Single

It’s Complicated Until It’s Not

There’s no secret that dating was not always easy for me. Just look through the dating and relationships tags on this blog and you’ll find many rambles from a lady who was ready to wave the white flag.

When I was dating someone, I was usually left with more questions than answers. Does he like me? Do I really like him? When should I sleep with him? Will he judge me if it’s “too soon?” Can I actually see this going anywhere? Does he see this going anywhere?

I regularly contemplated the why of the whole thing. Why am I even dating? Is it worth all the hassle, and the first date interviews, and the stressing about what to wear? Do I even want a boyfriend?

That last question popped up in my head a lot. I was living on my own and starting a new career. I had this whole life of my own. I was already struggling to fit everything into my life. Did I really want to add in an entirely new relationship? Where would I find the time? Do I really want to bring a new person into my life, introduce them to my friends, have them meet my family, etc.?

So. Many. Questions.

By the time I reached my late 20s, dating was a very complicated ordeal. And it was. Dating can be complicated. Until you realize that it isn’t.

Eventually you’ll meet that person where the only questions you’ll be asking are “what should we eat for dinner?” and ” what should we watch on Netflix tonight?”

You’ll soon discover that if you have to ask “does he like me?”, the answer is either “no” or “not enough.”

There will be that person you don’t need to struggle to find time for. They will fit seamlessly into your life. Making time for them won’t feel like a hassle or obligation.

In its simplest form dating is easy. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy. Both boy and girl decide they want to spend as much time as possible with each other. I’m a firm believer in the theory that things shouldn’t be difficult in the beginning. The beginning is the time for butterflies and excitement.

When you find that person who makes you stop questioning, hold on tight. You may have finally found your uncomplicated ever after.

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The Other Shoe Is Always Going to Drop

My favorite line when I start dating someone new is, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Those first few weeks/months of dating someone, things are as close to perfect as they’ll ever be. You’re both on your best behavior and trying really hard to impress one another. The guy never cancels, always texts on time. The girl always has her makeup and hair done, never complains. Everyone is trying to be the most perfect version of themselves.

I spend a new relationship just waiting to see when this blissful period will end. Because it always does. It tends to end in the most horrifically dramatic way possible. The guy doesn’t just stop canceling, he stops making plans altogether. He stops texting right away and instead takes 3-5 business days to respond with an “lol” or an “ok.”

This is never fun and it’s the reason why I always enter a new relationship with skepticism. I know the other shoe is going to drop. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.

However, there is something that I need to realize: the other shoe is always going to drop and that’s OK. What matters is how it drops. If it drops but I’m able to pick it up, slip it back on, and keep on walking, that’s alright. It’s when the shoe drops and breaks so badly that it’s cheaper to just buy a new pair than take them to get fixed, that I need to worry about it.

The other shoe is always going to drop. That new period in a relationship I just spoke about – the one where everyone is on their best behavior – is nice but it’s not sustainable. Perfect bliss in a relationship isn’t real.

Relationships are messy and complicated because people are messy and complicated.

You shouldn’t want that perfect bliss to last forever because then you’re never really seeing the person you’re dating for who they truly are.

Now this isn’t to say that a person should do a complete 180 when you’ve been dating a few months and stop trying. But this is saying that a person shouldn’t be afraid to show different parts of themselves, even the not so great ones.

I’ve come to realize that I look forward to the other shoe dropping. Show me what makes you YOU. I want the authentic version. Not the version who is on his best behavior because he’s trying to impress me.

What makes you sad? What makes you angry? What are some of your annoying little habits that you kept in check our first few dates?

I am not looking for the perfect version of you. I’m looking for the real version of you.

This is exactly why not only do I realize that the other shoe is always going to drop but I look forward to it.

Nothing About This Is Fun

I recently did a search on Google. I searched “being single at 30.” Here are some of the headlines that came up:

30 Reasons It’s OK to Be Single at 30

Why Being Single in Your 30s is Better than in Your 20s

24 Reasons It’s Cool to Be Single in Your 30s

Being Single in Your 30s is Actually Pretty Great

Let’s cut the bullshit! Nothing about being 30 and single is OK, fun, or cool. Actually let me rephrase that. Nothing about being 30 and single and FEMALE is OK, fun, or cool. Cause do you know what all those articles have in common? They are written by women and about women.

We all know it’s women who should be worried about becoming old maids and spinsters after a certain age. Single men at 30 or 40 remain bachelors. There isn’t some derogatory term for them because they still have time. Men are never really past their prime. When they choose to settle down, they will.

Sure we’re past the point where a single woman at 25 is classified as an old maid. Women are getting married and having children later in life than they ever have before. But for as much progress as we’ve made, there is still a long way to go.

And I am going to be blunt here and say what the women in the above articles didn’t want to admit: Being 30 and still single sucks!

Now I’m not saying that I spend every night drinking wine and crying over a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. (That only happens every other night.) For the most part, I’m doing OK. I have so much other stuff happening in my life that I’m not constantly consumed with the fact that I’m single. But then something happens to remind me just how single I really am.

It could be getting the ever popular “Why are you still single?” question. Or it could be getting invited to yet another wedding and realizing that you’d have to put an ad out on Craigslist if you wanted to bring a plus one. Or it could be going to a function with friends and realizing that you’re the only one left who hasn’t coupled up. Or most of the time, it’s simply just that look you get for “still” being single.

