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.