Solo: (Merriam Webster) Something that is done without another person.
(Urban Dictionary) Single, only one person.
When I was in college, I met a guy and fell deeply in love. Of course our relationship had ups and downs, but we were that couple that everyone swore was going to get married. Not only did I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, but I spent a lot of time around his family. I became extremely close to his parents. They treated me just like one of their own. After college I moved back to Chicago for a few months, but then moved to NYC for an internship. By the time I moved to NYC, my boyfriend and I had been together for about four years. My boyfriend was living back home in DC. Since NYC was only about 3 hours away, neither of us thought the distance would be such a big deal. I mean, we were definitely a lot closer to each other than when I was living in Chicago. Well, we both were wrong.
Somewhere around Christmas time (just a few months after I moved to NYC) we began to have problems. The distance was definitely getting to the both off us and causing all other sorts of problems within our relationship. Sometimes we even went weeks without speaking to each other. Things got really bad and neither of us were happy. We began to have an on again/ off again relationship. One week we would be together and then the next week we “needed space”. This went on for a while. My heart was broken and I was devastated, with small moments of content in-between. I had completely lost myself as a person and was becoming miserable to be around.
Sometime in the spring, (I had been living in NYC for almost an entire year by this point) the day came when my boyfriend and I finally called it quits. Actually he broke up with me. We had been on again/ off again for so long that I can’t remember where things were at the point in which we broke up, but I do know that the break up caught me a little bit by surprise. My boyfriend called me shortly after I got home from work. He gave me the typical cowardly excuse of, “I love you, but I’m not IN LOVE with you” as his reason for wanting to move on. At this point, we had been together for almost five years. I was shocked, distraught, angry, sad, hurt, every negative emotion you can imagine a person who has just been dumped would go through. I was so confused and had so many questions. The worst part about it was, I felt I had no one to turn to for support because none of my friends or family liked my boyfriend by this point. We had been going through it for so long that everyone I knew began to hate my boyfriend. So, I called the only other person I could think to call to comfort me. I called my boyfriend’s dad.
My boyfriend’s father always took my side when my boyfriend and I had problems. I figured if there was anyone who could help me sort out what just happened, it would be him. I called him up and told him how I had just been dumped by his son and how confused and hurt I was. He replied with, “My son isn’t shit. Lauren, you can do so much better by yourself. And you need to.” That shocked the hell out of me and made me look at the phone in disbelieve. After telling my boyfriend’s father a little more about our relationship over the previous months he said, “I don’t know what the hell is going on with my son. He has been lying to us and being deceitful with us as well. It’s not only you. His life is going in a downward spiral right now and I have no idea why. You don’t need to be around for the implosion.”
Never in my life had I heard anyone be so honest about their feelings towards their own child. But because my boyfriend’s father was being so honest I knew I needed to listen very closely to everything he was saying and truly take it to heart. He was right. I could do so much better by myself and without all of the drama and heartache from my boyfriend. The relationship was beginning to distract me from my job and my goals, and was becoming unhealthy. I could accomplish so much more alone. Finally letting go of that relationship was such a release. It was extremely difficult and took me quite a long time to fully get over it but I was definitely much better for doing so.
As hard as it may be, sometimes it is beneficial for us to be able to do things by ourselves. Sometimes we need that space in order to find our true potential, make honest decisions, or develop our character. My boyfriend’s father was able to see how my relationship with his son was hindering the growth of my future. We have to be able to do for ourselves, and know who we truly are as an individual before we create a union with someone else. In the years since my break up, I have been able to grow more secure in doing things alone. I’ve traveled alone, gone to events alone, even eaten at restaurants alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hang out with my friends, but sometimes there are things I want to experience without any distractions, and that is when I will do things solo. It is one of the greatest feelings in the world. You get to do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it, and without anyone telling you anything. It’s a very freeing experience that I encourage everyone to try at least once. You might even learn something new about yourself.