I’ll be honest — I don’t usually date. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not afraid to say it. And I’m sure as heck not afraid to write it here.
Now typically, my “dating life” is a joke. I reference it, my friends reference it and my family references it. Often times, my parents (yes, my parents…) are telling me about “this great guy they met.” A finance specialist. A realtor. A business owner that had great teeth.
In fact, if my dinner conversations don’t consist of reminding me of my student loan debt, our jobs or potential dating candidates something is most likely wrong. And you know what? I’m ok with it.
I’m ok with it because their lectures remind me of who I am and what I want with my life. “I don’t date,” doesn’t translate to “I don’t commit,” or even “I’m incapable of love.”
It doesn’t mean I set my standards too high or that I just want to go sleep around. It doesn’t mean I’m avoiding love or that I’m looking for it. Most important, it does not mean, “I don’t deserve to be happy.”
In fact, I’m happier than I’ve ever been and here’s why.
I have time for myself.
Selfish I know. But when it comes down to it, when I have a long day at work, I love coming home to my one bedroom apartment to sit on the couch in peace and quiet for just 5 minutes.
Home is where I’m comfortable. I can come home and put my sweats on. I can eat ice cream for dinner or if it’s a really long day, I can have a bottle of wine for dinner. (Served with a string cheese because I’m too cheap to buy myself the “good stuff.”)
I don’t have anyone expecting anything from me when I walk through my front door. Dating doesn’t necessarily change that, but it definitely requires some time and effort to put in with communicating how your day went. If it went poorly, it may require you sharing your ice cream, and that is a commitment I’m not sure I’m willing to make.
All jokes aside, for me, my 20s are a time for me to allow myself to grow in the areas I’m passionate in. My time at home allows me to do that.
I have time for my friends.
Any one of my married friends is yelling at me through the screen right now. Yes, I know you all have time for friends too. It’s just different.
The time I have with my friends is the same type of time I had with you married folks before we became the two-for-one deal. You know, the deal where I get a bedroom in your first house as a married couple and a “husband” that makes us french fries after going out and having a little too much drink.
I cherish that. I cherish those types of friendships. And the best way to get them is to spend as much one-on-one time as possible with the people I love…and right now, I can do that.
I love everyone with my entire heart.
Anyone who knows me knows I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’ll drive an hour and a half to have dinner with you if I know you’ve had a rough day. I’ll stay up with you all night to help you finish a project even though I was up all night the night before to finish my own.
I’m a caretaker. You’re sick? Here’s soup…and probably ice cream. Let’s curl up and watch movies all night.
The point? I do it because I care, not because I’m trying to impress you. I do it because you deserve it. You deserve to be loved and I’m not afraid to show it.
There’s always time for an adventure.
My single friends seem to be the ones that have that same type of adventure seeking attitude I see in myself. It’s not that we don’t want to settle down. It’s just that we haven’t found the right adventure at the right time yet…
Plus jumping on a plane and heading to Ireland sounds like a better way to spend my money than on a white dress.
I’m learning from my past.
In life I truly believe that the best lessons are the hardest. Relationships suck, they’re hard. And anyone who says they aren’t…well, they’ll find out eventually.
Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. It just means you need to realize what it truly means to be in a relationship. And you’ve got to be willing to work for it.
You need to be willing to share the intimate details of your life with someone. You need to know you’re worst side is, at some point, coming out.
The side that’s worse than the side of you that flunked out of college after partying too much your freshman year. Worse than the side of you that lied to your parents as a teenager. And worse than the side of you that wakes up with no makeup on, hair a mess with morning breath and a retainer in your mouth.
You need to trust someone. Trust them to accept you for you and appreciate the lessons you’ve learned from your past. You need to grow with someone. You need to plan a future together. Together, as a unit, as a team.
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, until death do us part,” isn’t a phrase to take lightly. So until you truly feel like you’ve found someone that is worth it…wait.
Wait for someone who laughs with you. Wait for someone who cries with you. Wait for someone who will drop everything to be there for you if you need them. Wait for someone who challenges you. Wait for someone who prays with you. Wait for someone who teaches you. Wait for someone who desires you.
What I’m saying is simple: Wait for someone you want to date.
Until then, be happy because “I don’t date,” isn’t an excuse. It’s just an explanation.