6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Single

Leandra Medine | February 23, 2017

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I met my husband when I was 17 and had the most visceral reaction to our encounter. His name was Abie, mine was Leandra. Together, we would be Labia. I knew the moment I discovered this that we were meant for each other.

By the night after our first date, which came about 15 days following our courtship on AOL Instant Messenger (he was the kind of man who said, “haha,” not, “hehe,” or, “lol”), I told my mom that I wasn’t sure whether I should feel bad that at my tender age, I already knew with whom I would spend the rest of my life or rejoice in how simple my road to lasting matrimony would be.

Now fast forward ten months to September 2007 and join me as I walk into Abie’s new rental apartment on Mercer Street. It is the second day of my freshman year of college and I am holding an orchid (for which I paid $90 as a housewarming gift) in my left arm. Pleasantries are exchanged, etc., and bam! It happens. “I think this relationship has run its course,” he tells me.

I will never forget that night, how I felt every 30 minutes over the course of it when I woke up first calmly, like maybe it had been a dream, then remembered, every single time, that it wasn’t. How could my gut intuition have betrayed me so profoundly? Here it had effectively promised that it was okay to let down my guard — this was my person — and then just ten months later, gone.

The next three years were pathetic. I was motivated almost singularly by figuring out how to get back together with someone who made it clear not that he moved on (that much was obvious), but that I should move on “for my own sake.” Gag.

Everything I thought and did, everywhere I went, was essentially for him. Women are not “supposed” to share these details because they run the risk of being called “crazy.” But there is a difference between crazy and convicted, obsessed and ambitious, you know?

Of course, what it took for us to get back together was my deciding to fuck it. Everyone said this would be the case, but the problem with achieving this state of fuck-it is that you have to want it. To really be ready to surrender. To feel as if you can’t keep on the way you’ve been running. You’ve got to will yourself to shut the door with all your guts and reproductive parts and march forth.

So I did that. And it was awesome. I felt more like myself than I had in three years. I basically salsa danced my way through the summer of 2010.

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By August, we were back together.

The following December (2011), we got engaged. That period lasted six months and the whole way through it, I kept telling myself that I wish I could have enjoyed the previous four years more. Because I was so petrified I would end up alone, I had ruined my chance to be stupid and silly and spectacularly single. Whenever someone would confide in me about heartbreak I would recall this part of my story, explaining that my greatest regret was not putting myself first sooner. When you’re in it though, it’s just so hard. You feel like you’ll never laugh again. Like a piece of you is dead, only worse because you’re still alive. But you’re not dead. You will laugh. Would I have handled the situation differently if I could replay it? This is what I would give myself.

1. If it feels like you’re going to be sad forever, that’s because you will. I say this mostly because you deserve a chance to be dramatic. Cry and yell and jump. Tell everyone it’s not fair. Act as if you have the worst flu in the history of common ailments. Let all the stuff out. Refuse to go to school. Eat as much candy corn as you want.

This won’t last forever. (I couldn’t tell you that initially! You needed to feel validated and never would have listened to what else I had to say.) Do what you need to until you’re sick of feeling bad for yourself.

2. Sick of it yet? Yeah. Run with this. Feeling bad for yourself has become your new normal, you’ve become a prisoner of your own mind and you’re experiencing slight Stockholm syndrome. It’s almost like you think if you stop thinking about it, you’ll never find another relationship at all, which is so irrational but that is what being a prisoner in there does to you. Push past it. Make a new, new normal. Divert your thoughts.

3. Ready to leave home? Don’t go there. No strolls down memory lane! F the coffee shop that was “your place.” Stay out of the restaurant where you had your first kiss. Who kisses at a restaurant anyway? Maybe if you set physical boundaries, they will become intellectual ones.

He might be dating someone.

Now what?

4. It sucks, it hurts, you think you’re regressing but you’re not. It feels like you’re back at the beginning, only now it’s worse because at least you were still sharing in the experience of being newly single and therefore heartbroken together. But you’re not. You don’t give yourself any credit for how far you’ve come. You put on pants yesterday! You made a joke in class this morning! Why aren’t these small steps good enough? What even is “good enough”? ChillLLLLlllLLLL! Life doesn’t come in black and white; happy or sad. Please learn this now! It will be incredibly helpful when we meet again in 2017. And if you get really down one day (you 100% will), that’s okay. It just means you’re a complicated woman capable of experiencing the full spectrum of emotions in the flash of a second. So cool.

