Part of me does not want to write about this at all, but part of me really freaking wants to. I honestly avoid bringing this up, even with people I’m dating, and even with friends who aren’t explicitly super close to me. The fact of the matter is that I, in all of my 26 years, have never been in a relationship. Save for a few spells of non-committal dating that only started in college, very rarely am I in a situation where the person I am romantically and sexually interested in is also romantically/sexually interested in me. Sometimes it’s one or the other, sometimes it’s both, but it’s not a reciprocated feeling on either of our parts, and either way, it’s just my truth.
Truthfully, I forget that this may be a big deal for some people until being in a relationship is brought up as a presumed shared experience between people. For example, someone will offer up something like “Ugh, don’t you hate when you run into an ex?” or “You know, everyone’s had their heart broken,” and you’re over here shrugging like, “Yeah, I definitely know what you mean,” because you don’t want to bring it up and make it an accidental huge deal? (OK, maybe that’s just me, but still…)
Let me be crystal clear: there is nothing wrong with being single your whole life. Sometimes you’re going to feel like an affirmation-chanting cliche where you’re talking about “the universe” too much or how meditating changed your life. Not gonna lie, sometimes you’re going to feel super sad and lonely. Spoilers: the “OMG, I’ll never have a boyfriend” feeling you have when you’re 14 feels exponentially more hopeless the older you get.
But what’s absolutely going to happen is someone, when you least expect it, is going to show up in your life and
sweep you off your feet and love you forever make it unbearably awkward for you. Someone, whether it’s a friend, family member, or stranger, is going to make you feel weird for never having been in a relationship. Why? It’s weird because it’s not normalized. No one is talking about it, so everyone assumes that perpetually single people are somehow defective, which is a bold faced lie.
So, let’s open that conversation, shall we? Here are 20 things no one tells you about being single your whole life.
1) You’re pretty much over having a crush.
Somehow, your brain knows that this gigantic crush you have is the farthest you’re ever going to get and even dreaming about being in a relationship with them feels super false and far fetched.
2) You always assume that you’re going places with friends.
When you’re invited somewhere with a plus one or you’re presumed to go with a date (Hey, prom! I never went to you for this exact reason. You too, homecoming!), you immediately flip through all single friends who you can pin down and ask to go with you so you don’t feel like a loser. Go with your bf/gf? When would that ever happen?
3) You feel like everyone but you is in a relationship.
That third wheel lifeeeeeee.
4) WTF do you call that person you’re dating?
Am I missing something? Do we formally say that we’re in a relationship or do I just wait it out? When do we make this FB official? I’m so confused and I don’t want to jinx it. We’re definitely dating but are we dating-dating? Does hooking up count as dating?
5) You never know if you should tell your friends or mom about people you’re “hanging out” with.
Bless those people who are closest to us: they get their hopes up if someone so much as smiles in our direction. We can’t break their hearts and (probably) our hearts, too.
6) I know this is gonna end, so how does this end?
There’s always a reason nothing progresses into a real relationship, so while most people are busy actually enjoying their third dates, your brain is going, “I bet they’re just waiting for sex to leave. Maybe they’re gonna say they just want to keep it casual. They probably ‘just got out of a relationship’ or some shit.”
7) The thought of having a significant other is totally laughable.
Fully aware that everyone is lovable in their own way, but being in love with the person who’s in love with you has become such an unattainable dream that it’s almost like how you imagine one day winning the lottery: it’d be nice, but it’s just not gonna happen.
8) In the back of your mind, you’re constantly wondering “Am I being too picky?”
9) But then you decide to go for someone you’re unsure about because “beggars can’t be choosers.”
Repeat after me: I am never a beggar, you don’t need to beg for positive affection.
10) Ultimately, the question becomes “Do I like this person ONLY because they’re into me or do I like them because I’m genuinely attracted to them?”
11) Your parents have spontaneously done a collective 180 from “You should focus on school/your career! You’re young! Enjoy it!” to “Are you dating someone? Why aren’t you dating someone? You know you life is going to be so much better/different when you have someone to share it with.”
Seriously, did they have a meeting or something? Bless them, they mean well, but OMG, no pressure or anything. Relax.
12) When you’re feeling particularly sad, you keep thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”
Nothing’s wrong with you.
13) Or, “Maybe I’m inherently unlovable.”
14) Your friends will constantly tell you to enjoy it and that you’re so much better off not being in relationships in the first place.
Which might be the most annoying thing, ever. Does your bf/gf know how much you shit talk being in a relationship? And really, no pressure on us to be having the BEST TIME EVER because we’re single.
15) Then they constantly reassure you that “the right person is out there and they’ll come along when you least expect it.”
16) You wonder if it’s cheesy or pathetic that you want to be in a relationship.
Don’t give up hope. If you truly want to be in a relationship, that’s OK. Don’t be embarrassed.
17) But that doesn’t stop all of your friends from over explaining what being in a relationship is *really* like.
Ugh, give me a break, I’m not dumb.
18) No one takes your relationship advice seriously.
All other times? Totally the go-to advice person. But if we’re talking about how your bf/gf is totally mistreating you, we “just don’t get it.”
19) People constantly treat you like you’re less mature.
Stop treating your relationship history like a resume for your life. There are worthy life experiences worth celebrating that can totally shape you as a person that aren’t relationships.
20) You Google search all the time to see if you’re normal.
Or if celebrities have been single as long as you have and/or when they met their significant others. You always compare timelines with people you look up to just to see if you’re “on track.” (Pro-tip: My life was different once I decided there was no correct track.)
Have you been single forever? What did I forget to include? Tell me in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.