The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing: Being Single for 22 Years

February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!! Before I start rambling, I just want to say, I love each and every one of you for taking the time to read my blog. Whether it’s been all of my posts, or just this one, here’s a shout out to you and your interest and support in what I have to share. Enjoy today with the ones you love and remember to tell them why you love them too, because they deserve it!

The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing: Being Single for 22 Years | ThePrettyRelaxed.com

So.

Today, you are either celebrating your relationship with your special someone, or you are trying to bring optimism to this whole “Single Awareness Day” thing. I personally love Valentine’s Day because of all the pink and red everywhere, grocery store heart-sprinkled cupcakes, and cheesy/sappy things don’t bother me. I think it’s all really cute! But often, it’s also a time when women come together to reassure one another that being single is an opportunity to find yourself and to grow as a strong independent woman. “You don’t need a man (or woman) to complete you!” is a common response to the defeated single gal. While I totally agree with this positivity, today I wanted to straight out say: being single really f-ing sucks! Sometimes I feel like it’s wrong to be sad about being alone; especially in the midst of an era full of “love myself” lyrics and power-to-the-she attitudes. But heck, we all feel lonely now and then. Even the guys! And for those of you out there who are feeling that way right now: IT’S OK TO BE SAD, to feel lonely. Embrace your emotions! I see myself as a strong, independent, and can-fight-my-own-battles type of girl, but sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on something. And I’m here to talk about that.

The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing: Being Single for 22 Years | ThePrettyRelaxed.com
I’ve never had a “pretend husband” in elementary school, a middle school boyfriend who only liked me for my extra bag of Fruit Gushers (man were those things addicting), a soul-crushing high school heartbreak, a one-time-thing prom date, or even a promising college relationship. Nada. That’s right. I’m writing this to you as someone who has been single for the 22 (almost 23) years I’ve been on this earth. But I guess I wasn’t on the lookout for a dude while I was still in diapers… Yet, I didn’t get out of bed this morning and say “LOL I TOTES FORGOT TO LOOK FOR A MAN AND NOW I’M SINGLE AF LOL.” Nah, it has been a real struggle. And yes, you can argue I am generally still very young, but I’m out of college, and to me that tells me that I can take the “young” out of young adult by now. So when I tell people about my (literally nonexistent) dating life, some of them are actually surprised that I’ve never been in a relationship before, which I take as a big compliment. It makes me seem like I’m worthy of being someone’s better half, worthy of being loved. And now here is where you remind me “you don’t need a man to complete you!” You’re right, I don’t. At all. But it would be nice to have that comforting feeling, to be cared for in a totally different way than how my friends and family do. And cuddling; that sounds like a good time.

The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing: Being Single for 22 Years | ThePrettyRelaxed.com
Of course, surrounding myself with awesome friends and family makes life more than worth it (reassuring you, myself, and John Mayer that I won’t go down a true lonely path). But taking my mind off of my marital status doesn’t last long nowadays. There seems to be this complicated stigma around being single. If I focus on myself—and only myself—like everyone says, will my prince charming really come knocking at my door when I least expect it? Or is that just a bunch of BS? Should I feel bad for my single self (I mean come on, it’s been 22 years)? Or is self empathy lame? Do I criticize my lack of social/flirting skills? Do I blame myself for not “putting myself out there” more? Or is the idea of “having game” overrated? Should I continue to live a carefree single life and stop obsessing over finding “the one?” I just get more confused everyday. And unfortunately, the term “single” itself, often refers to those who just went through a breakup or those who have been “out of the game” for a few years. But it’s rare to see perspectives from people in a situation similar to mine. Unless it’s from a 12 year old dreamer, wishing for her school’s Troy Bolton to sing a romantic rendition of “What I’ve Been Looking For” with her. And yes, this was I, once upon a time. I mean, it’s Zac Efron we are talking about here people! So, I am having a heart to heart with you as a single lady who has never actually been “in the game.” (I gotta… get my, get my head in the game… sorry I couldn’t resist haha) I realize this gives me absolutely no accreditation for my statements about what it’s like to be in a relationship lol, but let’s just go with it…

Super generically speaking though, being single is both a blessing and a curse. We live in a world where the most sought out life goal is to find love—or to lose weight and win the lottery—and if you achieve all three, congratulations! You my friend, are officially the luckiest person in the galaxy! But if you are living the single lady life, society deems you as one of two things: a desperate loner who will eventually turn full on cat lady (a perfect target for dating app companies) OR a self-righteous feminist who only cares about sticking it to the man. Before you say anything, yes, I sound like a dramatic judgmental person and no, these are not actually the only two things people categorize us singles as, but I’m hoping someone will understand where I’m going with this. Lolz all around, right? The lucky ones are those who effortlessly emit light rays of confidence and self-appreciation. Including those single-by-choice free birds. But even those people feel the lonely bug creepin in now and then. Oh, and someone thought I was single by choice and I was quick to tell them, HECK NO BUDDY! This bird is free… free to go on a date! And as you might have guessed, I’ve been sucked into the whole hype of finding my soul mate one day, getting married, buying a house, having kids, and being able to send cheesy family holiday cards to all of my other friends who have families of their own. Though, I have to admit, I get so caught up in this predetermined planned out world, that I sometimes forget that being on my own really does provide so much opportunity. Maybe not necessarily better opportunities, but definitely different opportunities. Because if I said otherwise, that would be unfair to all of the taken people out there.

