10 Things I Did Right When I Was Single

Posted: March 16, 2011 in Life In General

So I found this in my file of “posts to do” but I never did. I still think it’s appropriate even though I’m not single anymore. In fact, I think now that I am in a relationship (for 6 months now next Thursday! yay me!), I can see even more clear now what things I did do right.

Don’t misunderstand me…. I did PLENTY wrong! πŸ™„ BUT…. I would much rather focus on the POSITIVE and what I did RIGHT! Here’s the 10 most positive things I did for myself when I was single:

1. I did everything possible to become financially independent.- I was a working FOOL! I would work my regular job for 8 hours a day and then I would immediately jump to my ebay and etsy businesses for another 8 hours a day. In hindsight, I didn’t NEED to do all of that to be financially independent, but it made me confident to have an overabundance of money, to be able to have a savings account for once in my damn life, and to be able to buy pretty much anything I wanted. It also made me see that (insert Tony Montana accent voice here) I didn’t need no stinking man to help me.

2. I said YES to EVERYTHING!- One of my rules that I made for myself was that anytime anyone asked me to do ANYTHING I would say YES. Every party, every girls night, every shopping excursion, every daytrip, every motorcycle ride, every live band event, every garage sale day, every meet up or support group event, every date, every everything that I was invited to, I said YES and went! This really helped me to get out of the house, even when I was in throes of depression, and do new things I had not ever tried before. I always went to these things with a completely open mind and without expectation which left me open to meeting all sorts of new people from every walk of life. I am generally a huge homebody but I really loved everytime I went out with anyone who invited me. Really.

3. I took care of ME first.- As a very involved and active mom to not only my 2 children but also to at least 6 other people’s children, I rarely ever took care of myself. I see pictures of myself from back when the kids did baseball and at James’ high school graduation and I am just disgusted with how I looked. I can’t even believe I went out in public looking like that FOR YEARS! So, I took the initiative for me and I started taking care of myself. I ate the things I loved to eat and started cooking for myself, which resulted in me losing 60 pounds pretty easily. I started wearing make up and doing my hair EVERY DAY. I wore only clothing that I loved. I started having hobbies. I completely remodeled the rooms in my house that I use the most. I bought myself a new bed. Not only did all this improve my physical well being but also my mental wel being. Being alone had some great perks! I could focus only on myself! πŸ™‚

4. I built a strong support network.- When I first became seperated, my ex-husband was making me feel like a crazy person and I felt out of control. He kept telling me I needed counseling…. so I got it. And I started attending a support group. And I found one online for those times when I was all alone at home in the boondocks. And I found out… I wasn’t crazy at all! In fact, everything that happened to me was normal in the process of dealing with infidelity on a long term basis. Ultimately, I guess that backfired for my ex, huh? But what I gained was an incredible support system. My online friends from EP are some of the strongest people I have right now in my life. When I lost my office in Rockford, I had to stop my counseling groups there but my friends here in real life picked up the slack. Even with the loss of my best friend last year, my other friends have been amazing and supportive and loving. I was very blessed and I am so happy that I reached out and asked for help whenever it was needed.

5. I decided not to settle.- In the beginning of it all, I think I settled for my relationship with John. I knew he was lying to me about something so we always had this underlying tension between us. I had alot of love for him but there was just “something” that wouldn’t allow me to see FOREVER with him. Once I decided that that was not worth my time anymore, I took some time to really evaluate what I wanted. I went on a few disasterous dates. I talked to more than a few guys. And then I decided. I’m NOT settling. I didn’t care if that meant I had to be single for the rest of my life… I was not going to settle for a half assed relationship. It was very empowering to finally realize that. And that’s when Andy and I started hanging out. It was May 2010. πŸ™‚