5. Suppress. You will take any opportunity to bring him up. Don’t do this. Lie when people ask how you’re doing. Even if you’re having a tough day, just say “great” and see if it changes your disposition. If it doesn’t, pls keep doing it because eventually it will.

6. But don’t vilify him. He’s a nice guy and he broke up with you because he didn’t want to string you along. Feel good about the respect that you demand from the people you date. You don’t have to turn him into garbage to get over him. Read this story future-you wrote. It will make some sense of this.

6a. Have some FFFFFFfun and be an asshole about it. Sleep in, eat out, make plans, break plans, spend looooooooooong nights with your friends. Make mistakes that are distinctly uncomfortable, so much so that you already know they will make for great stories when you’re an adult.

And the thing, btw, about entering legit adulthood is that you’re going to spend the rest of your g-dang life there. So take your hair out of that tight-ass ponytail and shake that self-inflicted responsibility off your shoulders.

And btw, so you know, you do get him back. But pls, Leandra, do me a favor and do not convince yourself that in order to get what you want, you must suffer. That is going to make the next ten years rly, rly hard. Blindfold yourself emotionally and somersault on.

Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt. 

  • Andrea M

    I broke up with someone yesterday (he wasn’t treating me right). This helps so much. That’s all I have to say. Thank you, Leandra.

    • Sending you furry little kittens (if you’re allergic like I am then puppies) <33

      • Thorhildur Asgeirsdóttir

        Your replies are the BEST xoxoxo

        • THANK YOU! I love your name, I wish I could hear you pronounce it!

      • Andrea M

        I’ll take both kitties and puppies thx! 🙂

    • Leandra Medine

      Congratulations on knowing what’s good for you and doing the hard thing because you respect your boundaries!

      • Andrea M

        Thanks so much for your kind words. They mean a lot.

    • Meg S

      Girl, you deserve better than that fool who didn’t know how to treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Good on you for doing something for yourself, even though I know it was hard.

      • Andrea M

        It was super hard. But here I am! Thanks for your kind words <3

        • Meg S

          You’re welcome. <3

  • Chrissie Reitmeyer

    This saved my day… Really, really relevant right now. Thank you for being so honest and willing to share; it opens the door for others to do the same.

    • Chrissie Reitmeyer

      And it’s nice to be reminded that it actually CAN be “so cool” to feel all of the emotions at once!

  • jackie

    UGH thank you. have never commented on here before, but broke up with someone last night because after weeks and weeks of being blown off and let down and “oh sorry i just didn’t bring my phone with me” i demanded to myself that i should be treated WAY better. for a while i convinced myself that was as good as it was gonna get. but you’re right- “feel good about about the respect you demand from the people you date”. needed to read that this morning, so thank you.

    • YES lady, you deserve so much better than that! Sending you fluffy hamsters <3

    • Juliet Hall

      Legit the same as what happened to me. Rock ON girl, you’re headed for a better life and shit me, being single can be greeaaaat. Fuck the guys who can’t take 2 seconds out of their day to reply to you.

    • Julie Lopez

      Kudos, Jackie! You did good. 😀

  • But you have to share the story of how he came crawling back, on his knees, in the rain, tail between his legs & all!! (assuming it went down that way)

  • tmm16

    Sharing this with my friend who needs to read this! She’s been down in the dumps with this guy she really liked and doesn’t know how to cope. I also particularly liked:

    “And the thing, btw, about entering legit adulthood is that you’re going to spend the rest of your g-dang life there. So take your hair out of that tight-ass ponytail and shake that self-inflicted responsibility off your shoulders.”

    So.spot.on. Taking my hair out of my ponytail rn as I type this.

  • jessica ruiz

    Wow I so needed this! I am going to
    read it as a reminder everyday. I had a whirlwind romance in December, I thought this was it- he was “the one”. It went from planning a future together to “can we be friends” And just as fast as it started, it ended. I was completely blindsided, and the worst part is I have to see him every week with his new girl. Now, I supposed I don’t “have to” but he dj’s at my favorite bar where all of my friends go, I knew when everything happened I could either stop going completely and avoid this establishment like the plague- OR suck it up and not let them dictate where I will go with my friends. So I’m on the road now and doing the best I can. Thanks for this it is so relevant.

