Often I use humor (particularly sarcasm) to lighten up an otherwise heavy remark. Entertaining, yes, but an unfortunate side effect is that it might not be taken as seriously as I’d like. Thus I’m attempting to get through this with minimal irony, because I am serious about it.
I don’t go into great detail on this blog about my (lack of) relationship status, partly because it always felt too personal, and mainly because it hasn’t changed in my 28 years on earth. A couple times I’ve come close to being what one might call “In A Relationship,” but always one or both parties backed off. I don’t regret any of those misfires; I know now that they were all for the best in one way or another.
But you guys … this shit is getting old. And not easier.
Every year brings the start of more relationships, more engagements, more weddings, more Facebook albums of sappy pictures, more romantic movie sub-plots. Over and over I have to force a smile and a congratulations, all the while dying a little inside because of one more reminder of what I don’t have, never had, and might never have. Every year I have to see less of a friend because she’s in a relationship now and there’s some rule that couples have to spend 99% of their free time only with other couples.
. . .
(“Make new friends,” you tell me? “Shove off,” I say. I want the friends I have; I worked hard to get them.)
I know very well that I don’t need to be in a relationship. I’m independent, clever and capable, employed and responsible and I have hobbies and interests and people who care about me and a life that is somewhat together. I think that’s why a lot of people think I’m perfectly fine and content with being single. That’s the main reason I’m writing this post: I’m really not.
And it’s because I’m independent, intelligent, and capable that it really, really pisses me off that I want a relationship. I think that’s where my INTJ-ness struggles against my INFJ leanings. I’m just fine on my own; why don’t I feel like it? I want these stupid emotions out of the way. I can’t shake off some idea that people who need relationships are weak and pathetic, that women who express a desire for one are clingy and whiney and need to get a life. And here I am, terrified about my independent image being shattered and I have to surrender and admit to being like everyone else.
(“How do you choose not to feel?” “I do not know. Right now, I am failing.”)
Do I want a relationship with anyone? Well, no … if I did, I wouldn’t be single now. I’m picky and stubborn and I really can’t help that. I want someone, yes, but the right someone.
What am I doing about it? Hell if I know. But if anyone has their fingers poised over their keyboard to offer me some advice, let me first tell you that whatever it is, I have heard it.
I’ve heard “Just get out there,” “Oh, you don’t want a relationship, they’re too hard,” “Do your own thing and the right person will come into your life,” “It’s probably just around the corner,” “It will happen when you least expect it,” “Keep yourself open,” and “Don’t worry about it, you’re young, you have plenty of time.”
I’ve been told to lower my standards; I’ve been told to maintain them. I’ve been told to make a list of what I’m looking for; I’ve been told to throw that list away. I’ve been told to “give it a shot” when I have zero interest. I’ve been told to “loosen up”—yes, morally. I’ve been told to be friendlier, I’ve been told to be less of a snob. I’ve had people try to set me up with guys. I’ve been told to be more confident, to switch churches, smile more, move to another city, fly first class, and of course, try online dating.
I am 99.9% sure that online dating will not get me a long-term relationship. (Don’t suggest eHarmony; I hate their business model and they already rejected me.) The only guys online who will message me either can’t spell or are unbelievably boring; the ones I might be interested in do not respond. I guess I can’t do anything about that. But it’s really great trying to be confident when no one wants you, you know?
. . .
I’ll tell you straight up that I’m not looking for advice. As I said, I’ve probably heard it. I just want some understanding. Things are harder for me than I may be letting on, and it’s even harder to admit that. Being single is just not fun anymore.
15 thoughts on “In Which Our Heroine Is Forced to Make a Confession: Reality is the Worst.”
Wait, to fly first class? I am sort of bewildered. How exactly is spending more money on a flight supposed to yield a potential significant other?
I am, as ever, impressed by how well you know your own mind and emotions, and how clearly you express them both. Wanting but not wanting to want: I don’t think I’d quite understood that point before. Feelings are a massive bastard.
I’m sorry reality sucks sometimes. *raises chilled martini glass* Here’s hoping it gets better.
Re: Emotions, Thank you.
