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“So why are you single?” Have you ever gotten that question? Have you ever heard, “So why are you in a relationship?” Probably not. Yet, when people (specifically women), are single, it seems like there has to be some massive investigation as to why. Like we should parade Chris Hansen out to ask the tough questions: “Can you tell me what you’re doing here? Can you tell me why you’re single? Have a seat.”
So here’s a thing about being single: I hate it. I hate being single. I hate every part about it. I hate when coupled people tell you that it’s “fun” to be single. Like we’re going to or throwing outlandish parties every night.
Well, it happened. I got dumped. Yes, yet another break-up to go through.
And I didn’t even see it coming, which is the worst.
One minute you’ve got a boyfriend and a best friend, and a few minutes later, you’ve got a stranger. And you go from signing emails with “love” to “good luck.” And that’s the hardest part, that strange new world you’re in where everything is different and you’re just trying to see what life will bring in the next 5 minutes because thinking of anything beyond 5 minutes is just too much, too much, too much.
And I think that’s the worst part about a break-up: the loss of two people. Losing your best friend is the absolute worst. It’s like in The Way We Were when Barbra Streisand’s character (Katie) wants to talk to Robert Redford’s character (Hubbell) about how her boyfriend left her, but she can’t, because he’s the best friend and the one who left her. So she’s kind of screwed. That’s how I feel. It’s a lonely feeling.
Tolkien once wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost” but some of us are, some of us are really fucking lost and are checking Google maps while texting our ex.
But I’m surviving. I may even be thriving. And one way that I survive and thrive is by making break-up videos. So I present to you, “How To Get Over Yet Another Break-Up.”
For much of my life, I have been what they call a people pleaser.
The Urban Dictionary defines people pleasers as “doormats that let high expectations, resentment, and saying yes when they mean no run their lives. They are set on being perfect and nice. It affects mostly women because they are socialized to do for other people instead of for themselves. This has been linked to codependence.”
Additionally, I recently learned that I have likewise been what they call a serial monogamist.
UD defines this term as “one who spends as little time as possible being single […]. The defining aspect of serial monogamy is the desire and ability to enter new relationships very quickly, thus abbreviating any period of single life, during which the serial monogamist may begin to ask questions of an existential nature.”
It’s true: I am a young woman of 26 years, fresh out of a relationship that has defined me for a long time. And when that relationship started, I was fresh out of a different but equally significant one. The last time I was single for any noteworthy period I was a girl, 19 years young.
People pleaser + serial monogamist. You can imagine what such a combination does for one’s personal growth.
Jon Waters once said, “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.” I don’t know when he said that, but I’m hoping it was before the digital age of publishing. People may have a lot more books than you’d be aware of. They could have hundreds of books in their electronic reading device, maybe even my book, maybe my book titled I Forgot To Be Famous, maybe my book that I wrote, that’s my book, maybe my book is in there. Did I mention my book?
But let’s say that you go home with someone lovely and their shelf is brimming with books. Like Belle’s dream library. Or like Keanu Reeves’ library in a fan fiction I once read on Fanfiction.net many, many years ago. And I don’t need your judgement. Let’s not even start about judging others by the fan fiction they do (or do not) read. I was a wayward youth. The Matrix was a big deal. Keanu was dreamy. These things happen. So let’s say that they have a huge selection of wonderful, amazing books.
YET — there is no way of actually knowing if this dreamboat actually read any of these said wonderful, amazing books. So if people are judging you by the books you’ve read, are they also judging you by the books you HAVEN’T read?
Here are the books on my shelf that I haven’t read. Or haven’t finished. It’s not that I’m a slow reader — I’m quite fast actually, if you must know — but if something doesn’t interest me right away, I stop. It takes a lot of effort for me to give things another chance. Sometimes I go back to it. This happened with Mad Men, and now I love Mad Men. Something something relationship metaphor here.
Is everyone in your social circle coupled-up except for you? Not a big deal, because over at POPSUGAR, they’ve got a few tips on what to do when you’re the only single friend left.
Summer in New York means parties on rooftops. On a Friday in June, I go to one. I meet a girl on the stairwell and help her carry up a tray of hotdogs. She’s got a jet-black pixie cut and is immediately friendly. I love immediately-friendly types. We walk up to the roof together and drink beer and proceed to spend thirty minutes talking about everything under the sun. We really hit it off.
Finally she takes a step back and stretches her neck far out over the Brooklyn horizon. “Man. I am rolling!” she says. “On what?” I ask. “Molly! It’s so good.” I’ve tried molly before, and I liked it. It makes you feel friendly. I did it once with an ex-boyfriend and we told each other we loved each other. In this moment, I feel slightly deceived. I suspect maybe this girl doesn’t know what’s she’s saying. There’s something impossibly intoxicating about believing your own well-intentioned untruths, a luxury that drugs afford. Whatever. I decide fuck it, why not believe? It’s a party and I’m an accessory to a high, and I will let the warmth wash over me. So we go on, feeding each other compliments like candy.
