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The Two Biggest Mistakes Newly Single People Make

“Don’t rush into any kind of relationship. Work on yourself. Feel yourself, experience yourself and love yourself. Do this first and you will soon attract that special loving other.” ~Russ von Hoelscher

If you’re single right now, this is your moment. And by single I mean not dating, not sleeping with people, and not engaged in romantic mingling of any kind. I mean truly single.

When we’re truly single we have a chance to transform like never before. We have the opportunity to face into our pain, transmute it, and turn our heartbreak into our greatest lesson.

Two of the biggest mistakes newly single people make are these:

  • Jumping back into a relationship without healing, reflecting, and working on themselves
  • Staying single but numbing the pain with distractions like drugs, food, alcohol, or TV

Yes, transformation can happen in relationship, but being single allows us to get to know who it is we truly are without the fear of outgrowing our partner.

Most people think they’re ready to start dating far before they actually are. That’s because we do anything we can to avoid facing our pain. Being in relationship feels really good. We want someone to love us, often desperately when we don’t truly love ourselves.

A month after my last breakup I sat in my cozy studio with eight other women. One of them said that she had gone through a traumatic breakup and a year later she was just getting to the point of being ready to date again. I remember thinking, “What?! That’s sooooo long. I’m going to heal faster than that.”

I’m approaching the ten-month mark of that breakup, and I’m just getting to the point where I feel like I’m open to dating again. You can’t expedite your healing. Healing will take its slow old time, even if you commit yourself to it. The deeper the wound sometimes the longer the healing process can take.

Once I got over my judgment of being single and started to embrace it, the length of time stopped mattering so much. What mattered was me healing the parts of myself that had been traumatized. I earnestly wanted to do this part right. I wanted to do it right for myself and I wanted to do it right for my future relationship.

It’s taken me almost a year to become solid enough in myself again where I feel ready to inch myself open for relationship. This is because I acknowledge that the kind of relationship I am interested in is one that is deeply intimate, soul-connected, and mature.

I have to be ready to give myself to someone in this way. I have had to turn down dates because I know I’m not ready to give what someone else deserves.

But during this time I’m doing incredible work in getting to know myself. I’ve been able to see myself more clearly than I ever have before. I see my wounds. I know where I need to love myself more. I know what I need to let go of. I know what I need in a partner. I know that I know when I will be ready. I don’t need to rush it. 

When you’re truly ready to date you’ll know it. If you’re reaching out to connect with others to avoid pain you’re not ready.

There were many times in my past where I’d come home at night and feel lonely so I’d begin browsing dating apps and setting up dates. I lacked true love for myself and self-confidence. I was reaching out when I felt unworthy instead of understanding where those wounds came from. I wanted someone else to fill that void for me instead of doing the hard work myself.

If you’re single now this is your opportunity to get to know yourself. You can shed the beliefs that are no longer serving you. Maybe you feel a new life churning within you, but you’re afraid because you’re stuck in your head trying to figure out how to bring it to life. You can learn to trust yourself, to hear your intuition, to start taking steps to live that blossoming life within you.

It’s your chance to learn from your past partners. You can discover why you acted the way you did in your past relationships. You can spot the patterns. You can find out why you keep attracting the same fundamental qualities in partners. You can see why it’s not quite working.

From this place you get to find out what you truly want in a relationship. What is it you value? What are your deal breakers? What do you want your relationship to feel like? What do you want to experience together? 

All of this information will empower you to choose a partner who will be the right fit. But most importantly, you will now know who you are, and that is the most incredible feeling. Something magical happens when you know yourself.

You begin to recognize that the love you have been looking for outside of yourself has been within you all along. The desperate need for a partner starts to fall away. You become content being single. You start to love your life. You enjoy your own company. You think you’re the best. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with you?

This is the place we want to choose a relationship from. The place where we aren’t needy. The place where we are already whole. The place where we aren’t willing to sacrifice the most important things to us.

If you’re single right now, and you don’t know yourself this well, get off the dating sites. Politely decline when someone asks you out. Commit to loving yourself before you ask someone else to love you. If you do, I’d place a big bet that you’ll end up with a love you could never have dreamed of. That is worth all of the patience in the world.

About Michelle D'Avella

Michelle D’Avella is a Breathwork teacher and mentor, giving people lifelong tools to free themselves of limitations and create lives with more peace and purpose. Download her FREE guide to heal your heart and follow her on Instagram for daily doses of inspiration.

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  • Frazer McLeod

    Lovely story, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • DrAwesome

    What do you mean by staying single but numbing the pain?