“Fly first class” isn’t so much “how to meet someone” but “how to meet a TYPE of someone,” i.e., the type of guy who can afford (or whose employer can afford) to fly first class.
Ahhhhh ha. Well, that makes sense, until one remembers that the airline could just as easily stick you beside the type of *lady* who flies first class, and it could all be more annoying than it’s worth.
Although if she were flying first class for the same reason…it could provoke some kind of fiercest enemies/bosom friends situation. Because life is totally a musical.
…right, sorry, that got weird fast.
Hi I’m a random reader..I love your blog..I really relate to this..I was perpetually single until I was 32..I’m now happily married and have a child..I remember how tough it was to find the right person..I met him online on match..but before that, I tried the online thing MANY times..so I don’t think that online per se is the answer…to be honest, and I hated when people told me this, it’s a numbers game..the more I put myself “out there” the better..but yet, it was tough, being an introvert, and shy too..and I refused to lower my standards…but it was tough, watching friends move on with their lives and have what I didn’t..I was happy for them, but it was still tough..I don’t know why it took as long as it did..but it makes me appreciate what I have now so much more..
Thanks so much–it’s nice to know there are other people who get it!
Hi friend. I really appreciate you being willing to admit and discuss how hard this, and some of the reasons why. The part about how you have internal conflict about feeling like you both want and shouldn’t want this make particular sense. So many hugs to you.
Also, I don’t have advice, which is awesome since you don’t want any. I do have a question, though: is there anything practical that your friends who live around here (me or anyone else reading) can do to support you in this? I know it’s not fixable, but if there’s anything that would lighten your burden, please let me know.
I’ve been asking myself that too, and I just haven’t been able to come up with anything. I suppose it would help to have more people to do things *out* with (not just stay home and watch a movie), but I’m always afraid of seeming needy and of course I don’t want to intrude on other peoples’ time and obligations.
I guess maybe for now it’s just enough to be open and honest about how miserable I am.
Hi! Just discovered your blog. I’m an INTJ female about your age, and I’m generally content with my own perpetual singleness. I’d jump at the chance of someone who is perfect for me. Not someone who is perfect. I just want the right someone who meets my basic criteria of kind nature, realistic goals and ambition, and intelligence. No one else appeals.
For me, not knowing whether I will find him or not is what makes me crazy. Will I be single forever? That would be okay. I just want a yes or no answer sometimes.
Anyway, I like your blog, and I’m looking forward to future posts. Thus far I identify with much of what you write.
Thanks for reading/commenting! There’s definitely a difference between someone who is “perfect” and someone who is “perfect for you.” Who wants perfect? That’s boring.
“Will I be single forever? That would be okay. I just want a yes or no answer sometimes.” THANK YOU. I have said this almost verbatim multiple times. I am convinced that I would be fine with being single forever *if* I knew *for sure.* I want to know what I’m dealing with so I can move on with my life.
You are brave to say all of this on your blog. I get the frustration at all the advice you’re given.
I’ve watched friends meet, fall in love and get married, and it’s different for everybody. Some met due to mutual interests, others met online, others met at school. No way to predict “what works”.
When I was about your age, I prayed specifically to God that I just wanted to know whether I would get married or not. I got a verse that I took to be confirmation that I would get married. But then it didn’t happen for me until I was 40. I encourage you to start praying specifically with this issue and see if God wants you to know that or not. I definitely found things that worked better for me and less well for me, but we’re all individuals and what works for one person does not always work well for others. We can all only speak from experience, so I hope you will treat your well-meaning friends with grace. Please feel free to come along with us to any of our activities. We often will post on Facebook when we’re doing something and welcome company. Most of our stuff is pretty boring, however, because we’re just that way. ;)
I am 60 and an INTJ. When I was young 17-35, I was always in a relationship. After 35, there were just a few and all very brief. I don’t know how old you are but my experience is that it gets harder as you get older. I eventually gave up in my early fifties and have accepted that I am going to be partner-less. I can relate to the married/partnered friend thing. They give you a few crumbs and call it friendship. I found Alice Koller’s books very helpful, An Unknown Woman and The Stations of Solitude. She is the only female writer I know that really understands what being alone feels like.
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