    • _lauristia

      Same here! Found out a guy I’ve met 8 years ago was almost the perfect person, and we had something, a very strong link between us and suddenly he started acting like a douche, I felt ignored and told him I was taking some distance.

      He agreed.

      I will start repeating to myself “Feel good about about the respect you demand from the people you date”

      Thanks for telling me I’m not the only one!

      • jessica ruiz

        You definitely are not alone! It doesn’t matter what we do as women if we are crazy, or cool all the time or anything in between there is no magic trick to make someone care for you. Now I’m just worrying about myself and doing whatever makes me happy and working on not being so hard on myself all the time and I think that’s the best we can all do!

    • Girl. Your story is my story. Twice. With the same guy. I think we can get caught up in their whirlwind so easily and forget to think about if it’s really working for us. Take a break from the bar until the thought of him doesn’t make you want to vomit, and then when you’re ready pop back in there with your girls or maybe even a new date. Just don’t let it turn into a game where you try to see who’s living the best life. Best of luck <3

      • Laura

        I had a friend-breakup, out of the blue she decided that she didn’t want me in her life. Was pretty brutal, left me confused and pretty lonely. Your comment about not playing a game of whose living the best life really rang true. Need to keep reminding myself that.

    • Wow, I’m also in a super similar situation! Not forced to run into him as much, but he was very integrated into my daily life so there are constant reminders. He went from constantly pushing our relationship forward emotionally, to suddenly saying he’d been just trying to convince himself.
      It sometimes feels silly to feel this much over such a short relationship (a couple months, but for a non-relationship person like myself that’s a lot, ha), but I’m trying to just feel my feelings without judging myself for them-as I would do for a friend, and encourage you to do so as well!
      Thank you as well, Leandra-you always have such well written and thought provoking pieces! I love that you encourage us all to come out of the woodwork and support each other.

  • Jennifer

    Love this post. Buuuuuut. I know these are words to yourself, which in a public post is for everyone else too, not everyone gets the guy back. Feel like that kind undid everything there. You can’t let him go if you think letting go will get him back.

    • Leandra Medine

      Well the point is that I didn’t, right? I had no choice but to move on

      • Jennifer

        Yeah, that’s what I mean by you writing it for yourself, but the difference is a heartbroken reader zeroing on the happy ending. If I let him go I’ll get him back thinking. But maybe they won’t/aren’t. Maybe I’m projecting. That’s the part I would zero in on 😉

        • Leandra Medine

          As I writing this story and giving myself advice, I found that I was totally talking to a current version of me who is so desperate to get pregnant/have a baby. The point (which wasn’t articulated clearly enough) is ultimately that in either scenario the ending is happy because you’ve let go, you’ve said fuck it, and you’re in the restoration process. This is great feedback Jennifer thanks for sharing it!

          • Jennifer

            Oh that definitely makes sense, I can see why a reassurance of sorts would punctuate an article about your past with such a parallel to your current situation. Keeps you hopeful for the future (and all my good wishes to you in your journey). It’s just easy to lie to oneself, to decide to let go, just to get him back. But probably, even if that’s the case, if you start to let go eventually you really will, right?
            Anyway, I really did like this article, and love your writing in general.

          • fatlarry

            you’re the bomb LM. i can’t wait to read your message to yourself about this difficult limbo time you’ve been in while you’re trying to get pregnant. it was two years for me. and really only until i (was forced) got into this f—it namaste mindset. my husband and i had vacation plans, which held up all of our medical fertility plans for another 2 months, and i just was like, you know, i need to do this even though it messes up My Baby Making Schedule. so we went, and we visited a wish granting shrine but purposefully didn’t make that wish, and we came home, and boom! pregnant. so dunno if it was the shrine or my hopeless resignation, but yes, same idea as your essay here and for countless other things as you keep growing in your career and relationships. thanks for this post

