I am chronically single.
Actually, I take that back. That makes it sound like a disease. I’m perpetually single? No, that’s not any better.
Whatever. I’m single and I don’t care who knows it.
The thing is… I’ve never been very good at being in a relationship. My life seems to work much better for me when I’m single. If you have to do something right, you better do it yourself, right? That’s how I live my life. I take care of it myself. I choose not to rely on a boyfriend to get me through the tough stuff. Nothing remarkably good in my life happened when I was in a relationship. Everything good has happened when I’ve been single.
And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m pretty happy most of the time.
Don’t get me wrong –- I like dating. I wouldn’t mind if I met the right guy or a good guy or a fun guy. I’d enjoy that. I’d appreciate that. But my life is not defined by who I am or am not dating. That’s solely on me. I am me. I am not the sum of my relationships.
It all gets a little wibbly-wobbly when you throw your friends into the mix. I can count on one hand the number of close friends I have who are single. Most of my friends are happily married, happily engaged to be married, or happily in a committed relationship without formal documentation. Included in this group are those women who jump right into a new relationship as soon as the last one ends. Essentially, they’re the polar opposite of me. Instead of perpetually single, they’re perpetually coupled. And just as I don’t understand them, they don’t understand me.
However, some of my friends lack the tact that I have found necessary at times. They don’t understand that it’s OK to be single. They think there’s something wrong with me, or that I’m somehow failing because I’m not in a relationship. They assume that my life is unfulfilled because I’m not sharing it with a partner.
I was at a wedding last weekend. One of my best friends from college -– one of the last of my friends I was able to go out with as a pair of single ladies -– was finally tying the knot. I was thrilled for her. Her fiancé –- now husband -– is a great guy who promises be everything you want a husband to be.
She knew what it was like to be single. She understood that sometimes it stings when you don’t get a “plus one” on a wedding invitation. A true friend, she let me bring a guest to her wedding. So I brought another close friend (who happens to be married). It was a small wedding, so I was especially grateful for the plus one.
At the reception, my friend and I were seated at a table with the two other college friends of the bride. They were both there with their spouses. I was with my married friend. And also at our table was a childhood friend of the bride –- who also happened to be married.
When you’re at a wedding, it’s kind of normal to talk about things like weddings. It makes a certain amount of sense. At one point, when we were all eating our salmon with hollandaise or chicken with pesto sauce, everyone at my table was telling stories of their weddings. Then one of my college friends pointed out, “Hey! We’re all married, except you!” She pointed at me, as if I didn’t know to whom she was referring. “Get on that!”
Get on that?
Really? Get ON that? Get on what, exactly? Am I doing something wrong? Am I supposed to hide during weddings, so as not to upset the newlyweds by reminding them of the single life that they left behind? Or maybe I’m supposed to get on the whole marriage thing? Right. Yeah. I had been meaning to get around to that. Let me just call up this guy I went out with a few times last year. I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear the news that I want to get married now.
I don’t care if we’ve been friends for 15 years. You don’t get to call me out for being the only single person at this wedding. You don’t get to make me feel like shit for not being able to hold on to a boyfriend for more than two months. You don’t get to remind me that it’s been almost five years since I last spent the night with a man. You don’t get to control my emotions. You don’t get to make me feel guilty for bringing a friend to a wedding because I couldn’t be bothered to find an actual date.
Sometimes it really sucks being single.
The worst of it is that I’m trying not to be all “poor me” about the whole thing, but in the end that’s all I’m doing. It was my friend’s wedding, and now I’m selfish enough to make it all about me? That’s not right.
I am truly, genuinely happy for my friend who got married last weekend. I’m happy for my other friends who have already found their better halves.
Maybe if you’ll accept me, you can be happy for me and my singlehood.