What being single teaches you about relationships

Feb 22 2017, 8:41 pm

When you’re in a relationship you often learn how to think as part of a team, instead of just yourself.

But when you’re single, it’s all about putting yourself first. And this could actually be the best way to get to know yourself and the science behind relationships.

We caught up with Jeannie, an expert in the dating industry and the VP of content at eHarmony.ca, to find out what being single can teach you about relationships.

In just a few sentences, what are the top things you learn from being single?

Being single is the time for you to figure out what you like, and don’t like, without the influence of someone else in your life. This is the time where you make decisions on your own and do things that make you happy. It lays the foundation for you to put your best foot forward in any of your relationships, whether it is with friends or potential partners.

When you’re single, you might learn how to be independent. How does that benefit you in a relationship?

For many people, it’s easier to be true to yourself when you are independent. Not only are you able to express yourself more freely to your partner, but you can also know that he or she likes you for who you really are. With compatibility being at the root of so many successful, longterm relationships, it’s important that this compatibility is authentic.

Is it possible for you to be too independent?

That depends. Does your independence get in the way of your ability to compromise? I believe that as long as you are open to compromise then your independence won’t be an issue. Independence is wonderful as it gives you strength to hold true to your values. But does your independence also equal stubbornness? Well, no one wants to go out with that person who isn’t willing to try a new restaurant or share the responsibility of household chores.

Being single means you can get lonely once in a while. What can you learn from that?

Being lonely hurts, but you always get over it. Each time you move past this feeling of loneliness, you learn your strengths and how to overcome painful feelings. This is also a great way to learn how to move beyond those, sometimes, painful parts of being in a relationship – a fight, family issues, etc. When you can find strength in yourself, it’s easier to find strength in your partner or be the strength that they need.

Some people hate being single. What kind of advice would you give them that they can learn from?

When you’re single, you get to learn a lot about yourself, you get to date a lot of different people, and you get to learn what you really want out of a relationship. If you are dead-set on being in a relationship, don’t settle on the first thing that comes along. Look at all the different factors that make a relationship work. Are you compatible, or is he/she just good to look at?

If you’re single, how do you know you’re ready for a relationship?

That’s different for every person. And it isn’t only an internal thing. The more compatible you are with someone, the easier it is to be in that relationship.  Think about it – even if you are ready, you won’t feel that way when you’re with someone who just isn’t the right fit for you. When you feel you are ready, make sure they you are looking for love in the right way. With so many people searching online, it’s important that you’re using apps or sites, like eHarmony.ca, that match you based on compatibly scores – if you haven’t realized yet, compatibility is key.

As a scenario, a single is considering a relationship – are there any personal red flags he or she should look out for within themselves before making the big move?

First, dating shouldn’t be seen as a big move. Yes, it can be scary putting yourself out there, especially in today’s world of online dating, but when you’re using the right tools that match you based on your compatibility with others, you’re taking part of that scariness out of the equation. And if you are still overwhelmed with nerves, or uneasiness when looking to meet ‘the one,’ that can be a flag that you’re not ready yet.

We’ve talked a lot about being single – but for those who are getting out of a relationship and making that leap, what kind of advice would you give them?

Getting out of a relationship is hard, even if it’s what is best for both of you. Being surrounded by friends and family can always make the transition easier. Starting a new hobby or taking some ‘me’ time, can help you see what you value a little bit more. One important thing – don’t ever see this past relationship as a waste of time. Each relationship that doesn’t work out, gives you more insight into what will and won’t work for a future relationship, making those red flags easier to see earlier on.

What kinds of things can one expect to change when moving out of singlehood?

Finding someone to share your time with is a beautiful thing, but just like being single, it has its ups and downs. Having someone else means you can have someone to hang out with on that Friday night when you really just want a movie night at home, but it also means going to a family dinner when you might just want to go home and binge watch the latest Netlix series. You learn as much about yourself by being in a relationship as you do being single, just in different ways. You learn how you work with another person, you learn how to compromise, you learn what it is like to get through someone else’s heartache, and celebrate another person’s successes.

What would you like people to take away from this interview?

We want readers to realize that there is no right or wrong way to date or not date. Each person is different, and has factors that will play into a successful relationship. One thing we see as a great measure of success is how compatible two people are for each other. After successfully matching so many people through eHarmony.ca, we know that dating can be exhausting. Going on date after date, especially after getting out of a long term relationship or being single for what feels like forever – is like a second job.

So, if you’re single right now don’t fret – it might be a good thing. Get to know yourself and what you like before you enter a relationship. Enjoy the nights you can just chill out in your sweats because you don’t have plans with the in-laws. And who knows, you could meet your next significant other when you least expect it on eHarmony.ca.