Published on November 15, 2012 | by Clio Dalmaz

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I said single, not indisposed

Online Editor Clio Dalmaz laughing with a friend while Jawad is trying to distract her

Please, don’t distract me. I’m trying to be single [Betoul Mahdey]

Clio Dalmaz – Online Output Editor

Early 20s is the worst time to be in a relationship.

When I say I genuinely enjoy being single, many people do not understand why. Girls cringe and friends sympathetically place their hands on my shoulder as if they want to say “Oh. Poor you.” Why?

University is simply the best moment to be single and is a very valuable time to have your own space. Not only, at age 20, do many of us simply have no idea who we really are or what we want, but we also do not grasp how much work and commitment a steady relationship requires.

When did ‘me’ become ‘we’?

After ending a relationship of nearly two years, I was stunned by the realisation of how incredibly consumed I had become by my love life. Even when doing their best to avoid it, people quickly become a ‘we’ instead of a ‘me’. “We like to go to the movies. We think moving to Glasgow will best for our future”, ‘We already went to see James Bond last week”, we, we, we… Later on in adult life, when we are in full-time jobs and begin to build a family, the constant ‘we’ is acceptable, but not now.

Countless times I have heard my friends complain about not having a better half. Where is this rush coming from? What is so incredibly better in being, at this stage of our young lives, a couple rather than single? We will all, hopefully, have partners for the rest of our lives. Should we not cherish this time when we actually have room to focus on ourselves without feeling guilty?

Very often people mention how much they have learned about themselves from their past relationships. But did they, really? I do not believe relationships make you discover who you are. They make you discover what kind of partner you are. If you are willing to make compromises, if you have empathy and patience. Yet, it does not open your eyes to what your goals  are in life , how independent you can be or where you would like your career to be 10 years from now.

The majority of students I know are in relationships, talk constantly about their significant other and have their lives completely turned towards them – even when they are not aware of it. Eventually, their true self fades away as their hormones tell them he/she IS the one and it would be wise to sacrifice any goals and priorities for him/her.

At such a young age, most people are simply not entirely aware of how much their emotions and passion blur their judgment. The worst is when they decide to get engaged before even finishing their degree, but I will not dwell on the matter as I don’t have enough space here to discuss that disaster.

Early 20s is the time to begin to comprehend who you want to become, and you should do it on your own.

Two is a crowd

Testing your boundaries and how strong you are is something you have to learn by yourself. When I moved out of my parents’ house at 18, I didn’t know anything about life or myself. I thought I did, of course, but the truth is I had no idea (not that I do much more now, although I love to pretend I do). The first months solo were, psychologically, very difficult. I had to adapt to my new life, learn how to properly cook, manage my funds, balance work and full-time studies and generally understand how to live on my own – in a different country; miles away from what felt safe and familiar. I was very aware at the time that this was going to be one of the most challenging things I would ever do in my life, a rite of passage of some sorts, and it was crucial I did it on my own. Almost two and half years later, and I still think this is one of the best decisions I ever made.

Relationships will not teach you about life. They teach you a great deal about human compassion and many other important aspects of human to human interactivity, but not so much about yourself.

It might sound cynical, which ironically, is the contrary of what I feel and what I am standing for. One of the best changes in my life was to see how happy it is possible to be by oneself – it’s very empowering, to know for certain you are self-sufficient. A partner, as many joys as it can bring, may also be a serious burden. It is a burden I surely want to have, but in a few years when I will think of settling down. Obviously, I have heard counterarguments such as “you can grow and develop yourself even if you are in a relationship.” Of course, you will, everybody does. But it will never be the same as if you had the time to breathe before the jump. Before that, you don’t know what you truly want – your hormones do. You will be a better partner if you give yourself enough time to first be comfortable being alone, be sure what you need, who you are and who you want to be.

Even though I don’t like to admit it, I am romantic at heart and that said, love is not something one is able to plan. This is a wonderful, yet slightly terrifying fact. In a few months or years from now I will probably deny the words I have typed in this article (If I do, I will be wrong. And I should be reminded of that).

However, I really wish people would think twice instead of staying in unhappy relationships for too long just because they are afraid of being alone, that people would stop rushing into things they are not ready for by angst of being lonely and most of all, that they do not forget about themselves.

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