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6 Reasons Why Being Single is the Worst

Posted in Lifestyle, Relationships by

My love life is a mess. I was what people call “a prude” throughout (most) of high school. When I got to college I was still “prudish”, but open to trying new things. I didn’t go crazy, but I did figure out what it was like to kiss someone who didn’t try to suck my face off. I learned the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, big and small… One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that being single when you’re 25 sucks. Since we already have a post saying how being single is okay, I’ve decided to make one saying why being single is the worst.

Related Reading: 3 Reasons to Love Being Single

In the beginning…

I want to start by giving you a little history on my love life. I’ve had two serious relationships. One was my freshman year of college and we dated for about a year, long distance. Then I went four years just dating (a.k.a Tinder, Plenty of Fish, random guys at parties) where nothing really interesting happened; well except for that one guy. The guy who was sleeping with me, while patching things up with his ex (which I didn’t know) and gave me an STD. I stalked his ex and told her to get tested and he got mad and called me a bitch and yada yada it was all my fault even though it was all his and he was being a big baby who didn’t get his way, whatever.

After that, I got with some guy who was mutual friends with my friend. We messed around and had fun, but he was (and still is) too immature, so we stopped after about a month.

When I was 24, I started a new job where I worked closely with one other girl in sales. We became close friends and she invited me to her wedding. This is where I met the guy I would be in my second longest relationship with. He was a year younger than me and he treated me like a princess, up until he became paranoid that I was cheating on him and then he cheated on me… I still don’t understand how that makes sense AT ALL.

Related Reading: The Things He Said, My Toxic Relationship

Now

So I’ve been single for about a year now, talking with guys off of various dating sites (Bumble being in the hot seat right now) and mistakenly sleeping with the guy I had messed around with after college again (don’t act like you’ve never gone back to an ex). The thing about becoming single after a serious relationship is that I’m reminded how good it is to be in a relationship. And then, it’s over and I’m back to square one.

kaboompics_Blonde woman having a healthy snack at the wooden pier

Here are the worst things about being single:

  1. Starting over

    Dating is awkward because I have to learn people all over again. Especially online dating, because I can’t get a genuine feeling about someone until we’re face to face. So sometimes it feels like I’m wasting all that time messaging someone I just don’t feel a connection with when we finally do meet. That sucks.

  2. No excuse

    When I go out with girlfriends to the bar, I can’t say that I have a boyfriend at home. Which, granted this can (does) work in my favor sometimes. I have such a heavy guilty conscience that I can’t lie well. So now I have to say I’m not interested and gamble him following me around the whole night or leaving it at that.

  3. Dry Spell

    You know exactly what that means. Toys are great, hook-ups are risky and repeats are frowned upon. There’s just no winning with this one. It’s just not the same.

  4. I have to buy things myself

    Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth. Everyone likes getting spoiled by someone else. Personally, I enjoy being treated to dinner and a movie. I especially like getting flowers randomly. Sure, friends and family can do this, but it’s a different feeling when it’s from your boyfriend/girlfriend.

  5. It’s lonely

    I’m used to texting someone constantly throughout the day, and now that’s gone. No one to tell me they can’t wait to see me or tell me how beautiful they think I am. Not just that, but my boyfriend was my best friend; the one I could talk to about anything and not worry about being judged. I could be goofy, and he would never call me anything that would make me feel stupid or ugly. I always felt wanted.

  6. There’s a lot of free time

 It is a strange thing to complain about, but I like being busy. When I’m by myself, I think too much; I want to constantly be working to distract myself from how sucky life is (the 9-5 job, trying to plan days out with friends with a $5 budget, being a 5th wheel etc.). When I feel really down I think about all the things that I can do to change myself: being more patient, less pushy, less critical, put in more effort (tangent: I once had a boyfriend that asked me why I wasn’t wearing make up on a Sunday, saying he was always trying to look good for me, so why wouldn’t I reciprocate…). There’s a lot of dark thoughts I started to think about myself and my worth when the person I thought could be my forever bangs someone else.