“You are so fun and glorious and lovely!” she chants to me. “You’re like, a gorgeous porcelain doll, I could just dress you up and put you in a window somewhere.”
I eat it up. “You too! You’re so beautiful and amazing and free, I wish I knew so many more people who could talk like this, who could just be open with each other.” And I mean it.
“Oh my god, me too. Can I just say, I feel like you are like…my person? You know when you just meet someone and think to yourself, ‘This person is for me, this person is my PERSON!’ That’s you, I knew instantly we’d get along, you’re great and I just fucking love you!”
“YES! I love YOU TOO!”
“We love each other!! This night is the best! I live for nights like this.”
We sit on the asphalt and roll around laughing and chatting and staring up at the smoky sky for a few hours, and then I take a 3 a.m.-train home sober.
“When my last relationship ended, it didn’t seem possible that, mere days before, I’d probably have dove into traffic to save a person I’d now dive headlong into a mound of summertime garbage just to avoid seeing at a crosswalk.” -Joe Berkowitz
Being single is one thing; being newly single is, somehow, completely different. This heightened awareness of solitude is explained over at The Awl in the essay “My Superpower is Being Alone Forever: Newly Single.”
I want someone to sweep me off my feet, the way Mitt Romney swept all questions about his tax returns under the rug. Screw it, I am a romantic at heart. I’ve tried to tell myself that I’m not. Today, I am coming forth and admitting my truth: I like romance, I like to be romanced, and I love the fuck out of candles. Someone adore me. Really, truly adore me. Because we all deserve that. We should all have that experience, of being Tears For Fears-style head over heels and have it being reciprocated. That’s the key, you don’t want to be the creep who is in like with someone who has no interest. That is a bad place to be, on either side. Getting over that is never easy. And yeah, that sucks, but you have to find a way to accept the situation and walk away. The sooner you learn how to do this, the better. I found that the only way to get over someone is to find someone else to get under. I don’t mean that in a sexual way, but if you want to interpret it as that, go ahead, why not.
You have a crush before he even knows your name. Where did you first see him, again? Could’ve been anywhere. Doesn’t matter. You thought he was cute. At that point, you knew the crush was purely superficial. You weren’t that invested. Your life could carry on as usual.
Then, days—maybe weeks?—later, you see him again, see that your paths are literally going to cross, and think, “Well, why the hell not?” and fueled by your sudden surge of confidence, you introduce yourself (or joke about the weather, or compliment his shirt—who knows, but you say something). And he shakes your hand. You realize you’ve never been this close to him before. You prepare to part ways—
And then he smiles.
And you are a goner.
I have dated, lots. In many different ways. Speed, blind, online…and regular old meet-at-a-party (or baggage claim, or the laundromat). I’ve had a drink with more complete strangers than I care to remember. It took me a long time, and boatloads of meshugenah to find my long-term guy, because I was making a sh*t ton of mistakes along the way. So many, I spent a year studying and taking expert dating advice to rectify the situation.
And so I present, after years of trial, error (and study!) ten things not to do if you want a BF anytime soon. (Note: if you’re not looking for a relationship, feel free to disregard and go get your swerve on).
1) Spend hours texting/Gchatting/talking to some dude you never see - One time, I thought this guy was kinda sorta my special someone because we had regular marathon phone seshes laden with laughs and sweet compliments. Not so. You know what we didn’t have? Dates. Face time. Anything beyond a mutual, at-a-safe-distance crush we nursed like teenagers (while living ten blocks from each other). Beware of guys who aren’t chomping at the bit to see you. You may feel a virtual emotional connection, but that things’s about as strong as a one-ply napkin in Al Roker’s underpants.
Six weeks ago, I packed up my belongings and moved from the western Chicago suburbs, where I’d been living for over nine years, to Madison, Wisconsin, in order to start a new job. In the way of furniture, I had a bed, a dresser, a bookcase, and two free chairs.
At thirty-two years of age, I became the sole owner of my first couch.
I also needed dishes and silverware. Thankfully, through the generosity of family members who’ve bought or given me various kitchen items, I was given enough for six people. Once I get a kitchen table, I’ll be set.
And yet, something in me keeps feeling embarrassed that I didn’t (and still don’t) have all the seemingly essential household items that make it onto every wedding registry: a mixer, rugs, a cool lamp, matching mixing bowls, luxuriously thick towels, etc., etc., etc.
The move has also left me wondering why, when two people’s salaries are getting combined into one at their marriage, their friends and family buy them lots of gifts, but when single people move, they—on their single-income paychecks—are responsible to buy everything they might need, except for perhaps a token candle purchased as a house-warming gift.
It all makes me want to raise the question a single friend asked me once: Can I register for my birthday?
Somehow, marriage has become the main rite of passage into adulthood, the rite of passage we throw all our time, energy, and money into. No other celebratory event in American culture compares to the scale of weddings. Don’t get me wrong—marriage is definitely worth celebrating; I think watching couples declare their love and commitment to each other above all others is a sacred event.
But where does that leave those of us who aren’t married?
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