Update: this post is ironically going up the same day I’ve changed my Facebook status to be no longer single. But I wrote this anyways and is usually quite relevant to me, so hopefully others understand my struggles, too.
I’m not going to lie, the ideas of love, a relationship and romance have always been weak areas for me. They honestly freak me out a tad. So that’s why I feel like it’s important to share that anxiety and uncertainty about it and some main reasons why I am currently single and have been single 99% of the time.
Throwing it back to my younger days, in many aspects of life, I felt like I was always the person missing out. That life was happening and people were having these important human experiences and memories and I was falling behind. Especially in middle school (when at the time I didn’t know mental illness was a thing), I remember just dwelling on the depression and anxiety behind being “forever alone.” That I was a failure because up to that point, I had no romantic interest in me whatsoever. I really didn’t have the self-esteem myself to believe in my own self worth, so I felt like I needed romantic attention to find that. Little did I know, constantly thinking and complaining about wasn’t helping anyone.
I would say high school that discomfort definitely eased somewhat. It was definitely still in the back of mind, but I’ve already been so used to being single when it’s all I’ve known, I couldn’t visualize my life with someone in that role. I’m very grateful that I was on my own during these times because I wasn’t in the right place to truly commit and appreciate someone else in that capacity. But I definitely remembering praying and hoping and wishing for some epiphany to just magically occur.
I had my first relationship at the end of my junior year. For some people, that might seem ridiculously late, others might still say I’m pretty young. It could really go either way. I dread even calling it a relationship when it only lasted a couple of months. But they were my first times going out on a date, my first kiss, and in general just having someone in a position where you are each others’ best friends with even extra included. Like a buy one get one free deal. Although the time was short, and I really struggled handling that “breakup” (again, only a couple of months), I started to see possibility for myself. I wasn’t completely hopeless, but there is a potential that someone out there complements me and makes me a better person, someone I can share my life with.
When it comes to dating, I am probably considered old-fashioned. Because of my extended time alone and doing my own thing, I place a very high value in the concept of a romantic relationship. I am very serious about who I give and receive affection from. I could never see myself just dating as a casual activity. I choose to dedicate my time to someone very thoughtfully. If I choose you, that means I see a potential future with you. Which I know, it sounds really scary. I see people my age getting married, and I’m in awe. But I do really want to get married. Not necessarily right at this moment by any means, but I feel like if I know it’s “the one,” I’ll know, and if so, I don’t see a problem with getting the ball rolling.
And this point leads me to my time in college, where “hookup culture” is the norm. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Since my first romantic experience, I’ve had about four or five guys that we just talked or we actually went out on a date or two, and it just didn’t work out. These little bumps in the road are very important, no matter how annoying they are, because I know it’s helping me figure out what I really want in a significant other. And when that person comes, all of the frustration will be worth it. But when college students only utilize the physical parts of a relationship, throwing out anything without “instant gratification” and that might be difficult, I feel like that devalues the entire concept of love. Someone like me wondering in my head who I encounter might be my future husband is left to feel defensive and uneasy about everything. All I hear about are the hookups people have, and I’m left with cringing even at a couple just holding hands.
The things I love much about a relationship are the little tidbits. Like simply holding hands and a guy does that little thumb thing (I swear it’s a thing), or just being physically close to someone (I am a sucker for cuddling). Or having a guaranteed best friend, you can support each other and help each other grow into better people. Or just having long, rambling conversations about nonsense but just feeling so understood and appreciated. Someone who looks at me beyond my flaws and still chooses me. Obviously friends can also fulfill that and are so important, but for me, having both gives me such a boost of confidence. And I can only find that uplifting confidence when I’m with the right person. So I really don’t mind waiting. In that time, I can just grow and better myself so I support whoever this future man is at my utmost capacity. He deserves it, and I deserve it.
For those who are perpetually single like me, try not to compare yourself to others who may be more experienced in romance. It’s intimidating, but it’s your own journey. When the time is right for you, you’ll know. Give yourself that time to be single to really learn how to appreciate yourself and what you have to offer because you can’t fully invest yourself in a partner if you don’t have that solid foundation within. Allow yourself to experiment so you can learn what kind of person you’re truly looking for. Be clear about your intentions with any interested partner, whether that be just casual or something more. Most likely, you will be unlucky in your efforts. Those fairy tale, romantic comedy expectations don’t really add up. Open yourself up to what might come your way, accept that failure is inevitable, but maintain hope that your “someone special” is out there. Optimism can be unrealistic sometimes, but man, is it beautiful.
Long story short, I’m single. But if my future husband is possibly reading this…make good choices.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie