Most of us have been single for large gaps of time. We have not been in a committed relationship in months, maybe years, maybe ever.
But it has not been all that long since our last heartbreak. We are still healing from an almost relationship, a friend with benefits, a one-night stand, a summer fling. We are searching for closure, looking for answers. We are struggling to move on from an old love like we were dumped, even though we were never given the label of boyfriend or girlfriend.
We have stopped entering serious relationships — but we have not stopped getting our hearts broken.
The logic behind modern dating does not make any sense. We avoid relationships because we are worried about wearing our hearts on our sleeves, acting vulnerable, expressing interest. We are a generation of skeptics who are terrified of getting cheated on, led on, or abandoned. Our biggest fear is allowing someone to get close to us and having them hurt us in the end.
We avoid committing because we are trying to protect ourselves from heartache — but it doesn’t make a difference because our hearts are breaking anyway. We are getting all of the pain of a relationship without any of the benefits.
We spend hours deciphering texts, ranting to friends, and shedding mascara tears over someone who has never introduced us to their grandparents or bought us a birthday present or uttered those three little words.
We experience the jealousy and uncertainty that comes with loving someone, but we guard ourselves from the good stuff. From slow dancing at weddings. From baking cupcakes together in the kitchen. From cuddling against chests and smooching foreheads and hugging from behind. We are screwing ourselves over. We are missing out on something spectacular.
We avoid leaving our comfort zones, we avoid putting ourselves out there, we avoid growing attached, because we have learned to equate love with pain. We have forgotten how good it feels to rely on someone to send cute texts each morning and hold us in their arms each night.
We have been hurt more times than we have been loved right, which is why we think the worst of relationships. We wonder whether they are worth the effort. We tell ourselves we are better off without their drama. We fool ourselves into thinking playing it safe is an option, when in reality, we cannot control what our heart wants. We are powerless.
We don’t commit anymore — but that has not stopped us from getting our hearts broken. Most of us are hung up on someone we never dated. Most of us are healing from a relationship that never happened. Most of us are mourning a person who never belonged to us in the first place.
We need to stop running away from our feelings. We need to stop distancing ourselves as soon as a relationship starts to become serious. We are not protecting ourselves by staying single. We are going to get our hearts shattered either way.