October 27, 2011

I’ve gotten the distinct feeling lately that as my relationship has gotten more serious, there are a couple people in my life that seem to prefer that I be single.  Early in my relationship, I had a few reservations that I discussed with friends – they seem trivial and meaningless now and to be sure I had actually forgotten about them but recently some friends of mine have brought them up to me.  A month or two into dating Mr. Dreamboat, I was wary of an exclusive relationship because I felt like I hadn’t yet sown my wild oats to speak.  It seemed to me that before I settle down, I needed to explore a few more trysts with a few more men.  But when love happens to you, these notions of what you should do become irrelevant and so I had completely forgotten about it till my friend Ted recently brought up to me.  Are you sure you really want to be this serious with someone, he asked me.  As I’ve decided to at least postpone moving to New York to explore where my relationship goes, my sister reminded me, you’ve only known him for a few months.  Then two nights ago, I expressed what I thought was a typical common relationship hiccup to my friend Shepp and he told me maybe you wouldn’t be feeling this way if he was the one.  I get the distinct feeling some of my single friends don’t want this relationship to be it for me and I can’t help but wonder if it’s more a reflection of where they are than where I am.

For some people, being single can become your identity.  And there are lots of benefits to being single: you only ever have to do what you want to do, you have more time, some studies even suggest you’re more ambitious.  Personally, I have found some of the habits of singledom are hard for me to break.  I’ve gotten so used to flirting with men to get what I want that I am constantly confused about whether or not I’m being respectful to my relationship or not.  Old habits…

On the other hand, some girls are relationship girls.  But if being in a relationship becomes your identity, this too has its own pitfalls.  These girls are always in relationships and in the brief periods they’re not, they’re figuring out how be a good girlfriend in the next relationship they will shortly jump into.  For a brief time in my life I was one of these girls who was single and looking around desperately not for a life partner but someone who would make an adequate temporary partner.  I was shocked at what I was willing to overlook to be in one of these fleeting relationships.  Ok, he may be a little dumb, but I’ll just keep him from saying more than a few sentences at a time.  So we made out a few times, I cringed at every other sentence which had some made up word in it.  Or ok so he’s constantly quoting Ann Coulter to browbeat your liberal tendencies, I’ll just keep anyone from mentioning anything political around him for a few months.  Or so he’s fifty-three, it’s not like he’s married.

Yes, this was a bleak time in my life, but I had just been through a heart-wrenching break-up and thought if I could be with someone again right away, it would just ease the pain as I slowly arose out of my depression.  Of course, this was a dumb idea and I’m embarrassed to be writing about it because it’s a sad commentary on my emotional state at the time.  But I was young and naive and not sure of myself enough to have faith that I could get through it on my own.

Of course, in the end I did get through it on my own and am a much stronger person now.  But the point is, all these filler boyfriends didn’t do anything for me except buy me a lot of meals.  In the end, I did pull myself out of the darkness on my own and realized I was so happy with where I was in my life that I hardly thought about wanting a boyfriend (unless my Grandmother was telling me I needed a man in my life).  And of course as fate would have it, once I finally become truly happy being single, I found myself in a relationship again.

But I can’t imagine that I would end a good relationship with someone I’m very much in love with in order to be single again.  When my friends have repeated back to me my own hesitations about being in this relationship, while they may be true, they hardly seem like good enough reasons to give up the person I love.  It does seem though like perhaps they’d like some company.  As much fun as being single can be, it’s way more fun when you have good friends to share it with.  And of course, therein lies the irony…human beings just weren’t made to be alone, even when life demands that we go through it completely single.

Tamara Shayne Kagel is a writer living in Santa Monica, CA. To find out more about her, visit” title=”@tamaraskagel.” target=”_blank”>@tamaraskagel. © Copyright 2011.

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