6. I stopped taking things so personally. Kinda.- All you regulars here know that I am an emotional hot mess. I take EVERYTHING personally, even now. When I first started dating, I was surprised at how many guys just did not want to date me. I had NEVER had a problem getting guys. Ever. Seriously. I’m not trying to brag but it’s a fact. I know that some of my real life friends’ husbands would say that I am a great catch hands down. And I am, by the way…. but it’s all very superficial in the dating world. All the 40 year old guys are looking for the 25 year old baby makers. There was one guy that I had talked to by phone for about 2 months. We got along great and could talk for hours and hours about any and everything. We met finally for coffee. He was there for like 10 minutes and then excused himself for the bathroom and walked right out the door and got in his car. I was pissed so I called him. He told me that I was disgustingly fat and he couldn’t date me. WTF??? I was devastated, like hysterically crying devastated. I emailed Andy about it because we were email friends at the time and he made me feel better. I talked to Nate and he was ready to get on a plane a kill the guy for me mafia style but I declined… After a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I pulled myself together and decided FUCK HIM! He actually did me a favor because from there on out I decided that I didn’t really give a fat flying fuck what any of these bachelors thought about me. I knew I was fabulous. I knew I had way more to offer than the average single woman. Anyone who didn’t want to date me because of my weight alone could simply go fuck themselves! I wasn’t going to take it personally anymore. I wasn’t their type. That’s fine. Good luck trying to find your type with that beer gut and dead end job, asshole. And, that, my friends, is when the really hot guys started falling in my lap. πŸ˜€

7. *I* decided to not be superficial.- So I guess this goes both ways. Guys were being superficial about dating me and at the same time I was being superficial about them! What a hypocrite, right? So after I decided that I was too good for some of these assholes, I was suddenly on the radar of all these really good looking guys. It was weird. Maybe its a vibe I put off or something. Confidence maybe? Maybe the fact that I acted like just didn’t care about any men in general helped? Who knows? Anyway, I went on the whole self-righteous deal where no one was good enough FOR ME now… I decided I deserved a really hot guy and I was good enough to get one and I would just be patient. I didn’t have to wait long! So I went on a few dates with some very good loking guys that seemed totally into me and wanted to see me more than once… Remember the guy that looked like Jeremy Renner and was an ex-Marine? Oh. My. Lord. Or what about Inner Circle guy? Oh, and THE PROSPECT! *sigh* They were all very nice men. But, remember, I wasn’t going to settle… Jeremey Renner was way too young at 27 and just wanted to casually date. Inner Circle guy was boring. And the Prospect? Well, he could have worked out except he was a total alcoholic… So after that string of hot men, I decided that these guys may be great arm candy but they had no SUBSTANCE. I needed more and I had to be willing to sacrifice looks for substance if I was going to be happy.

8. I stopped caring about having a relationship.- I went through a time where I just stopped even wanting to find a relationship. In fact, I started believing that it would just be such a pain in the ass to have to deal with someone else’s wants and needs. By this time, I knew I had a crush on Andy but I had no idea how to get from the friendship level to he relationship level without any risk to the friendship so I had given up on that, too. And I was surprisingly okay and at peace with that. I had spoke with several elderly women on the phone that had never married and never had children and they had led incredible lives filled with all sorts of cool adventures and travels. All of them were interesting and had tons of friends and close family. I decided that it would be awesome to be one of those ladies! It was very liberating and peaceful, even if it was a fleeting moment…. as soon as I decided that, Andy made his move and the rest is now history…. πŸ˜†

9. I developed and maintained a positive attitude.- Pre-infidelity days I was a total downer. I was bitchy and controlling and over-confident. Tim was the total opposite. After Tim left me for Lynette, we switched roles entirely. I became the positive, happy go lucky, friendly one. Tim? Not so much. After a few years, I continued to be positive but there were times I would get flat and not be as positive. I know after Tim’s 2nd major affair, I kinda went down a black path… and after we seperated, I was on a very very black path…. When I finally ended my crappy rebound relationship, I suddenly had new winds in my sails and made a conscious decision that every single day I would wake up believing TODAY IS A GREAT DAY. That sounds all corny and cheesy and cheerleadery but it works! It truly truly WORKS! As a single person, you are the ONLY ONE responsible for YOU and that includes your attitude and how you approach life. I had so many years of darkness and regret and betrayals. I was just so ready to be DONE with that and open a new chapter in my life! And this one is POSITIVE! EVERY DAY! I love my life and it is good to me because I choose to make it that way. I have to work hard every day to feel this way. Some days are better than others, especially when self doubt or low self esteem issues creep in. But… overall… my life is pretty awesome! πŸ˜€