  • Whoa! This was exactly what I needed right now. A little over a month ago, my husband of 18 years told me that he no longer loves me and wants a divorce. My world has been upside down because it seemed that everything was going very well in our relationship. Others even often envied us for our strong relationship. Of course, I immediately felt lost and started to think about the next love in my life. I never realized that that love should be me first. Thank you so much for this post… it doesn’t lessen the pain right now, but it gives me something inside of myself to strive for.

  • My pleasure.

  • You don’t actually face the pain. You stay busy. You use distractions like TV, alcohol, drugs, eating, or talking to feel better. The opportunity in being single is getting to know yourself and healing yourself. To do that you have to feel your pain and discover what it’s pointing to.

  • I’m so sorry for what you’re experiencing right now, Shannon. Unfortunately, what I have learned is that it’s not about lessening the pain. Instead, it’s about learning from it. Face into it and you will discover so much about yourself.

  • Katie8

    This is exactly where I’m at at the moment, and it’s so hard to not think I’m defunct in some way. Especially since my most recent short term relationship ended, I’ve noticed so much. I am still trying to convince a man that I am worth it. I feel so restless and so bored in my own company. Sometimes there is some resolve and sometimes I feel like jumping off a bridge! I’ve never ever done this, never. I went into my last relationship (less than 6 months) in so much pain and vulnerability after being in a longer term relationship (which was also a way to get rid of pain and I ignored all it’s red flags) and it turns out I met a man who is conditional and inacceping. A wolf in sheeps clothing is how it feels. I just hope that I will be stronger one day. I want a family, a home, I’m 29 and I feel like this is all falling away from me. Feels so unfair.

  • Olivia

    great read..
    My ex and I broke up last October (very unexpectedly on his part). We dated close to two years. It really took a hard toll on me. Especially since I am a single mother and my kids established a strong relationship with him. When he broke up with me, I couldn’t eat or sleep. Life was just so….. hard. I felt like my whole world was crashing down. At that time, I was not me. I had let myself become blinded to my true inner self. I had transformed into this something that when he left me, I didn’t even know how to handle…. me. We forget who we are when wrapped up in relationships, life, etc. By December, I really started to make a positive turn around. I had to. For my job and definitely for my children. But specifically for myself. I even made a new years resolution for myself for 2017, and it was to love me. To love me so deeply and to connect with myself, that I could fill that “void” for having a “someone” in my life. I am happy. My kids are happy. Life is just brighter. One of my favorite quotes are “The best view comes after the hardest climb.” I am an avid cyclist… to gain strength and stability you must challenge yourself to climbing hills. I love metaphors and comparing cycling to those raw moments in life. So when you find yourself at the bottom of that really steep hill…knowing its gonna be hard climbing, you begin climbing, sometimes you gotta stop and stretch your legs.. but you gotta continue that climb, but that view at the end.. when you have pushed yourself and believed that you could.. looking out in the world and that feeling you feel inside, is absolutely beautiful and worth it.
    Much love.

  • daxa

    Iv took to dating sites and Facebook to try and take my mind off my ex with someone else and Iv been speaking to guys again and I feel like im just relying on a txt or a message from a guy that I don’t know hardly know to make me feel happy

  • daxa

    Without children*

  • Remember that you have the power to create your own life. When we think that things are happening TO us we feel disempowered but when we realize the Universe if offering a gift FOR us we find empowerment. Take this opportunity to learn about yourself and see where you can be showing up for yourself more. It sounds like you used a new partner to fill our void, and he turned out to be the opposite of what you needed. Actually what’s happening is your experience is being mirrored. When you don’t know how to show up for yourself you attract a partner who can’t show up for you. Work on loving yourself. Use some affirmations several times a day. Do some energy work (I recommend Breathwork). Commit to yourself. This is your opportunity.

  • Beautiful, Olivia! You are the perfect example of commitment to self love. So happy to hear your life has taken this path!

  • I’m so sorry to hear about everything that’s happened in your life. It’s highly likely you have trauma stored in your body from your mother’s murder. All of the things you are mentioning are caused from a lack of self love. Start there. Don’t look for other people or things to fill you up. You have the power to change your life if you want to. Start working with a mentor or coach or do some energy work like Breathwork or Kundalini yoga. Move your body. Do things that feel good to you. There are so many paths aside from the one your own. Choose something different and start there.

  • daxa

    Thank you you’re right, I know deep inside just need to really focus on me. I will take your advise. Thank you for your help much appriecated. It’s good to talk 🙂

  • Danielle

    Th

  • Danielle

    Whoops, sorry for the double post

    This article came at just the right time for me as well. My boyfriend who I was very in love with broke up with me out of the blue, and on top of that he’s a coworker. We had some issues that I thought were ironed out, but apparently not.

