There are many great things about forging your own path like a single warrior queen, unfettered by a needy partner. But this isn’t that list. There are enough of those.
This is a list of all the sucky feelings about being single that get less airtime; sucky feelings that would feel a lot better if they were just acknowledged as being A-Okay.
The most obvious and most difficult to satisfy. A lot of people construct complex coping mechanisms for this one. I drank and worked obsessively. Whether our big brains like it or not, we’re social creatures that need a tribe.
Dating, especially if you’re looking for more than sex, can be an exercise in rejection and disappointment. Eventually you wind up at: Is there something wrong with me? Not cool.
Romantic getaways, winter couch cuddles and summer holidays are just some of the things better suited to twosomes (or whateversomes).
4. Body-love ache
Touch, the loving, non-sexual kind, is essential to your well-being. We use touch to bond, reach out and even confirm our place in tribe; it improves our stress levels and immune system. Deprived of this for a long time feels not only isolating, but depressing.
The mantra I hate: ‘When you’re whole, you’ll meet your person.’ If this were a reality only a handful of people in the world would be in a relationship.
6. Persecuted by the universe
Sounds dramatic, but after 10 years of not meeting someone that made sense in my life I felt pretty damn hard done by, like Cupid had a vendetta against me. Friends whose lives were falling apart were meeting the loves of their lives in the wreckage.
A pox on the coupled, well-meaning friends who rattle off the ‘you should justs’. The worst? ‘You should just put yourself out there.’ HAVE YOU EVEN TRIED THE BLACK HOLE THAT IS TINDER?!
Comes after anger. You keep meeting the same doucheball over and over again. You know how the movie ends before it’s even begun. ‘Someone who can surprise me’ ended up on my list of ‘things I want in a partner’.
Coupled folks forget how much safety a relationship brings them. Someone cares whether you got home okay and will bring you food when you’re sick.
Doing life stuff alone for a long time, whether it’s new jobs or parents dying, can get rough. Friends are cool. But your own team mate cheering you on and being there at 2 am when you can’t sleep because you’re too anxious and stressed is a pretty cool thing.
That’s it. No glib follow-up statements about ‘it gets better’ etc. They’re just sucky feelings that are common and don’t need fixing. But they do need acknowledging and talking about.
So the next time your oh-so-happily-coupled BFF throws you an enthusiastic high-five for your single self when you’re feeling meepy about it, show her this list.