Once I used to believe I was addicted to love. A lovaholic. A relationship person, somebody who could not function well without being attached from the hip to somebody else. I’ve been in serial relationships most of my dating life and all that time I was never single for more than three months. And now it’s been more than two years. And I’m just now starting to realize why it is so. It’s not because all guys are jerks and there’s nobody out there or I just haven’t met him. And it’s not because there’s something wrong with me or I’m not ready to go back to being in a relationship. The one great reason I’m still single is because I chose so.
Whenever my grandmother asks me if I have a boyfriend or a concerned auntie wants to know when I’m getting married I keep wondering why is it that people expect us to pair up all the time. Is being single like being homeless or unemployed? Is there still such a great social stigma associated to it? We all know that some decades ago for a woman it was more tragic to be single than unemployed. Actually, it was the possibility to work outside the home and support ourselves, own property and decide upon our own bodies that created this ever growing pool of singles nowadays. And so we should ask ourselves, are more and more people single because there are less options on the dating market or just because they can and choose to do so? I would rather agree with the latter. You see, we can now choose to spend our lives experiencing multiple relationships or none at all, instead of being in an oppressive marriage we never wanted in the first place. We can choose to get out of a dysfunctional relationship instead of enduring it all just for the sake of not being labeled with the oh so scary sticker of old maid.
I enjoy being single for both the perks of said independence and for being able to avoid the pitfalls of relationships. The independence doesn’t just mean “you can do what you want”. You can actually do as you please in a healthy relationship as well, because I trust in a good partnership you will want the things that are right for you and your partner. It’s more about escaping that constant scrutiny. You’ve read about it a thousand times in women’s magazines, it’s awesome to be single because you can wear granny panties and you don’t always have to look great and smell nice, nobody will notice that extra couple of kilos on your hips after the holidays and your hair doesn’t always have to be shiny. Yes, they say they love you just the way you are. But we notice stuff. We notice the cavity in that tooth and the dirty fingernail and the pimple on the nose. And we know men notice far more things and expect far more effort to be put into our looks. Yes, we all love to be pretty every time we go out the door, but sometimes, at home, we just want to sit around in our pajamas with our hair stuck to our head, eating cheesy puffs and watching bad TV. And you can do that when you’re in a relationship too. But not whenever you please. These are just examples, but the bottom line here is that the constant scrutiny of a partner we want to spend every breathing minute with is quite heavy on our shoulders. And singles have it easy that way.
And then, we don’t get to worry about all those things people who are dating do. Like what he’s thinking of every second, is he having doubts about us, is he checking out that girl, is he cheating on me, is he really over his last girlfriend, why did they break up anyway, is there something wrong with him I haven’t noticed yet, where is this going and why won’t he talk about it, are his parents going to like me, is my father going to break his legs, how many children are we going to have, should we move in together, will we ever earn enough to buy a house and build a family… That kind of stuff. We don’t think about it all at once. But over one year, most of these questions are bound to pop out in our heads. And some of the things we worry about might happen on the way, bringing about a lot of pain and a need to reconsider our whole existence.
My biggest concerns as a single person are what to have for lunch and whether to build a career in this or that direction. I sometimes think I would have no time for a relationship, between my work and education, my family and my friends I hardly get to read and the pile of books and magazines waiting for me is getting larger by the day. But the thing is I don’t feel the need to or want one. I believe this is an awesome time to enjoy myself and know all the things that make me happy. To push myself and see where I draw the lines and to grow in whichever direction I want without having to adapt my future plans to future plans I’ve made in my head with somebody else. I don’t look at it as time between relationships when I get to become a better person for somebody to love me more when I finally meet him. It’s a transition time between school years and junior level jobs and the days when I’ll actually be working at securing a bright future for myself. Maybe I’ll meet someone, maybe I won’t, maybe I’ll have children, maybe I won’t. What I can tell you right now is that I feel fabulous about being single and I can’t even put in words all the great things about it. And for anybody to change that, they’d have to be at least as pretty damn awesome as I am.