    I go back and forth on my feelings about it. Sometimes I’m really angry because I spent a lot of time and resources on him and feel resentful. I hate knowing if I go to work I might run into him. Other times I feel really sad and lonely and want to see him.

    And this will sound bad, but he appears to be taking it surprisingly well and that pisses me off even more. I’ve already booked a stay at a retreat by the beach where I can reconnect with myself and with nature.

  • The “I don’t need a man” mantra may be doing your more harmthan good. It is true that a woman does not need a man to feel specialand successful but if she wants one and goes around with thisattitude, she is unlikely ever to find a partner. It is good to loveyourself but if you don’t want to be left alone, it is even better tolove yourself and have some loving left over to give to another.

  • Melanie Miceli

    What a timely blog! I am currently in a space of self discovery after a breakup last May. I have put in a lot of work over the last little while to discover my own personal values, which has helped me realize why my past relationships didn’t work. Now I know what I need to focus on going forward. I am still scared that I won’t find that special love, but I feel better knowing that I am a better me!

  • badhombrebigdo

    good advice.. I think that a lot of the advice applies.. totally. But I think there’s larger things at play these days. Things like men and women not really even seeking one another out anymore. Basic things.. I dunno.. I know that now, a friend, before anything else, including a gf, would be the most desirable thing to me..

  • Lesley

    Hello, I read this article and agree with it entirely. Could you elaborate on how and why you thin men and women do not really seek each other out anymore. I am just curious why you made this statement.

  • My pleasure!

  • So sorry to hear you’re going through this Danielle. Glad to hear you’re getting some alone time in on retreat. While you’re there I suggest allowing yourself to feel whatever needs to surface that you’ve been holding back. When you find your awareness on your ex or comparing his experience to your own bring it back to what you need to give yourself. Everyone is on their own journey. He might not be ready to face the pain or he might just not be showing it to you.

    Use this experience as an opportunity to heal and love yourself, and you will one day wake up finding yourself grateful for the split.

  • Awesome, Melanie! Face into that fear and allow yourself to feel it. Acknowledge it and leave space for it. Then work with affirming your true self and what it is your truly deserve.

  • Hey there. I’m not sure what you mean about men and women not seeking each other out. In Japan dating is declining, but that’s not really an issue in other countries like America. You’re right that friendship is really important. The issue I’m speaking about here is the relationship with yourself which precedes any other–romantic or otherwise. If friendship feels important to you right now I would definitely pursue that. But I’d also suggest looking into your own feelings/stories/beliefs about yourself as well.

  • badhombrebigdo

    I mean that I don’t think overall that men and women get on anymore… I think that most women realize that they really don’t need men and the broad majority of men really are only seeking to possess them or derail their lives in some way… I think that we, as men, have very little to offer women.. very, very little. It’s hard to admit but, they don’t need us. And more and more are coming to this realization and doing better w/o us interfering in their lives.

    As far as discovering who you are, I think that one can delve only so deep.. diving deep doesn’t really change oneself either, it just make sure you more comfortable with your life as it is wouldn’t you say? Being comfortable with something you don’t like isn’t quite as satisfying as becoming what you would like to be.. and sometimes, well, most of the time we don’t get that. Articles like yours do alleviate my anxiety about all of this though, so there’s something positive in that.

  • badhombrebigdo

    I think that more women are coming to the realization that men as a whole really can’t offer them anything and often are nothing more than a detriment to their lives 7 times out of ten. I think they’re tired of the patriarchal paradigm that they’ve been prisoner to most of their lives and are beginning to opt out of the things that were once considered normal but have recently I think come to be understood as probably more negative than positive, i.e. marriage, dating and child bearing.

  • JannaG

    I think a big part of that is that women have run into men who are far from kind to them – especially after some level of commitment has been made. This doesn’t mean that no man has something to offer. I’m sure some probably do. Unfortunately, when your life is better out of a relationship than it was in one (which is easy when you’re treated very badly), it’s harder to want to work for a relationship or commit to one. I’ve seen the same thing in some men. Hence, why some of them were committed and now just want to hook up or be friends with benefits. To me, a committed relationship or marriage SHOULD improve your already good life. But, that doesn’t always happen.

  • badhombrebigdo

    I think that your mentality is still compromising in terms of putting the “institution” of marriage in a positive light.. To me it’s just yeah, it’s not a realistic thing for our species and many women are now seemingly starting to flesh that out in a more clear way.

    The fact is that men only can, for the most part improve a woman’s life for a short period at best and then that’s only a small amount of men with decent resources… as the economy begins to crunch more people in general we start to see more and more men and women that have so very little to offer one another and that’s why fewer marriages are lasting long term and fewer young people are getting married.

