What Single People Can Teach You About Relationships

February 1, 2019  |  

2016 Essence Festival - Day 2

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Serena Williams recently shared that Oprah gave her some fantastic relationship advice before she met her husband. When the Internet found out, doubters questioned what wisdom Oprah could possibly impart, seeing as how she’s single (as in unmarried). They completely ignored the fact that Oprah has been in a stable relationship for as long as any of us can remember — since 1986 to be exact. During those 33 years with Steadman, Oprah has undoubtedly gained a wealth of knowledge about relationships.

In fact, the advice Oprah gave Serena proves as much. She told the tennis champion simply, “Never let anyone dim your light,” which is objectively good advice that should be heeded no matter the relationship status of the giver. For what it’s worth, that advice also helped Serena confirm for herself that Alexis Ohanian was the one, so it turns out Oprah’s advice was spot on

The truth of the matter is most single people haven’t been single their whole lives; they have some level of relationship experience. They’ve also learned things about love. One need not be in a current relationship to be able to give good relationship advice. Obviously, you probably don’t want to take any advice from that one friend who is forever picking the wrong men. However, it shouldn’t be assumed that having a ring qualifies anyone as a viable relationship expert either. When it comes to advice, the most important thing to consider is the source.

Still, if you’re lucky enough to have single friends with some sense, there are a certainly a few things you can learn from them even after you’ve made things official with your bae. Here are five of them.

How Not To Lose Yourself
For a lot of people, their relationship becomes their identity. “Me” instantly turns to “we” once they get a lover, and that’s all you ever hear from them, but there’s a difference between being committed and being dependent. Single people are clear on which is which. Single people know how to maintain their independent identity no matter who they date. They know that the person they already are is what attracts people, so they do the inner and outer work of maintaining a strong sense of self.

How To Be Whole In Yourself
The line “you complete me” sounds really romantic in a movie, but it’s not hot in real life. Especially not if you’re in a relationship because that means you are looking for your partner to make up for something you feel you are missing within yourself. When you’re single, you learn how to be whole on your own. That’s the best thing you can be in a relationship unless you’re trying to be someone’s project.

How To Strike A Boo-Bestie Balance
While you’re getting caught up in the rapture of love, your friends are getting ready to put out an APB on you. Your single friends will remind you that although they don’t (or shouldn’t) need you to spend all of your available time with them, they do still want to hear from you. Single people know how to balance their time between the person they love and the friends they adore. They’re a lot better at it than someone who is part of a couple, and that is just by virtue of how their life is set up in terms of free time for themselves.

How To Value Alone Time
When you’re in a relationship, you may not think to take the opportunity to be alone when you are home with your honey. It’s nice to be snuggled up, but you can’t do that all the time. Single people know the value of alone time better than anyone. As much fun as dating around and chilling with your friends can be, sometimes a quiet night alone is in order. It’s good to take a moment just for you. That quiet time allows you to check in with yourself and see how you really feel about the relationship you’re in. When you’re able to do that, not only can you be better for yourself, but you can also be a better partner.

How To Establish Boundaries
In relationships, people tend to excuse a lot in the interest of keeping the peace with their partner. Moreover, a lot of the advice we receive is geared towards maintaining–or salvaging–the relationship at any cost. Often times, we can find ourselves forgiving some absolutely outrageous offenses (up to and including abuse). Single people are pretty good at setting boundaries and sticking to them. They know what behaviors won’t work for them. Once someone crosses a line, they let it be known and they handle the situation accordingly. You should have no problem doing the same when partnered.

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