Related Reading: How to Handle Getting Hit on at a Bar11 Messages You’ll Get on Plenty of Fish

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any good things about being single, there are. But let us not dwell on all the good things like actually having time for your friends, hogging the whole bed and farting without embarrassment in the comfort of your own home. It’s okay to say how much things suck sometimes.

 

What are your thoughts on being single?

 

February 21, 2018
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My Toxic Relationship

Posted in Lifestyle, Relationships by

A blond woman lays on a couch beside the window. It's grey and muted, her hair and her hand covering her face. A sense of sadness and loneliness is captured by photographer Benjamin Combs. The title "My Toxic Relationship" is overlaid.

There are plenty of people in my past that I wish I had never met. Or that I had stood up to. Or that I didn’t keep in my life for as long as I did. But the aliens/government/my future self aren’t sharing their time machines, so I’ve just gotta keep going with those black marks in my past.

The biggest stain on my people report card was my relationship. The relationship, singular, one, uno, can’t be confused with the other one because the other one doesn’t exist. That’s a tangled web of psychology and chaos to unwind at a later time, although it does likely have something to do with what that relationship was: toxic.

What is a Toxic Relationship?

As a kid, I heard all about abusive relationships that involved one partner hitting and beating and threatening the other. It wasn’t until I was describing my situation to my college roommate that things started to connect. Here’s the truth: an abusive relationship can exist without any physical harm. It’s called emotional abuse.

In some cases, emotional abuse is more obvious: “you’re stupid”, “you’re worthless”, “you’re ugly and lucky I love you because no one else would”. In others, its less: “I don’t want you to go out”, “you make me sad”, “you don’t do enough for me”. If your partner–or your friend or a family member–makes you feel worthless, that’s the toxin in your blood that they put there. If your partner makes you feel guilty about going out with friends, or wants to know every detail of the plan, s/he is trying to control you.

It can be subtle. It can develop slowly. Have you heard the story about the frog and boiling water? If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. If you put a frog in water and slowly raise the temperature to boiling, the frog will stay and die. No one is hit on the first date and thinks “s/he might be the one!” In the same case, no one is made to feel worthless and unloveable on the first date and instantly falls in love. In the beginning, everyone is happy. Everyone is falling in love. Then, a year later, you wonder why you’re so miserable. But the darkness of emotional abuse is that it’s so subversive that it often draws the victim closer to the abuser.

Underwater, people are swimming. There's a sense of drowning as only the shadows and limbs are visible. Overlaid is the quote "If it's destroying you, then it isn't love, my dear." Photo taken by Tim Marshall.

How it Happened to Me

Disclaimer: Every story is different. This is mine. Whatever comments I make about myself, my decisions, my mentality, the things I perpetrated, do not apply to anyone else that may or may not have been, are in, or will be in an abusive relationship.

I was not popular in high school. My dates to dances were groups of friends and my run-ins with admirers were guys I had zero interest in (and were also at the bottom of the food chain. It was high school. Stop judging). As a result, once I got to college I got a bit…desperate. Not desperate for a date or willing to take just anyone, but I was all about finally being in a relationship and not being the ugly duckling any more. I dated. I hooked up. I had a good time. But no one was willing to commit.

Until Jon*.

He had admired me from afar when we lived in brother and sister halls in the dorms (unbeknownst to me. I had never seen him). Then it turned out we were living in the same apartment complex. A passing hello and a few group events later, we started dating. He made me happy: he spent time with me, was interested in me and everything that made me me (even the dark parts. In retrospect, especially the dark parts). He fixed my flat tire, taught me how to drive stick, cooked me food, and invited me over every day after class. We’d talk for hours. We talked about a future.

Jon turned 21 before me. He went to the bars every now and then. About every Thursday. This will be important later.