        • Emily

          Yeah, I feel this. I dated a guy once whose *ex* demonstrated that sort of “we were soulmates//destined to be together” attitude and it was REAL uncomfortable for everyone. I ended up just feeling badly for her, bc he obviously wasn’t interested anymore/wasn’t a good match for her, but she didn’t seem to see it. Love makes people believe crazy things, though 😐

        • Holly Laine Mascaro

          I definitely agree here, I got to that moment at the end and forgot that writer-Leandra was speaking to past-Leandra, because as the reader you assume the writer is talking to you (lol) and you have that moment of “wait…sometimes you DON’T get the guy back. And that’s A-OK. In fact most of the time if you experience a breakup it’s for a reason and in my opinion, you should really not look back. But of course sometimes, especially in cases when you’re so young like Leandra here, it’s just a matter of timing. Timing truly truly IS everything. But sometimes a breakup is just an opportunity to have perfect timing with someone else 🙂

          • Jennifer

            That’s exactly how I read it. And I totally agree – Most people don’t get back together nor should they. Her case is an exception. Reading her further explanation put it in perfect perspective, though.

  • Janelle Domek

    Approaching the “suppress” phase right now. Bless u for saying that it’s ok to do that

  • Catarina Assunção

    Well… I would probably never get back with someone who crushed me emotionally. That there, is by itself a bounderie.

  • Maria

    That was me for the past few years, with my own personal “wtf life??” bonus. However, I can’t help thinking that it sort of pays off to be neurotic about the boy. You got him back! That idea that I couldn’t let him go because if I stopped thinking about him then he would never ever change his mind was exactly what got me stuck in the first place. It’s like we become possessed by this irrational feeling that by thinking about these guys all the time we’re somehow sending them magical waves that will make them think back about you and, therefore realise they want to get back together too.

  • earlyholo_scene

    It also doesnt play out like this sometimes, and thats OK too. I broke up with a great long-term boyfriend in 2007. 2007! And I still think about him all the time and wish we were back together. We have both moved on, had other long-term relationships, and moved thousands of miles apart.

    But still. I think of him and accept I made a huge mistake that cannot be rectified. I dont (anymore) let it ruin my life. I dont let it stop me from being in other relationships. I dont let it stop me from having fun. Yet, I am 36 and have yet to pull the trigger with someone else because there is always the damn maybe.

    • Robin

      This kind of makes my heart ache. Hope is pretty but can also suffocating. Sorry if this is too dramatic

  • Nat Ch

    I think this relationship thing is analogue to other things that we hold on for too long in life. We get obsessed with some “ought to be like this” things. Group of friends, jobs, projects. When you’re holding something too hard, with two hands, you end up with no posibility of grabbing something else (new) (better) (different)

    So I’m all for allowing time to be sad (to be sad is very nutritious) but be sure that the future has to be and will be different.

    • Robin

      This is exactly the way I read it. My break-up was a while ago and I was the very relieved breaker-upper, so don’t really relate there, but my life has been going crazily up and down for the past months and is now in calmer flows again. Loads of people left. I miss the crazyness and I miss so many people so so much, but you just gotta let go of what has been and go and hunt some new fun times and interesting people. This piece really outed my feelings in a nice way.

    • This is a lovely way of thinking. You’re so right, it’s so hard to let go of the idea of making your life look the way it ought to look.

      Also, “to be sad is very nutritious” will now be entering my phrase book with your permission, it’s brilliant. It will go nicely with my mantra of the past twelve months following my own breakup and a number of friends going through similar; a relationship that ends is not an unsuccessful relationship.

      • Nat Ch

        I’m glad you liked the phrase, is one of my go to ideas whenever I start questioning my feelings 🙂

    • BarbieBush

      Definitely this. I broke up with someone who I could tell just didn’t like or respect me enough. Back and forth the whole horrible thing and when it finally actually ended (because he dated someone else) I was sOoooooo depressed. Like depressed for a year and nothing made sense at all to me. With any kind of hindsight now I can tell I put like everything I thought I knew about the world into the crux of this dumb college relationship and this shit dude. I let myself be sad and accepted it but then held on for waaay too long.

      But I really think everything makes you better and stronger and at that point I thought a guy blowing you off was kind of normal. And it isn’t!!! If a person is really into you they are up your ass and you are up theirs and then you live there together forever in flatulating bliss.

