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August 13, 2018

Relationship Monday: How I Fell In Love With...Being Single.

     Relationship Monday is back!! For a couple years now I've loved writing these posts, however I only write them when inspiration for relationship-related topics strikes. Sometimes I'll write a few in a short amount of time, and other times it's months and months before I feel inspired to talk about relationships, dating and singleness on my blog. I'm pretty sure the last time I wrote one of these was this blog post written last winter, when I still lived in Vermont!


     Anyways, my inspiration as struck yet again, and I'm thrilled to be sharing some thoughts from my heart with y'all today. Ready to find out how my contentment with single life went from 0 to 100? Let's go!




How To Love Being Single!



   
   My Backstory: 


     My romantic life could literally be a TV show or movie plot. If I count the number of people that have told me over the years that I need to write book about the crazy stories I have related to this....good grief. Honestly so many people have told me that- I've lost count by now! Over the years I've learned to start laughing more and stressing less about the weird dating situations that I've been in (or.... er... "interesting" guys I've been on dates with), but there was a time that I didn't laugh so much and I took everything seriously. I've said this before on my blog, but I was always the girl a few years ago who wanted a Mrs. Degree in college. In high school, I really thought that I would meet the love of my life on a college campus, and have a ring on a certain finger by college graduation. Freshman year went by, than sophomore year, then junior year, and finally senior year... not only did I not have a ring, but I didn't even have a boyfriend!


     Sometimes I wish that I could re-do parts of my college years, solely for the reason that I would be content in the season of life God had me in then, and spend less time jealous and upset. I spent a lot of my college years feeling less-than, because I didn't have a serious relationship. A lot of my college friends were dating people seriously, and instead of being happy for them, I was secretly jealous, and would constantly play the comparison game. Sometimes I wonder if the reason a relationship didn't work out for me in college was because guys that I was interested in during those years got the vibe that I wasn't very mature at the time about dating and things like that! Who knows. I would also stress and get mad over the fact that very few guys at my university shared my Christian beliefs in regard to dating. Hookup culture ran rampant, and it always seemed like the few "good guys" there already were in relationships- another thing for me to be bitter about!


     Over the past couple years since I graduated school, I began to throw myself more into blogging and my radio career. Living on a small college campus (which I did all four years) can be a little weird in that sometimes you can start to feel like college life is the only life that you'll have, and you get caught up in the bubble. Being out in the real world and also moving out of state alone (twice!) was amazing for me to find confidence as a single woman.



      How I Became In Love With Being Single:


      Several different ways! And my journey to finding this type of contentment was not an overnight thing by any means. It took years of self-growth, prayer to God, making a some lifestyle changes, and a few bad dates over the years thrown in there as well.



  • Actually TRUSTING in God's Plan, and not just saying that as a cliche: My oh my, this one is easier said than done! I know I'm not alone in saying that, and a lot of you can probably relate. But there is soooooo much truth to be found in this. Christians need to not only walk the walk, but talk the talk. If we're saying that we believe in the plan God has for our lives (including our romantic relationships), we have to actually BELIEVE that!! You won't want to be throwing singleness pity parties if you wholeheartedly believe that the God of the universe has a perfect plan for your life. You might not see the end results you specifically want, and it might take months, years, even decades to get anywhere near the dreams of your heart. But God truly does have a reason for everything, even seasons of singleness. I am going to be honest with you- I used to really struggle in trusting in God's plans. Especially with my dating life/future husband, but really in all aspects. Last year when I lived in Vermont, my anxiety was at a high and I was struggling with mild depression as well. It was a season of feeling isolated, not liking the area I lived in, and also not enjoying my first job. Just bad feelings all around. I prayed and prayed and prayed for God to provide me a new opportunity in a new state when my Vermont lease ended.... and sure enough, He did! Life in Charlottesville Virginia has been such a redeeming and sweet season so far. Gods plans were far better than my own in terms of moving and my career, and I've seen that firsthand! How could I not trust him completely with my love life after that?

  • Focusing on aspects of my life that I can control: I'm Type A, and I'm very big on feeling like I'm in control of my life. Obviously life is life though, and there are always things you can't control. (I.e. WHEN FALLING IN LOVE / MEETING SOMEONE AMAZING HAPPENS) One way that I've been better able to find contentment in my single life is to focus wholeheartedly on things that I can control! Such as; how I spend my time outside of work, planning my finances, hobbies, etc etc. As a single woman, I don't answer to anyone, and nor do I have to ask permission of a significant other for living my life. Lots of parts of my life right now are mine and mine only, and realizing that was very liberating!

