Relationship 101,  THIS is Why I'm Single!,  Uncategorized

Can your lengthy single life ruin a new relationship?

“The longer a person has been single, the harder it will be to have a meaningful relationship with them. Is this true or false and why?”

This was a question posted by a friend on Facebook this afternoon and before I browsed through the replies that included the yes, no’s and don’t know’s.

One of the people commented “False because while you are single you should be learning yourself, learning what you want and don’t want so that you will be better at selecting your next mate. Timing is everything.”  Bless her heart, this lady tried but I think she missed the point or perhaps looked at the question a lot differently than I did.

If I was to leave out that one word that didn’t quite seem to fit – meaningful, I would agree and say TRUE.

I can testify that each time I’ve gone from a long stint in singleville (I’m talking a year or more in between) to the role of girlfriend, it has been difficult adjusting to a new relationship.

Why?

I’m going from living a life all about ME to WE and switching to the new role is almost foreign to me at first.  Sure, I may be basking in the newness of having found the man I want to be with, spend time with and hopefully look forward to planning a future with, but… I feel like my life is somehow being thrown out of sync.

Learning to trust again and not punish the person I’m in a new relationship with for any of the crap I’d experienced with the previous hangovers is an issue. Still, by far, I think the biggest obstacles when transitioning from having been single for a while are readjusting two main areas- my social life and my every day life at home.

It’s a struggle.

So what about my social activities? Well, since I resume the role of girlfriend, boo, significant other or whatever else we’re called nowadays, I’ve ultimately retired my all-the-single-ladies banner and need to do some serious tweaking.  Not to say that because I was single, I’d be burning up the night clubs every weekend or making one too many Vegas trips, but I certainly party a lot more AND differently when I’m involved with someone than when I’m single.

Whereas I normally only needed to figure out plans for a great night out and secure child care, the significant other now has to be factored in. Gone are the days of a workout, shopping and errands at a moments notice. Bye bye to the nights where I’d stumble in the door at 5am or not making it home at all. I’ve got to get used to not dedicating an entire weekend to girlfriend functions, playdates and sleep overs and make sure at least one of those days go to spending time with the new beau.

Those random get away trips? I’ll need to consider inviting him or making plans for a vacation together. Even when it comes down to basic activities, if I’ve been single for quite some time I struggle with understanding the man I’m now in a relationship with just wants to spend some time with me. What have I been guilty of doing?

Complaining. Expecting him to understand that before him, I had a life.  I won’t even get started on figuring out how to incorporate family functions and holidays if our relationship is at that point, because that opens up opportunity for an entirely separate post.

Bottom line? Social adjustment is needed big time when entering into a new relationship after having being alone for a while. I just feel like it’s a bit much when needing to split myself into three different people- the Mom, friend and lover.

So what is the other area I struggle in when dealing with the transition from Me to We?

My daily habits at home.

They say an old dogs habits are hard to break. Woof woof!

When I’m at home, I am comfortable, prefer not to deviate from my routine and tire easily of people who overstay their welcome. I have never lived with a man nor have I had an extended stay over one’s house nor he to mine for more than two days.

My home is my fortress and I have my ways so any new relationship, is an interesting transition, especially if I’ve been on the market for a while. I have my ways.

I like burning incense as soon as I get home, right after kicking off my shoes at the door. Sorry, I normally don’t feel like talking (let alone on the phone) after a long day or working. I’m used to cooking only a few days a week, basic stuff and for two. I rarely wear sexy nighties to bed (my child thinks I look just fine in my tank top and flannel pajama pants), and I sleep with my door open.

Everything has a place in my home so no glasses being left on the table, I like sleeping with the TV on and hate being stirred out of my sleep unless it’s for some nookie (I’m never too tired for THAT).

When in bed, I-sleep-wild. I’m talking slobber on any pillows that remained on my bed during the night, I always loose a sock during the night being swallowed by my sheets and I awake with my scarf around my neck instead of on my head.

I don’t like being asked to fix anyone something to eat after the kitchen has “closed”. My child is being trained to leave the toilet lid down and wipe off feet before touching down on the rugs.

I cannot focus very well on what to wear the next day, do hair and make-up with my beau in the same room, nor will I suffer in pain trying to hold in a really bad fart.

