The 8 Best Things About Being “Between Relationships”


1. Your time is your own.

And it’s especially if you’re also between professional relationships. Well, except the two to three hours you spend daunted by the lofty expectations of Craigslist job requirements and the unfathomable morass of LinkedIn recommendations. After that timeslot though, I mean, you must’ve sent in a slightly revised cover letter to like three places, so what more could you have done?

Probably have a beer; coupla beers maybe, see if the golden years of Judd Apatow hold up (they do). You earned it.

And who’s to say otherwise? Your Mom? Ha! Only when you’re back home for the Holidays! Your girlfriend? Ha! There isn’t one!

An evening of charming conversation, mutual affection and a nice, shared dinner might have cost you at least twice as much as these IPAs and burrito. Plus there’s plenty of romantic comedies and star-crossed lovers on Netflix, who needs the real thing?

2. No attire requirements.

You literally woke up like this. Forget all the hassles of putting on different pants to start or end the day. Psh, nah. And it’s not as if you’re looking like a scrub either, your sweatpants have cuffs!

Note: you may want to reconsider the cuffs, you’re pretty happy with the single life and nothing turns the world on like cuffed sweatpants at the grocery store. People plan futures around far less.

3. You can self-educate.

You could learn a language. You could read that seminal novel you only skimmed in high school. No need to explain yourself to anyone. Everything is at your own pace and can be prioritized as you see fit.

“But why are you doing that?” Your Life-Affirming Reason To Get Up Every Day will ask in the voice you’ve only fallen more and more in love with as time has gone on. And then you’ll have to explain.

Your eyes will roll; all the way from the vocabulary you’re practicing past the mouth, nose and eyes that, each in their own special, intangible way make vision seem truly precious.

Totally exasperated, you’ll exhale. “Why does anyone do anything?” while you feel the arms you’re privileged enough to wake up in every day find the perfect fit around your shoulders from behind.

Better to avoid explaining your life choices. You’re just grabbing the pieces now, they’ll all fall into place, and then they’ll see. Next stop honorary degrees and speaking engagements. They’ll all see.

4. You can get to know yourself.

Without needing to be acceptable to anyone else for most of the day, you can really get into your own head. This might lead to just the insight you need to get back on board the relationship and employment trains, or just push you further away from them. Once you hit a certain depth of self-perception it becomes pretty difficult to resurface and bob along in the ebb and flow of normal conversations.

And what would you want that for? More small talk? More tedious exchanges that provide fascinating anecdotes and intimate details from someone else’s life that may inform your own in ways you’d never have conceptualized without them?

I mean, like probably, but whatever. You know you. You’re awesome. Some people just haven’t caught up yet.

Is it really worth your time to build something with someone else to the point where you can look into each other’s eyes and realize you don’t want to be anywhere else in the world, with anyone else? Experiencing every day as a unit; the give, the take, the compromise, a deeper understanding of the human condition…

C’mon. You’ve got a blog and a mirror. You’re fine.

5. You can stick to plans. Or not.

What else do you have going on? Make a plan, follow through on a plan, and make another plan for right after…No one’s counting on you, so everyone can count on you! You’re free of obligations and the accompanying dread. You can have as much stake in activities and plans as you want.

You don’t have to be anywhere at the end of the night.

“See you back at your place in a couple of hours”? More like have the whole bed to yourself whenever I get back to it!

You have only yourself to let down!

6. You can hangout with whomever you want.

Nobody’s off limits, what a concept! You can really own your prejudices. No need to accommodate the situational discomfort of someone else.

This is another obligation that you’re free from if you’re not dating. You never have to avoid certain people that your significant other doesn’t like. This not only expands your social circle and exposes you to new and interesting people, but it also brings them into your life without the stain of outside-connotation. Maybe your girlfriend hated some guy in high school or something, but maybe you wouldn’t have, then or now.

A life of unlimited fleeting acquaintances is sure to be satisfying. I mean, you never even have to get to know anyone at all, let alone really like them. You see them around, they see you, and you meet and you greet and at the end of the day you just sort of leave. And to think that it wouldn’t be possible had someone you care about more than anyone else in the world given you a highly specific laundry list of reasons they didn’t like that person.

7. You get to create your own monotony.

At some point during any given day, you’ll probably get bored. Finishing up a menial monthly accounting task at work, lying in bed with someone trying to suggest (as nonchalantly as possible) that you should maybe get the day going… Because ugh, there’s that whole accommodating someone else’s needs thing again! The nerve of them, taking up space, you only have a queen mattress!

These moments are unavoidable and you’ll run into them whether you’re employed and taken or jobless and single.

However, if you fall into the latter category, you can pick your spots. Because your time is your own and you don’t really have a schedule, you can also take charge of your own monotony. Instead of a spreadsheet, maybe you wash your sheets; instead of lying in bed, shackled to the other person’s level of comfort, you’re lying in bed, tethered to whatever TV show you’re catching up on, but not really paying attention to.

These are not exciting things, but at least they’re your unexciting things. Just because you have soap scum on your dishes after every load doesn’t mean you have to replace your filter. After all it’s not broken, it’s just a little worse.

8. Disparate Creative Pursuits.

You know how when you’re dating someone and you do something creative and they assume it’s about them even though it isn’t?

Well gosh, what a hassle it is.

Because either A) you lie and say of course it’s about them which leads to over-analysis and hurt/expanded feelings, or B) you tell the truth and say its not about them which leads to over-analysis and hurt/decreased feelings.

Without the bounds of love, you can write or paint or play an instrument free of any necessary meaning beyond your own easily misunderstood and highly specific goals. Who’d want a living, breathing, emotion-provoking muse mere feet away from them, right? Of course right! All your art needs are vague ideas of someone else, maybe housed up on a column or plinth or base or mount or pillar or socle or something.

Think about it. If you actually make the time for an actual, respect-needing, flesh-and-blood-and-organ-filled person in your life, you might be forced to confront real feelings and not just rely on the movies, TV shows and dime-a-dozen love songs for your understanding of human emotion.

Imagine the mental blocks you might run into if you had to reconcile how people really act, or your real feelings? Come on! Just slip under the solipsistic surface of your life alone.  

image – Lauren Rushing