  • Remembering the grass isn't always greener in terms of relationships or marriage: Y'all... let's stop idolizing marriage. It's not perfect... at all. Yes, marriage is a beautiful and God-created thing. But it's not something to idolize or worship more than God Himself. Think for a second about the realities of marriage or being in a serious relationship. You have to prioritize someone else as much as yourself. You have a second family, and there are a lot of familial obligations that will come along with that. There will be disagreements- as not even the happiest relationships are without those. You have to think about someone else's schedule when trying to organize yours. Marriage is an awesome thing with the right person and in God's timing, but it's not the end-all be-all! Being single can be liberating in a lot of ways, and stopping idolizing marriage and serious relationships can get you in the right mindset. 

  • Planning your future around yourself, not others: Want to vacation in an exotic country someday? Do it! Want to change career paths? Do it! Want to make one of your personal dreams a reality? Do it!! Now is the time to plan your future and make things happen- you don't need to wait on a significant other to do it! In fact- from what I've observed from friends and people in my life, significant others usually make it harder to do all of this. 

  • Surrounding myself with strong and independent single women: It's easy to feel down about being single if everyone in your life is in a serious relationship! I mentioned earlier in this blog post that in college I felt like I constantly had to compare being single to my friends in serious relationships. While part of that responsibility does lie on me and my attitude, there is valid merit in the fact that naturally it's hard to be content in one season of life when it feels like everyone else in your life is in another! In adulthood, I've started prioritizing friendships with other single women. It doesn't mean that I'm not friends with people in relationships, it just means that I have more of an equal balance of women in similar life places to mine, which is really healthy. There are so many women out there who are content in their faith and being single- I LOVE that and it's so inspiring to me! 

  • Getting off dating apps: There's going to be a whole blog post about this coming later this year. The short story though: quitting dating apps is one of the healthiest and best things I've ever done for myself! I don't necessarily regret trying them (I think I would've regretted it if I'd never tried it), however I should have quit them back in 2015 when I started, not 2017. Again- more on this to come in a few months.... but for now I'll just say that being on apps like Tinder and Bumble just reiterated in my head that I wasn't good enough as a single person, and I needed to keep swiping and swiping to find some sort of contentment. (Which is a total LIE!)

  • Having lower expectations for first dates: Yes, I'm in love with being single right now, but it doesn't mean that I'm saying no to dating either!! It's all about God's timing and finding the right guy naturally. I have been on lots of dates since I quit dating apps last year! And the best mindset to go into a first date with is not to be too attached or have many expectations. Chances are, this guy isn't your soulmate. (None of the guys I've been on first dates with in the last year have been mine!) And you know what? That's okay! Dating as a 20 something is natural and supposed to happen. With each first date, I do learn more about myself, and more about the type of guy I'm looking for. Lately with first dates I've been focused on just having fun and being relaxed and enjoying the moment!! All that serious stuff can come out later if it's the right person.

  • Loving on my friends instead of a significant other: Don't have a Valentine? Make them for your friends and family! Don't have a Friday date night? Plan a Girls' Night Out! Don't have anyone to celebrate an anniversary with? Celebrate Friend-iversaries with your besties! Not having a boyfriend or husband doesn't mean that there should be a lack of love in your life- channel that love in other ways! 

  • Build distance with friends and family who make you feel less than because of your relationship status: We all know that person.... it might be a friend or family member, maybe even a coworker or someone at church. They ask the same questions "Anyone new in your life? Dating anyone? Any special guys?" Or this person might be a girlfriend of yours that's obsessed with boys. She might only ever want to talk about boy advice and drama, and she ditches you every time she has a new relationship. I say DITCH all of these people!! Have people in your life that build you up as a single woman, not someone who is less than or unworthy until she has a man in her life.

  • Becoming involved in the church: Let me first say that not all churches do a great job at loving on their single adults... which is sad. You'd think in 2018 that churches would do a great job of this! But not all do. The good news is though that there are some churches that are wonderfully welcoming to single adults, and they provide tons of things to get involved with. Since moving to Charlottesville and joining a church here, I've gotten involved with a women's bible study during the school year, a summer co-ed bible study, and have done numerous service projects and also made tons of friends, with both guys and girls! My church family lifts me up and makes me feel like the best version of myself, while also driving me closer to the Lord! The best part is that a lot of my new friends are single as well, so they're also there to have those serious conversations when you are feeling down and wishing you had a significant other.