      • Nat Ch

        hahaha flatulating bliss!

  • rachelh

    A link to Amelia’s FYIAH article is, I think, vital. http://www.manrepeller.com/2016/06/hot-photos-on-instagram.html

  • Katie

    How did you know my mind, Leandra?!?!?! I am currently 1.5 years past a breakup with “my person” and still holding on, but yesterday I finally felt like I am ready to say “fuck it.” I’m taking this article as a good sign 🙂

    • Manal

      Wow, it took me reading the entire article, going through the comments and reaching yours after a dozen or so of them to realise that this is about me, too. Sometimes you’ve been holding on to that person or that thing for so long that it becomes second nature. It hit me so hard that I actually, after years, signed up to comment)

  • may have just been Abie to someone, really hoping that I was not… hoping i ferried them along on their path to finding their real abie.

  • TORI

    THANKS – NEEDED THAT!

  • Chloe

    Oh wow! I’ve been feeling like this too! We dated- broke up, and ended up back together – and I have been wishing that I enjoyed my single time and my friends and family during that time period…..Great note, and great thought. Let me just add—try not to hold yourself back—-there is often more than one right path for you.

  • Bailey Stark

    LEANDRA THANK YOU <3! This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Its such a cliche but life really is too short to dwell on the past, live in the moment! My favorite quote is, "So take your hair out of that tight-ass ponytail and shake that self-inflicted responsibility off your shoulders" this slapped me right in the face (in a good way). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Babs

    Am I wrong or is there a low-key correlation between being single and being perceived as wild and irresponsible? I’m constantly viewed as the kooky, unpredictable sidekick to my married sister even though we’re equally employed, housed, and mentally healthy. In this article, entering a serious relationship and entering adulthood are closely tied when really, they’re independent events. No shade, LM, just a perspective from all the 26 yo spinster aunts out here!

    • Leandra Medine

      Fair point, and I actually thought about this while I was writing that part — I associated the final stages of my being single with having less responsibility, being much more selfish, etc and I recall that period extremely fondly. My point was so NOT to say that you don’t enter adulthood until you’re in a relationship because that’s bullshit and untrue but ooooh I know! Maybe because I got married at 23 which was also the same time I started having to like, pay taxes and get serious about dental appointments I nearly associate my having grown up with having gotten married even though they are independent events.

      • Babs

        Thanks for the reply. Your perspective and experience are totally yours and they make complete sense. This is something I’ve witnessed more broadly, so wanted to put words to it.

        • Jack-ay

          One random question Is like MR to address is, as a married person, when I’m meeting new friends who are single, is it appropriate to ask them about their love life? Or does that conversation seem condescending and lime I’m mining them for salacious anecdotes about their wild and crazy lives? I recently avoided this topic with a new friend for that reason and felt like I was missing out on a way to understand her better.

          • Kelsey Moody

            If asking about a single persons love life is coming from a place of condescension, itll come across as condescending. Just like any person, single/married/or otherwise, sometimes a small comment thats meant well can set someone off even if you dont mean to bug them. People who I meet who are in relationships or not, after you ask about their jobs, what they do for fun, etc, I dont think theres anything wrong asking if they are seeing anyone, if they are watching something new on netflix, been to protest recently or like dark chocolate. People are interesting, stories abound! If a single person gets testy with these questions, let them know you didnt mean to offend and move on

          • Leandra Medine

            Oh, better answer!

          • Jack-ay

            Good points. I will gently test the waters and try to be casual about it.

          • Leandra Medine

            I think if your intention is to understand her better and not to mine for salacious stories, that will come true and the questioning will NOT be perceived as condescending

    • CatMom

      I feel like some of that has to do with the fact that – generally – one is single and young at the same time. The most normalized trajectory (whether or not it’s really the most common) is that you’re young and maybe a little foolish and sowing your wild oats and then sometime between 25 and 35 you meet someone you’d like to settle down with and you either settle down as the result of that, or you meet them as the result of settling down because you’re getting older and getting tired and getting hangovers.

