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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

who needs a man?

Relationships are an extremely important, vulnerable and intimate time in one’s life. Trusting another person completely and letting oneself be themselves in one-on-one situations is an experience unlike any other. It comes down to one person being a rock and the person accepting the other individual in every situation. I found myself in this situation for four years in two different relationships that occurred back to back. Being single once again is rejuvenating, exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. However, the goal remains to find a relationship that will be everlasting. In the interim, I am starting to realize the power and potential growth that comes with being single. Being alone is not a sign of failure, but rather a time to appreciate and care for yourself. I mean, who always needs a relationship anyways?

Being single is not a long-term end goal for most people and there is often a struggle to find a partner. However, romanticizing this time in my life is something I have strived to do. When I ended my last relationship, I was terrified of being alone. I thought that I would be lonely and constantly miserable. I have come to realize how much of a catastrophization this was. I have come to relentlessly view being single as a positive time in my life and finding ways to keep myself company instead. At the end of the day, we always have ourselves. This has occurred within me by doing things I had been putting off, making more time for myself and discovering new hobbies. I realized that I could  fill my schedule with things I am passionate about instead of my life having to revolve around a man. This perspective changed everything. 

Being involved in relationships equating to a consistent four years taught me so much about connection, communication and what I want in a partner long-term. However, I barely had time to focus on who I wanted to be when I was alone. My identity largely rested on my relationships with others rather than the relationship I needed and wanted with myself. I found myself needing to reinvent my priorities, my self-care and how I lived my life alone. I saw this at first as a daunting task filled with despair, but this was the offer I was handed, and I sure was going to make the best of the situation. 

Currently, I have been three months single and have been able to dedicate my time to finding who I am when I am by myself. This has led me to pursue two internships this semester to spend my time and pour my heart into other aspects of my life. Working with underprivileged communities in both of my work spaces has cultivated the realization that I desire to help others in everything that I do. Whether it be serving the homeless, aiding people in legal services they cannot afford or holding workshops for my peers on my areas of expertise, I crave bettering others through my skills and passions. My heart continues to be so full, entirely without a man. 

With this, single life does not need to be a lonely time filled with painful memories and feelings, but rather a time of exploration into one’s soul. I have grown accustomed to this process throughout my few single months, slowly but surely. This has been more rewarding than anything in the past four years of my life when I was involved with a romantic partner. I now know myself on a deeper level and what I desire to bring to the table in my future relationships. So, to any single person who may be reading, romanticize the process and search for your identity because, at the end of the day, you will always have you. 

Kate O’Leary

Wisconsin '23

Kate is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison majoring in Biology, Psychology and Sociology. She is the proud co-president of Her Campus Wisconsin. Kate enjoys indoor cycling, spending time with friends, cheering on the Badgers and making the absolute best crepes ever!