10. I took the time to self-evaluate and stayed true to the real ME.- So many people in life just don’t even know who they are. Even at 40, they are still just feeling their way around themselves! They don’t embrace who they really are. Many people fight who they are because not everything about us is great. After my break up with John, I really took the time to look inside myself and determine who I wanted to be and who I really am and meshed the two visions together, flaws and all. I am an emotional train wreck, I am overweight, I am a little scatter brained, I over analyze EVERYTHING, I am too loyal, I have strong opinions, I am sarcastic, I am too brutally honest, I have low self esteem at times. Those are my biggest flaws in life. I recognize those and I love those about myself. They make up who I am as a whole. Without one of those flaws, or if I tried desperately to change them, I wouldn’t be ME. Now, some flaws are worth trying to fix. I am always working on my weight for example. BUT… some flaws you just can’t fix and if you did fix them then maybe some other good trait would be off kilter. It sucks to be an emotional train wreck, but that also makes me extremely passionate. Yes, brutal honesty can be grating when directed at someone else, but it is a Godsend when directed at yourself. See how that works? I chose to embrace my flaws at some point. It is what it is. I am who I am. And I like me…. no… I love me… Learning to understand myself and how all the good and bad traits run together and help each other to make me ME was the best thing I ever did. Seriously. EVER!

Well… I know this is ridiculously long, but I thought it was something good to write about. We have alot of new EPers that are currently divorcing and newly seperated and I thought this might be a way to show them that they will survive this and come out better than ever. Being single does not have to suck if you do the work on yourself and decide to choose happiness. I learned all this crap in the 2 years I was officially seperated. The most significant life lessons I learned in the last 6 months of that 2 year seperation period. It can be a long and lonely journey, but maybe by me writing this, some of the newcomers can figure it all out a little bit faster than I did. πŸ˜‰

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Comments
  1. Nate says:

    Oh! I miss the Jeremy Renner guy! He could have worked OUT!!!!!! I was so sad when you stopped seeing him!!!! πŸ˜₯

    I think this is an EXCELLENTE POST!!!!! Did you post a link at EP yet? I will go look and do it for you if you haven’t. I think the new girls could really use this!

    I think you missed one thing, tho. It’s the lesson you taught me when I first started seeing Stephen. IT’S OK TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF!!!! I was always worried about how I looked to him and everyone else! This was HUUUUGEEEEEE for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you and LUVS UUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Renee says:

      Hey! The JR guy might have worked out… if I had been willing to casually date him for the next 10 years… πŸ™„

      Thanks for posting it at EP. I got caught up at work and couldn’t do it.

      The Embarrass Yourself lesson is probably part of #10 I would think. I wish now that I had mentioned that, though. I make an ass out of myself every single day! πŸ˜† And I love that about me too! It helps to have a friend like you who is way more embarrassing than me, though. It helps me out….. LMAO!

      Love you, Naters! πŸ˜‰

  2. Jessica says:

    You are a much healthier individual than…99% of women.

    And that’s awesome.

    • Renee says:

      Awww…. that is such a great compliment! Thank you! I do know it to be true…. because I had a therapist tell me that, too! πŸ˜‰ The only good advice my ex ever gave me….. πŸ˜†

  3. Sarah & Al says:

    .
    Wow! Really great post, Renee! I think this will be great for the newbies! I believe that the personal journey women in particular have to take after a failed marriage is so very significant and can be good or bad in the life changer department. It’s all what you make of it, wouldn’t you say?

    #8 really rings a bell with me. My mother used to tell me that I would find my true love when I stopped searching for it. She was right! I hate it when my mother is right! LOL!

    Sarah & Al

  4. Tracey says:

    I am one of the newbies over at EP. πŸ™‚ This is so awesome. I hope that in 2 years OR LESS I can come to some of these realizations! I just started dating again and I never thought it would be this hard! Men are such pigs out here! I also tend to be an emotional crazy mess and when a guy tells me that I am not someone he would date I get very upset with myself! I need to take your cue and just say FUCK THEM! I am better than them anyway. Thanks so much!

    • Renee says:

      Yes, Tracey, you are better than anyone who tells you that somehow you aren’t “good enough”. In my experience, people who believe that are narcissistic assholes and you want to steer clear of them… As Andy told me at the time that it happened to me, thank goodness the guy showed me who he really was during our first meeting (the “disgustingly fat” guy) so I didn’t have any face time invested and ultimately wasted on a massive jerk….

