I believe there are people who are genuinely happy to be single. I was not one of them.
Not that my life was an unhappy one just because I wasn't dating anyone — I am thankful for my life and acknowledge that I am blessed no matter my relationship status — but I never stopped desiring romance, and my recent relationship has confirmed my suspicion that I am far happier to be with someone than not to be.
Though I am by no means an expert on relationships after having been in one for just over a month, I still feel that I've learned a thing or two.
I've learned a lot about him; I know all about his likes (soccer) and dislikes (golf), his timetable (late to bed, late to rise, late to pretty much everything), his values (conservative), and his family (fun and very close), just to name a few. And I guess I've learned about myself, too. I've learned that I will never compromise on important standards (like my faith), but that some of my more arbitrary and unrealistic expectations of a significant other were just that— arbitrary and unrealistic.
But something that I'm still figuring out is whether or not anything else about my life ought to change now that my relationship status has. What I mean is, so many things feel different to me now, and I'm not sure if they should. Probably the most difficult question is how much to involve this new person in the various existing aspects of your life. Obviously, you want to be with them and want them to enjoy the same things you do, but you know you still ought to have your own space. So where's the balance?
One area where this question is relevant is in existing friendships. Naturally, you want your new boyfriend or girlfriend to get along with your other friends, but you don't want to allow a new relationship to change or distance an already-strong bond.
This seems especially challenging in regard to single friends. Having been a single girl who tended to feel self-conscious around more demonstrative couples, I know that I never want my relationship to leave anyone feeling awkward or left out. But at the same time, I want my friends to be involved in this new aspect of my life, too. While I would hate for my friends to dislike my significant other or feel like they didn't know him, I would hate even more to grow gradually apart from my dear friends and find myself distant from them in the future. This, too, requires balance.
Whether single or dating, the proper management of time, commitments, and friendships takes work and practice. Even though I feel I've already learned so much about what it means to add another type of relationship to the mix, I realize that I haven't perfected this balance just yet, and probably never will. But that doesn't mean that I can't still enjoy this new, imperfect, and exciting season while admitting that I'm still figuring things out.