We moved into different apartments when the leases ended, but I spent the majority of my time at his place. We’d talk: about our dreams, about how he wasn’t happy in the ROTC program he was in, about what it was like having divorced parents, about his fears of being cheated on, about how hard and confusing life was. About how he was scared I would cheat on him. About my rising depression. About feeling like we wouldn’t be loved by anyone else. Around the seventh-month mark, the conversations were mostly somber, dark, usually involving one or both of us crying. We talked about wanting to be honest with each other and doing everything we could to make the relationship work. That turned into criticizing each other over the tiniest things: “you don’t say thank you enough”, “you don’t listen to me”, “I love you more than you love me”.

I turned 21 and was excited to finally graduate from house parties to bar crawls. Suddenly, Jon was “over” the bars and didn’t want to go out. Since he and his friends were pretty much my only friends by this point, it meant that I didn’t go out. And it was okay, because I was spending time with him.

Right?

Related Reading: The Things He Said

I was formally diagnosed with depression. He started looking through my phone in the middle of the night, waking me up to ask who Eric (a project partner) was or why I was having coffee with Jeff (an old friend, whom he had met on several occurrences). We started fighting. I was always made out to be the bad guy. I stayed because I was determined to do everything I could to make things work, both of us insisting that I could do more, should be doing more.

Finally, I was reaching the end of my rope. No matter what, I wasn’t good enough. Things weren’t getting better. He left work in the middle of the day to come talk to me about it. We both knew what was coming. While I waited, I talked with my roommate, who was busy painting the kitchen. I told her about the things that annoyed me and why I was unhappy: he didn’t like me going out, he constantly put me down, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be me and life my life. That’s when she said it:

“That sounds like abuse.”

Cue the sound of shattering glass. Everything clicked into place. Everything made sense. Holy shit, I had fallen into a trap and been too blind to see it.

We broke up. He made me be the one to say it, insisting that I be the bad guy.

My only regret is telling him that he was still a good person.

*Names may or may not have been changed to protect identities. 

A couple sits in a car, not touching. They seem stiff and uncomfortable with each other. Overlaid is the quote "You'll never really see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air."

How to Recognize Abuse and Toxicity. And What to Do About It 

Maybe it’s happening to you. Maybe it’s happening to your best friend or your sister or your brother-in-law. Look out for yourself; look out for the people you care about.

Notice the signs: unhappiness, pulling away from other people, feeling guilty about little things, second-guessing things.

It is okay to want to spend time with your friends without your significant other. It is okay to dance the two-step at a country bar with someone that’s not your partner. It is okay to have drinks with a friend of the opposite gender (or same gender or non gender or anyone that is not your partner).

Talk about it: with your partner, with your BFF, with your sibling, with your parents, with your hair dresser, with a therapist. Speak as honestly as you can. Listen to what they have to say. If you think you’re seeing signs of abuse towards someone you love, bring it up with them.

Don’t accuse or pick a fight: abusers are skilled in turning everything onto you. If you attack, they’ll attack back. Things might escalate, get ugly, get worse. Victims, likewise, often don’t view themselves as victims. They’ll have something of a Stockholm syndrome: they’ll defend their attacker, insist you don’t know what you’re talking about. I found that phrases like “I’ve noticed x and y, can you tell me your take on it?” are much more effective and help people come to their own conclusions.

Be present and active: the worst thing to do, as a victim, is to fall deeper into it. Keep your friends and family that are outside of the situation, whether you talk to them or not about it. Make a point to have some control over your own life. If your talks with your partner isn’t doing enough, get outside help. If you think someone you love is being abused or is in a toxic relationship, don’t let them pull away: invite them out for drinks or activities, text them, call them, let them know you’re there for them. You don’t have to talk about the abuse all the time (or at all), but make sure that they feel safe with you. Because if they get out of the relationship, they’re going to need someone around to help them rebuild.

