Perpetually being the third, fifth or seventh wheel gets old.
Twenty or 30-something couples, still haven’t learned that no amount of coy, “Oh, but you can share my boyfriend” remarks will make you feel less single. Nothing said over red wine, in a room full of couples, magically takes away the fact that you’ll be the one who leaves alone, gets into bed by yourself.
You’re not a late bloomer. Pairing off is not the only way to show growth. We always say love is brave, and it is. But choosing not to settle takes more courage. Choosing not to pair off for the sake of being in a couple is brave too.
People fell in love in high school. You didn’t. Other than bad sex, unreturned phone calls and long distance promises, you weren’t missing much.
People fell in love in college, on trips abroad, during gap years spent doing service projects.
You fell in love with other things. With people, with family, with friends, with subjects, with passions, with places.
Instead of learning from your relationship, and using the, “He’s taught me so much” line, you learned from your refusal to be tied down. You learned from flirtation, from sex, and from people who cared, but couldn’t commit.
You didn’t need a commitment, or you were forced to do without for circumstantial reasons. You’ve been spared 20 something years of relationships for the sake of relationships. Don’t let other people discount that fact. Don’t let yourself discount that fact.
Sure, some people found their soul mates, their “ones,” their people. But others went on a date that somehow dragged into a year long relationship, when it shouldn’t have. It took a lot of effort. And you chose to use your effort doing whatever you wanted, instead of tailoring your schedule to someone else’s.
There is no rule that says love is what you have to go looking for. Relationship virginity is not a 20-something ailment that can be cured with pitying glances and set up offers.
Skip the endless set ups you only go on on to appease the pairs helping you find love. You’re allowed to just be single. You’re allowed to be the person whose timing with love hasn’t worked out yet. You’re allowed to just not be interested.
You’re not the first person to go all in on the wrong hand and end up without the person you wanted. Nor are you the first person who didn’t want to date everyone they’ve slept with.
Whether you’re a victim of shitty timing, or you’re single for lack of interest, be pleased with yourself, and with your choices. You deserve to know that your self reliance is scary to those who have always chosen a partner, rather than being alone.
Your independence will go unacknowledged at times. Groups collectively pity single life because it’s easier than praising it. Even if they’re in awe of how you live your life, there aren’t parties that congratulate you on doing you.
Don’t shy from the fact that you’ve never been in a long term relationship. Every time that reveal illicits an overly dramatic, “REALLY?” response, know that it is hiding something else.
They aren’t shock because they’re convinced you’re on the outside, looking in. They’re shocked because some people truly don’t understand that there are people who like taking care of themselves. It’s not your responsibility to make people comfortable with that fact. Your unwillingness to compromise isn’t something you need to hide.