen people identify themselves as being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. “Hi, I’m John Doe’s girlfriend, Suzie Q.” Their own name doesn’t come first, but their relationship with someone is given as their main identifier. Your identity should never be linked to someone else’s existence. What’s more, you shouldn’t ever define who you are by a relationship status. We don’t need to be in an intimate relationship; what we need is to be comfortable with ourselves in the absence of one. Only then will we be ready to have a healthy relationship where two individuals come together. I frequently see people in relationships cut their ties to friends or family and spend all their free time with their partner. I don’t think I’d be willing to sacrifice time with my friends, family or even myself.

Whatever you call it — free time, alone time or “Mary” time — it’s something that I need on occasion in order to relax. It gives me time to think, rest, study or yes, even watch Netflix. I’m not an introvert by any means. I love spending time with people. However, I’ve found that some people constantly need to be texting or spending time with someone while they’re dating. I don’t want that, and I enjoy being free from the obligations of a relationship.

By not having an obligation to anyone, I am able to do what makes me happy. I can hang out with my friends and family without feeling the need to balance a boyfriend in the mix. I also can talk to who I want without worrying about a jealous or overprotective boyfriend. On my own, I’ve become more independent, and it’s given me a great deal of insight into myself and what I want for my future.

Being single has benefitted me by making me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and values and beliefs. Don’t mistake me for someone who never wants a relationship; I would love to have a boyfriend someday. I can even say for certain that I want to be married eventually and have a family. But for now, I am very happy with who I am and where my life is headed. I know what I want and who I am; I have a goal and I’m focused. Sometimes I feel that having to balance a boyfriend with all of that is much too stressful.

Relationships can be healthy if done correctly. On the other hand, it is also good to experience the single life every so often. It’s best if we only enter into relationships that help us be the best version of ourselves, rather than change us in some way.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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