I am quite well versed in being single. I’ve done it for years. I didn’t start dating, really, until my early twenties. The first guy I had a serious relationship with I was engaged to in 6 months. Man–had that worked out what a great story it would’ve been. In many ways the relationship was fantastic but long distance (for awhile me–then awhile him) took it’s toll. We parted on goodish terms, proud that we had the courage to look at each other and say this isn’t going to work out.
Fast forward a few years and few relationships and many, many dates later here I am. I’ve only had one other serious relationship. That break-up was brutal and I learned that yes, I could be the psycho ex. I believe being the psycho ex is a part all of us should play and play only once. Then you wake up and think, “What the fuck have I been doing?” Let’s just say I hope never, ever to accidentally run into that ex because all I’d be able to say would be, “Remember how I went crazy when you broke my heart?” I spent a day or two back with the ex-fiance after that devastating relationship. That was a great experience because I learned I wasn’t the type of woman to compromise myself just to be with someone. We shared our mea culpas and once again parted ways… Side note: He quickly got engaged again after we goodbye for the second time. About a month ago he called me to ask me what I thought of him when we were together. Turns out marriage in its first year is hard. Can you see why I broke up with this guy? Why would he call me to talk about his marriage problems when we hadn’t talked for about 2 years? How unfair to me and his wife. I kept it cordial, polite, warm, and wished him the best. I think the dating fairies owe me some good karma for that one.
Anyways, I just ended another short term relationship. After 3 months of giving it a go I realized that this man just wasn’t going to be the one I ended up with. It was a waste of his time and my time to keep trying to make our relationship work when in the end I wasn’t in love with him. Don’t get me wrong–he was smart, kind, thoughtful, fun…he possessed a lot of great relationship qualities. I just never had butterflies in my stomach over him and he knew it. There were also certain incompatibilities that were going to keep rearing their ugly heads regarding money, family, politics, and sex. At a certain point you have to take a step back and think. When I did I realized he just wasn’t the one and I knew I never saw this going the distance for several significant reasons. Now don’t think I’m one of those women looking for the ‘crazy in love’ phase because I’ve broken enough hearts and had my heart broken enough times to know that feeling doesn’t last forever. But I also don’t think one should compromise feeling excited to be with another person just because you want it to work. And our relationship was work, work, work and lots of arguments in ways that I knew was uncharacteristic of me. After our 10th billion fight I realized we just weren’t clicking and it wasn’t getting better. Wanting a relationship to work is drastically different than having it work. We said our goodbyes and ended on a mutually respectful tone. Part of me wishes I had waited until the end of summer because at the moment my college town is dead, the few friends I have in town are very busy, and I’m left here on a Saturday without a fun day ahead of me. Sigh.
Of course the new ex avoided me when I went to drop off his things and pick up my own. How lame is that? I understand it but it made me feel like we had been together for 5 years (not 3 months). I sort of texted him yesterday to see if he would go to a water park with me (not a great decision but I really wanted to go this weekend). He responded, “Does that mean we’re friends with benefits?” I responded, “In this scenario, is going to a water park considered a benefit?” I asked for that one. Sometimes when you are ‘friends’ with an ex he secretly thinks you are going to break at any moment and have sex with him. Men never quite understand that once you’re filed under ‘friend’ that label doesn’t include genitals.
So here I am. Single once again. I’ve dated A LOT in the last two years. I need a breather. I realized dating my latest ex that things I didn’t like about him I also don’t like about myself. Like his anger. Or his shitty eating habits and not taking care of himself. Or his stupidity with money. I want to work on those things…on my own terms…before jumping into another dating situation. Furthermore, my life is busy. I’m a graduate student. I’m working on my Ph.D., which means dating is like adding a 12th plate to spin simultaneously. I’m traveling a lot this summer. July is going to be brutal to be single. I keep hearing Stevie Wonder’s “I Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” in my head. Seems apropos, other than I’m technically the one who ended the relationship. Side note: why does he seem so okay with it? Nothing worse than ending a relationship and you feel like you’re worse off. Grr. Petty, I know.
If you don’t date–what do you do when you’re 30 and surrounded by people in relationships. You say–FUCK IT, and embrace the hell out of singledom. I liked being in a relationship again for the most part. I liked having someone to call. I liked someone to randomly text. I liked sleeping next to someone. I liked having weekend dates. I liked having someone to fix things in my rental house or take care of my pets. But all of those things don’t make up for being in a relationship that isn’t making you and him happy.
Without getting too high on my soapbox, our society makes Single life seem like a transitory phase we all should be desperate to get out of. People will tell you when you’re single, “You just haven’t met the right person yet.” Sure, but maybe that won’t happen either. I don’t say that cynically or depressingly. Just look at the statistics: more people are living single and alone today than ever before in America. I want to believe that someday I’ll meet a great guy and start a great life with him. Wait–change that, share a great life with him. BECAUSE–I want to and already do have a great life. Why should I keep putting great plans and fun times on hold simply because I refuse to settle and ruin my life or someone else’s? There have been many guys I could’ve ended up with, but deep down I knew that wasn’t fair to them because I wasn’t in love with them the way they deserved. At the same time, as painful as it was I respect any guy that ended it with me because he realized the same thing. I hope, I do hope, that isn’t always the case for me. Until then or if then, I’m not going to live in the shadows afraid that people might realize, GASP–she’s alone!
This blog is about embracing singledom. Embracing singledom isn’t about giving up on love or dating or life. It is more about treating your single status as a part of your life you can have fun with rather than feel shame about. This is not always easy. It is especially not easy around holidays, on group date nights and you’re the single one, or when finding the courage to walk into a restaurant and say “Table for One.” I just so happen to think that if we socially treated singledom with more kindness and excitement we’d have less people divorced or in shitty relationships. People would take their time, not desperate to jump out of being single into a relationship that they are compromising more than they should. I know many people in relationships that I find inspiring. I also know many people in relationships that are miserable but they are afraid to be alone. This blog is that being single and alone doesn’t need to be a curse.
Ok, so sometimes being single sucks. And this blog will sometimes address that too.
I hope you enjoy reading.