For the longest time, I’ve tried to convince myself that I need to be in a relationship. I go on dates with people, really nice people, and then just never speak to them again. I try to date people who are clearly not trying to date me, and then get upset when they don’t want something more meaningful. I am in a perpetual cycle of “Why don’t I like these amazing people?!” and “Why doesn’t this person see how amazing I am?!” It is, to say the least, shitty.
I don’t know why I’m telling myself that I need a companion. I’ve never been a relationship type of person, and if you know me, you know that I mean that honestly and truthfully. I’ve never needed the reassurance, the dependence, the vulnerability, the time devotion, the dedication that comes with having a significant other. So why am I telling myself that I need it now?
Long story short, it’s because of my bitch-ass friends (and I say that in the nicest way possible, because I love all of you so so much, even though you’ve all found love and I’m still making out with guys who have been to prison in the hopes that they will buy me shots.)
I am a perpetual third wheel. I hang out with a lot of couples, I guess they feel no kind of threat when I’m around. But watching couples interact with each other, you kind of can’t help but to want what they have. The hand holding, the whispering, the giggling, the all-around adorableness of couples.Watching my bitch-ass friends be so in love is kind of heart-wrenching. I’ve started wondering if I will ever find that kind of love.
When I bring this up with my coupled friends, they all have different opinions on why I hadn’t found the love of my life yet. Apparently I’m dating “emotionally unavailable men”. This is a common excuse we give ourselves and other women when we want to avoid the truth: that we kinda fell for an asshole. Apparently I’m not “looking in the right places”. I’m told to stop looking for guys at bars, guys at the gym, guys on Tinder, by girls who have found their boyfriends at the bar/at the gym/on Tinder. Then it’s that I’m not looking for the “right type of guy”. I like guys who are independent, who make their own rules, who might be a bit more passionate about their jobs rather than their relationships – it just so happens that all of those characteristics are unmistakeably found in guys who are douchebags. Long story short, there is always something I’m doing wrong – but there is one very prominent opinion.
“You need to make someone value you,” my friend’s boyfriend told me one day.
“What do you mean?” I prompted him, sadly knowing what he was going to say next.
“You need to have, like, a five-date rule. For … you know. Like, save yourself, kind of.”
It took all of my strength not to roll my eyes. The “saving yourself for someone” reasoning is truly the most barbaric and outdated of practices. Don’t get me wrong, I also have girlfriends say this to me, not just men. But I won’t lend myself to such an antique school of thought. The right guy will not equate your willingness to have sex with your worthiness to become their girlfriend. Sex isn’t the reason guys don’t want to commit to me. If anything, it’s the reason they stay (ayoooo).
Then, I was talking to one of my co-perpetually-single friends and she hit the nail on the head.
“I don’t think we want to be in a relationship,” she said. “We’re dating half-heartedly; it takes us weeks to plan out dates with guys we don’t even want to see. We convince ourselves to date them just because they have a good job, their own place, a nice car and we think they’re secure and stable and safe. They just turn out to be boring. I think we just want to have fun.”
And she was totally right. I realized that I had been telling myself I wanted something without putting the necessary effort into it. It’s like telling yourself you want tickets to a Beyoncé concert then peacing out when you see the $300 price tag. I don’t know if I like Beyoncé that much. What if I spend $300 on the tickets and the show isn’t as good as I thought it was gonna be? What if I spend $300 on the tickets and then something better pops up that night that would have only cost me $50 and is much more enjoyable? What if I spend $300 on the tickets and then tomorrow Beyoncé tells me she doesn’t love me anymore? Like, you get it. Some people spend $300 on the tickets and they would gladly do it over and over again, no matter the debt, the time, the place, and they have the time of their lives. There’s nothing wrong with that. And one day I’ll be able to do that too! Maybe. Maybe not.
Now, women who “like to have fun” don’t necessarily have the best reputations. I know that because I don’t have the best reputation with certain people. Even my own friends have made jokes at my expense. Even I have made jokes at my own expense. But I won’t apologize because I’m living my life the way I want to and you’re stuck in a relationship you decided to get yourself into when you were 16 and are now too comfortable and/or chubby to get yourself out of and find something more exciting. That’s not how I roll.
I debated writing this because I didn’t want to be seen as bitter, cynical, old-maidish, etc. But I’ve realized, while writing this, how empowering it is to just own all of the things you love about being single. I like making my own money and not having someone judge me for spending it on stupid things like self-tanner or Yves St. Laurent mascara or that weird star-shaped fruit I’ve never tasted and will probably rot after I forget that I bought it or acai-berry-flavoured vodka or a $33 phone case with a picture of a slice of pizza on it, or … you get it. I like having my own schedule, I like not being forced to go to family dinners/reunions/activity days. I like being able to go out with my friends and drink, dance, have fun, then grab pizza with a guy at 3am. I like climbing into my warm bed and not having to share space and covers with another person. I like waking up and having the whole day in front of me to do whatever I want. I like spending nights awake, alone with myself, writing essays like these and not worrying about who is going to judge me for them. I like powering through a plate of fries and washing it down with a whole pitcher of sangria without worrying about how I’m going to look naked, how I’m going to keep our sex life alive and fun and exciting, how I’m going to “keep” my boyfriend. I like a lot of things about being single. And if those things make me bitter, cynical, old-maidish, etc. then I guess they are titles I’m willing to accept.
So, for the time being, I’m not going to stress over finding the love of my life. I’m not going to stress over being in a relationship. I’m not going to stress about finding the right guy or finding him in the right place. I’m not going to stress about why a guy thinks I am or am not having sex with him. I’m not going to stress about what people think I’m doing. I’m just gonna do me. And you should too.