Why is it that being single is always something we’re looking to fix?
There’s a reason we download Tinder a week after a breakup, and a reason we’re so disappointed when it doesn’t work the way we wanted it to. We want distractions, temporary fixes, momentary romances. We’ll do what it takes to get it, and then we’ll fall back into disappointment, again and again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love distractions – especially when they come in the form of blue-eyed, brown-haired, and flirtatious. I can’t get enough. I did however spend a good many months last year engaging with temporary fixes, and I think I got enough of those.
The thing is, we treat being single like a wound that needs a Band-Aid, and we’ll try on every type believing the next one will be the right fit. When the heartbreak is fresh, I get it, the wound exists. But it’s nothing we can’t heal on our own – something we should definitely be healing on our own. Being single isn’t a problem looking for a solution or a quick fix; it’s not a wound needing a temporary Band-Aid or a set of stitches.
My first thought after my breakup was, maybe we’ll try again somewhere down the road. Why, because several times over 3 years wasn’t enough trying? No. Because letting go is hard, and realizing nobody is going to be waking up beside you saying I love you for the next little while can feel awfully terrifying. Most of the time, the shock of losing someone you didn’t expect to lose is blinding. I didn’t want to find out we were going to try again because rational me thought it’d be a smart and healthy decision, I wanted to know we’d end up together again because I wanted to quickly stitch up the loneliness that felt like it might rip me apart.
That was last week. This week, I remembered how damn good it feels to be on your own when it’s obvious your relationship isn’t working for the both of you. How you feel lighter – and maybe when you’re with the right person it feels that way too, I sure hope so. But why settle for the wrong ones and allow the heaviness of a relationship that’s not working to weigh you down? Why seek out people who will temporarily fill the loneliness and then leave you feeling far lonelier than you were before?
Let’s get some things straight. I’m not against dating (or relationships for that matter). I’m all for it, just not as a fix. I want my actions to be intentional. I want to go on dates because I’m interested in the person on the other end of the table, not because I want to fix the imaginary problem that is my single status. I want to go on dates because I want to get to know somebody, not because I want them to replace the last person I was with. Lastly, I want to go on dates because I want to let someone get to know me, and not because I want them to cover up all my lonely.
Sometimes, the lines get blurred. Other times, we cross those lines – maybe even in the name of having fun. It happens, and truly, it’s not the end of the world. The point is, that I think we need to figure out why we’re making the choices we’re making. If the people we surround ourselves with are there because we need to fix the loneliness, maybe we need to get comfortable with our singleness first – I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying it’s far better than thinking there’s a problem with being on our own. On the other hand, if you want to kiss someone because you’re into them, do it. Speaking of which, I have a brief note for my strong, independent, and happily single best friend: that guy you kissed the other night? I hope you do it again.
I think if we seek out dating and relationships as a means of getting to know people and letting them get to know us, rather than trying to fix the fact that we’re single, we’ll see greater results. Who knows, I could have gotten this all wrong.
What I do know is this: I don’t want to fix my singleness. I don’t think there’s any part of it that needs fixing. In fact, I feel pretty protective over it right now. And when I decide I’m ready to meet someone who’s also interested in getting to know me, I hope they know they were never sought out as a solution – after all, being single sure isn’t a problem.
Heartbreak? Yeah, that happened. Loneliness? Sometimes, for sure. Single? And happy about it.