People will never say it (unless you know assholes) but you can sense that they’re thinking it. “There must be something wrong with her.” And the really sad part is that you’re the one thinking it the most. “There must be something wrong with ME.”

In your early twenties being single is completely normal. It’s actually more of an anomaly to find yourself in a serious relationship. However, as the candles start to pile up on your birthday cake, you start to realize that you’re becoming an endangered species.

As much as those articles want to preach that being single is OK and fun, I think we can all admit that it’s not the norm. I bet every 30-year-single girl can count on one hand the other 30-year-old single girls she knows. But if she wants to list the couples, she’ll need twenty five-subject notebooks.

“What’s wrong with me?” “Am I unlovable?” “Am I incapable of falling in love?” “Will I ever find someone that I can stand for more than two dates?” “Will I have to wind up settling?”

Settling…This is a word you’re going to think about a lot. After your 50th horrible first date in a row, you’ll wonder if settling is worth it. I’d give up donuts for the rest of my life if it meant I never had to go on another first date ever again. But it’s almost impossible to find a person that you connect with enough where a second date sounds like a good option. Maybe you should lower your “standards.”

The elusive standards. I often think that my standards are too high. And they probably are. But here’s the thing: after 30 years of dating, you’re going to rack up a shit load of standards. I’m very adamant about the things I want in a partner and even more adamant in the things that I DON’T want.

Single and Thirty is a whole new landscape and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not always OK, cool, or pretty great. There’s going to be a lot of suckage. And I think that’s something that all newly 30-somethings or soon-to-be 30-somethings should be aware of.

You’re allowed to feel lonely and stressed about living the single life. There isn’t something wrong with you cause you’re not constantly living the “Thirty, Flirting, and Thriving” life.

Wallow in your own self-pity every once in awhile. Cry over a cheesy Nicholas Sparks movie. Eat an entire sleeve of Oreo’s and wash it down with a bottle of wine. You’re single so there’s no one there to judge you. (See, being single has its perks!)

But also know that finding love in your thirties is a very real possibility. And it can be done without settling or compromising on your standards. It’s just gonna take a little more work.

Thoughts of a Perpetually Single Girl

i'm so singleI’m the single friend. I’m always the single friend. Relationships and I go together like peanut butter and tuna fish.

Now the Internet would have you believe that single people can only be one of two things: Either I am strutting in my 6-inch heels shouting to the world that “I’m an independent woman and I don’t need no man” or I am lying in bed, downing my fifth glass of wine, and crying while yet another friend is getting engaged, all while shouting to the world that “I’m forever alone.”

Here’s the thing: being the perpetually single girl means I do a little bit of both. It’s the best of times. It’s the worst of times. Sometimes it’s really fucking awesome and sometimes it really fucking sucks. See, it’s not so different than what it’s like to be in a relationship.

1. “There has to be something wrong with me.” This thought will pop into your head at some point. You just can’t seem to find someone that you genuinely like and would want to commit to. Everyone else seems to fall into relationships so easily so clearly the problem must lie with you.

2. Whenever someone comes to you to complain about their relationship (and they always seem to come to you like you’re clearly the expert), you feel much better about your single status. Relationships can be great but they can also be really stressful. Hearing someone complain about the latest drama in their relationship will make you incredibly grateful that you don’t have to deal with any of that.

3. You’ll want to smack the people who ask, “Why are you still single?” Everything about that question is obnoxious and it needs to be wiped out of existence immediately.

4. When you go out, there’s always that possibility of meeting someone. We all know they say things come when we’re not looking for them or when we least expect them. However, when you’re perpetually single, it’s always in the back of your mind that you can meet someone when out. And this is a good thing. The possibility of meeting someone new is exciting.

5. You will cherish your single friends, especially when you start getting older. Making a new friend in your late twenties and finding out that she’s single as well is basically the equivalent to finding out your kindergarten classmate’s favorite color is also blue. Instant best friends!

6. While you’re incredibly happy for them, a part of you will get sad when one of your single friends gets into a relationship. “Why did you go over to the dark side?”

7. Realizing that you could go on vacation tomorrow or move cross country without having to take anyone else into consideration except yourself is an amazing feeling.

8. You will become incredibly comfortable being single. Sometimes you’ll fear that you might be getting a little too comfortable. “I have to share this luxurious bed with another human being for the rest of my life? What if they’re not cool with Oreos in bed? That’s no way to live!”

9. Going to weddings will suck. Even if you are doing fine with your singleness, it will be a reminder of just how single you really are. Getting invited with a plus one is always a dilemma. “Do I scramble to see if I can get a date to come with me or do I just suck it up and go alone?”

10. Seeing a razor in the winter will make you pause and think, “What the hell is that?” My legs resemble Chewbacca in the winter because no one is seeing them but me.

11. Meeting someone new who *GASP* you actually like is incredibly scary. You’ll make yourself crazy thinking of all the ways you are going to mess it up because your track record has shown that this cannot end well.

12. But deep down you know that no matter how things turn out with the new guy, you’ll be OK. You’ve figured out long ago that you’re OK being alone and don’t need to be in a relationship.