      Never get upset with yourself! You are fine! They are assholes! Repeat….. πŸ˜‰

  5. Delinda says:

    Woohoo! I am so happy I found thiz link online 2day! It wuz just what I needed! I had a shitty blind date thiz weekend with the biggest moron in the world who was greazy and nasty who told ME that I wuznt good enough to date some1 like him like he’s the shiznit king of all womens! Fuckin azzhat! Imma just gonna worry about me myself and I. Dudes like that don’t deserve a fine azz woman like me! Thiz blog drilled that deal home 4 me! Much luvz to ya! I appreciate ya!

    • Renee says:

      Thanks, Delinda! You are so right! That guy actually said that to you OUT LOUD? 😯 Well, good riddance to bad rubbish! He was definitely an asshat! πŸ˜†

      I promise you….. if you just take care of you and be responsible for your own well being and emotional happiness, it will all work out in the end for you. I SWEAR! πŸ˜‰

  6. Brenda says:

    It’s posts like these that make me so incredibly proud and honored to know you! Lots of very helpful, insightful information in this post! I think the new people at EP have already been getting alot out of it. There is already a new thread started over there about it!

    You have come so so far from where you were at a year ago. You are just light years away from that woman. All this inner soul searching that you did this last year is something you should be proud of and cherish. As you already stated, there are so few people who never have the opportunity or self awareness to ever fully know themselves so well. You are one of the lucky ones and you are truly blessed!

    Bren

    • Renee says:

      Thank you so much, Bren. I feel very blessed to have you as part of my inner inner circle in life! And, hell yeah! I *am* pretty proud of myself for pulling my lame ass out of the gutter with some pretty nitty gritty help from my dear friends at EP and IRL.

  7. Hilary says:

    WAIT! You dated Jeremy Renner???? Is this like that time that you slept with Brett Michaels???

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Renee says:

      OMG. Are we starting this again? LMAO! Ok…. I am neither confirming or denying the Bret Michaels rumor…..

      And, I WISH I HAD DATED JEREMY RENNER! Woooohooo…. That would have been ah-mazing! But, no. I dated a look alike. And he was really hot. And really “manly”, which Nate loved about him…. πŸ˜†

  8. Thomas says:

    I really liked this too. Alot of us divorcees — and not just the girls — had alot of emotional damage from our break ups. Many of us just live to exist for months after the seperation. Its hard to snap out of that funk. Renee you were the one who told me about #2 Say Yes to Everything. Since I started doing that in November, I have had the most fun, done the most new things, and met the best new friends I have ever had in my life. I owe that whole idea to you. I was very skeptical and you kind of double dog dared me to do it but I did it and I think it was the best thing I ever did for myself. sitting in my dinky studio apartment wasnt getting me anywhere. good post. I hope all the new boys AND girls from EP take a look at this one.

    • Renee says:

      Tommy – Have I ever steered you wrong? You should just listen to me all the time. I’m like the cheapest therapist ever and I’m easy on the eyes all at the same time! Oh! AND… I’m generally always right…. just saying….

      Seriously…. I am so glad the plan worked for you! It’s a pretty awesome, kick ass feeling, right? So, now, hopefully, I won’t have to go to such great lengths to convince you of my inability to be wrong! πŸ˜†

  9. Marylou says:

    N00-bie here! I am a programmer and certified computer geek during the day, and by night I have turned into the Old Lady who lives in that Big Shoe! πŸ˜† I am getting nowhere real fast! I have been just spinning my wheels and “saying’ I am going to do something to move on and then I just don’t.

    This blog today has inspired me. Tonight, I am going to join my first Meet Up group and this weekend I am going to attend my first Meet Up outing. It’s time. I have been seperated for 6 months and mourning the loss of something that was a big pile of crap to begin with. I need to start my life again! Thank you! You have made me really think and consider where I need to be and to make real steps to get there.

    Tonight is my first step! Wish me luck!

    MaryLou-hoo πŸ™‚

    • Renee says:

      MaryLou-hoo!!!!! So glad you made it over here! I know, I’m a little late on responding….

      Which Meet Up groups did you sign up for? Are you excited? It’s Friday!!! So the weekend is here and you’ll go to your first outing! I’m excited for you!

  10. Noa Gavin says:

    You have some balls, lady. I’m glad you’re doing so awesome (I can’t even say well, because that doesn’t cover it). Lots of people who haven’t even dealt with what you have crumble under pressure, but you got more awesome.

    • Renee says:

      Thanks so much, Noa! I have been through alot I guess, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eh? (I hate that saying! lol!)

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