Why Are You Single?
The most common question I’m asked at least 2-3x a week. Yesterday, my psychiatrist asked me this. I’ve noticed that I tend to switch answers every time I reply to this question, depending on my mood. In my head, I have about 20 reasons why ~I think~ I’m single. However, no one is going to listen to more than maybe 2 reasons why, and if I even dared to respond to the question in a text with multiple reasons, forget it, I’m “crazy.” Anything more than 3-4 sentences at once is just too overwhelming for people I’ve noticed…
Yesterday my answer to my psychiatrist was, “I guess I haven’t found someone yet.” The most plausible and rational answer to this question I believe. I’m 26, I’m young, I have a few years left until I want to get married and have kids. I believe that I was put on this earth to be a mom. I literally cannot wait to have babies. I know, I know, I probably sound naive since I have ‘no idea what I’m talking about,’ or that I haven’t even witnessed all the sleepless nights, babies vomiting, crying 12 hours every day, etc. To be honest, I feel like the negative aspects of having kids are more heavily portrayed online and in the media than the wonderful ones. I haven’t lived a life of rainbows and sunshine, I’ve had more complicated childhood and college years than most people I know. So even though there is an overwhelming amount of negativity associated with having kids, I am doubtful that I can’t handle it with the wonderful support system I have around me. I’ve never hesitated once about having babies.
Back to this whole relationship/single thing, essentially I’m just so excited to start a family, that I am really, really, just dying to meet someone and give them all of the love that I have to offer. Of course, I can have a family without marrying someone or having a partner, but seriously, I’m young… and until I’m 35 and still single, I’m not toying with that option. I WANT a partner, someone to share my life with, someone to wake up next to, someone so create memories with. People ask me, “Why are you single?” as if I chose this life for the past 5 and a half years. Going to bed alone for 5 years. Eating alone for 5 years. Having no +1 for 5 years. But, didn’t I choose this?
I’m a big believer in taking control of the things that you can control in your life. You don’t like your job? Apply to a new one. Not happy with the way you look? Go to a gym. Eat healthier. Etc. I’m not someone who sits at home complaining about how my life is unraveling and does nothing to change it. I HATE those kind of people. I don’t have the highest paying job right now, and I wasn’t going to be the one complaining about buying people gifts during Christmas like it was a chore. I love to buy people gifts whether it’s for Christmas, their Birthday, etc. I have an organically creative mind, so I tend to view gift-giving as a creative challenge; what can I do to make this gift special and unique? Something different and memorable? So what did I do, I got a second job during the holidays so I wouldn’t be stressed about finances. The holiday has become filled with negative energy due to the financial constraints of many Americans. I get it – I live in NYC and have been busting my ass trying to make extra money and cut back on expenses. However, I don’t want to dread such a magical and holy time of the year when I have the control to make it more or less stressful.
There are some things you can’t control: when a family member gets sick, the weather conditions, the stock market, etc. So I try to make the most of the things I can control: my health (obv not genetics) exterior appearance, career, and my relationship status. Isn’t the status of being single or not a choice? Didn’t I choose this after all? How can I say “I didn’t choose to be single” if no one else is making decisions for me?
I did choose this life, this relationship status, or lack there of. I did choose and am choosing single right now. We live in a blame culture where we tend to blame people for things that don’t go our way #ThanksObama #ThanksTrump #ThanksAmerica ~sarcasm~. Impulsively, I sometimes say that I didn’t choose to be single since I want to blame the overwhelming amount of assholes who send me dick pics, the flaky guys who don’t show up to our date, the creepy guys who cat-call me on my commute home from work. I want to say, “Well I mean look at the guys who hit on me, it’s their fault I’m single! This is why I’m single! It’s because they’re all assholes!” Not like this statement is false or anything, they are assholes, but it’s not their fault I am single. I am just choosing not to date them, because well… for obvious reasons.
I sometimes forget to make myself aware of this, because no one wants to hear you rattle off reasons why you’re the victim, and why everyone else (men/society) is to blame for you being single. It just sounds like you’re not taking responsibility for your own situation. For the first 3 years of being single after my last relationship in 2012, I was very self-aware of my choice to be single. My ex cheated on me in Vegas and then got engaged to the girl he cheated on me with 3 months after we broke up. That, um, took a toll on me, lol. That was heartbreaking, not the actual breakup, but the ultimate disintegration of trust and loyalty. Of course he lied to me when I first confronted him about acting different when he came back from Vegas. The worst part of the whole thing was being lied to, face to face, and having your throat grow dry and your stomach feel hallow as you finally lock eyes, and BOOM. You just know it. There’s something that can sense the slightest difference and unfamiliarity in someone who you thought you knew, who you thought you could trust, who you thought you could depend on. And then it’s all gone with a blink of the eye.
