I’m single in my thirties and I’m happy about it but I wasn’t always at peace with it. For years I struggled with wanting to find a girlfriend and spent countless hours looking for that special someone. Here’s how I went from desperation to being happy about being single in my thirties.
My parents were 24 when they had me.
We learn a lot from our parents and role models. I learned that success as an adult meant living in the suburbs, raising 2 children, supporting your family, all while working 80 hours/week running a business.
By the time I was 24 year old my life was a mess. Drug addicted and dealing with alcoholism; I had the emotional maturity of a teenager. I somehow managed to hold a steady job and started actively addressing my issues through therapy and recovery, but I wasn’t exactly what you would call partner material. How some people could start families this early was truly beyond me. It wasn’t in the cards for me.
No long term relationships in the last 8 years. Red flag?
My longest relationship was with a lovely women that I met when I was 22 years old. We did surprisingly well for how young we were and how fucked up I was. We started going to couples counseling early in the relationship. We didn’t really know how to deal with conflict very well but we really wanted to be together. We grew closer until we eventually started growing apart. We just weren’t the same two people we had been when we met. I found recovery from alcohol and she found a Brazilian tennis coach.
Since then I’ve only had three serious relationships. However none of them have lasted more than 9 months. How serious could the really have been? Was this a huge red flag? Is this a common phenomena of people in my generation or am I simply incapable of having lasting romantic relationships? Do I just get bored easily or were we not meant to be?
Scared of commitment or it’s just not working out.
Spending as much time as I do talking about sex and love I sometimes wonder why I’m not in a successful committed relationship by now. At first I though I was simply terrified of commitment or intimacy. I’ve come to realize that I’ve simply gotten better at figuring out when it’s just not working out.
My ex girlfriends have all being incredibly amazing women. I’m lucky to have been able to spend any amount of time with them. The fact is that I’m unwilling to spend time with people unless they’re seriously awesome.
It also probably means that I’ll continue to be single in my thirties until I meet another seriously amazing woman who’s also compatible with me.
Here’s what I did to become happy about being single in my thirties
1. I got that George Micheal kinda faith…
Cause I’ve got to have faith
I’ve got to have faith
Because I’ve got to have faith, faith, faith
I’ve got to have faith, faith, faith
I have faith that I’ll meet a seriously awesome woman who wants to be with me as much as I want to be with them. I let go of the fantasy about what my perfect partner would look like and when I would meet them. I let go of finding the perfect partner. Perfection doesn’t exist and it’s a block to reality.
2. I got a dog
The adoption agency asked me why I wanted to adopt. I replied companionship. She looked at me like she understood completely. If you have the resources, time, and desire to get a pet – do it. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience. My dog has taught me so much about love, sacrifice, patience, and compassion.
3. I did things that make me happy
I prioritized doing things that make me happy. I play badminton. I go to the gym. I hike with my dog. I spend time with friends. I travel. I cook. I read. I write. I do things on a daily basis that make me happy. I continuously challenge myself to become a kinder, gentler man.
4. I stopped looking
I stopped dating online and started being more present in my daily life. I put my phone down. I spent more time just being still rather than looking for a partner. Looking for a partner is like looking for a $100 bill on the ground. Possibly but highly unlikely.
My life didn’t exactly pan out the way I thought it did
Yet I’m incredibly happy exactly where I am right now.
Don’t get me wrong. I still get sad about being single in my thirties but I’ve learned to sit with the sadness . Like most feelings, it eventually passes. I remind myself that life has a way of giving you exactly what you need when you need it. You just got to have faith, faith, faith, faith, and a dog.
Shaun Galanos is the host and producer of The Love Drive. He lives and writes in Montreal.