I love standup comedy. I get fish and chips on Fridays. I love Wisconsin. The Green Bay Packers are the best sports team around. I love tennis. Bloody Mary’s are always the answer. Breweries have a great aesthetic about them. I love a good scary movie. I’d rather stay in on Saturday nights. I like routine.
I write poetry. Find me anywhere the live music is. Festivals are my second home. I study dreams. I’ve been dinking around on the ukulele lately and I can’t get enough of it. I love tennis. Nothing fuels my soul like spending time with my friends and family. If I’m sad, I probably just need a good workout. Farmer’s markets are lovely. I love meeting other poets and artists. I’d rather go out on Saturday nights. I like spontaneity.
What if I told you both of the people profiled above were me? Five years ago I was person 1. The things I did for fun were the things my boyfriend at the time enjoyed doing, not what I enjoyed doing. Person 2 is who I am today. (The only thing that has never changed is my love for tennis)
The person I am today looks entirely different than the person I was when I was in a relationship all those years ago. And here’s why: I lost myself in that relationship. I was compromising so many things I wanted. I was living in Wisconsin when my heart wanted Minnesota. I was staying in on Saturday nights instead of going out. I’m only scratching the surface here but my point is: if I would have stayed in that relationship I would have missed out on meeting the woman I am today. I would have lost her.
I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent being single since that relationship ended. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’ve grown into someone I actually enjoy being. Sometimes “finding yourself” is absolutely necessary. Sometimes spending time in solitude is absolutely necessary. But being single does not always mean you have to work on yourself.
Here’s some of the advice I’ve gotten when almost-relationships don’t work out:
“It’s just bad timing.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
“Maybe you haven’t found the right person because whatever you need to learn about yourself needs to be discovered while you’re single!”
“Just focus on you and do the things you love!”
Don’t get me wrong, some people do need to hear this advice. I needed to hear it five years ago. People who have lost themselves in relationships might want to do some soul searching on their own for a few months. People who exit long-term relationships might need a break from being part of a pair. People who were cheated on might need to build some walls and heal their hearts.
If you’re one of the people above, the rest of this commentary isn’t for you. Go grow, go learn about yourself, go heal your heart. I support you. I love you. Stand in your truth.
This commentary is for the people who have been single for years and still hear the same cliché pieces of advice. It’s for the ones who have been working on themselves. Who have been focused on themselves. Who have gone on multiple first, second and third dates. The ones who feel whole and are ready to share their lives with someone. This is for you.
I think there’s this widely accepted idea that things aren’t working out with our dating lives because we still have more growing to do. Because we have to learn about ourselves and love ourselves first.
But I know single Morgan. She’s a good friend of mine. We hang out. I’ve been with single Morgan since 2015. I’ve grown used to myself. I’ve learned things I never knew about myself. I know what I love. I know what fills me up.
I know single Morgan but relationship Morgan is a stranger to me.
I have so much to learn about how I show up and exist in relationships. And that is why I believe I haven’t found someone who stays. Every man who enters my life comes into it with a lesson tied around his wrist. Maybe he’s there to teach me my boundaries. Maybe he enters my life to show me how fast I can fall. Maybe he really just isn’t the right guy for me.
But one thing is certain. I am not single because I’m finding myself.
It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t work out. I’m no stranger to feeling like I’m not good enough. Feeling like I’m doomed to be single forever. But that’s why I’m saying yes. Exploring connections. Re-exploring old connections. I have so much more to learn about how I show up in other people’s lives.
I have to learn how to give without emptying myself.
How to receive without draining others.
How to accept compliments without suspecting ulterior motives.
How to be “all-in” without losing myself.
How to feel what I feel without burdening others with my emotions.
How to find a good balance between alone time and togetherness.
How to love without feeling insane.
How to trust without feeling jealous.
When to fix something. When to let it go.
How to compromise without changing what’s most important to me.
What I’m okay with. What I’m not okay with.
How to stand up for myself without being an asshole.
How to see things from other perspectives.
Heartache hurts. Breakups hurt. Rejection hurts. But they all make you stronger and softer all at the same time. They teach you new things about yourself.
I know how I operate when I’m alone. And I’ve come to love that person. But I have so much more learning to do about how I can be the best me in a relationship.
And to the person who stays, to the love that ends all other loves, I’ll be ready for you.