The concept may be foreign to most males: being single by choice. But just as it works and is utilized by females, being single by choice has its advantages for men. Take three different scenarios where it can and should apply:
I have this friend, “Average Joe,” we’ll call him. Joe, as his name implies, is just your average guy: dates, gets into relationships, breaks up, continues looking. Then Joe hit a slump for about a year. Dating came scarce and finding a relationship became like finding water in the Sahara. Midway into that year, Joe began stinking of desperation. He’d hit on anything with two legs and the scent of lotion. Not many of his conquests panned out, and the biggest thing to come from them was more fuel for Joe to gripe about. Why can’t I find a chick, Joe would ponder aloud. What’s going on with me? Etc., etc.,. Despite concentrated efforts from the circle of homies advising he slow his roll, Joe thought it best to maintain his pace, if not step it up.
Another friend of mine, we’ll call him “Half a Henry,” for as far back as I’ve known him(14+ years) has always been in a long-term relationship. From high school to college to beyond, he’s always been half of one whole. It suited Henry, but Henry’s biggest desires came out when he was in the comfort of “the boys:” he wanted his freedom. He didn’t want it so much that he’d leave his relationships, but he wanted it bad enough that when he found time away from his girl he used it as a limited opportunity to explore(i.e., cheat). Two times he played with fire and both times he got burned. We’ll say they were only first-degree burns though, because he still managed to stay in his relationships.
Me, for example. At one point in my life, I had a string of very short-lived, ugly-ending relationships. Whatever was causing me to jump into these relationships was very quickly causing me to jump out. They became almost predictable and routine, and back then I failed to see why. I was too busy seeing things from inside the moment than from out.
All three of these scenarios(and more, if you can think of some) were perfect opportunities for Future-Me, Future-Joe or Future-Henry to travel back in time, sit us down, and advise us to warm the bench for a while. Sit out for a while, we could’ve told ourselves, and watch what’s transpiring.
Being single by choice can clear your head, put things into perspective, and give you an opportunity to think about what it is you’re doing wrong, if you’re doing something wrong. It’s also the best way to get to know who you are as an individual, not as half a couple. It can help you sow wild oats that need to be sown, before you find yourself in situations where you otherwise couldn’t. It can help wash the stink of desperation, co-dependence or dysfunction off of you, maybe not completely, but at least to a degree where you’ll stop griping about your issues in public.
But the most important thing is that it’ll give you the time and opportunity to know who you are. It can be impossible or difficult to see when caught up in a relationship or a whirlwind dating scene, but when you take the time to step outside the hurricane, you get a pretty clear view of what’s flying around up there.
Women do it all the time, but when men are single it’s usually connoted as status beyond his control and not for lack of trying. Taking time to recognize, realize, and build your own solid foundation will only allow for bigger landscapes to grow. Though how long that takes depends on you, the stock estimate is about a year. It should just be long enough to detox, start from zero, and begin your David Carradine-Kung Fu-like quest, but end before you start traversing into Marlon Brando-Colonel Kurtz-Apocalypse Now-type territory. When you’re ready to check back into the game, you will know.