  • Natalia Macias

    I went through all of this a couple of years ago and it was just HELL for me. Fortunately, I’ve learned that sadness isn’t forever, that I can feel alive again and that there are plenty of things that I can do while being single. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Leandra Medine

      Sometimes when I’m really blue, the thing I tell myself is that nothing is forever — not blueness (sadness) or joy (which we seem to know *so* well even though we can’t stand sitting in a state of temporary depress). Do you feel like you can now apply that understanding/knowledge (meaning: knowing that sadness isn’t 4ever)

  • I might have to get the first paragraph tattooed.

  • Catarina

    seriously leandra can I just adopt you as my big sister? I am an only child who’s just 18 years old so there is totally more space in the family for you. i’ll even let you sleep in my bed

  • Bella

    Broke up with someone last week (he used me as a sugah mama and made me pay for his Ubers/drinks/dinners/etc and I had enough when I found out he shared my Seamless password — which I shared with him like an idiot because “I felt bad” — with someone else he was seeing).

    ANYWAY. Been various degrees of single for almost 3 years now and I needed this today. Thank you, Leandra.

    • Habaloo

      Ew what. He sucks

    • Meg S

      Girl, you deserve better than that fkboy. You’re better off. Let him figure out how to pay for shit on his own for once.

  • I LOVE that you didn’t then play and are not now portraying the “cool girl” trope. Thanks for your honestly Leandra, as always.

  • amanda

    What a wildly similar experience you and I had. I met my boyfriend when I was 17 and was convinced this was the person I’d marry. We dated about 4 years, broke up for 2 where I was absolutely miserable but never let him know. By the time we decided to give it another shot I felt more in control over the situation, I addressed issues about our relationship with more confidence because I knew I would be ok without him (but preferred being with him). We’ve been back together another 4 years.

    • AMANDA SPRECHER

      (I too wish I had more fun in my 2 years of “freedom”)

  • Krusty the Kat

    “And the thing, btw, about entering legit adulthood is that you’re going
    to spend the rest of your g-dang life there. So take your hair out of
    that tight-ass ponytail and shake that self-inflicted responsibility off
    your shoulders.”

    Hallelujah, you nailed it.

  • Rachael

    Thank you for writing and publishing this at this time. I just got out of a 4 year relationship on Tuesday, so reading Leandra’s experiences and feelings after her break up has really helped – I’m not an alien with my feelings!

  • Ivgi

    Thank you for that. I needed to read it to understand it, even though I’ve been through all of it. Tnx 👏

  • This was just perfect. My ex-boyfriend and I met in India—he lived there, I was working—we spent an incredible 9 months together till he broke up with me back home in London, because he was going to business school in NYC. The distance, the disconnect, the time difference, the goals. He told me to put myself first and become acquainted with the fire inside of me—something I was out of touch with because my time was spent nurturing his dreams. My ego screamed and felt patronised, I went through phases of romanticising him, despite the heartbreak he caused, and vilifying him. A little less than a year on, it still hurts, but I now realise what he was talking about when he wanted me to be me. I’ll be seeing him for the first time since the break up in a couple of months. Wish me luck!

  • britt stone

    Great post. Enjoying singleness is key. I had my last relationship in my mid 20s, and i’m in my mid 30s now, and who knows if my singleness is going to be a fixture. You really have to zero in on the reality that your life is happening now and make the most of it.

    And for you Leandra, you do that with your hope for children too. Sending all the best wishes and hopes your way for your family–It will grow, don’t you worry.

  • meg

    Not to sound philosophical but perhaps since you had the courage to move forward you were also able to use that muscle memory to make this community and site come to pass. I guess at a newly turned 29, I’m realizing the more courage I take to move forward in areas that were forced upon me, I can channel that into getting things that I want for myself.

  • Kimberley Walker

    This is so honest I love it! Fresh for people with new break-ups but relevant for all ladies.

  • Meg S

    I’ve been single for a long time and I love it too much to bother dating seriously, or sometimes at all. I went through a phase where I kissed/slept with/casually dated whoever I wanted. Then I dated someone seriously for 2 years (this is the Kevin my mother keeps asking about) until we unceremoniously broke up on my parents front steps. There’s been some on and off dating over the years, but nothing serious. I don’t have to share my queen size bed or my condo that I consider too small for two people given the amount of stuff I have and the small kitchen. I can do as I please and answer to no one. It’s refreshing and people who spend their time as a single person wishing they weren’t get nothing but pity looks from me.

