It all started back in middle school. There was this (adorable) boy with wild, curly locks and a sweet smile that covered up most of his acne, and I was in utter, complete love. My friends and I gave him a nickname, I followed him around the hallways, and then ultimately (in true 12-year-old fashion) I asked him if he’d be my boyfriend. Then to much of my delight— and a high-pitched squeal that my mom still remembers — I had my first boyfriend.
We dated, walking hand-in-hand at the mall and stealing bird-like kisses between classes for three glorious months, and right when I was convinced I would marry him, he broke up with me. I never knew why exactly, but he did start going out with someone else pretty shortly after, and it took years to mend my broken heart. Though I had one long-term relationship in high school, when that fizzled, I found myself single in college… and hating it.
And well, for the majority of the past, I don’t know, almost six years, I’ve been the single girl in the crowd. To be frank (and a bit humble here) — I’ve made quite the career out of it (you’re reading this, aren’t you?). I’ve also learned how to come to peace with my status, how to weed out the duds as soon as I match with them and how to never, ever settle for less than fireworks.
Being perpetually single sounds daunting, I know, but it really does have its perks. In fact, it’s taught me more about life than I could have ever learned if I was in a relationship all this time. While I hope (and deep down in my not-quite-bitter heart, know), I’ll meet someone wonderful to share my life with, I’m thankful for these truths I’ve learned as the quintessential single gal:
1. The Only Thing More Lonely Than Being Single Is Being In A Bad Relationship
When you’re in a somethin’-somethin’ that you know won’t last the test of time, you can look at it one of two ways: wasting time or passing time. For me, it’s definitely the former. When I’ve been in relationships where the sex was bad, we didn’t want the same things, or I just knew he wasn’t the right guy for me, I felt more alone trapped with someone else than I ever do when I’m single.
2. Facebook Doesn’t Mean a Damn Thing, Y’all
No, but really. I’ve watched relationships that started one week and ended the next (and ahem, I’ve done it myself!). I’ve seen couples who post gooey-melt-your-heart images of each other, but I know that they don’t get along, about 95 percent of the time. Others announce their engagements, when the other one cheated. Seriously — getting jealous, upset, or sad because Facebook told you three new people put a ring on it just isn’t worth your time. Sure, some of the couples you see on Facebook may really be that cute and in love, but some of the happiest couples I know put very little online, and though my career is pretty public, I hope to do the same one day.
3. You Have The Power to Control Your Own Happiness
There are days that I wake up, without anyone to roll over and cuddle with (or enjoy morning sex with) — and I get frustrated. I compare myself to my friends. To strangers on the street. I wonder why them, and why not me? I question my attractiveness, my intelligence, my everything, and then frantically look into egg freezing, ya know, just in case. But then — most of the time! — I remind myself to breathe, count my blessings and focus on the things that I already have in my life that bring me happiness. Because I’ve been single for so long, I know that having a partner isn’t the key to my eventual perfect bliss, it’ll just be another layer of my life. You can’t let the absence or presence of love be what defines your happiness.
4. People Have No Idea What To Say To You (But They Mean Well)
While it’s totally normal to get frustrated when your coupled-up friends remind you (over and over again) that when you meet the right person, you’ll just know or that something will feel different, or blah-blah-whatever: don’t. Or try your hardest not to. If you think about it, there are no answers to why some people stay single for years and others never experience single life. As much as I hate to give it to fate, you kind of have to. You can’t will yourself to love, and your friends really do mean well when they try to help you out.
5. There Is Not A Better Thing To Be Than Yourself
I’ve tried it all really: online dating, meeting through friends, organized activities, speed dating, matchmaking, life coaches, therapy. And as much as I’ve tried (and tried and tried) to meet someone, the only relationships I’ve stumbled across that were significant were totally, completely by chance. And yes (I’ll admit it), when I wasn’t actively seeking them out. But even more important than that? They all happened when I was myself — silly, a little romantic, stubborn, and kind-hearted to a default.
I may be perpetually single, but I know when I do meet that person — they’ll get the real, honest-to-goodness, me that has learned to never, ever apologize for who I am. I’ve spent too much time alone, learning to love my flaws and imperfections, to go back now — or for anyone, ever.
Images: Ryan Moreno/Pexels; Giphy