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Who Even Needs Him?

UW-Stout student strives for single empowerment

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by Eric Christenson

Stacey Springob was having lunch with a friend one day her freshman year at UW-Stout. This friend was going on and on about all of her boyfriend problems when she turned to Springob and said, “You’ve got it made.”

“You can do whatever you want because you’re single,” the friend continued. “Everything I do has to be okayed by my boyfriend.”

“I couldn’t believe she actually said that,” Springob said. “I thought it was crazy that she thought everything she does has to be cleared by a guy.”

It’s not that Springob is just single; at 20 years old, she has never had a boyfriend, but she doesn’t spend her time grumbling about it. Instead, she derives a healthy spoonful of empowerment from that fact.

“Relationships are what I say we think about in between all the big moments of life; we think about it when we’re walking to class, when we’re driving, or falling asleep,” Springob said. “Not having a boyfriend has given me that time I would’ve donated to him to instead focus on my own interests.”

Her aptly-titled book,  What I’ve Learned From Never Having a Boyfriend, touches on everything from her story to her journey of becoming more self-driven, and it offers plenty of advice.

The message is pretty simple, really: Define yourself yourself, pursue your own goals, and don’t stress out about anything else.

Springob sees others with small-town roots getting married young, having kids soon after, and as she puts it, “Giving up a lot of opportunities to be in relationship (instead).”

“If we can teach young adults that they have to find happiness within themselves before diving into relationships, I think the younger generation could be even more successful.” – Stacey Springob on her new book

“I completely understand that some people are relationship people and some people are career people; I’m a career person,” she said. “But I still think it’s crucial when you’re 18 to 25 to give yourself some time to learn about yourself, and a relationship can’t do that for you.”

And it’s not that she never, ever wants a relationship. She just doesn’t need the distraction. Right now in this crucial time in her life, it’s all about her.
But that’s not always easy.

“Just like anyone else probably would or does, I get anxiety about almost being 21 and still single; it makes me feel like I’m behind and that it’ll affect me when dating,” she said. “I think there will be ups and downs.  I think since I haven’t been with anyone and I’m 20, I’m kind of at this point where things are a lot simpler.”

Young adults around Springob’s age who are getting comfortable with adulthood are constantly learning, whether it’s experimenting socially or learning under the umbrella of academia. But Springob lamented the fact that relationships aren’t analyzed more and talked about in schools.

There are important social lessons here: teamwork, learning about yourself, being honest with others, etc. — to be in a good relationship, you have to be good with yourself, first and foremost.

“If we can teach young adults that they have to find happiness within themselves before diving into relationships, I think the younger generation could be even more successful in jobs and eventually raising families of their own,” Springob said. “I wouldn’t trade the happiness I’ve created for myself for any guy I’ve ever liked before this point in my life.”

For more of Springob’s writings, find her blog at staceyspringob.wordpress.com.

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