When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you feel lonely. And not the kind of loneliness that you get from living alone, or choosing to stay in on a Friday, or going to a coffee shop for some quiet reading. It’s the loneliness that feels like a contagious disease. Like if someone were to step near you, they would get infected with the toxic air that’s coming off your open wound. But it’s invisible air from an invisible wound. Because when everyone has a boyfriend but you, you feel hidden. They see your freedom, while meanwhile you see a cage. Forced into isolation so no one else catches your plague.
When everyone else has a boyfriend, you’re forced to focus on yourself most days and nights. And the focus can lead to scrutiny. And the scrutiny can lead to plain over-exaggeration of your faults and weaknesses. But no matter how many times you tell yourself it isn’t true, all that matters is that it feels true. You’re the one that got left behind. You’re the one that ended up alone. It’s easy to draw scientific conclusions from your failed experiments. You were not enough. You were the one who had to take time to learn and grow. You were the one that had things to figure out alone. Therefore you were the root of the problem. No wonder everyone left.
When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you wonder how it’s possible for two people to consciously engage in dating/courtship/love/marriage. You wonder how two people can objectively look at their lives and say, “Yes, I’d like to make space for you.” You see the chance of someone making space for you like a hopeless ideal. Something that simply won’t happen. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to even meet someone you can settle for. You hope someone will settle for you the way the others didn’t. They couldn’t even settle for you.
When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you spend countless nights reliving all the memories from when you weren’t this alone. You think, “I’ll be happy once someone loves me again.” You know that’s not true, but it feels that way. And isn’t that all that matters? How it feels?
When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you don’t run to your phone the second a yoga class is done to see if he finally returned your text. You don’t stare at the screen on Saturday nights, wondering if he will actually text you when he gets home from the night out you weren’t invited to. You don’t think twice about that photo you want to share. You don’t plan your nights based on when he is free. You don’t have to make conditional plans with your friends. “I think I’m free Thursday, let me check and get back to you.”
AKA “Let me see if my boyfriend is free, because if I don’t make time for us, he certainly won’t.”
When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you don’t have to worry about the implications of still splitting the holidays. You don’t have to deal with the questions from friends about who is spending Thanksgiving where. You get to spend Thanksgiving with your family, and you don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed or compromised.
When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you struggle to fall asleep. But when you do fall asleep, you stay soundly asleep. Because you are where you are supposed to be. Doing what you want to be doing. You always get to do what you want, whenever you want to do it.
When everyone has a boyfriend but you, you breathe a little easier. When everyone has a boyfriend but you, the sad reality is, you probably cry less. Because nothing is quite as painful as being completely alone while you hold hands with a hollow ghost. Nothing is as painful as fighting and struggling for real love, while love stares you in the face and lets you drown. Nothing is as painful as screaming silently, while you force yourself to numb how you are feeling, in hopes that it will make him stay.
When everyone else has a boyfriend but you, you learn to cherish the moments of sadness. Because you’re making space for something else. Someone else. Someone that will do more than stand next to you. They will BE next to you. They will hold a space for you. Because not everyone that stands next to you will fully be there. And all the nights of loneliness will teach you what it feels like to just “be.” To just be here. To be here now. To be you. To stop numbing. To stop filling your space with someone that just numbs you. Because nothing is as painful as the moment you realize you’ve been dimming yourself – when you know you are capable of so much light.