Being single gets tougher the longer it lasts for. But it gets easier too, you get more used to it, it has become normality. But that’s what makes it difficult. All I’ve ever known is being single, and I’ve become pretty great at it if I do say so myself!
But if I were to meet someone, would I even be able to not be single?
As I’ve become older, and a relationship seems ever more elusive, I wonder if I could actually be in one. I have become so independent, so entirely used to doing things my way and on my own, that I don’t know how I’d bring another person into my life. For most people it seems obvious, it’s something that just happens. For many their problem is the other way around and not knowing how to be single.
I am a very much by the book kind of person, that’s how I learn- I study. I did very well at School and University, and even went on to do a Masters. I’m a relatively smart person, I’m incredibly logical and have pretty good common sense. But I’m also the kind of person who studies by the book for those things that many do not.
You should have seen me preparing for my driving theory test. I spent days reading through the Highway Code, theory questions and answers, and completing practice tests. I got 100% on the MCQs. That’s why I lacked confidence when it came to my practical driving test. Despite many many hours of practice I still needed many hours of reading up about manoeuvres online- I had to study it to get it right in my head before I could get it right practically. (You’ll be pleased to know I passed first time!)
Being single is what I’ve studied. Being in a relationship is something I know little about, it’s not something I’ve studied or practiced, and that’s a problem. The teenage years and early 20s are a practice run- learning the do’s and don’ts of relationships (or so it seems from an outsiders perspective). In Sixth Form and at University the relationships friends were in only ever seemed short lived (with a few exceptions!) But a few years out of university everyone suddenly seemed ready to settle down with new partners much quicker- progressing to living together and marriage in half the time of whole previous relationships that had never gone that far before.
It feels a bit like I’ve missed all my practices, and now I’ve missed too many practices to be allowed on the team. Or that my free trial period has run out and I forgot to use it. Without my trial I never understand how to use the program. Is that where I’m at now?
The longer I remain single for, the more impossible not being single seems.
In the past I have found the idea of me being in a relationship laughable. Genuinely. That had been my response for years when people asked me if there were any guys on the scene, because it had been so long since there was even someone I was interested in, let alone the actual potential of something happening! When I laughed at that question part of it was always disbelief. I’d become so accustomed to being single that I genuinely couldn’t fathom not being, I couldn’t even imagine a reality where someone would be interested in me.
Nowadays people know better than to ask- they too have come to assume (quite correctly), that I am still single because why wouldn’t I be? If I’ve been single this long it’s unlikely to dramatically change anytime soon! There’s a single exception to this though.
And thanks to them I’ve started opening myself up to the mindset that it’s not a crazy question, it’s a perfectly acceptable idea that as a smart 26 year old woman I could be dating someone. Isn’t it?
But I bet you can’t guess who still asks me if i’m dating anyone?
Did I mention that I’m a teacher? I teach Science in a Secondary School and am blessed to be at a great school with so many great kids, several of which are in my form group. Over the course of 5 years some of the girls have come to know me quite well! They ask me all kinds of questions and I’m happy to answer. About once a term they ask me ‘Do you have a boyfriend yet?’ genuinely wanting to know and wanting one for me.
At first I hated that question.
I felt embarrassed that my answer was always no. I mean, the teenagers I teach have far more active love lives than I’ve ever had! And I always skirted around the ‘have you ever had a boyfriend?’ question- I didn’t want to lie, nor did I want to be interrogated. After 5 years, despite my answer always being ‘no’ (and them not judging me for that) they still ask. The question has even evolved to be more politically correct (because kids are great) and the question is now ‘Do you have a boyfriend yet? Or a girlfriend? Or a gender fluid friend?’ which fills my heart for sure.
This and a few other things have caused me to regain confidence that I could be in a relationship, that it’s not crazy and is in fact quite a plausible idea. But practically, I’m still not sure. I’m used to doing things on my own and my way. I decide my own schedule and make my own plans without checking in with anyone else. I cook for one (but often eat for two!) I much prefer going to the gym and gigs by myself and am very happy to explore new cities solo. I am utterly useless at day to day communications and regularly go weeks before contacting friends. And quite frankly I have so many belongings and very clear visions of having it all organised and displayed in my own house (whenever the day comes that I can buy one) that I can’t imagine there being another person there for that.
And I think that’s just it. I can’t imagine ‘doing life’ with someone.
I have no idea how I would merge my life with someone else’s and I just can’t picture a future where I’ve done that. I have many dreams where I’ve met someone and I have a ton of cute/romantic moments in them. But not once has a dream involved me living with/married to a guy and living out an actual life with them. I’m so far from there. And if I did, what would I do when I just wanted to eat a tub of ice cream and watch TV? I couldn’t cope with the judgement from someone else about how I live my life, I can barely deal with me judging me for that!
So for now at least, I think it’s safe to say my single status won’t be changing anytime soon…
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