With Valentine’s Day season upon us, I want to talk about being single. Being single isn’t exactly something that is romanticized by society. It’s actually something that a lot of people fear. People fear being alone for their entire lives. I have had so many friends that have said things like “It’s fine, I guess I’ll just wait ’til I’m 40 to get married” or “I don’t want to end up like her. She’s 56 and single!”
Everyone pictures the perfect life with their partner. We all want those cute good-morning texts. We want lazy Sundays waking up at sunrise with your husband or wife sleeping right next to you. They roll over and and open their eyes and you trace every one of their freckles with your finger. They smile and their eyes light up, and you know they’re the love of your life. Yeah, it’s these sorts of images. I even have an excerpt that I wrote for a book once that is a great example of what I’m talking about:
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he replied in complete shock at his husband’s unexpected tears, feeling them soaking his skin. His steel blue eyes shook as his own tears banged into the dam. “You’re not going to lose me, you’re never going to lose me. I love you so much. So much.” Nick continued to sob and tremble, although his pace was slowing.
Reed held him closer, his arms folding over him in complete compassion. “Nick, you are everything to me. You’re my galaxy. I owe you everything. You make me the happiest I have ever been. I can never find words beautiful enough to describe how you make me feel. And I can’t figure out how I was living before I met you. I can’t imagine not waking up next to you every morning, listening to your breathing and rolling over and kissing your forehead, dodging our silly cat resting between us and watching the same sleepy eyes open that I saw yesterday and the day before that and the years before that. Imagining not being with someone who still gives me butterflies to this very day, I can’t do it. I love you so much, so much more than you know, than you will ever know. I love you.”
It’s sweet, right? But is it real? Only in the most perfect relationships: the ones that we want so, so badly. It’s an idealized version of love. So many people think that they will start living and finally be happy once they have this person to complete them. So, we try everything to find the one person for us, and it can become consuming very easily. All of my single friends are boy crazy. But, for some reason, I’m not.
I have been single for 22 years. And I’m 22 years old. Yep, I’ve never dated anyone, gone on a date with anyone, had sex, or even kissed anyone. And as depressing as that sounds, I really haven’t minded. Of course there are days where I’m swiping on Tinder or reading bios on OkCupid trying to find someone who I can confide in and love with all my heart and spend my life with. In the end, I do want what most people want. I do believe in romantic love and yearn for it. But, in some ways, I’m grateful for these 22 single years. I’ve had so many could-have-been relationships. I don’t even want to mention how many times I’ve been ghosted!
So maybe my streak of being ghosted and maybe even being single will break soon, but I will let it happen when it’s meant to be. For now, I want to share some of the things I have learned while I’ve been single.
There’s More Virgins and Long-Term Single Out There Than I Thought
Just look at the Bachelor, Colton Underwood, for instance! Our culture is obsessed with people’s private lives. The Bachelor really shows it! The world just can’t get over that Colton is a virgin! Because of this “stigma”, people in their twenties that are still virgins feel ashamed and think they must be the only one in the world. But, in my experience, I have seen so many people just like me commenting on videos and forums about relationships. There’s more people out there than one would think, they’re just a little hard to find because of wanting privacy.
My Family May Never Accept That I’m Single
This one is mostly about my grandma. Every time I see her, she asks if I have a boyfriend. The answer is always “no”. I’m pretty sure that she’s convinced that I’m a lesbian by now. My parents are super supportive and not pushy about it at all, thankfully! I’ve found that the older generation has a hard time when women are single for a long periods. My theory about why this is is that it wasn’t the norm for women to have careers and be independent while these people were growing up. I wish my grandma was a little more understanding and maybe less concerned, but for now we’ll just say I’m a lesbian. Eventually, she’ll stop asking! Hopefully.
Freedom is Important to Me
I love being able to do whatever I want whenever I want to. This is one of the reasons why I have lived alone, without roommates, for three years now. Being able to eat ice cream whenever, lay on the couch, and walk around naked are just a few of the luxuries! I feel that with a partner, I may not have been able to discover this about myself. It’s a form of self-love for me to be alone and independent, and I’m glad I realized it pretty early on.
I Realized My Self-Worth
Since I have been single for so long, my first relationship is not going to be one where the guy disrespects and steps all over me. I know what I’m worth and the treatment that I deserve. I’m not going to deal with “wyd” and “r u up?” text messages from guys that never would text me otherwise at 3AM. When I start dating someone, it will be the real deal. I feel like I (luckily) skipped the stage of wanting a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship. Whether this was by chance or luck, I don’t know. But I know what I’m worth and what I want. If real love comes to me, I will gladly accept it with open arms.
I Learned What Makes Me Happy
People can become very persuaded by their partners and end up doing whatever they like to do, even if they truly don’t enjoy it. Being single has allowed me to figure out what makes me the happiest. Spending hours in coffee shops, driving around with my friends, laying on the floor with my friends laughing with pizza boxes scattered about, spin classes, and spending time alone with my cat are all things that make me wildly joyful. I’m glad I know what can take me out of almost any dark hole I accidentally fall into.
Dating Apps Suck
Ok, let’s be real. They suck. They all suck. Tinder is great for hooking up but that’s about it! OkCupid can be full of creeps. Match is too exclusive. Bumble… it was good in theory, but…yeah. I feel like I don’t have to say much more.
I Discovered My Sexuality
My sophomore year in college, I realized that I was asexual. For years, I thought something was wrong with me for not finding people “sexy” and not even knowing how people could even want to have sex with someone just by looking at them physically. Finally, after thinking I was broken and unloveable for so long, I found a community of people just like me.
Asexual people aren’t attracted to other people sexually. That’s the basic definition, as some asexuals never want to have sex ever and some, like me, are more open to it or actually enjoy it. I’m convinced that if I was in a relationship during this time of my life, I would have never figured it out and found a label for what I am. I would probably have felt like I couldn’t satisfy my partner and also like I was lost or living some type of lie.
Although I do still feel out of place, pitied, and misunderstood sometimes, I am so, so grateful for this realization of mine and the ace community every day. Finally, I can be who I really am. I’m going to include a link here if you want to watch a helpful Youtube video that explains asexuality more in-depth: 7 Things Asexual People Want You to Know
I have learned so much during my single life, and I am so much more prepared for when I do start dating down the road. What have you learned from being single for any amount of time? I would love to read your experiences and do some more pondering of my own. Being single isn’t a bad thing at all! It can truly be a gift.