It’s better to be alone than in bad company.

My dad used to say this to me all the time growing up. What a wise man he was. And although he cautioned me about leaving my marriage with tales of his once lonely existence in New York, he ultimately supported my decision in leaving a union that no longer served the two of us involved. It’s not that either of us were bad people, but having been college sweethearts, we’d just grown our separate ways.

Since leaving my marriage in 2007 I am proud to declare I’ve remained single. With the exception of a one-year relationship directly following my divorce which still leaves me with four solid years of being on my own. A huge accomplishment for myself.

Knowing my tendency as a  serial-monogamist, I purchased a very expensive, designer dog just after my final relationship ended in 2009 to prevent myself from getting lonely enough to enter another relationship just for company.

[As a side note, I’m a huge adopter of stray animals. Have been my whole life but I knew that in order to have a dog in a New York City apartment, I needed a puppy that would only grow to a specific size. Five pounds max. I needed something portable and low maintenance.]

Said dog. Come on... you gotta admit she was worth it.

But I had just moved to New York and my friends cried,

Why would you get a dog in New York City? You’re never home. It’s going to tie you down. You just got your wings. You need to run free.

To which I replied:

Yes. But what you don’t realize is if I don’t get this dog, I will be tempted to get a boyfriend, and God-forbid a husband, which would be death to me at this point.

Sounds severe I know. But knowing my roller-coaster relationship woes in the past, they quickly shut their mouths and moved on to other subjects.

I had become the real-life version of the Runaway Bride. Down to the fact that just like Roberts’ character in the movie of the same title, I too had no clue how I liked my eggs. I’d been in a non-stop relationship marathon since the age of 14, with the exception of a one-year break, and had no idea who I was apart from a man.

I vividly remember driving down the road at the end of that one-year break at age 21 and finally feeling like I liked who I was. Feeling comfortable with being on my own. I was getting to know myself as Ingrid. Not Ingrid, “Such-and-Such’s Girlfriend.” Just Ingrid.

I was finally happy. On my own. When BAM! I ran into my future husband.

Without proper time for my authentic self to cure, I once again lost myself in a man.

So 15 years of being someone else’s half undoubtedly left me as half a person whenever they’d leave. There was a void, which inevitably I’d fill with another man. Monogamy was the perfect solution to my subconscious brain and you can’t blame it. It’s all I’d ever known.

Albeit the men I chose were always amazing. But I inherently knew, after my divorce, that I needed to meet myself before I could welcome anyone else into my life. And as I’ve often heard in the last five years, the best relationships are when two whole people come together in union. Not out of desperation or need, but with the intention of joining forces and sharing in the joys of life together.

So thank goodness for my Edie. Though not an official care-dog, she successfully helped guide me away from bad habits toward the person I’d always wanted to be. Strong, whole, and authentically me.

She was such a good sport during the 1,800 mile journey from New York to Texas.

Now five years after splitting from the man I married, I can officially say I’m whole again. I’m no longer looking for a man to put me back together again. I no longer feel like Humpty Dumpty, cracked and broken, in need of someone to fix me. The job is done and while it wasn’t an easy task, it gave me my Threadbare Gypsy Soul which I wouldn’t trade for the world.

So as we approach our national Hallmark holiday in honor of St. Valentine I just want to give a shout-out of support to all my fellow Singletons. And instead of moaning and groaning about being alone while all the lovers out there ogle over their fancy dinners, remember, we cannot have what it is we condemn. If you desire to have a romantic relationship one day that may or may not lead to procreation, enjoy yourself for now. For the more you love and enjoy yourself, the quicker and more likely it is that you’ll attract the perfect mate that you so desire.

Go read my dear friend Kristen Lamb’s post, Twas the Night Before Valentines and have a good laugh! Treat yourself to a night on the town. And make a toast to yourself for standing alone since for some of us, it ain’t an easy thing to do.

Oh, and by the way, I like my eggs scrambled over-medium. A technique I came up with myself and they’re delicious.

So how bout you? Are you a serial monogamist? Do you feel people need to know themselves before getting in a relationship or does the relationship help them know themselves? What are your opinions on what makes commitment work?

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures