Recently, Jayda Cheaves, who shares a child with rapper Lil Baby, shared a moment of transparency with Instagram followers about being single after being in a series of long-term relationships since she was a teenager.
“I’ve been in relationships my whole life since high school,” Cheaves wrote. “I don’t even know how to be single. I need to learn myself all over again.”
Cheaves and Lil Baby, born Dominique Jones, have been together for several years. In 2019, they welcomed a son. However, their relationship has been somewhat of a rollercoaster due to reported instances of infidelity on his part. While there were, of course, some critics, most followers praised Cheaves for her transparency and shared that they could relate.
“I swear I’m not one of the girls that come to the internet with every problem they have,” she explained in a follow-up video, “but I just be needing y’all to know sometimes, beyond all the glitz and the glam, this sh-t real life. I go through the same sh-t y’all go through, even worse sh-t y’all go through. Like we all human at the end of the day. And we all got f-ckin’ problems.”
For many people, the most challenging stage of being single is the sometimes awkward stage of singleness that immediately follows a long-term relationship. For years, you’ve been linked to another person and now that so much time has passed since you were single, it can feel a bit odd being on your own again. However, there’s beauty in every part of the journey — even the uncomfortable parts. Here are 10 ways to be single again after being in a long-term relationship.
First, and most importantly, it’s important to give yourself time to heal. More often than not, breakups are painful. Even the most amicable of splits come with a period of mourning and grief. Allow yourself to go through the process and feel all of the feelings. If you try to suppress them they will eventually resurface.
There’s something to be learned from every relationship. So regardless of how things ended, it’s a good idea to be reflective. Perhaps there are some things that you’d like to change about yourself or the way that you approach romantic relationships. Maybe this relationship showed you that you don’t really want what you previously thought that you desired from a relationship. Some people find that journaling, talking things out with loved ones, or even speaking with a counselor can help to process feelings and experiences more effectively. Whatever method you choose, take the time to process everything and then you can move forward accordingly.
Though no one cares to admit this about themselves, being in a long-term relationship has a way of making you a little less present in your other relationships. It’s natural and it happens to the best of us because there is a person who is consuming so much of your time, mental energy, and social interactions. This doesn’t make you a bad relative or friend, but now that your plate is a little less full, it’s a good time to reconnect with those loved ones and nurture those relationships a little more now that you have the time.
Do something you’ve always wanted to do
Another thing people don’t really care to admit is that long-term relationships can often hold us back from pursuing everything that we want to do. That’s not to say that you let yourself get lost in the relationship, but it can be harder to plan things when you have to take another person into consideration. When you have to align your plans with that of another, sometimes your aspirations and desires can get pushed to the backburner. When you’re freshly single and unsure of what’s next, it’s the perfect time to revisit those ideas and aspirations that you allowed to fall by the wayside when you were in a relationship and begin working towards making them a reality.
One of the great parts of being single is flirting with other single people without remorse. Flirting can be a fun and invigorating experience because it’s a way to show interest in potential lovers. It’s a nice low-risk way of figuring out if someone is interested in you without completely putting yourself out there and without going full-on “Do you like me? Check yes or no.” Additionally, flirting can work wonders for a person’s confidence. It’s really nice to feel desired. If you don’t consider yourself to be much of a flirt and are unsure of where to start, eye contact, a compliment, and a smile go a long way.
Get on the apps
If you feel that you are ready to get out there and begin meeting other people, popular dating apps are a great place to begin — especially since we’re living through a pandemic, which has dramatically decreased the chances of connecting with a potential new love during your day-to-day dealings. According to Fortune, activity on dating apps Tinder, OkCupid, and Bumble has skyrocketed since lockdown orders were first issued in March 2020. This means there is a much larger pool of potential love interests to choose from, which obviously increases your chances of connecting with daters you’re actually interested in.
Go on a self-care binge
Not everyone neglects themselves when in a relationship, but part of being in a relationship is caring for another person, and caring for someone else can often mean less time to care for self. Now that you have a little (or a lot) more time on your hands, go hard in the self-care department. Whatever that may look like for you, do it without guilt or remorse. Go hiking, sleep in, get dolled up. Just get carried away with doing you. You deserve it and if you’re still feeling down about that breakup, it will make you feel better.
There is a certain level of peace and tranquility that comes with doing absolutely nothing. So if that’s what you feel compelled to do, that’s cool too. Sometimes it can be really nice to just kick back and chill. Many meditation experts will often advocate for people to seek peace by simply being still. Adam Oakley, author of the Inner Peace Now blog explains, “Nothing is needed. That’s where all the good ideas come from. That’s where insight comes from. That’s where creativity lives. You can’t be creative if you are just full of noise. You are still creative, actually, but it is messy. There is no power shooting out of you, things become stagnant and dead without the fresh life feeding the mind. The real power begins, and lives, in nothing.”
The best way to be single after being in a long-term relationship is to live life the way that you see fit and have a good time while doing so. Singlehood looks different for everyone but it’s best spent doing the things that bring you joy and make you feel fulfilled. You are the best company you will ever keep so it’s best to learn to enjoy it.
“Learning to be alone and actually enjoying it will help you to become more tuned into your mind and body,” explains psychotherapist Kimia Moghadam. “It will also help you avoid having toxic friendships and relationships because you are not afraid of being alone.”
You don’t have to be in a relationship with another person to have a good time. Many relationship experts highly recommend dating yourself to singles and people in relationships alike. Dating one’s self can look very different from person to person, but some of the ways that you do can about doing so include dining alone, going to the movies alone, engaging in self-pleasure, and pampering yourself.
“Consider your ideal date, and then go do it,” Alexis Moreno, consulting psychologist and health correspondent at DC Radio told Shape. “If it’s cooking or going out to dinner, what would it be and where would you go? What music would be playing? What scents do you enjoy? If it’s a movie, what’s one that you love, would want to share, or haven’t seen yet and wish you had? Take the time to truly explore what romance means to you.”