By Nellie Umutesi-Vigneron

About two years ago, I was all of a sudden single after a 10-plus-year relationship and had to learn to be with and by myself.  Weekends used to be the most difficult for me, especially when my son was away at his father’s for the weekend.  I would miss him tremendously, miss him asking me twenty questions per minute, miss his voice and his playfulness.  I would spend most of my weekend sleeping, bored or looking at the four walls of my bedroom asking myself:  who was I now?  What made me happy?

Most of my girlfriends were either in relationships, busy or my pride and ego would not allow me to admit that I was just lost by myself!  I had to think quick and come up with a plan before I drowned in the abyss of boredom.   I did not want to just fill my weekends with frivolous and expensive activities just to fill a void (that would cause a whole other set of problems, the financial kind!).  I wanted to learn to enjoy my company!  That is how solo date night was conceived.  Implementation was the easy part, all I had to do was dress up and go.  The hard part was what would I do?

(Web Images)

(Web Images)

I knew I liked pizza, reading, wine and some people watching (not the weird kind).  My very first date night was just that:  I went to my local pizza place, sat at the pizza bar (watched them make my pizza) and had a glass of Pinot.  My second date with myself was at my local Starbucks with a good book and a Chai Tea Latte (Starbucks should really consider diversification and include wine as part of their menu!).   Date night with myself helped me realize that I was kind of a cool chick to hang out with.  Here are some of the reasons, you should consider solo date night:

One:  Freedom!  This about it:  you get to do what you want, how you want to and for however long you want to,  without having to consider someone else’s feelings, moods, likes or dislikes.  The date is about YOU!

Two:  Meeting New People.  I have met very interesting people while out on my solo dates.   I have expanded my circle of friends and business connections while dating myself.  I have learned about different cultures and expanded my mind to ideas I may have never thought of otherwise.

Three:  An opportunity to slow down and recharge.  We spend most of our time at work, meeting deadlines, running around from meeting to meeting, unable to slow down and enjoy a proper lunch.  In addition to our professional responsibility, if you are a parent, your time is spent doing homework, driving your children to soccer or swim practice, cooking, cleaning and preparing for the next day.  Taking yourself on a date helps to slow down, breath and smell the roses, recharge and refocus.

Four:  Getting over the fear of being alone.  At first you may think that people are looking at you and feeling sorry for you (trust me this is all in your head).  You may not know what to do while out with yourself.  Your first instinct may be to play with your phone, check out Facebook or Twitter, to only realize that your Tweeps and Facebook friends do not update their statuses fast enough to keep you entertained.  You may be tempted to call your girlfriend on the phone, but that defeats the purpose of a solo date.  I went through all of this until I learned to sit in my solitude, with myself and be fine with it.  As I continued with my solo date, it became easier and my fear of being alone dissolved!

I started this practice really out of necessity: I was newly single, bored and in need of some self-love.  However, I do plan on continuing this practice even when I find my other whole.  I think it is even more important for married women to adopt this practice.  Many of us, women, make the mistake of forgetting ourselves, our needs, our emotional balance and our own happiness when in a relationship or a marriage.   Date night… with yourself will help cultivate your happiness!

What is your ideal date night… with Yourself?