Call me stubborn or inflexible, but it takes a while to change these types of things. Remember, the adjustment excuse from above.

As I recently told someone I’ve been involved with, it isn’t that I don’t welcome the wonderful things that come with being with someone, it’s just going to take me some time to relearn (and in some instances, learn).

In all, thought I can’t say that being single for an extended period of time is necessarily a relationship killer, but it certainly can be a challenge for me.

The solutions? Stay single or work on making it work by being more flexible to changes in my lifestyle to avoid being single again.

Until there’s a cure for the hangovers…

Carmen

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Hangover - a let down following great excitement or excess. Wow. This one sentence describes nearly all of my dating and relationship experiences! I'm a 30 year-old woman muddling through the Los Angeles dating scene and yes - Believe all that you've heard about the screwed up men and women in La-La Land. This blog is of my actual experiences that will either make you chuckle, laugh out loud or maybe say "aw.....". If your dating hangovers seem worse than the next person's, read on, post a comment and enjoy! Carmen

21 Comments

  • Esme

    I agree with this 100%. Amen! I find it too hard to try to incorporate someone into my life. I like my ME time! Maybe I just haven’t found the right person…

    • Carmen

      Real talk Esme! Some people meet you and get to know you and are fully aware of your activities and life events. I guess they mistakenly assume once you’re together, that should come to a screeching halt?

      I’m all for compromise but I find it difficult to find balance in a new relationship.

      Then there’s always the cost factor. It can be pretty costly to be in a relationship around Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and of course Christmas. Lol

  • Jessie

    Okay Carmen, you touched on things I wouldn’t have thought about initially.

    My first reaction would be false- I figure I would be so excited about a new relationship, my thinking is that no matter how long I’d been single, I would try my hardest to make it work.

    I didn’t think of the other elements, getting reacclimated etc.

    Good points.

  • Caleb

    Good post, Carmen.

    I think things ended last night with LJ. Not pretty, exactly, but it is what it is. Don’t worry- I’m not just crying on your post (though I am pretty mopey today)- I had a connection here.

    I notice that when I’m with someone I have a lot more confidence and mojo than when I’m single. So, obviously, I flirt more and feel like I could have a lot more game. But when you go forth out of the relationship and get ready to tackle new stuff, you realize that a big source of your confidence is gone.

    And yes, I’ve tried to trick myself in the past by *thinking* I had a girlfriend when I didn’t, but it doesn’t help. Oh well.

    Later,

    • Carmen

      Oh no Caleb, I’m sorry to hear that and yes- you did have a connection there. I’m sorry. 🙁

      Ding, ding, ding! Confidence is a big one. In one way, you can be stoked because well- you scored. You likely were vying for the person’s attention and the reward is making it to the relationship.

      With me, I probably lose a little of my swag in the beginning of a new relationship because I’m too busy questioning if things are real.

      Am I doing too much, not doing enough. I don’t want to be smothered or be a pest.

      I guess I could equate being with someone after a while like being a newlywed. Got a lot to change and get used to.

      Sorry again about your deal. Would telling her she doesn’t have to observe Steak & BJ day if she doesn’t want help? (Smile)

  • Anonymous

    It makes sense to me, sure it might be difficult after a long stretch.

    If you’re new mate is extra clingy, that’s the worst.

    I have moments when I want to be left alone for a couple of hours and someone new might not understand that.

    • Carmen

      @ Anonymous, I feel you on those “alone” moments. Maybe it was the bipolar disorders my ex’s suffered from that made this such a big issue, but the personal space and time was major.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Nancy

    If you’re committed to a relationship that you really want I’m sure everything comes back like riding a bike. The harder part for me though is even getting there. First of all you doubt your judgement since your last pick obviously didn’t work out. Then comes the trust. The guy starts dropping lines and spitting game and blah, blah, blah and all you’re thinking is: Yeah, I’ve heard all of this before buddy. Nothing new. Nothing True. I am in need of a Serious Attitude Adjustment before I even think about getting into a meaningful relationship.

    • Carmen

      Damn Nancy. SAA is right but that’s as real as it gets. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a new hangover tell me “But I’m different” and a hundred dollars for each man who said “don’t punish me for their wrongs”…

      I’m single again so its safe to say quote #2 wasn’t quite the case.