    • belle

      SAME. People seem to operate under the assumption that single people are always looking for a relationship, and it’s just not the case. The other two singles in my office are often trying to pick up guys or going on Tinder dates, which I totally understand and support, but I wish I got more respect for the fact that I am happily single. I once mentioned during a conversation about engagements that I didn’t think I’d ever get married, which was met with “Oh come on, I’m sure you’ll find someone who wants to marry you!” – I hate the assumption that I’m alone because nobody wants me! I’m alone because I love it – supporting myself 100% and doing whatever the fuck I want all the time is amazing, and I hope everyone gets the chance to experience that at some point in their lives.

      • Meg S

        SAME. There’s one woman at work who tells me I’ll find someone someday. Uhhh…. well okay, but I don’t need to be dating or engaged or married to be happy. I’m happier without any of that right now. I have a demanding job and I’m back in school, so who has time for boys? I’m too busy doing things that make me happy and improving my skills so I can get a better job. No matter how much college I’ve had, it’s never too late for doing that.

  • Kay Ann

    Two pieces of advice that have saved my broken heart after every breakup

    1. Take your phone and put your best friend’s number under your ex’s name. In the emergencies where you just want sooo badly to talk to your ex (**alway a mistake**), if you slip, the call will go to your best friend who is at the ready to make you laugh/listen to you cry/play you a song/whatever you ask your best friend to do.

    2. Book massages (or pedicures, hair cuts, etc). There’s something incredibly normalizing about platonic touch when you’re feeling heartbroken.

  • Alice

    Hello, my name is Alice, I am 21 and have been single for almost four years now (haha!) and this article was exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time.

    Because I have fluctuated quite a bit between obsessive and fuck it for these four years, and have found a lot of mental clarity in fuck it and a lot of confusion and heartbreak in obsessive. I have also found a lot of strength and badassery and independence in being single for this long (which was hard) (and still is hard.)

    The main thing I have taken away from singledom + this article is this: you are valuable, and beautiful and deserving of not only great love but great respect. And you deserve the chance at that great love and respect, not just from others but from yourself.

    • belle

      I’m only a few years older than you and have been single for almost six years now (I think?) aside from casual dating without ever looking for anything serious. It’s pretty great. Every now and then I’ll feel a twinge of loneliness, usually when I’m on my period and wish I had someone to deliver pizza directly to my bed, but 99.9% of the time it’s truly awesome. Learn how to do your taxes, change a tire, cook a few awesome dinner-party-worthy meals…whatever makes you feel accomplished! The best part about a long period of single-ness is that when you do date, you know you’re doing it because you’re truly interested in the guy and not out of habit or because you feel you need to have a man around for your life to seem stable. I spend my time and my money on my terms, and only a guy who’s REALLY worth it can get me to change that 🙂

  • Nadine

    Oh my god I’m still in this space.. THANK YOU!!

  • Valerie Barahona

    can anyone nominate Leandra for the fucking nobel prize?

  • A M

    This sort of happened to me but later (28), and the “getting back together” didn’t work out. The first time around, I felt like life was just happening around me for half a year, then started to roll with myself a little better, and shortly after that we got back together. He broke up with me a second time over text and at first I was like “I did so much work getting over it the first time” that I didn’t care and was sort of waiting for the end the whole time anyway, but recently started feeling sad and lost again and I’m kind of annoyed at myself by it.

    • CM

      Don’t be annoyed with self, the process is not linear! It’s ok to be fine and then sad and then fine and sad again. I like to tell myself that the more sadness that come up, the more happiness I will have the capacity for down the road.

  • Shea

    This line –> “So take your hair out of that tight-ass ponytail and shake that self-inflicted responsibility off your shoulders.” GREAT. I think that notion is so applicable to every kind of ‘coming of age moment’ whether it’s with a relationship, a job, or a what-am-i-doing-with-my-life meltdown.

    PS- so happy that Labia lives on!!

