There are a gazillion books aimed at helping couples get their relationship in shape. And, it seems there’s a gazillion more to help single people meet someone to have a relationship with (so they can then eventually buy the first gazillion books when said relationship eventually goes to pot).
But it seems to me there are very few books focused on how to be the best single person you can be. Which is too bad, because we all know that the only way to find a relationship is to be the best you can be when you’re in your best shape as a single person.
And when I say “in shape,” I’m not talking endless squats and a high-fibre diet (though getting in physical shape and feeling healthy does help you feel good about yourself). I mean getting in shape emotionally and mentally.
This can be tough in a society that acknowledges every stage of coupledom — anniversaries, moving in together, marriages, kids — but rarely celebrates the joys or marks the milestones of single life.
A study that came out a few years back said that, today, most typical urban-dwellers cohabited an average of nearly four years and were married about 18. The rest of the time — an average of about 19 years — they were dating or alone, with no steady companion.
Given we spend as much of our lives being single as we do partnered, surely being single deserves a little more respect. So, while it’s hardly a match for all the advice out there on how to get your relationship in shape, here’s my advice for getting your single life in shape:
• Enjoy a Saturday night at home alone with a movie and a glass of wine without feeling like a loser.
• Host Christmas in your own place with your own friends.
• Relish the fact that you get the whole bed to yourself.
• Enjoy a solo candlelit dinner at home.
• Treat yourself to dinner at a fancy restaurant.
• Travel on your own. You always meet more people this way.
• Enjoy the fact that you can make plans without having to consult anyone but yourself.
• Remind yourself that you get to be the “cool” aunt to your nieces and nephews without having to foot their college tuition.
• Stay out all night without having to check in.
• Realize that you’re just as imperfect at being single as most people are at being in relationships.
• Remind yourself that most married people have just as many moments where they feel like they wished they were single again as you wish you were in a relationship.
• Know that you’re happier on your own than in a mediocre relationship.
Josey Vogels is a sex and relationship columnist and author of five books on the subjects. For more info, visit joseyvogels.com.