From Breakdown To Boyfriend: How To Never End Up Feeling Lonely

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So, I recently traveled the world. Well, six different countries in eight months, to be exact, which can feel like the. entire. world. Trust me.

My journey began after six years of slaving miserably in a career I thought I wanted (tell me how a newbie college gal is supposed to choose and stick to what you want to do for life as? At that age, I could barely choose what I wanted to wear on Friday night.)

After a week-long cruise to Alaska during a much-needed break, I stood in a way-too-tiny cabin shower bargaining with the bold-yet-fearful little girl within, questioning whether my feeling that “I need more in my life” was just a run-of-the-mill quarter-life crisis, or if some direction could actually come out of this Alaskan breakdown.

What does this have to do with dating, you ask?

Well, before the aforementioned shower scene, I was mere dates away from crazy-cat-lady. I’ll admit, I spent most of my life as a serial monogamist— notorious for serious relationship after serious relationship. I was Sex and the City’s Charlotte at heart, but boasted a Samantha attitude (and brief lifestyle) when all else failed—which it did, quite often.

A few weeks prior to my glacier-side meltdown, I was having my very own emotional catastrophe, asking myself the all-too familiar question, “Will I ever find love?” I was, well, suffering from the loneliness fever. Ever experienced it?

Spending most of my serial monogamy with life-long marriage prospects led me to adapt a few bad habits. Sprinkle in poor examples I would pick up from not-so-great friends with good intentions, and ba-boom, a I became a desperate and insecure girl without a clear sense of who I was, what I genuinely wanted or even liked.

Sure, I would spend time with myself…showering, uh, grocery shopping, and well…you know…sleeping. Besides that, I was constantly attached to whoever let me latch on. I became a messy conglomeration of way too many different people—unfamiliar with, well, me.

The whole idea of getting to know yourself seems whimsical: “Of course I know myself, c’mon, I’ve been living with her for, like, ever!” And this is true…except how often do you take the time to treat your true self with some love? Not just in a “let me get my nails done and call it a day” way, but really spending time hanging out with her, putting as much effort into a self-love relationship as you did with Mr. Wasted-Your-Time.

It’s easy to sit and obsess with our imaginary cuddle partner when we aren’t fully enjoying life without him (whoever he is) in the picture.

Worse than obsessing, it’s just as easy to settle for someone who you aren’t compatible with.

How do we make that mistake? By not knowing who we ARE compatible with.

But how do you expect to know who’s compatible with the inner-you if you haven’t spent enough time with her, yet?

Back to my Alaskan meltdown. That day I chose to take a leap of faith. I quit my job and spent eight straight months with myself—touring museums in Rome, hiking mountains in Peru, and enjoying horse-back rides in the Dominican Republic. All with…me.

I learned a whole lot of what I liked, what ticked me off, how I reacted to certain situations, and ultimately, who I wasn’t, all of which came as a surprise.

Dear single-and-fabulous gal, don’t settle for lonely. Set that carefree 13-year-old girl—who knew exactly what to do to entertain herself…without a man in the picture—FREE. Put on your cutest pair of heels, fave lipstick, and head to that concert you really want to go to (or hey Spice Girl, put on the booty shorts, fluffy socks and sing into your hairbrush…just like the old days). Leave the cell phone tucked away in your clutch, spray on your self-confidence, look your best, and get yourself to that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try…and order the best glass of wine available, darnit.

You deserve the man who will put in the time and energy to date you—take you out, make you dinner, or even cuddle next to you with a good book and a glass of champagne.

But while you wait for him to appear, treat yourself to the same kind of love you know you deserve.

Put in the energy to romance yourself—because frankly, you won’t be satisfied with him until you’re satisfied with you.

So, fall in love with yourself. It’s a relationship you won’t regret investing in.