  • michela benigno

    This article made my day! xoxo

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve never commented on this kind of thing, but can see the therapeutic benefits of doing so, so here I go. I feel cautiously comforted after reading this… I was with a guy for 10 months while living in NYC and he broke up with me for similar reasons I believe (didn’t want to string me along when he wasn’t sure it was going to be forever). I was devastated because he had become my best friend and I couldn’t imagine ever finding anyone I felt that way about again. This was about three years ago and I have since moved back to my hometown. I have on and off given up on the idea of him and I- I mean I did leave the city where he lives (that was tough!). We had been visiting each other as “friends,” but nothing much more until last summer. I had started dating someone else when he and I started talking again and we are currently on the road to (hopefully) getting back together. This already complicated situation is further complicated by the fact that we live in different cities and are both going through/considering career changes, but I still consider him my best friend 4 years after meeting him and never completely gave up on us despite my best efforts to enjoy being single (which I have, for the most part). So I think after reading your post, I want to remind myself that, regardless of what happens, I will be okay. Also, going along with what I perceive to be one of your points, I think I can increase the potential success of my relationship with him by not losing sight of myself and what I want/need/deserve (reminding myself that I don’t NEED him). This may just be promoting what I want to be true, but I think we can be too accepting of the notion that “he’s just not that into you”/the idea that things that don’t usually happen won’t happen, so it’s nice to hear your story of a successful relationship with someone that once broke up with you. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • lily

    This was amazing

  • ella

    Love, love, love this! And I can’t get over the way you described single as spectacularly single. So much so, I referred to your piece for my latest dating piece on how serial dating has become an unexpected form of self-empowerment.

    i’ll leave the link here just in case you’re curious 😉 http://www.literallydarling.com/blog/2017/02/24/serial-dating-became-form-self-empowerment/

  • Jen

    Anyone who foregoes LOL and hehe to say haha is all right in my book

  • Frieda

    Oh gosh I really struggle with this one… I wish I could totally relate to what you are saying, raise my fist screaming “YAAAS gurl!” and be all positive about that whole topic, but when it comes down to this article (or in general a lot of personal stories) it’s always that the two lovers come back together… Like if the one Thing you have to do to get a guy who at first doesn’t want to be with you is getting indifferent about him and booom: there you have him. But this strikes me as counterintuitive because I should not get over somebody in order to make him fall for me, should I? (I am sure that this is not what you wanted to say, Leandra)… I am so frustrated that I can’t even wholeheartedly accept a lovely advice because everything I can see is that the person giving the advice is in the comfortable situation I am longing for as well. meh on that 🙁

    • Leandra Medine

      The whole point is that the only way to move on and get better is to actually move on and get better but part of doing that is also accepting that it might not end up the way you think you want it to. In my instance, I ended up back together with him, but even if I hadn’t, it would have been okay, because I’d have gotten over it and started to enjoy myself again. You know?

      • Frieda

        Yeah, I thought about it that way too; cause the whole point in getting over smth is that you can only truely claim that you achieved it is when it doen’t matter anymore what the end of the story is – so one has only gotten over a breakup if the option to come back together with the old love is exactly as good/okay as to find new love. So I guess your essay helped me to articulate that (which in my native language or my brain respectively might be even clearer) 😉 Thanks gurl!!!

  • Sarah Gbaguidi

    Hey Leandra, I just wanted to say your articles always resonate with me. This here was written and published absolutely at the right time. Thank you. I can relate to you so much you’re like a mom to me. And yes, you gon have those babies, because who in the freakin world wouldn’t love having you as their mom ?!! Love, Sarah.

    Ps: Pardon my English if I made any mistakes, I’m French.

  • Sarah Gbaguidi

    Hey Leandra, I just wanted to say this here was written and published absolutely at the right time. Thank you. I mean… not only that, but in general, I can relate to you so much you’re like a mom to me. And yes, you gon have those babies, because who in the freakin world wouldn’t love having you as their mom ?!! Love, Sarah.

    Ps: Pardon my English if I made any mistakes, I’m French.

  • beee

    This is so accurate it hurts, in the good way. I was broken up with this past fall and these are all actual steps I have been taking to try to soften the blow a bit. Thank you for this.

  • Pamela

    This is great!

  • Nicole

    Should be titled “Things I Wish I Knew Post-Breakup”…..