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Single by choice: Hannah’s Story

Hannah, 20, shares why she’s currently choosing to be single and explains why it’s important to ensure you make time for your friends when you’re in a relationship.

I have currently been single for 4 years. I have dated in this time, but not really taken anything further. I used to be the kind of person who would text the person they’re seeing every day. I’d spend lots of time with them, only to burn the relationship out 6 months later, and to realise I hadn’t seen my friends in a long time. It often felt like if I was dating someone, we came as a package – you couldn’t have one without the other. When we broke up, things became messy. I have since learned the error of my ways and have worked through my separation issues in order to realise that I don’t have the emotional capacity for a relationship in this part of my life.

As the resident single friend for a lot of couples, it can be frustrating to see my friends compromise in an unhealthy way on everything outside of their relationship.

It’s so important to develop as a person outside of the relationship. You need to be known as more than “so and so’s girlfriend/boyfriend/partner”. I once dated someone who, when I went away on holiday said, “I don’t know how to be in the group without you”. Becoming that dependant on your relationship is not healthy. When your friends ask you what you’ve been up to, it can be a bit tedious to only hear “my partner and I did XYZ” or “I went to XYZ with my partner”.

I say this on behalf of many single friends, we want to know about more than just what you do and who you are with your partner.

What about your job/uni? Have you joined any sports teams recently? How’s your family/other friends doing? Are you going to any concerts or anything in the future? Be enough of a person that you don’t rely on your relationship for conversation.

Your friends should not have to compete against your partner to see you. Both need to work together in a way that doesn’t compromise on either side’s time with you. One of the easiest ways to find a balance is to set time aside for each relationship and stick to it. If you’re out with your friends, don’t leave early because your partner is home. If you’re on a date night, don’t accept a call in the middle of it from your friends. If your partner is around and you want to bring them on your night out, check with your friends to make sure they’re okay with it.

I feel much more respected by my friends when they’ve asked me if they can bring along their partner rather than the pair of them turning up.

My final piece of advice would be work out if you have the time and can manage both friendships, relationships, and being who you want to be. I am currently single, by choice, because I would not be able to balance a relationship with everything I have going on. I do a lot of activism and sexual health work which I love, as well as my degree in Psychology. I’m very dedicated to both and it wouldn’t be fair for me to be in a relationship with someone who’s going to feel like second best to my work/university life. AND THAT’S OKAY!

You are not any less of a person for not being in a relationship, especially when you’re doing what you want to do for yourself.

At the end of the day, relationships will come and go, but the time spent doing whatever it is that makes you say “I had a fulfilled life” with no regrets cannot by replaced, so you have to make the most of it whilst it’s here.

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