After the breakup, I genuinely wanted to be single and have zero commitment with a guy in the near future. I was like, “Fuck this relationship crap for a while. I ain’t going through that pain again anytime soon.” After I graduated college, I was working full time M-F and part time Saturday and Sunday. I was working 7 days a week – legit exhausted and miserable. As someone who was still recovering from an eating disorder, I was still working on parting ways with my anxious mind and getting back to the behaviors of a mentally stable human being – not forcing myself to workout 6-7 days a week, not weighing and measuring everything I ate, etc. When you’re dealing with a mental illness, your hormones are out of wack, your perspective of life is skewed and often irrational. I didn’t have much sex drive during this time [when I was sick and recovering] since I’d rather go to the gym than take a rest day and go on a date, consume unnecessary/unknown calories, and leave me panicking the rest of the night and upcoming week.
Therefore, I really didn’t even have a desire to get into a relationship until I mended the relationship I had with my own anxious mind. I’m aware that this is going to be something that I will have to continue working on for the rest of my life, however, only until 2 years ago did I really feel ‘healthy’ enough to get into a relationship again. Even when I first dated my ex ~6 years ago, I was no where near healthy or mentally stable to get into a relationship. Yet I was young then, I was 20, and I wasn’t as self-aware as I am now about my anxiety and behavior. From ~August 2016 until now, I’ve finally felt “ready” to be with someone else as I’ve learned how to love myself first. That’s the good ‘ole cliche phrase they tell you about in therapy and self-help books anyway, right? As much as I hate that phrase, it’s true. It’s necessary.
Since I was 13 I have been working on my self-esteem, anxiety, OCD, self-confidence, and body image with my therapist and support system. So now, 13 years later, after I finally learned how to love myself, why doesn’t someone love me?
The worst part about people asking you, “Why are you single?” is the constant feeling of failure [IMO]. Like, “Why are you single? You’re pretty, smart, athletic, kind – I don’t get it?” If I’m all of these wonderful things, I must have done something wrong – I must have failed or made a mistake somewhere that is causing me to go to bed alone every night, right? I’ve been learning that the most frustrating part of this whole question/experience is the way that people view “being single.” There’s obvious misconceptions portrayed by those who are naturally dependent or possibly even insecure with being single. People who don’t have that organic independent nature have a hard time comprehending that, I don’t know, I can function without another person’s hand holding mine? Okay, that was petty, butttttttttt… I seriously run into so many people who ask, “But don’t you want someone to go to the movies or dinner with?” Um, fucking obviously Karen! But I don’t NEED someone to go to the movies with me, to dinner with me, or to kiss me on the forehead before I go to bed. That would be nice, yeah, but it’s not necessary. ~ I don’t need no man. ~
I’m not gonna lie, I bitch and vent to my friends a lot about being single, but mainly cause I don’t have any other single friends, lol. I love to go out, I love to meet people, but a lot of my friends… don’t. I don’t have the “partner in crime” or wing-woman friend to go out with, so it leaves me by myself most of the time. It’s okay, because like I said, I’m used to being alone after all the years, but of course it just gets old sometimes. It’s always easier to “do single” when you have someone else doing it with you.
Here are the answers I would give before when someone asked me, “Why are you single:”
- There’s too many options (dating apps, dating websites, dating events, etc) to [want] to commit to just one person
- People in NYC are too busy to date
- The guys I meet don’t want to commit
- The guys I meet are assholes
- No one likes me
- I’m not skinny enough
- I’m not pretty enough
- I don’t have time to date
- I don’t have money to date
- My standards are too high
- I must be too picky
- I just haven’t met someone I really like yet
…and… that’s it, I think. While all of the above points are things that I wouldn’t claim as “false statements,” cause yeah, there are guys who are assholes, I am picky, I haven’t met someone I really like yet, etc. Yet these statements are not answers to why I am single. The answer is because I have chosen to be single. I have chosen not to commit to someone who I wasn’t really crazy about. I have chosen not to commit to someone who didn’t have enough time to devote to me. In these cases, I assume I could have dated them, but I chose not to. Being single is a choice, and so is being a relationship. If you aren’t happy in your current relationship, then leave. No one is forcing you to stay in a relationship that isn’t making you smile each and every day. No one is forcing me to be independent and go home alone every night – I have chosen this life. I have chosen to remain loyal to my standards, and not let them drop just because I’m sick and tired of going to bed by myself every night. I have chosen to put myself before any guy that tries to mess with my confidence and mental health.
Why Am I Single?
I choose to be.