      I admit, I’m usually the one with the “here we go again” attitude and normally give everyone chance to prove me wrong. Somehow I think maybe my safety mechanism of expecting things to go wrong in a relationship are somehow jinxing me.

      Yet still…. I believe I’m ready to give it another shot.

      B.S. Detection radar is cranked to level 4.

      Wish me luck.

    • Kendall

      @ Nancy, “if” you’re really committed to it is the key. Still sometimes the negativity from the past failures is what you need to overcome. I’m not sure if the long time being single is the biggest issue here.

      It’s more like how you’ve handled and resolved your issues with the past.

      @ Anon- yeah, clingy chicks will have me running for the hills no matter how long its been or how bad I want the relationship.

      • Carmen

        I think we all agree that clingy is annoying but which is worse – the one who needs to be under your sack or boob OR the one who’s M.I.A all day, every day?

        Bottom line, my two cents? I believe if you’ve been alone for a while and are READY and INTERESTED in getting into a new relationship, you just might be okay. Whenever I have long stretches (thank goodness, they’re getting shorter and shorter) in between, my desires to put forth more effort to make it work is greater.

  • Teefah

    This was spot on sister! It’s funny because in my last relationship we would get into it over things like me not calling to check in when I got home from being out…..things I was just not use to having to do. A girlfriend of mine told me that I am still operating a like a single woman, not a girlfriend…..maybe that’s why it failed. Until there’s a cure for MY hangovers!

    • Carmen

      Ooh, you touched on a lot Teefah. Interesting that you menmtion the not checking in when you got home because last night, only hours after I’d posted THIS, I fired off a text message to Rescue for doing the same thing. I knew he was going out and would be out late, no problem, I get that BUT all I ask him to do is send a quick text when he makes it home. He does NOT get THIS.

      This has come up a few times before, and while I’m not sure if your guy just had trust issues or was insecure, I only ask to make sure when Rescue is out, he makes it back home in one piece. So of course, my text (and the fact that I WOKE up to send it at 2:45am) was pretty terse. Simple request, but just as you said, perhaps that just isn’t something he’s used to doing – checking in.

      So what’s the fix for minor things like this that can turn into something bigger? Does a person just accept the fact that the person their involved with just doesn’t do something and shut up? I don’t know.

      Acting like you’re still a single woman? Hmm, again that depends on the type of person you’re dealing with. Back to Rescue; he “says” one of the things he used to argue about with his ex was her lifestyle of partying so naturally I asked “Isn’t that what she was doing BEFORE you two hooked up”. Yes, she was. To an extent it’s like you can’t expect someone to change their habits overnight and if you’re a social butterfly and your partner is the “I like quiet nights on the soafa” type of guy, in my opinion, you’re going to have problems anyway.

      Oh well, water under the bridge (I never understood that stupid saying). Get back on that bicycle and keep it pushing!

  • Marc

    Thanks for the article, Carmen. These are all good things for me to keep in mind as I’m in a new long distance (eek!) relationship. My last relationship ended recently and I’m accustomed to the nightly check-ins and good communication in general. My new girl is 1.5 years single and I don’t hear from her nearly as much as I’d like. I try to give her space (not calling her more than she calls me, etc), but I can’t shake the feeling she’s not really TRYING.

    So, thanks for the perspective. She’s said a few times she’s gotten pretty used to being single and doing what she wants – but your words helped make it sound not so much like an excuse.

    The question that sits in my mind is whether I’m going to have to be “needy” and just ask her to check in on a regular basis with me, even with a text, or if I’m going to just have to accept her habits? If I ask for more frequent and regular communication, at what point does it become appropriate to do so? After the first “I love you”? After the first talk of marriage? Both of those things have happened, but it’s long distance and she DOES work full time and have a life – so I struggle with the answer.

    I’ll see her this weekend – maybe we’ll talk about it.

    • Carmen

      Welcome Marc and the first question I have for you is HOW did it go this weekend? Did you end up having the talk?

      I’m glad my little tidbits on re-entering the relationship arena helped because yes, for some of us, it is quite a transition after being single and “doing us” for so long.

      Do you know what would make it better on both ends (the one who doesn’t seem to be communicating as much and the one who seems to be doing all of the work)? If the person who needs a little time re-adjusting actually says so.

