Photo: Emily Long
I’ve never been in love. In fact, I’ve never really, properly, been asked out.
Men don’t seem to feel like approaching me unless they are either drunk out of their mind or divorced dads with kids my age. I’m the girl with the online dating profile who gets nothing but creepy messages. I’m the girl who has always been single. This is not for a lack of trying. I’ve done the online thing. I’ve been honest with people and allowed myself to be completely and utterly vulnerable. I’ve even done the eye contact, arm brush at the bar. I’ve walked the clothing line between sophisticated and slutty. Still, I always end up with nothing.
I’m the girl hanging out alone at the bar while her friends are in close conversation with a guy. I’m the awkward girl at the party. I’ve searched my mind for years to figure out where I’ve gone wrong, placing the problem solely within myself. At times, I have given up completely and tried to accept that I could be alone forever.
Sometimes, I think I’ll be more proactive but, truthfully, I’ve run out of ideas. I’m just single for now. The past two years of my life have been full of change. There’s been heartbreaking loss, grief, dropping out of a graduate program that wasn’t right for me, planning adventures on my own, and a general reconnection with parts of my life I had to let go of for awhile. All in all, I’ve changed a lot but being single has been the one constant.
I go back and forth between being super optimistic about future relationships and completely hopeless. I always say I’m fine being single but deep down I’m not. I feel like I would have a lot to offer someone but, maybe I’m completely wrong. Ultimately, I’m tired of trying to meet people and I’m tired of getting my hopes up only to be disappointed. I have accepted that no matter how much work I’ve done on myself (hello, therapy!), I still want to share my life with another person. No matter what point I’ve been at in my life, I’ve always wanted this one thing that just hasn’t happened. They say it happens when you least expect it, but I’m never expecting it and it still hasn’t happened.
And now, I admit that perhaps this line of thinking is not the healthiest. I know that I can be obsessive and ruminative, and this is something that matters to me so, of course, it pulls on that tendency. I also admit that because it’s been so long I tend to immediately think, “Why would anyone be interested in me?” I write off everything before it can begin because I don’t give myself enough credit.
So…I’m changing my outlook. I’m going to get dressed up and not care if I’m alone. I’m going to let myself cry about it when I feel like crying about it. I’m going to walk into a room and internally declare, “Why not me?” And, we’ll see how that goes.