College is its own world. The hook-up culture of late nights out and awkward mornings after seems to prevail, and it can start to feel like everyone is either totally single and ready to mingle or madly in love with The One. But what if you’re not entirely sure which end of the spectrum you want to be on?
Maybe you’re basking in the independence of the single life, but every time you witness PDA, you get a pit in your stomach, and you’re not sure if it’s a precursor to vomit or a growing feeling of envy. Maybe a relationship just isn’t for you, but how can you be sure? Here are some signs you should continue to enjoy your membership in the single girls’ club, because a serious relationship just isn’t your thing.
1. You have doubts about being in a relationship.
Typically, if something feels wrong, it is. College is a time for experiencing new things and experimenting, and maybe the missing out on opportunities because you’re tied down to someone else isn’t your cup of tea. Is there a nervousness you associate with the thought of being in a relationship? Take these feelings at face value: you’re probably not ready or not interested in being a part of a relationship. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!
Michelle Cove, author of Seeking Happily Ever After, says, “I think we know a lot of the time whether it’s right for us, but we don’t necessarily admit that because it’s easier to go with the flow.”
When it comes to your love life, you need to go with your gut. “You’re ignoring some really valuable part of yourself that you know it’s not right,” Cove says. “You have to carve out time to be alone and in silence.”
You know yourself better than anyone else, so think about what you want in life. Sure, getting yourself a significant other can be somewhere on your to-do list, but just because it’s not your number one thing to check off is no reason to worry. Think for yourself and you’ll discover what’s best for you.
2. Your life is crazy busy.
Your schoolwork is causing you insane amounts of stress and you can’t find a free minute to think of anything other than that looming exam you need to ace. You’re not eating healthily, and you find yourself constantly pushing your body and mind past their breaking points. You have no idea what you want for lunch, let alone what you want to do with the rest of your life. It may seem like a relationship would be a relief from the stresses of everything else, but how can you maintain a healthy one if you can barely maintain a healthy lifestyle? The truth is, you can’t.
According to psychotherapist Tristan Coopersmith, college women are still figuring out their lives, meaning it’s not necessarily the best time to enter into a serious relationship. “A relationship should be the icing on your cake and the cherry on your sundae,” she says. “Your life should already be a sugary delicious sundae, and your guy shouldn’t be everything; he should just be that added bonus. ”
You don’t need a relationship to make you happy, and you certainly don’t need a significant other to put your life back together for you. Love is fantastic and beautiful, and it’s a great thing to be insanely happy in a relationship, but timing is everything. The transitional and stressful nature of college isn’t necessarily the most stable time to get into a relationship. Just like a puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit, don’t force a relationship into your already busy life. Just keep putting the rest of the puzzle together for now.
3. You’re interested in lots of guys.
Now, this isn’t to say you can’t appreciate a good-looking guy if you’re in a relationship. By all means, drool over that hottie across the room (but keep your thoughts to yourself). But if you are genuinely lusting over every guy at the gym right now, why waste your time or effort considering a relationship when there are so many pretty toys to play with?
“Human nature makes us attracted to other people, but what is not okay is a desire to be with someone else,” Coopersmith says. Don’t put yourself in that position if you already know you’re not ready to settle down and commit to just one guy.
College is one of the few times when you’re exposed to so many people the same age as you with equally few responsibilities. There are countless single men wandering campus who are probably going to catch your eye during their shirtless game of volleyball on the quad. Be aware of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet so many people and consider whether or not you’re willing to give that up to stay loyal to one person.
4. You feel pressured.
Being the only remaining single friend sucks. But that’s no reason to jump into a relationship! Kathleen A. Bogle, author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, discourages submitting to such pressures.
“On college campuses, there is often pressure to not be in a relationship. But if several close friends are in relationships, the pressure can be the opposite: to find a boyfriend,” Bogle says. “Unfortunately, when you are looking for the wrong reasons, you may end up settling for someone who is not really a good match.”
There is absolutely no need to find a boyfriend just because you are tired of being a third wheel. Instead, revel in the perks of being single that your other friends miss, and make friends with some fellow single ladies as well so you have an outlet when everyone else is having date night.
5. You’re insecure.
When it comes down to it, this may be the most important sign that you aren’t ready for a relationship. You’ve probably heard it time and time again, but how can you expect someone else to love you when you don’t love yourself?
“It comes down to the idea of self-acceptance and self-approval,” Coopersmith says. “If we’re not okay with ourselves, we’re not right for a partnership.”
Coopersmith says the most important thing is to be totally accepting and content with yourself. An SO is not going to be your saving grace or help you recover your long-lost confidence. Never rely on someone else to be your happiness. Of course, a healthy relationship can make you happier, but you need to be comfortable and love yourself first. You are beautiful, and one day some lucky guy or girl will get to tell you that every day! But first, you need to be able to look in the mirror and do the same.
So maybe you’ve looked at the signs and realized a relationship just isn’t for you. That’s totally fine! And don’t think this means you have to go around hooking up with every coed you see. You should feel equally empowered if you make the decision to be happily single and just do your own thing if that’s what you want to do.