      You’re absolutely right to feel that your new girl may not be trying as hard, so I’d really recommend a casual approach to this topic if you haven’t talked it about it already.

      How about asking her what’s a reasonable amount of contact needed between the two of you in a day?

      My opinion? Two or three. A good morning text or call, maybe a “hope the day is going well” text in between and a nightcap conversation. Anything beyond that is overkill for a daily basis.

      Being needy? I don’t think what you’re asking for is unreasonable but her response to the question about the frequency of contacts might be very telling.

      In fact, the very essence of being in a long-distance relationship is based on keeping in touch with one another.

      I understand the full-time work; she’s a busy woman etc… I work full-time and am a single parent AND have a busy social life with family and friends but I STILL make the time for my boyfriend.

      You can make a quick call waiting in line for coffee, fire off a quick e-mail at work before heading to a meeting or send a brief text that says “thinking of you”.

      Talk to her, find out what she’s been used to, what is too much and find a meeting place in between.

      If you’re already at the “I love you” stage and talks of marriage, I don’t see anything wrong with expressing how you feel.

      Good luck!

  • Brandy

    Well my previous relationship lasted for 3.5 years and prior to that I had a one year time period with a guy and before that two years. I spent the majority of my twenties by myself I’d say. I’d long for relationships but they never seem to really develop. After a month or two I’d be by myself again because I admit during that time I had no standards. I was afraid if I developed them, I would be judgmental and uncaring. Harsh. However, through mistreatment, I learned to develop standards and fix the parts of me that I hated the most. The parts of me I always buried because I wanted to please the person I was with. Also my oblivious idea that if I felt a certain way, it meant the guy felt the same. I developed a lot in my twenties to discover what type of woman I was, what type of parent I was and making decisions that would benefit me and learning that it was ok to protect myself. Being single is good because you have time to really process your personality and your mistakes but being in relationships are good as well because they actually bring a focal lense on the issues you need to work on. You find out what it is you need in a partner, not what you want. You find out what weaknesses in a partner you can tolerate and what ones you won’t. You find out a lot about compromising and how it has to be 50/50. Being single for a period of time after a breakup is good because it helps you process all that you gained from the interaction you had with the other individual. I find that for me interacting in relationships has actually helped me build my character to the point where I can be who I am and love myself. It’s helped me to develop the ability to speak up for my needs. To do for me before I do for anyone else. My interactions with people has lead me to embrace my full beauty as a human being. To love my strengths, accept my weaknesses and change the parts of me I felt needed to change. I’m single now and this period has help me reflect on why my previous relationship didn’t work out and how much I have grown to love and care for me as a result of engaging with my ex when I did. Relationships are good for self growth, if you learn to listen and adapt to the changes within you. Don’t fight change, embrace it because your higher self will always lead you into a better place. No matter how long you have been single if an opportunity to connect to someone presents an opportunity for growth, embrace it. Relationships are growth. Single hood is about embracing that growth.

    Right now I’m embracing all the lessons I have learned and when the time is right I will enter into another relationship experience, one that will reflect all that I have worked hard to build within and I will cherish it when it comes, regardless of adjustments needed.

    • Carmen

      Brandy,

      This reply gives me life because it is so raw, so honest and so relatable.

      I’m still out here navigating through the dating world and after having just told my work husband about my latest guy, he told me to set my standards high. And leave them there.

      Like you, during my single stints, I took time to reflect. I dissected each experience looking for any similarities in these men as well as behaviors I may have been engaging in. Good or bad. And again like you, had feelings that my likes and preferences may have been too much or came off as being judgmental.

      The struggle is so real.

      The thing about being single gives a person time to so a self check. Learn about Yourself and most importantly, make sure you enjoy being with yourself.

      I know of women who have never been single/alone for more than a couple of months. They’re always going from one relationship to the next and it amazes me how they could meet yet another “soul mate” and “best partner” over and over again. Especially in such short periods of time.

      To each is own, right?

      Reflecting, rechecking, growing. Sounds like a recipe for success or at least a practice that might improve your chances at finding the right partner.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughtful insight and my apologies for the delay – I’ve had several comments trapped in the Spam folder for quite a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.