    Women, in their heart of heart’s know the truth..I just don’t know why they hesitate to state it… It’s okay.. I’m a man and a straight one at that, and I will tell you and other women (i presume you’re a woman) the flat truth… even if maybe other people in my gender would attack me for it or try to state something about me being defeatist…

  • Joshua Adam

    Thank you so much for this. I got divorced in 2014, and at the time I wasn’t even sure how I’d be able to get through it. I had never been faced with as many tough decisions, and I was walking on egg shells making sure that I did everything “right” in the healing process. Even though I got off to a bad start, I eventually learned that truly being single to do all the things you mentioned above was exactly what I needed to be doing to make real progress. While the healing process was far from perfect, I know for sure that my choice to be with me, and no one else helped a lot!

  • Tasleemah

    Hello Michelle,

    Beautiful!!! You spoke my mind and what I have been through. I can totally relate with your points. Few years back, I went through a divorce. From the time it was over I knew I had to find peace, healing and succor before I decided to go into any relationship. Family and friends were on my neck into getting another relationship but I knew I was far from that stage. I knew I had to do a lot of work on myself so that I can be a better person whenever someone else comes up. Presently, I love the new me I see when I look in the mirror. It took dedication, persistence and lots of work but it has been worth it. I also think that a way to viewing your single status from an empowered state would be to see it as a new lease of life given to you. Engaging in new and fun things, make new “healthy friends” , explore your potentials are among the ways you can make the best of your single status.

    Nice Post.

    Regards

  • Tasleemah Tunde-Lawal

    Hello Michelle,

    Beautiful!!! You spoke my mind and what I have been through. I can totally relate with your points. Few years back, I went through a divorce. From the time it was over I knew I had to find peace, healing and succor before I decided to go into any relationship. Family and friends were on my neck into getting another relationship but I knew I was far from that stage. I knew I had to do a lot of work on myself so that I can be a better person whenever someone else comes up. Presently, I love the new me I see when I look in the mirror. It took dedication, persistence and lots of work but it has been worth it. I also think that a way to viewing your single status from an empowered state would be to see it as a new lease of life given to you. Engaging in new and fun things, make new “healthy friends” , explore your potentials are among the ways you can make the best of your single status.

    Nice Post.

    Regards

  • Hello Michelle,

    Beautiful!!! You spoke my mind and what I have been through. I can totally relate with your points. Few years back, I went through a divorce. From the time it was over I knew I had to find peace, healing and succor before I decided to go into any relationship. Family and friends were on my neck into getting another relationship but I knew I was far from that stage. I knew I had to do a lot of work on myself so that I can be a better person whenever someone else comes up. Presently, I love the new me I see when I look in the mirror. It took dedication, persistence and lots of work but it has been worth it. I also think that a way to viewing your single status from an empowered state would be to see it as a new lease of life given to you. Engaging in new and fun things, make new “healthy friends” , explore your potentials are among the ways you can make the best of your single status.

    Nice Post.

    Regards

  • Jenna

    Saying men don’t think have anything to offer, I think you’re selling mankind (literally) short. The problem, I think, is that earlier in time even those men (boys) who were sexually immature, financial disasters and incapable of facing negative feelings were able to get married because women couldn’t escape. Growing into adulthood is HARD and many, women and men alike, would like to avoid going through the pains of it.

  • badhombrebigdo

    I think that’s just more excuses. You’re making excuses, holding out that there is in fact some hope for men, maybe because you’ve met or been with some kind ones, maybe because you see a smattering of happy couples now and again. I don’t believe it, and I think when women buy into this Hollywood nonsense known as “love”, it’s dangerous for them and makes them delusional about the nature of men, or more aptly, as you put it, “mankind”.

    Mankind is a cunning, warlike and selfish brood. It cares not for the planet Or animals and definitely not for the gender that continues the species. This isn’t some minor observation that can be shoo’d away via a discussion about “growing pains” of adulthood, though that sounds like more teetottling nonsense made up by baby boomers to convince younger generations that they’re fucked economically somehow because of their own doing. No, this is a discussion about the fundamental nature that man has with woman, one where women are totally subjugated, and like you attempted to do, for some reason or another, make excuses for it.

  • Jenna

    The one thing that makes humans different from “animals” is the big frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is capable of overriding our animal instincts, but that is only if you train/use it. Men or women who don’t use it are have as much self control as animals. If they’ve diluted their brains with alcohol/drugs, they’ve got even less self control than animals; My dogs at least can withold from taking the treat if I’m watching them.

    I see what you mean, but I don’t think we can blame genetics or human nature. Nature made us unusually capable of avoiding the kind of shit humans go through today.

  • Alexandre

    thank you