  • Serving others instead of throwing a pity party: The more time that I spend helping others, the more content I feel as a woman. Being single in my 20s and without major family or household obligations gives me so much time to help others! I can spend my weekends doing service projects with my church. I'm hoping to get even more involved in community work this fall as I continue to settle in to Charlottesville, and hopefully do some service outside of my church as well. Serving others is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself for your heart and well-being! (Plus, when I do date, I think it's a very attractive quality to be with a man who values service! I'm sure the type of guys I'd be interested would think the same about women prioritizing service while single.) 

  • Remembering what God says about singleness: While some churches unfortunately might treat being single as a burden, God himself does not! In fact, He calls certain people to a lifetime of singleness, and to do it for him. NOWHERE in the bible does God promise everyone a husband or wife! I repeat, nowhere. The bible does have many verses about the beauty of marriage, but this is not everyone's life plan, or it might not be your life plan right here and now. In moments I struggle with being single, I turn for comfort in scripture. A key bible passage on singleness is 1 Corinthians Chapter 7, which is one of Paul's letters. 




      Okay- I think this might have been one of my longest blog posts in awhile!! But I hope you enjoyed. My mindset on being single has completely changed from the time that I graduated college, and I am so thankful to be in such a happy season of life. Would love to hear your thoughts!




      God Bless,



      xoxo Annaliese 
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10 comments

  1. I am so glad you were so honest with us! In high school I was always the girl that always had to have a bf and I was in the same mindset in college I would be walking away with a college degree and a hubby! I found my husband now when I was a junior but I can totally relate to how you were feeling freshman and sophomore year! I was single finally for about a year and really didn't know how to be single! This is some great advice for single women out there!

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  2. I SO love this post Annaliese! Looking back on high school and college, I was sort of the exact opposite of you. I always had a boyfriend but that doesn't mean I was always happy. I sometimes settled for dating people that were all wrong for me (sometimes even hurtful to my self esteem and independent goals) because I was more comfortable being in a bad relationship than not being in a relationship. I think it is amazing and inspirational that you are happy on your own. Because you have immersed yourself in your career and you community you will be in the right place whent the right guy does walk into your life <3

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  3. Ahhh....SINGLEDOM! Egads. I've faced it for awhile now. In high school, I had the boyfriend and it really was a special time in my life that I look back on fondly. He was my first love and is still one of my very closest friends and because we "grew up" together, we know each other rather well, even 30 years later! I was married for 19 years and got divorced in 2015 and while I've had an on-again-off-again serious relationship with the same person, I have to tell you that I used to embrace single a whole lot more than I do now. I get caught up in "can I have it all with one person?" and my friends say it's unrealistic to think that I can. Dating scares me to death, if I'm being honest. And I currently live in a community where EVERYONE is coupled up--either married or with someone--and because of that, I have a super hard time feeling like I fit in! Thanks for the reminder that I need to love myself FIRST and just go with the flow, having faith that everything will work out when it's supposed to! PS. Dating Apps? NO! Worst two first and last dates I've ever had lol! Great post!

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  4. This post is right what I needed right now. I just got out of a relationship and sometimes can feel a little lonely. However most of the time I feel really good with being myself. For so long I was giving so much of myself to others I couldn't see that it was truly eating me alive. I was loosing touch with myself, God, and even my family. I am truly open to all that God has to teach me in this season right now and can appreciate all of these lessons you have learned in your own season. Thank you!

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  5. I LOVE this post soooo much!!! The grass is definitely not always greener and when people are discontent being single, often that discontentment will manifest itself in a different way once they are in a relationship. My singleness was a wonderful way to grow close to God and focus on me.

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  6. So happy that you've found the positives in being single! You'll definitely look back on this time on your life and be so grateful for the years you spent working on yourself, building your own hobbies, interests, and career, and creating your own identity as a individual. You grow so much in your twenties, and even thirties, and you have a wonderful opportunity to figure it all out on your own terms!

    PS I'm totally the weirdo that LOVED dating apps, but everyone has to figure out what works for them! I

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  7. I really enjoyed being single when I was. It brought out a newfound independence and I absolutely loved that. You go girl!

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  8. Ah girl, I so feel you. Being comfortable in your own solitude can be the hardest things. Really proud of you for staying strong and being so happy independently. Keep it up!

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  9. I totally feel ya! I feel the same way about living the single life. Whatever happens is His plan!

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  10. Girl, so much yes to this post! I'm happily married, but when I was in high school and my first two years of college-I thought that it would never happen, but it happened in God's perfect timing and it will happen for you too-in His time! But you're right, marriage isn't one hundred percent perfect because we are two imperfect people-so while you'll enjoy your time being married in the future, also relish the time where you get to do things 100% your way on your own time!

    xoxo, SS


    Southern and Style

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