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. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock

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  • http://www.facebook.com/youknowiwasheretoo Richa

    This makes me so sad.

  • http://gravatar.com/cindyma1014 C

    absolutely amazing post….thank you

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  • Kelsey

    “We were built to love and when you don’t have a partner, you feel totally incomplete.” The second person writing in this sounds preachy and I totally disagree. I don’t feel this way at all about being single, and I’ve been single for longer than two years. It just has to do with how comfortable you are being alone, with yourself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andrea.lynema Andrea Lynema

      It really has to do with what kind of partner you’re with. If you’re with an awesome partner that’s your second half, sure. But if you’re with someone who isn’t totally right for you, breaking up can make you feel more complete than you ever were in the relationship.

      • D

        agreed.

      • S

        omg. THANK YOU.

    • H

      Agreed 100%! Four years single and I don’t feel incomplete at all.

    • http://traveler6791.wordpress.com KelseySaysHi

      took the words out of my mouth kelsey

    • http://twitter.com/SodiumSepia Rick (@SodiumSepia)

      Preach it. I’ve been single for 6 years now, and every day I learn how wrong I was to ever feel like the answers are in someone else. It’s fundamentally impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone if you don’t figure out how to be complete on your own.

    • onyae

      Very true. I’ve also been single for too long, and I do feel it’s wise to learn how to be alone without going crazy or feeling the need to be with someone. Once you appreciate yourself (even if it’s too long) things will work out.

  • http://www.raymondthimmes.com raymondthimmes

    I became extremely low after reading this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davey.kuraner Davey Kuraner

    “We were built to love and when you don’t have a partner, you feel totally incomplete.” This is not universal. Many feel perfectly fine, even better, when not in a relationship, including myself.

    • jus

      forever alone, im sorry did you ex break your heart? sounds like you are rationalizing

      • Elizabeth

        Wow. If that’s not the bitchiest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you in a codependent relationship and have incredibly low self-esteem so your identity is hinged on someone else? Sounds like you’re rationalizing.

  • Em

    This is such a great reminder of how lucky I am. He may drive me crazy sometimes, but he’s all those things to me. I will go home tonight and tell him.

  • http://10lbmedia.com jade

    Are you a gemini? BTW i love EVERY post on this blog.

  • http://jencanfield.com Jen

    This post is a bit of a downer. I’ve been single a lot longer than 2 years and I wake up everyday and love living life. The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself, and that’s the one I’m fortunate enough to work on right now. I watch my friends relationships and I wouldn’t trade my single status for any of that drama. There are some very liberating things about being single. It is a time of self discovery and exploration… Not pinning for someone to come along.

    • JK

      amen!!

    • http://ladaysandnights.wordpress.com ladaysandnights

      thank you. while im sure it is a bit of a downer for some people, what’s the point of being someone’s +1 if you can’t even be in a relationship with yourself?

      • http://www.raymondthimmes.com raymondthimmes

        If I have to wait until I’m okay with myself before I can be in another successful relationship then I am going to die alone.

      • http://ladaysandnights.wordpress.com ladaysandnights

        well that’s sad

    • Claudia

      My thoughts exactly. The essay was touching and I could relate but parts like “when you don’t have a partner, you feel totally incomplete” and “I forget… having something tangible to look forward to” are a bit much. I’m sorry you feel that way but I really hope that you can find ways to feel complete and create tangible things to look forward to outside of a romantic relationship. And now that you’ve realized that you want to be in a relationship again, take steps to find one (internet dating, asking friends to set you up, etc.)! Not that you *have* to start actively looking for a partner and making that a priority, but if you want to, you can. Sometimes, just knowing that you have that option is comforting.

    • Sez

      Amen to self discovery and exploration, I am single mom of 3 months with my two little ones, I’ve been in relationships since the split from their father 2 and a bit years ago, always seeking someone to fill the void. I finally found someone to fill the void. Me. I no longer base my self worth on a +1 and I feel free. My only regret is I didn’t feel this way 2 and a bit years ago.

  • Lindsay

    this is so lovely, but so sad

  • http://twitter.com/StarJonestown Star Jonestown (@StarJonestown)

    BUY A CAT. Today.

    • Donna

      yes! hahaha

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  • Luke

    This sounds like I could’ve written it almost (broken up with every girl i’ve been with, many of them quite amazing). But the feeling of incompleteness…yeah it slips in from time to time but it’s allowed me to really figure out myself as a person. I do quite miss the +1 feeling on occasion though.

  • lauren

    I feel like I wrote this….

  • V

    I think my heart just broke…

  • Van

    omfg. I am going through the exact same thing. holy moly. God help me.

  • Papa

    My god. This made remember everything. But also made me happy that the next person will deserve it more than the first.

  • Jessica

    I can relate to this 100%… It’s comforting to know that at least I’m not the only one who feels this alone.

    • http://twitter.com/Bealtaine6 chloe cass (@Bealtaine6)

      I was just going to say that :)

  • Joe

    Hey, at least January finally realizes that she’s an emotionally immature little girl. And knowing is half the battle – Go JOE!

  • Lena

    Ive been sngle long enough to call it forever.
    Ive been through highs and lows of being single but reading this totally
    created a sudden pinch inside.
    But NO you can only live as much dont let somebody else be your definition
    of being ‘whole’. U might be single cos u hvent seen ur f ull potential as an individual.

  • anthonyaldred@gmail.com

    January, this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a long time.

  • D.

    To be honest, I thought I was a “very happy single person”, until I read this post and realised how good it feels to have someone.

    • http://daniellemblog.wordpress.com Danielle

      I just don’t agree with the “when you don’t have a partner, you feel totally incomplete”, I feel complete, I just wish I had someone to just come home to see you, make plans, etc

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=922794 Steven Timberman

    Everyone just wants to feel wanted. Sometimes it really is just that simple.

  • http://arielinwunderland.wordpress.com arielinwunderland

    “We were built to love and when you don’t have a partner, you feel totally incomplete.” I’ve been single for over a year now and I feel more complete than I was in my last relationship. Being with the wrong partner can make you feel more lonely than being single, you start to feel like there is a stranger in your bed. I have meaningful relationships with friends and family and am active in my community. My mom was a single mother, I don’t think she felt incomplete. I make plans with friends, I seek other friends that are single, and I have fun. And I am wanted and loved. I am wanted as a sister, a daughter, and as a friend. I love all of these people at their best and worst. You don’t need a partner to have deep relationships and feel like a complete person.

    Annnnnd, turns at you can still have sex. Single isn’t so bad these days.

    • http://gravatar.com/pinkhibiscus123 Hibbie

      A year is nothing. I was ecstatic about being single for nearly two years. Four years, however, and it stops being so much fun. And sex… trust me, you get tired of one night stands and fuckbuddies after a while!

      • http://gravatar.com/pinkhibiscus123 Hibbie

        Also, I hear you on the other relationships bit, but the time when it starts to get really bad is when your formerly close-as-soulmates buddies find their real soulmates… Don’t get me wrong, being single is good sometimes, but it does suck to not be someone’s +1. I used to have friends that considered me their +1… And now they’re in relationships, and I have to wonder how long it would take someone to look for my body if I died alone in my flat.

        /end self-pity

  • chasedwarf

    I’ve been single for so long. I don’t even know what I forgot.

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