Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Single girl struggle

Friday night, after my shift at the Des Moines Arts Festival was over, I showered and returned to the festival grounds. I wanted to experience the event at night.  OK, and I also wanted a few more tastes from the Iowa Craft Beer Tent and to hang out with friends.  As tempting as my couch was, returning to the Arts Festival won out.

So, there I was, Smoked Red from West O (one of my favorites!) in hand, listening to 10,000 Maniacs (minus Natalie Merchant).  The music quickly became background music as my friends and I delved into the topic of dating and relationships.  We shared what was happening with each of us in that realm and as I was the only completely unattached one in the group, one friend asked me, "I know you say you like being single, but ... everyone needs to have a person."

She raised an interesting point, and honestly it's something I've struggled with for a long time.

For years, I've walked the fine line between being OK with my singlehood and wanting a relationship. 

If you profess too much about how much you love your single life, people think you're lying.  Or stubborn.  Or a man-hater.  Or negative.  Or pessimistic.  They can't believe you'd actually like being alone.  They don't understand why you're not looking for someone.

If you talk about wanting a relationship, people think you're desperate. Or needy. Or whiny.  Or weak.  Or insecure.  They tell you that you're trying too hard. They encourage you to "stop looking" so "it'll happen."

The truth is, I fall somewhere in the middle of these two ends of the spectrum.

I am perfectly fine being single.  I love the freedom of doing whatever I want without having to consider someone else's feelings, schedule, needs, etc.  I also really enjoy my own company and my alone time.  I am proud of how self-sufficient I am and the things I've learned about myself because of the years I've spent alone.

I want to find a relationship. I would love to have someone with whom to share my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears.  Someone I want to call immediately when something good happens and lean on when times are rough.  But it has to be the right relationship.  For me, dating just to be with someone is a waste of time.

And the thing is, I do believe this person and relationship is out there.  Somewhere.  I really shouldn't say that too loudly because the Universe (or a bunch of Negative Nancies) will come along and squash that belief.  But, really, I think I have a lot to offer and at some point, I'll meet someone who agrees and also brings a lot to the table.  I'm open to that.

But ... if it doesn't happen.  If he doesn't come along.  If the relationship never materializes, I'll be just fine.  My life isn't over without him/it.  Or less satisfying.  Or incomplete. Or a failure.

My life is meaningful because I make it that way -- whether it's with someone else or on my own.


  1. Ditto to all of the above! I'm all for dating to learn if you want to spend your life with someone, but I'm also very aware of why you should break up immediately if you realize the person you're with is not the person you want to spend the rest of your life with [hence why I'm no longer with Mark]. And you're 100% correct: just because you aren't in a relationship, your life isn't over, or less satisfying, or incomplete, or a failure. Not even a little. It doesn't mean, though, that you can't want to be in a relationship! I have full confidence that he'll come around, and will fit in your life perfectly.

  2. I love this post!

    I fall somewhere in the middle too. I miss having someone there for me, but I also value my independence. And I absolutely believe that being single doesn't mean failure or defect. It simply means that you choose yourself above a crappy relationship.

  3. Here here! I totally agree with you on this. I walk that fine line too sometimes...

  4. I didn't realize when I wasn't in a relationship how to embrace the freedom of being single. Now as much as I love him, I sometimes long for one day of alone time. Enjoy yourself and have fun. There is a time for everything and you have the perfect attitude. You define you!

  5. So beautiful and so true. There are times when I am so happy to be single again and not worry about someone else--even with a boyfriend it was nice to have my freedom at times. But that doesn't mean I don't wish for someone to be able to go to baseball games with, go see a movie, go for a walk around the city, just do SOMETHING with....because as much as I could do these things alone or with a girl friend, I can't always just call someone up out of the blue and see if they're free right then and there to do something, and also I don't want to look like a complete loner ALL the time :-P But I will totally do stuff on my own because I just want to do something for me and don't want to wait around for others to come along.

    I also agree 100% with Sar. No need to drag out a relationship if it's not right, you're just wasting each other's time.

  6. I believe in the same thing! And I believe in it with my whole heart so I don't care to say it outloud! But I think people who have been in a relationship for a long time forget or can't put themselves in a single girl's shoes. It's a very catch 22 situation most of the time!

  7. people need to stop worrying about everyone else's relationship status. real life is not facebook! i think you are rocking it at life--single or not

  8. I really liked your explanation above for it all - I've always been with someone (since I was 16 to now!) and there have been times when I've certainly been jealous of my single friends because of the freedom they have but then they'd always remind me of how nice it is to have someone I can consistently count on. I think as long as you're happy with yourself and not settling for what's there instead of what's awesome for you, then you're in the perfect relationship (whether that's a relationship with yourself or with someone else!)

  9. I love it...I agree 100% :) it's so nice to know there are some women out there that share the same views and thoughts as myself.


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