In every article about being purposefully single for at least a year, the feedback ranges from, “I met my loving husband after my single year!” to “I’ve been alone for five years, and I’m still miserable!”

What’s the difference? Why do some people profit so much from being single on purpose, and why do others lose their faith and become bitter?

It has everything to do with your reason for being single.

Some people quit the dating game because they’re jaded. Others quit because they’ve lost confidence. But the happily single don’t really quit dating at all…they just start choosing themselves. They rededicate their lives to their goals and dreams and passions, and they commit to fully embracing themselves each and every day. 

They also reject the crutches that kept them from being strong and self-supportive: dating and hookups being the obvious ones. But millions of people stop dating and nothing happens. What’s the missing link?

In my experience in relationships and as a coach, the key to finding happiness as a single is really, really letting go of your exes.

Most people never really let go

The bonds we make with our partners are strong and multifaceted, satisfying our emotional, intellectual and sexual needs. We put so much faith in these relationships that, at one point, they were our reason for being—our drive for purpose. We subconsciously gave our partners the power to make us happy and fulfilled.

But even though we part ways with our exes, we’re still subconsciously connected to the future we thought we had together with them. Those little “shoulda married ‘em” thoughts are embedded deep inside of us. Until we fully choose ourselves, we turn to our exes when things get tough.

If you’re like I was, or most of my clients are when we start working together, you still keep in contact with your exes. I thought that maintaining a friendship gave meaning to the heartache—that it made me a better person. But after my first single year, I hadn’t made any improvements. On a mentor’s advice, I decided to cease communication with all of my exes. For good.

Within two years of leaning on myself when times got tough, I created a thriving writing and coaching career that gave me independence for the first time in my adult life. Your results could be similarly dramatic.

Here are some strategies I used to fully let go of my exes and thrive as a single


Ceasing communication with my exes didn’t magically cure anything. I still had the same limiting beliefs about their being my source of happiness. But quitting the talks and messaging gave me the opportunity to change those old patterns

When I felt the insecurity and anxiety coming along—like I could only be happy with exes one-through-three—I stopped the disempowering thoughts. Instead, I chose gratitude for my girlfriends and the times I had with them. Then I focused on affirmations to create a positive new pattern: “I am joyful, faithful, hopeful, inspired, and happy just as I am. I am grateful for this opportunity to be the most successful version of me, and to do what I love, and to love my life.”

Finally, I visualized what my successfully single future looked like—the house I would live in by myself; the loving community I’d be a part of; the joy of making a living through my passion, etc. Those visions made me excited about my future, and 100% glad to be moving on with my own life. Without them, I would’ve thrown myself at another woman…or worse…one of my exes!


Unhealed wounds were my main reasons for getting into relationships. I had zero self-worth, no confidence, and -10 faith; I needed a girlfriend to give those things to me. I couldn’t love unconditionally. And that was always the downfall of my relationships.

So, when I really started choosing me, I also chose my ex-girlfriends too. I did that through prayer. Instead of reaching out to them when I missed them, I asked God to give them everything they needed to be their best and highest selves, and to prepare them for their future husbands. Since I was experiencing the joy of personal growth firsthand, I wanted that for my girlfriends too. Just for their sake.

Through praying, I broke all of my selfish bonds with my exes. I stopped the “I can only be happy with her” thoughts in their tracks. I learned how to love selflessly. And I grew my faith in God and in me—which was instrumental in being successfully single.


You know how when you break up with someone, all you can think of is what you’re missing out on? Well…most people never really get out of that. Those conscious thoughts just morph into the subconscious, where they have a pernicious influence on the happiness and success you achieve.

That was definitely my case. But when I picked up a journal and narrated all the awesome things I was doing to improve my life and move on, I consciously shifted my focus, and I erased the subconscious programming that kept me clinging to my exes.

Within months of picking up my journaling habit, I had cemented my successfully single identity. 


If you’ve thought about going single but haven’t had the courage to make the change, you might just need to rethink your reason for being single. But just as important, in my experience, is fully letting go of your exes: my clients and I did that through mindfulness, prayer, and journaling. 

If you need a self-improvement expert to guide you along the way and keep you accountable, check out my coaching services here


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist,, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!