10 Things You Should Do Alone So You Never Settle For A Bad Relationship

Here's how you can date yourself.

woman jumping in the air Juan Pedro Pena/ Shutterstock

By Matt Sweetwood

You just broke up from a long-term romantic relationship.

You are going through a divorce.

You are being bullied or shunned at school.

You have gone away to school or relocated for a new job and you have few if any friends.

Your parent(s) passes away or you move away.

Your best friend gets married, moves away, or betrays you.

What do these life events have in common?

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In these life events, you will have to face being alone a lot more. For many people, that is an almost unbearable thought and as a result, they make extremely poor decisions in their lives.

I was exactly this type of person. Since I was pushed ahead in elementary school, I was socially awkward, bullied, and had few friends. As a 15-year-old high school senior — freckled-faced, pudgy, and with only a bicycle as transportation, I couldn’t date 18-year-old women who drove cars. I was unbearably lonely.


That unbearable loneliness eventually led to my marrying the very first woman who showed an interest in me — a woman who, it turned out, was very bad for me. After our divorce, I ended up bankrupt and had to raise our five young children on my own. She never returned or even spoke to her kids again. 

And then again, out of my extreme fear of being alone, I did it again. I married another woman who was very bad for me. But this time, as we were going through our divorce, I had an epiphany. Our family circumstances required me to be alone. I decided to make the best of it and learn to love being alone.

What I quickly discovered is that if I put effort into it, I could actually enjoy my alone time. I also became much smarter about who I chose to have a relationship with.

When you hate being alone, it’s easy to choose to enter a bad relationship because you feel any relationship is better than something you hate and scares you. But if you love being alone, that potential new relationship has to be better than something you love — or you’ll just pass on it.


Here are 10 things you should do alone so you never settle for a bad relationship:

1. Get in shape 

Good health is a fundamental key to happiness. Now that you have more free time and will spend less time caring for another, start eating right, exercising, and improving your physical condition. When you feel good about your health and body, your self-esteem improves and you’ll surely be happier.

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2. Do something you always wanted to do and haven’t

When you are alone, you can pretty much do what you want when you want it. Go skydiving, go watch a rocket launch, take up dance, learn a new language, etc. This is your chance to fulfill some missed dreams.

3. Travel 

I thought I would hate traveling alone, but it’s fantastic. I go where I want, how I want, and stay where I want. I eat when and where I want and take as many pictures as I want without anyone getting annoyed. And when you travel alone, your focus is on seeing the sites, feeling the experiences and you do get to meet a lot of new and interesting people.


4. Express yourself

Write, paint, do photography, build something, decorate your apartment, etc. There is nothing more cathartic than opening up and finding your voice in creative expression. In my case, I took up writing and became a writer for several well-known publications and I have a book coming out in a few months. It was a huge relief for me to be able to tell my story and share my experiences.

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5. Make your house a home

Whether you have a house or apartment, live in a mobile home, or are on a boat, make this area your castle. The wonderful aspect of living alone is that I can decorate, furnish, and run my home (in cool temperatures!) exactly as I like. It really makes my home feel like home — sweet home.

6. Eat out for happiness

Eat out in a way that will make you happy. Sitting alone at a fancy restaurant is only fun for food critics. I grab meals to go (or cook for myself) and find fantastic places to sit and eat and watch something interesting. In warmer weather, there’s nothing better than enjoying a healthy meal and watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset.


7. Network

A favorite saying of mine is if you are not networking you are not working. Go to events of all kinds, especially networking events. It’s the best place to meet new people, find business and job opportunities and learn about what is going on. I almost never walk away from such an event without something positive.

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8. Socialize

When out and about engage other people. Put down your cell phone and at least once per day turn to someone nearby and ask them how their day is going or ask them if they have heard anything new they’d like to share. You will find the act of engaging another human uplifting for them and for you.


9. Volunteer

Helping others is the absolute best way to cure loneliness and increase happiness. Get out of your house and volunteer. Donate your time (and money) to helping others. I did very little of that while I was married. As a single person, I got involved and now I am on the board of directors for two non-profits and it always makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile for humanity.

10. Express gratitude

Gratitude is the number one key to finding happiness. You may be alone, but I promise you that you have much to be happy about. Write down a list of things you are grateful for, starting with, “I am alive.” My list has over 50 items on it and I try to add to it regularly — and I look at it regularly anytime I am feeling down or lonely.

I am not suggesting that being alone is the only or best way to be. In fact, good relationships should provide significant benefits, meaningful experiences, and happiness.

But life is going to force us to be alone at times — sometimes more than we’d like. When you learn to love being alone, you’ll find peace, happiness, and greater productivity and you will make better relationship decisions — and you’ll get to live a BIG LIFE — a life that you will love.


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Matt Sweetwood is a thought leadership and personal branding expert and was the U.S. CEO of beBee, Inc.