When you’re dating, do you have to put your single self on the shelf? Does your single life have an expiration date, or can you still have it all?
There’s a reason we have the phrases “single life” and “dating life.” Because they’re two different lives. When you’re dating, sometimes it can be easy to lose that single side of you. That side that went out and partied with her friends or went out to dinner and got dressed up. There’s a sense of spontaneity and freedom that can get lost when you’re in a relationship.
Suddenly, your interests mesh. Your schedules align. And you find yourself caught in a routine. You’re ordering in again, watching another Netflix movie (without the chill), and you essentially get too comfortable.
In a relationship, though it’s important to spend quality time with your partner, to be faithful, and to do things that the other person enjoys, it’s equally important to spend quality time with yourself and to do the things that you love.
Your single side is the foundation of who you are. If you’re in college or a young adult, you most likely spent most of your life single. The single life you led or lead is your life of firsts. The life where you establish interests and learn who you are. Where you establish your taste in fashion, food, music, tv, and art. To lose that side of you would be to lose the foundation of who you are. It can be easy to put your single life on the shelf and let it get dusty, but it doesn’t have to expire in order for you to enter into dating or married life. The way to fully live would be to simply live out both lives.
If you’re scared you’ve lost your single self or want to avoid heading down that path in the future, here are some ways to maintain your single life, even when you’re dating.
1. Don’t forget about your friends
Some of the best memories you have will be with your friends. Your friends are your confidants. Your cheerleaders. They’re the people you turn to when you need advice or need to talk. They’re the people you laugh with and who support you through this crazy road of life. They’re the people you spend the most time with. But sometimes, when you date, it can be easy to push them aside and forget about them. Instead of girls night, you’re spending time with your boyfriend. You say you’ll reschedule, and you never do. Time passes and you can’t remember the last time you hung out. But just because you have a boyfriend doesn’t mean all of your time has to be devoted to him. Make time in your schedule to see your friends. Go out to the club, get dinner or go shopping. As long as you know where you stand and you communicate with your other half in your romantic relationship, there’s no reason why you can’t make room for your friends and have a good time.
2. Go out
Going out can seem like a foreign concept in a relationship. You order in, you have TV and the sofa is waiting for you. It’s simple and requires very little effort. But it doesn’t hurt to leave the house or apartment and get out. See a movie, go to a restaurant and dine-in, go to a social event, have a picnic, go for a hike—so many possibilities! Whether it’s with your boyfriend or by yourself, it’s refreshing and necessary to go out and not be cooped up inside. It can be damaging in a relationship to create a routine and get stuck in a rut. Relationships aren’t tasks or practices, but sometimes they can create a very procedural lifestyle, which dents both the relationship and the people in it. Not all the time, but as often as is convenient, get out and do something.
3. Maintain your interests and hobbies
Sunday Football is on. That means another Sunday of pizza, wings and beer. But if you don’t like football, you don’t have to spend every Sunday or any other typical day doing something you don’t like just to please your partner. Now it’s good to show your partner that you recognize their interests and care about what they like, but it’s important to remember to do the things you like. If you have a hobby, put it into practice. Your free time doesn’t always have to be devoted to your relationship. Whether it’s writing, dancing, cooking, painting or shopping, you should always make time for your interests and hobbies.
4. Dress to Impress
This one has many avenues. Some girls have a style, and it carries through into their relationship. Some get comfortable and it shows by the way they dress. Others have a jealous boyfriend and fall on the conservative, simpler side of fashion to make their boyfriend feel secure. If you’ve changed the way you dress…you might want to reopen the storage bin. The clothes aren’t the problem but what you do in them. You can wear a miniskirt, go out with your friends and have a good time. If you’re doing it for you and it’s something you like to wear— then wear it.