Therefore it’s time for the fun part. Let’s talk about the crappy yet amazing parts about being single (IMO):

The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing: Being Single for 22 Years | ThePrettyRelaxed.com

  • Being known as the “single friend” – You seem to automatically become the designated third wheel (though, this is actually not all that bad in my experience).
  • Excluded from group plans if it entails couple activities – Double dating isn’t in your vocabulary. Exception: you are that third wheel that gets to tag along! Woohoo!
  • Intimacy is scarce – Yeah, randomly hooking up is an option, but that’s not exactly my style.
  • That annoyance/jealousy when seeing and being around other couples
  • Pinterest – And the constant reminder that your dream wedding board might stay a dream forever.
  • Watching romantic movies and TV shows ­– They always remind me of how #foreveralone I feel. EVERY DANG TIME.
  • Can’t relate to song lyrics – Does experiencing what Taylor Swift is singing really make her songs that much more meaningful? Whether it be referencing being in love or broken up, I just realized—in this moment—that I’ve never been able to truly feel those feels when I listen to music! Sad day.
  • Can’t give legitimate relationship advice to your friends – And sorry, I can’t relate to how upset you are from his insensitive text last night, because if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been single for 22 years.
  • Self-doubt – (I hate this one.) You start to think there is something wrong with you, or that you aren’t good enough. Repeat after me: I’m confident. I love myself. I’m confident. I love myself… Hailee Steinfeld, where you at??
  • The wedding “plus one” scenario is awk
  • Your identity may be questioned – “Is it because you are actually a lesbian?” or “Are you actually straight?”
  • Overall loneliness – Sometimes, there could be this recurring fear of living the rest of your life alone and not being able to grow old with someone.

To make this less depressing…

The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing: Being Single for 22 Years | ThePrettyRelaxed.com

  • Freedom – No one is holding you back from doing what you want!
  • You don’t have to share. ANYTHING. – I was thinking mostly about food here. I’m not a big fan of sharing my French fries. No way.
  • It’s fun to imagine potential suitors – My friend truly believes that I’m going to end up with a half black half Asian dude named Jamal. Haha!
  • Can make your own decisions ­– This goes along with the freedom part. I’ve always dreaded the fact that I’m going to have to compromise on what my house will look like if I live with a guy. That pink couch is staying, Jamal.
  • Can flirt for days – I think I’m bad at flirting, but when I try it’s always fun!
  • The opportunity/thrill of “the chase” – Arguably the best part of a relationship. Though, I’ve never gotten passed this so I have no clue if that’s true, lol.
  • Heartbreak isn’t a thing – Crying and eating ice cream because of a man? Not in my house! (But just for kicks, I would def be eating my feelings away with a ½ lb burger and onion rings instead. Sorry Ben & Jerry.)
  • Having a million crushes – And talking about them. Girl talk about guys is always the best.
  • Checking out guys freely – It’s equivalent to guys checking out other girls; look all you want because there’s no way to get in trouble!
  • Dating apps won’t ruin your (nonexistent) relationship – If you are in a relationship and on Tinder, you know what’s coming for you.
  • Romantic relationships are often fleeting anyway – This makes being taken seem unnecessarily stressful, so no thanks!
  • Unlimited “me” time – You do you, 24/7.
  • Endless possibilities for the unknown – You are nowhere near “tied down.” Your future is completely in your control!!

Hey look! There are more amazing things than crappy! Hooray! But after writing these lists, I’ve come to realize that even though I’ve never actually dated anyone, if you are single, that’s what you simply are: single. Someone who just broke up with their significant other, may as well feel the same things I’m feeling. They are essentially starting over; starting from where I am now. But. The one thing that’s different, is my inexperience with having the feeling. The feeling of being with someone. The feeling of having someone. The feeling of caring for someone. The feeling of someone caring for you. That’s what I’m missing, that’s what I’m curious of the most: being in love. Even the feeling of being heart broken, or falling out of love and having to break someone’s heart. I can’t fathom how either may feel, and I’m so scared to find out one day. Yet, call me a hopeless romantic, but here I am waiting for that moment when I find that special someone. Without being too sappy, I honestly wonder what it’s like to be called beautiful from someone that actually means it. From someone who isn’t my family or one of my girl friends. Quick embarrassing story: I’ve always fantasized about telling a guy friend all of this as my deep dark secret and how I’ve never been in a relationship before and never been called beautiful by a guy before. Then he’s all surprised and tells me his secret where he’s actually falling in love with me and he thinks I’m beautiful, and then he becomes my boyfriend. LOLLL. I know, classic. Straight out of a rom-com!

In my opinion, and in the grand scheme of things (aka again, don’t take family and your besties into account here), there are two versions of living: by yourself and with someone else. Each version, unique and special in their own ways. Some may argue one is better than the other, or that they aren’t things to worry about in the first place. I’m just hoping I won’t get left out and I’ll eventually be given the chance to experience both sides. At least I’m already on the expert level of one!

Yes, I’m lonely and yes, being single makes me sad sometimes, but hey, I’m not looking for any kind of pity party business (so get all of that out of here!) or a surprise blind da… well, if you have a friend that looks like Chris Evans and has the heart of John Krasinski, feel free to hook a brotha up! lol, seriously though…

You made it! Take a deep breath because it’s all over. I just wanted to share my crazy, love-inspired whirlwind of thoughts that has been occupying my mind for quite sometime! What are your thoughts on this whole complicated stigma around being single? Do you have any other things to add to my lists? I’d love to hear from you guys below!

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day, again!

Always,
Madison

p.s. I have now come to accept the fact that I overthink things way too much. And I hope I’m not the only one. <3

 

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