5 Signs You've Been Single Too Long & Are Ready For A Relationship

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For most of history, ever since people traded cattle for a wives, being single has had a bad rap. But now that we're trading finger swipes for romantic partners, there's finally less of a stigma. I'm single right now, and lately, I've been wondering if I actually miss the day-to-day experience of having a boyfriend, or if I really just want that one particular ex to love me. Unfortunately, I've realized it's the former. Yes, I'll admit it: I am finally over being single.

Being happily single is a completely liberating and joyous experience, but as soon as that nudge of loneliness grows beyond a once-a-week-when-you-see-a-cute-couple reminder into a full-blown, miss-arguing-over-where-to-go-to-dinner itch, singledom can be difficult to stomach. When you want to feel the rush of falling head-over-heels for someone again, but you are mostly hanging out with your dog and your Apple TV, admitting you want a partner is a very vulnerable thing to do.

I have found myself making proclamations like, "I love that being single means I don't have to go to a cheesy dinner on Valentine's Day" (false). Or, "I love spreading my whole entire body out in my bed at night" (true, but also not a deal-breaker). So how do you know when you're really over being single? Here are five undeniable signs that finally made me face the music:

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1. Couples' Instagram Posts Make You Swoon

The stereotype of single people is that they are bitter, and upon seeing happy couples out in the wild, make faces that resemble dried prunes, and think sordid thoughts. While I usually love eye-rolling obnoxious couples, lately, those holiday Instagram posts from sweet couples I know make me think, "I want that." That's how you know.

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2. You Wake Up Spooning Your Pillow Daily

Wanting a cuddle buddy every once in awhile is one thing. But if you are reaching for AM snuggles with your blankets daily, this could be the evidence that you're finally ready to share that bed. Or at least, it was for me.

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3. You've Been Taking Care Of Yourself

This is less concrete proof that you're over being single, and could just mean that you're leaning into your New Year's resolutions hard already. However, the wellness podcast-listener in me believes that if you have been taking care of your health, happiness, and heart lately, you might be showing signs that you're ready to open yourself up to a partner.

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4. You're Unhappy Day-To-Day

And not just because society tells you to feel that way because you are *gasp* alone. If you find yourself generally fulfilled by your career, pleased with the quality time you have with your friends and family, and excited about your hobbies, it's still possible to feel like you are missing something — like a relationship. You can be a strong, independent woman and be unhappy that you don't have a romantic partner.

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5. You Start Brainstorming Wedding Hashtag Ideas

This 60 percent joke, 20 percent serious, and 20 percent a thing I did this weekend. Upon seeing one million engagements over the holiday, and the immediate surge of ready-to-go couples' hashtags, I started thinking about what mine might be. I'm not going to share my brainstorms here, because my last name is "Foskett" and I think I really need to figure out what my husband's last name might be before trying to play on my difficult-to-pronounce last name. That said, this was a new game for me. While imagining wedding hashtags does not necessarily mean you don't want to be single, it is a rather strong nudge that you might be ready to look for something a bit beyond your current single status.

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At the end of the day, you could be devoted to remaining single, only to meet the love of your life by chance at the supermarket because you are part of the one percent whose love lives resemble rom-coms. Or, you could throw yourself into finding a relationship, and come up empty handed. The most important thing to remind yourself is that your relationship status does not define you, and that being single or in a relationship does not suggest some greater truth about your value to the world. Recognize you no longer want to be single is the first step to find that relationship, so stay brave and get back out there.

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

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