Things You Forget When You’re Single
I’ve been single for a long time now. Too long. I feel my private parts getting swallowed up, making me look like Barbie but with cellulite and a size-12 waist. I’m starting to forget what it ever felt like to be in a relationship, what it felt like to always have someone to call and make plans with. This feeling that someone needed you more than they needed anyone else. You were their person. You were the person they left parties early for, just so they could take a drunk cab ride to your apartment at 3 a.m. and have you be the last person they saw before they fell asleep. When you’re single, there’s no guaranteed silver lining to your drunk, no person whose text messages can make you instantly feel safe and like you always have somewhere to go.
I’ve had this before. I’ve been someone’s + 1 but it never worked out. I got too bored and anxious, and ended it. I was always the one to end it. I was dating quality men too. I’m talking about boys who would always text back and have “I’D BE A REALLY GOOD DAD!” written on their forehead. I tried so hard to love them as much as they loved me but I couldn’t or, perhaps more accurately, wouldn’t. I didn’t think that breaking up would be a big deal. I’d find someone else, someone better. That’s how it goes. You jump from relationship to relationship. It never really stops unless you want it to, right?
It does stop. It did stop. Something shifted and all of a sudden there were no more potential + 1′s. It’s been two years now and I feel like I’m experiencing some kind of amnesia. I’m forgetting how I ever was with someone. It doesn’t feel real to me. Was I ever someone’s person? I honestly don’t remember. And if I was, if I was the person you could come to drunk at 3 a.m. and cook breakfast with, how did I do it? Did I smile at the appropriate times? Did I scratch your back? As corny and Miss Dependent as it sounds, there’s something inside of you that is kept alive when you’re in love with someone. It’s a vital part of who you are; you need to be able to give all your love to someone. You need to feel wanted. It’s as important as drinking water or getting oxygen. We were built to love and when you don’t have a partner, you feel totally incomplete. This goes beyond the feeling of shame you get when you’re alone. It’s more of a biological need.
I’m forgetting more and more each day. I’m forgetting how to compromise with someone, how to structure my life around someone else. I mean, it’s not like I ever really did that anyway. I’ve always been someone who’s needed their alone time and done their own thing. But I do like this idea of being a team and working together. You spend too much time alone and you forget how to do that. You forget how to be with someone other than yourself.
I forget what it’s like to see the same naked body over and over again, learning every crevice and sketching the outline with my fingers. I forget what it’s like to feel safe, like if I slipped and died in my apartment, there would be someone looking for me within the day. I forget what it’s like to deal with other people’s families, of awkward blending during the holidays. I forget the excitement you feel when their birthday is coming up and wanting something so perfect for them. You would do pretty much anything to see them smile. I forget The Future with capital letters and having something tangible to look forward to. I forget what it’s like to love someone when they’re at their most unlovable. Forget. Forget. Forgotten.
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It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.