As a slow starter, I never felt the need to enter a relationship. I had a plethora of “friends with benefits,” but my time and freedom was too precious to commit to one single person. Not to mention, I have horrible taste. But soon I caught the love-bug. After my first taste of consistent affection, I was hooked. For over 6 years of my young life I jumped from relationship to relationship, with little lag-time in between. Being alone had become so unfamiliar, I didn’t think I could deal. I was what you would call a serial dater.
I wonder if I’ve ever truly loved.
Infatuation is a deceitful little shit. It took me ages to realize that I really just loved the idea of people. I’d keep partners around just so I wouldn’t have to feel alone. I became riddled with codependency. Aware of the toxicity of my situation, still I’d stay because it was better than being alone. I’d drag out relationships that clearly weren’t working until the bitter, tattered ends; mostly out of habit. Because if I didn’t see that name pop up on my phone, my day felt empty. I needed to know that someone, somewhere was thinking about me. And if I wasn’t getting that from my partner, I’d look elsewhere.
Even when I was “committed,” I’d always keep one or two people on the backburner, just in case. I’m terribly guilty of recycling. Never closing the door on old flames, giving them the opportunity to burn me one last time, or I them.
I’ve never fully accepted anyone for their flaws, and I’ve never felt truly comfortable with anyone while showcasing mine. I feel like that’s what love truly is. Total and complete comfort; no reservations, no regrets.
Got a long list of ex-lovers…
Sickeningly guilty of the on-to-the-next-one mentality, I’d keep a steady rotation of lovers, quickly filling in vacancies if one were to phase out. The end of a relationship was almost exciting. I couldn’t wait to get back out into the dating world, revel in the hookup culture; and experience new walks of life through various lovers.
But eventually the excitement fizzles out, and I’m left feeling empty or bored. I long for something real, but question if I’d even know what to do with it if I had it.
I can’t say I’ve ever been ashamed of my sexuality. Although sometimes I’d give off the wrong vibe; inviting unwanted attention. I’ve certainly toned it down in terms of promiscuity over time, but the need was still there.
The humbling- the first real rejection.
This was my turning point. I thought I’d experienced true rejection before, but I realize now that I hadn’t, now that I had. Does that make sense? Sure, I’ve been involved with people who grew bored of me, or cut me off after getting the goods. But I saw those coming. My intuition braced me for it, and I was able to handle it with grace. Until this last one.
The signs were there, I just didn’t want to see them. From the beginning we told ourselves it wouldn’t turn into anything, we were just having fun. But the “nothing” we were sharing quickly turned into something. Something real. Something like I’ve never felt before. I fell hard, as I imagine plummeting down a rigid cliff-side would be. Abrupt, painful, and against my better judgment.
I wasn’t prepared. Sure, I liked him. He was sexy, fun, and could hold an intelligent conversation. Most of all, he was a MAN. It wasn’t until I become involved with him that I’d only experienced boys or guys. Being with a man is so different. And it changed me.
But like I said, I had my walls up. I wasn’t expecting to let him in. Until he told me he was content being with just me. I felt safe. I felt like it was okay to let myself care. I understand that people make mistakes, but fucking another woman just hours after establishing exclusiveness is a bit of a red flag. “But this isn’t mean to be anything real,” I told myself. And for that reason, I stuck around. I convinced myself that this was still casual, when it was anything but.
I can’t say it was ever healthy or consistent. I’m not sure who’s fault that is, I suppose both of ours in all fairness. We both had multitudes of shit to deal with, and I thought we had each other to lean on. It was starting to work. But then he ghosted.
I exposed myself entirely, only to realize I was standing alone.
It was a feeling unlike any other. I had started to expose my affection, along with those disturbingly dark aspects of myself that only a select few ever get to see. (Lucky them.) I let him see who I truly was, and after some close observation he decided, “nah, I’m all set.”
I completely shut down. He didn’t want me, and I accepted that. He wanted his space, and I gave that to him. Against all of my instincts to try to engage him and drag it out, I let him go. But the damage was vast, uncommon ground. I’ve never felt this before. And instead of trying to immediately fill the void, I closed it off entirely, refusing to let it suck me in.
I shut down romantically and sexually, but opened up in other ways.
In a way, it was liberating. For this first time ever in my life, I was alone. No involvement with anyone sexually or emotionally. And I’m strangely okay with it. I see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to truly get to know myself, an endeavor I’ve been voyaging for years, but always with a co-pilot. Now I’m alone in the front seat, music up, windows down. (I know I’m cross referencing here but this is MY vessel.) It’s only been a few months, but I’ve found that I’m experiencing a few monumental changes due to my solitude:
I’ve been trying to implement this for years with fluctuating success. But on some level, I’d measured my self-worth based on my ability to keep lovers interested. Now that no one is in the picture, my opinion is the only one that matters.
2.Refusing to settle
I no longer feel the urge to entertain relationships just to have someone around. Unless I truly feel that it could go somewhere, I just can’t be bothered. I wouldn’t say that I physically have a type, but I refuse to be involved with someone who isn’t driven and hell-bent on bettering themselves. I only want someone who is honest with themselves as well as me, and doesn’t play the victim when things don’t go as planned. Controlling, jealous behavior is laughable. Just get out of here with that.
3.Weaning off of my love/relationship addiction
It absolutely was an addiction. I was filled with so much need that it hurt. Relinquishing that need, letting is fizzle out into nothing is the ultimate freedom. I don’t care to impress anyone. I won’t waste any time on someone just because it’s convenient. I don’t feel the need to sleep with someone just to get laid. I need nothing. I want nothing. I expect nothing.
Relationships are distracting, and toxic relationships are even more so. They demand so much of your time, and require you to put so much focus on someone else, that you end up forgetting yourself. You are all you have in this world, so don’t sell yourself short.
I’m taking this solitude as an opportunity to really focus on my goals and devote myself to them. No distractions, no demands, just dreams and the art of pursuing them.
All of the previous points equate to this one goal. I got no strings to hold me down. I do what I want, when I want, without having to endure investigations, passive-aggressive comments, or unnecessary guilt. I can stay in bed looking a mess, binge watching terrible television while stuffing my face with disgusting food without judgment. And most importantly, I am free from need and attachment. I have myself, and that’s all I require to get me through.
I’m by no means trying to say that I’m done with love or men or lovers. But I don’t feel that panic that many single women my age have succumbed to. I’m not worried about being alone forever. I know that’s just not a reality. I’m a capable, loveable, endearing young woman and one day I’ll meet my match. But until then, I will continue to learn and love being alone.