Just Call Me Amy Valentine

I got a notification today. Apparently I have been blogging with WordPress for seven years. That definitely takes the medal for the longest relationship I’ve ever had! Not that it’s much of a competition, mind. You are reading the words of the more serially single person to have ever walked the planet! *and we laugh, because let’s not take ourselves too seriously here, OK?*

I’ve been getting a lot of hassle from people lately about the fact that I’m single. It’s like that quote from Shirley Valentine – a most excellent film from 1989 starring Pauline Collins that you should immediately go out and watch. The quote always comes to me when someone makes a big deal about the fact that I’m not dating.

Funny, isn’t it? That if you’re a woman on you’re own, it doesn’t half seem to upset people.”

My singleness is like a beacon. Like the worst bat signal ever. It means that I have to endure countless lectures from insistent, if well meaning people, all under the guise of “we just want you to be happy”. As if what they want should be more important than how I feel. But really, it’s not about me. It’s about the fact that apparently everyone else knows more about me and what I want than I do. Because if I say I’m fine being on my own, and I’m not looking for a relationship, then it’s clearly nothing more than the sad ramblings of a lonely person who is just saying those things to hide the fact that she wants to be like everyone else. Cue the eye roll and heaving sigh of irritation.

The pushiness always comes with an explanation. It’s the “I was like you once, and then I met Bob…” which effectively means I’m in a position to lecture because one day you’ll be just like me. Or it’s the “I just think you’re running away” which means I can’t comprehend that you and I have differing opinions. Or my personal favourite, the good old “you just need to put yourself out there” which means hey, you better put yourself in uncomfortable situations with strangers and try to force a connection, because the fact that you’re not actively seeking a partner is just, like, really weird, man.

It’s always the same. Like my singleness makes the couples in the world uncomfortable. Because they’re all sooo happy and so everyone else should be too, right? And you can’t possibly be happy on your own, right? It’s infuriating. I don’t want to be set up, or even persistently nudged toward someone that another person has gotten into their head that I would be a good match with. I am 28 and far beyond the adolescent game playing and match making that was rife in my teenage years. And the annoying part is, if I do end up in a relationship with someone at any point, I’m just going to have to endure all the “I told you so” comments that will inevitably follow. There’s just no winning.

I think what it comes down to is a basic lack of understanding. Society has drilled into us that happiness lies in the partner, and the kids, and the white picket fence. But amidst all these romantic notions, the idea of being happy alone is persistently overlooked. Happiness and contentment come in many forms. And for me, that just happens to look like a single woman in her late twenties, just out here trying to live her best life.

Maybe I’ll just follow Shirley’s lead, and run away to a foreign country and enjoy romance with my own damn self. It’s bound to be less taxing than having to deal with the heavy expectations and well meaning demands of the people who keep trying to force their coupledom on me.

Serial Singleness

Everyone seems to be falling in love lately. My social media newsfeeds are flooded with wedding photos and engagement announcements, loved up date night posts and kissing snaps. And me? I’m settling in with a big fuck off glass of wine, some peanut brittle and a blanket on the couch. My only company is the ghost, and dead guys just don’t do it for me.

I’m a bit of a singular entity. None of my relationships have ever lasted that long, and I am the kind of person that gets sick of other people quickly. So how do they do it? How is it that so many people I know seem to be happily settling into coupledom? Is it magic? Do you follow some scientific formula and end up in a relationship? Or do you just have to barrel on in and hope for the best?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to hop aboard the Tinder train or anything. But when everyone around you is getting into relationships and moving in together and making gooey eyes at each other until you feel vaguely ill, it kind of makes you ponder your serial singleness. And it occurs to me that being single has such a stigma attached to it. So much so that some people become afraid to be alone, and will subsequently stay in bad or toxic relationships because they think it’s the lesser of two evils. Now, I don’t know about you, but something in that scenario seems hugely wrong to me.

To be honest, dating has never been a big thing with me. I’ve never met someone I want to settle down with. I mean, my ex is great and we’re awesome friends now, but our short lived relationship was the result of a romantic incompatibility. And that was over three years ago and I’ve been single ever since. I’m not sure I’d know how to date anymore! The strange thing is that when you’re single, all the coupley people, whether they realise it or not, they kind of pity you a little. It’s like there’s this notion that if you’re single then you must be lonely, and pitiable. Because how could you possibly be content if you don’t get to curl up with someone at night, right?

I guess the point I’m driving at here, albeit confusingly, is that it’s such a socially accepted thing to be in a relationship. It usually follows the ‘date, get engaged, get married’ formula and no one questions it. And yet people question being single all the time. I’m forever being asked how my love life is, or of I’ve met anyone lately, or getting a condescending pat and a ‘don’t worry, you’ll find a nice girl one day’. Or if it’s not that, it’s the ‘oh my god, how are you single?’ I’m single the same way you’re an asshat. And excuse me, people in relationships, but I don’t need your pity and I don’t need a consolation sigh. Leave me alone with my wine and my couch and my ghost, I assure you I’m quite content!

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