Whether it’s been weeks, months, or, dare I say, years, there comes a point when you need to face facts: you’ve been single too long. Being single can be really great. It gives you the time to catch up with the rest your life, concentrate on your career, hang out with the boys, and, hopefully, get to know yourself better.
It’s the perfect opportunity to assess past relationships, figure out what it is that you want and don’t want, and prepare yourself for when she finally walks into your life.
But the day you see a yeti staring back at you in the mirror, you can say with almost perfect certainty that, yup, you’ve been single too long. You can stop the downward spiral before it gets that dire; you just need to ask yourself a few honest questions.
Do you want to have sex with your ex?
Maybe it’s the extra beer you just drank. Maybe it’s the romantic Hugh Grant movie on late-night that you swore you would never watch. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re sitting in your living room alone… again.
Admit it. You’ve been thinking about sleeping with your ex. Not in a fantasy, remembering the good times sort of way; but in a what-if, one hesitation away from hitting “send” sort of way.
Take my advice: keep your finger off the button. This isn’t the “I drunkenly slept with my best friend’s ex” kind of trouble. This is impending doom. It will only end in a blazing ball of fire. Going back for a second round will only serve to highlight your original problems. Once the post-sex afterglow has worn off, you’ll be right back in it. It’s inevitable.
When these moments hit, do whatever you can to distract yourself. Go for a bike ride until your legs are going to fall off. Meet up with friends for a beer. Take your mother out for dinner. Whatever you decide, it’s imperative that you leave your phone at home. Shut it off and walk away.
Are you sleeping with wildly inappropriate women?
Let’s be honest; you’ve probably always thought about sex with inappropriate women. But are you now acting on it? Have you woken up next to your buddy’s baby sister, your mother’s friend, the older lady from the grocery store? Has your personal age of consent dropped frighteningly low?
It’s official. You’ve been single too long. First things first: whatever you do, either don’t do her, stop doing her, or don’t do her again. You’ve caused enough damage. There’s no need to wreak more havoc on her ego and your reputation.
Now, take a good hard look at the situation and realize that it’s inappropriate for a reason. People are already starting to talk. You don’t need to be known as that guy. There’s no way back from being “him”. Take a breather and keep it in your pants.
Are your standards steadily sloping?
When once there was a day that you wouldn’t look twice at a 5, do you now find yourself chatting up a 3? Are you now willing to put up with things that were once serious deal-breakers? Do you look across the restaurant table and wonder what the hell you’re doing here?
That’s desperation setting in, a real red flag that you’ve been single too long. Once this realization has hit you in all its glory, now is a good time to assess your love life.
Take stock of what you want, what you can’t live without, and what you absolutely cannot live with. It’s tough, but don’t let go of that list. When it comes to what you want, compromise can be a very slippery, very steep slope.
Is your phone’s wallpaper your dog?
Pull your phone out of your pocket. Be honest. Are your doggy’s brown eyes staring back at you? Last night, did you find yourself telling your friends about the cute thing she did the other day? Do you feel a little chagrined when you wake up to find she’s not asleep at your feet?
After being single for a good period, it’s nice to come home to a little pet love and affection. But when you start obsessing, going 10 blocks out of your way to the butc her, you’ve been single for too long. Clearly, you’ve been single too long. You need to start getting out there again, find someone to bestow that pent up affection on.
Has your hobby taken over your life?
Hobbies are great. A diversified life, curious-mind, and healthy taste for adventure are huge turn ons. No woman wants a man who is afraid to take a chance. But, if your new hobby is about to bankrupt you, and yet you still can’t stop, perhaps it’s time to take a break. You need to step back and reassess.
Once again, you’ve found a replacement for a real-live girl on which to devote all your time and attention. Maybe it’s just laziness, maybe it’s fear of being hurt again; whatever your reason, it’s time to stop distracting yourself.
Face whatever it is that has been stopping you. If you’re not ready to give up your obsession quite yet, use your present love to find your future love.
Has your Nana begun to set you up?
You’re driving, unusually slow, down the highway. Your vision is blurring, breath quickened and shallow; you wipe the cold sweat from your brow and listen as your heart pounds. This isn’t a bout of the flu, this is panic, worsening as you approach your final destination until you’re convinced that your head is going to explode.
You’ve arrived, there’s no avoiding what will come next: a new list of young women your Nana is convinced would be perfect. All of whom make you want to run for the hills.
Your love life has hit rock bottom and you’ve been single too long. Every woman in your family now calls, texts, emails, wall posts, tweets, and practically sky-writes about their latest choice for a blind date, each one just perfect.
The gentle look of concern in their eyes has turned to desperation – why can’t he just find a nice girl, they plead. You have run out of appropriate answers.
Instead of sitting back and letting your love life happen to you, now is the time to get proactive. Maybe you should take your Aunt Joan up on that blind date. Maybe you should chat up the ”nice girl” your Nana brought home for you.
Whatever you do, point your energy in the right direction. Doing something is better than doing nothing. You never know where it will bring you. If you continue to do nothing, we both know exactly where you’ll end up. Right where you are.
Have you let yourself go?
Everyone lets their self go a little post-breakup. After months of hard work keeping your best foot forward, eating with your mouth closed, and generally being your polite self, there’s a little delight in letting it all hang out – especially after a long relationship. It’s suddenly rewarding being an utter pig again. Sloth is liberating and rebellious. It’s easy to revel in it.
But when you start scaring the neighborhood children, I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that the limits of your singlehood grace period have been reached. Your personal rebellion is in its final stages; the dream is dying a speedy death. It’s time to clean yourself up and get back out there.
First things first: a really long, extremely thorough shower. Attend to every nook and cranny. Shave. The mountain-man has returned to the city. Now that you can reenter into society somewhat, get a real haircut.
Next, and the hardest step, stop ordering greasy takeout. Cook for a change. Eat a vegetable every once in a while. In general, get off your lazy ass; maybe even get some sun and some fresh air.
Is masturbating just not cutting it anymore?
You never believed it. You never thought it could happen to you. Your 14-year-old self who has just discovered the greatest thing on earth is reeling from the revelation. You really can have too much of a good thing!
Masturbation has suddenly lost all its charm and allure. Your constant companion, your good old fallback, the longest relationship you’ve ever had, is starting to let you down. Even porn isn`t as exciting as it once was.
Now it’s official: You’ve been single too long. You can put up with a lot, but this is your limit. This is when panic starts to set in.
Just like when you’ve been with a partner for a good amount of time, you can get a little bored with each other. At the beginning you weren’t able to keep your hands off each other, and in the middle you’re going to bed because you’re actually tired. It’s easy to get a little lazy.
To keep things going, you need constant creativity and a spirit of experimentation. When you’re in a partnership of one, believe it or not, same rules apply.
Instead of wasting your energy coming up with new ways to get off, why not harness this energy for good.
So, you’ve been single too long?
Let this be your catalyst to break your cycle of singlehood. Everyone is looking for someone special, someone for the long haul. But relationships, like all major life events, rarely just happen. They take a little time, a little energy, and a lot of effort.
You must actively participate in your finding of a new partner. Stop sitting around, expecting it to just fall into your lap. Wake up and do something about it. Get out there.