Us 20-something’s all joke around about being “forever alone” or “single & ready to mingle,” but since when did it become so taboo to be alone on either side of the spectrum? Why is it that people talk about being single as if you either having to be sulking around about the fact that you’re not in a relationship or you have to go on every date that comes your way?
I think our society has an issue with the contentment that comes with being by yourself.
I sure don’t.
I’ve been single since my sophomore year of college. That’s about four years. Before that, I was in an on and off relationship for five years, beginning when I was fourteen (aka a legitimate baby).
As my time being single is quickly approaching the amount of time I spent in a relationship, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what being single actually means to me. I started thinking about some of the phases I went through when it comes to relationships over the years.
It’s been of a roller coaster, but I don’t quite think I’m alone. I’m breaking down the phases of being single AF.
The Party Girl Phase
When I first got out of a relationship as a naive, party animal sophomore in college I did what any newly single college girl would do—I partied & I partied hard.
TBH It got to the point where my mom would tell me that I needed to chill because I spent half of my week hungover. I was going out every weekend all over the Philadelphia area from Temple to West Chester and Villanova and everywhere in between. If you were looking for me, you could likely find me in a frat basement Thursday – Saturday or more. I didn’t really have my eye on finding anyone new per say, and I certainly didn’t really care who crossed my path. But the truth is, I wasn’t happy living my life this way. It’s not really in my personality and I was forcing myself to be someone I’m just not.
I was always a relationship person, considering the fact that I had been dating someone since I was little teenager, so random hook ups and dance floor make outs, while fun at the time, didn’t make me feel very happy or full. They honestly made me feel kind of empty. I got sick of making out with guys who would forget my name in frat basements and at Philly ticket parties really fast. (Don’t judge, it was college).
That’s when I went to the other extreme.
The Icebox Phase
After several months of living the wild college single life, I closed myself off completely. I wouldn’t really let myself feel any real emotions for anyone. Anyone I started talking to or dating even semi-regularly was pretty emotionally unavailable, and I started to wonder if there was anyone out there who was actually looking for love someday. I decided “Nah, probably not.”
So with that, I closed off completely. I’d go out and wonder why guys weren’t approaching me anymore. But deep down I knew. The vibe I was putting off into the world was making me completely unapproachable. It wasn’t enough to be pretty or be at the parties or bars, I didn’t actually want anyone to approach me. I didn’t try. I didn’t want to deal with it. The guys who would come in and out of my life I only let come so close. I’d ghost people before they had the chance to hurt me.
I was intentionally isolating myself and using the excuse that I was just “doing me.” In reality, I was just absolutely terrified of heartbreak. I was the girl that my friends were shocked when I started talking about how much I liked a guy, because I never really let myself get to that point. And this happened as little as a few months ago.
The Play The Field Phase
Post-grad was super rough for me at first. That transition from college student to fully-functioning adult took a hot second for me to adjust to. I’d prefer to never have to relive that time period again, to be quite honest. As you might imagine, my dating life took a major hit, too. I don’t think I really put myself out there and started to date until six months or so after graduation.
I’d passively swipe on Tinder and insert-other-dating-apps-here, sure, but never really put much effort into getting to know anyone or seeing them. I’d go through phases where my phone would freeze because so many guys were messaging me and other times where I’d just not answer anyone at all. The number of guys I actually went out with was small, but I was warming up to the idea of putting myself out there.
The minute my attitude about myself started to change, the more people began to take notice. The minute I started to feel like myself and figure out my place in the real world (sorta), I noticed shifts everywhere in my life. Instead of forcing myself to talk to guys or go on dates, I wanted to (who knew!) talk to guys and go on dates. I was ready, and I wasn’t so scared.
The Finally (Kinda) Getting It Phase
Cue to the end of 2017 and I think I’m finally starting to figure out the balance of being single not meaning a) I’m going to be alone forever [although I have my days where it sure feels that way] or b) that I have to go on dates with rando guys I don’t want to go out with. Yes, I certainly need to work on not ghosting 75% of guys that come my way on dating apps (I’m sorry), but nobody’s perfect k? And sure, I’ve had moments where I really saw a future with guys and put some intense pressure on myself to make it happen. Should it really be that complicated or forced? Honestly, what fun is that?
I’m at the point where I am having fun and enjoying it. Enjoying it ALL. Maybe it’s because I’m finally starting to feel like the best version of myself—I feel like I’m killing it in the things I want to accomplish and everything around me just feels GOOD.
And, now that I’m getting older, I know what I want in someone I’m going to date. I know what I’m looking for. I know the connection and chemistry I want to have and feel with that person in a perfect world, and I don’t necessarily think I have to settle for that.
Until then, you can find me getting drinks with whoever, hanging out, having fun and “just seeing what happens” with whomever else. In my opinion, that’s the way it should be. It doesn’t always have to be the full blown fireworks. Everyone finds theirs eventually. But I’ll never settle for anything else long term. That I can promise you.
One last thing. Ladies & gents (do any guys even read my blog? LMK). Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not okay that you’re single, that you’re going to be alone forever if you don’t put yourself out there, or make you feel badly because they’re in a happily committed relationship. I know how much that sucks. But you can’t compare yourself. The grass is always greener. Just do what makes you happy, keep your good vibes up and keep yourself open to finding someone great. You will—we all will.