Here’s a perspective you don’t get to hear often when it comes to love: There’s nothing wrong with you if you’ve been single for an extended period of time.
I should know because I’m 30 this year and I’ve been single for the past eight years of my life. And of those eight, four of those years have breezed past without me going on as much as a single date. No casual coffees, no after-work drinks, but hey, no dating anxiety either.
Before you collectively gasp and recoil in horror, I’m—spoiler alert—perfectly fine! Sure, there are pros and cons to my particular situation. I do miss having a consistent sex life. That really dwindles down when you don’t proactively date. I also miss the emotional intimacy and a reliable partner to just do mundane stuff with like going to the movies or trying out a new restaurant together. But call me selfish, at the same time I really relish being able to figure out my own life…without having to consider anyone else.
Of course, there are days where I’m inundated with thoughts of inadequacy and question whether I am worthy of being loved, but just like any other thoughts brought on by insecurity—they pass. I can’t change the fact that everyone around me is coupled up, but I can change my reaction towards it.
It’s not that I am relationship-phobic or allergic to commitment. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love connecting with people. So much so, that I’m unwilling to put in that sort of time and energy on lacklustre relationships. I’m selective even when it comes to letting friends into my life, so why shouldn’t it be any less when it comes to a romantic partner?
At the end of the day, being single feels like my default mode. It’s what’s familiar to me. I’m not single due to the lack of opportunity (read also “10 Tips To Help You Find Love If You’re Single“), but rather by choice. It’s not that I don’t want a partner ever, but at this point, I’m not actively seeking one.
The funny thing is, I feel more “me” when I’m single. Maybe it was because I felt the pressure to perform and be the idealised version of myself in past relationships. Perhaps I didn’t have the confidence than to truly be myself either. But I know better now.
If you happen to be a long term singleton like myself, either by choice or not, I just want to say it’s ok.
You don’t need to prove your empowerment by posting articles on social media extolling the positives of singledom nor do you need to actively swipe or feel compelled to go out and do things because “wellllll, you never know who you could meet.”
Being single isn’t something you need to wear as a badge of honour or a scarlet letter. To me, my marital status (or lack thereof) isn’t something I tie super intensively to my identity as a person. It’s just one part of me, much like my career, friendships, family, interests or personality.
Until then, unless I meet someone awesome whom I’m willing to make changes in my life for, I’m just going to do me and continue to sleep in the middle of the bed.
This article was first published in Cleo.