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6 Things That Happen When You’re Single in Your Twenties

6 Things I've Learned Since Becoming Single for the First Time in My Twenties
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When I turned 25, I had the ultimate quarter-life crisis and basically set fire to everything in my life. I freaked tf out, ended my seven-year relationship, got a new place, chopped off my hair—the works. For the first time since I was 18 years old, I’m 100% on my own—and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been. I love coming home to my cat, getting in my ugliest sweats immediately, and doing whatever the hell I want with my time and answering to no one.

Honestly, I have zero ideas on why being single gets such a bad rap; especially when you’re in your mid-twenties, aka when you are finally semi-emotionally and financially stable. Literally anything can happen during this time of freedom, but the following six things definitely will.

1. You Can Do Whatever You Want, Whenever You Want

Not that you *technically* couldn’t before, but now you don’t have to check in with someone before you invite all your girlfriends over to watch The Bachelor. You can throw as many red peppers in your spaghetti as you want because there’s no one there to complain. (That’s a relatable and not-at-all specific example, right?) You can leave the bathroom door open at all times. (Do not underestimate this one; it is FREEING.)

If you want to hide in your apartment and be a hermit for days on end, surviving on nothing but pizza, go ahead. If you want to go out every night with your girlfriends, girl go ahead. This is your time.

2. You’ll Fall in Love Really Quickly (With Yourself)

When I moved out of the apartment I shared with my ex and into my new place, it was truly just me, myself, and I for the first time ever. (Plus my cat. But still.)

I’m a firm believer that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself—and the first step is enjoying your own company. It’s the little things that add up, like making time for your hobbies, cooking your favorite meal and not having to share with anyone, going places alone and enjoying it, or even just carrying a 32-pack of water up two flights of stairs all by yourself and being proud because you did the damn thing with zero upper-body strength.

It’s so weird, because I always get sick of people when I live with them or am around them too much. But I’ve turned out to be the most perfect roommate I could ever ask for. I’ve only been doing it for a few months now, but I haven’t gotten sick of myself yet. (Which is more than I can say about anyone other than my cat.)

3. You’ll Become Really Self-Aware

When you’re all alone in your home, you start to notice all your bad habits. Suddenly, there’s no one else there to pick up the slack when it comes to the dishes you left in the sink or the laundry you forgot about, no one to binge-watch Jane the Virgin with you at all hours of the night. One night I looked up from my phone and it was 10:30 p.m.—I realized that I had literally been scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. since I got home from work. That was when I knew it was time to get off my ass and change my couch-potato ways.

And then there’s getting naked in front of someone new for the first time—that’s when it really hits you that maaaaybe you should get a jump on losing all those “love pounds” you packed on before you became single.

4. No One Really Cares That You’re Single

When I was initially going through the breakup, I was angry all the time. And not at my ex; at my friends. Aren’t your girlfriends supposed to rally when you’re newly single? Aren’t they supposed to check on you at all hours and make sure you’re not found dead in your apartment, still clutching a pint of Ben & Jerry’s?

Don’t get me wrong, I have some amazing friends; Meleah, in particular, brought over Wonder Woman, pizza, face masks, and plenty of wine when everything went down. And everyone checked on me for a couple of weeks…but then they moved on with their lives—their relationships, their jobs, their responsibilities….and I was still single.

Like it or not (in my case, I hated it), my breakup was not the center of everyone’s universe. That may sound like common sense, and it definitely is to me now, but at the time I definitely wallowed in self-pity.

But the truth is, going through a breakup in your twenties is A LOT different than going through a breakup in high school or college. People have actual things going on now; we’re adults, and even though I was going through something horrible, I was still that—an adult, who as I said before, am semi-emotionally and financially stable. If anything, this taught me to ask for what I want. If I’m feeling down, it’s up to me to reach out. If you depend on others for your happiness, you’ll end up really unhappy.

I will say though that going through this showed me which friends I can count on the most. No one is required to make sure you have plans on a Saturday night or monitor your tweets for suicidal undertones. But the ones who do? Cherish them.

5. Dating is WEIRD AF

When I first became single, all my friends suddenly had someone perfect they wanted to set me up with. I told them to chill and give me a while, but honestly I was (and still am) perfectly fine just growing old with my cat. While it’s important to give yourself time to 1) grieve your past relationship and 2) fall in love with yourself (see above), I don’t think I would’ve ever been fully, 100% “ready” to get back in the dating game if a certain friend of mine hadn’t given me a (major) push. So shop for a new outfit, get your nails done, and just do it.

That being said, first dates are WEIRD. And awkward. I pretty much had a full-on panic attack and downed half a bottle of sauvignon blanc before my first real date—because dating as an adult is a whole different ball game. Is the guy supposed to pick you up for the date? Or do you meet there? Aren’t women supposed to at least offer to pay for their half now? And what the actual f*ck do you talk about????????????

Then there’s the whole dating timeline. When you’re young, you find someone who “makes you laugh” and DTR as soon as possible. But when you’re an adult and you’ve been through shit, you’re a lot more hesitant. You know what you want (and what you don’t) and you’re not willing to settle—and neither are they.

But suddenly you’re staying over at each other’s places every weekend—but you’re not “in a relationship” (also fun fact, apparently all guys hate the word “dating,” even though you’re literally, like, physically going on dates weekly), and don’t you dare post about them on social media for at least three months (if not six, or ever) or you’ll look like an absolute crazy person. Remember becoming “Facebook Official?” Yeah, now it’s “Instagram Official” and a lot more is apparently on the line.

The point is: Dating in your twenties takes some serious getting used to. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

6. You Have to Be Strict About Your Budget

I purposely put this one at the end because money, snore, I know. But this is Earn Spend Live, after all, so I’m going to talk about it.

When you’re in a relationship, you take turns paying for things (ideally, anyway). If one person is struggling, the other picks up the slack for a while. But when you’re on your own, there’s no one else to fall back on. You should already have a budget regardless of your relationship status, but when I suddenly didn’t have someone to split rent and groceries with, I had to completely redo my entire budget and figure out where to make some serious cuts.

This also pushed me to fight harder for a promotion at work (which, BTW, throwing yourself into your work is the absolute best thing you can do after a breakup IMO). This caused me to have to redo my budget again—but I did it as I’ve done all things since becoming single: Happily.

Follow Elise on Twitter: @elisewillrikard | Instagram: @elisewillrikard

Last modified on February 22nd, 2023

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