 

A blond woman lays on a couch beside the window. It's grey and muted, her hair and her hand covering her face. A sense of sadness and loneliness is captured by photographer Benjamin Combs. The title "Recognizing Emotional Abuse" is overlaid.
January 30, 2018
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3 Reasons to Love Being Single

Posted in Lifestyle, Relationships by

Single love yourself

Grow up, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, die. Sound familiar? Sound bleak? Maybe, maybe not.

Life is all about growing: growing in, growing out, growing up. You grow up with certain ideas and concepts, that you either grow into (faith, politics, family values, styles, mannerisms, etc.) or out of (faith, politics, Santa Clause, etc.). The idea that a relationship was an important part of life is something that I grew out of.

This is not to say that I don’t think relationships are important! Or valuable! They certainly are for different people (think: those that want kids). My point is that being single has it’s own importance, whether you find yourself single for a few weeks, a few years, or the majority of your life. It’s a time to embrace and utilize, rather than a nightmarish storm of pessimism and self-pity.

Three years ago, I left the one relationship I’ve ever had (a three-month long “relationship” in high school barely counts), which had lasted almost a year and a half. It should have ended sooner, but that’s a story for another day. I’m definitely not a relationship expert, and I’m not even an expert on being single: what I am is an optimist. So much so, that I haven’t even pursued a relationship these past three years (note: I also have not avoided it or turned down possibilities for reasons other than it (he) wasn’t right for me).

Want to be an optimist of your current, unattached lifestyle? Here are the top three things I like to focus on to make every day feel purposeful and wonderful.

1. Your time, your way

SomethingI absolutely love about my current, unattached lifestyle is being able to do anything at the drop of a hat. A friend needs a last minute date to a wedding? I’m in. Flights to Vegas are only $50 this weekend? Sold. Someone Snapchats Disney’s Tarzan through a wine glass and you invite yourself over? That’s the story of how I became best friends with Elena. Because I’m single, I don’t feel the pressure to attend someone else’s work events, family events, or any other sort of event just because I’m in a relationship with them. I can leave as early or stay as late at a party or dinner as I want to, go to bed and wake up when I want to, and plan my entire schedule around my needs and wants.

And there’s no guilt attached to it! I can have as many girl’s nights a week as I want to, without having to exchange for his guy’s nights. There’s no edging out of conversations or turning down an offer for a dance or a drink because my partner might be jealous or I’m giving off the wrong vibes (which, in my opinion, is an issue all of it’s own, but that’s neither here nor there). The way I decide to spend my time and energy is entirely my own, and that’s a freedom I love.

2. Self-Sustainable

When you’re single, you often have to do everything yourself: do your own chores, kill your own spiders, pay for your own movie ticket, pick yourself up when you’re down, and satisfy your own needs. Doesn’t sound like a benefit? Hear me out.

I have become a much stronger, better, and more confident person in the time that I’ve been single than when I was in a relationship. Because I’ve had to. I don’t have anyone telling me I look beautiful or giving me other affirmations, so I have to do that for myself. I had to figure out how to build furniture, take care of my car, and pay for my solo vacations by myself. When I’ve had a bad day, I’ve had to calm myself down, build myself up, and  carry on by myself. Yes, I have amazing friends and family who have and always will be there for me, so I’m not really on my own, but there’s something empowering about doing things for yourself. It took time, but my self-confidence is ten times stronger than when I had a boyfriend.

Another hidden benefit from this? When it does come time for me to have a relationship again, I’m not going to settle for anything less than awesomeness, because that’s what I am. I don’t need anyone, so I won’t settle for just anyone. Also, I’ll be able to offer more than I take: I can have fun and be happy without taking payments of affirmation or support along the way. In short: I’m a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man.

 Single woman wearing strong black clothes sits on an orange barrier fence next to the lake.

3. Be YOU!

Everyone is constantly told to “be yourself”, but it’s often a lot harder than it sounds. When you’re in a relationship, you often find yourself doing things for your partner (especially in the beginning stages) that aren’t what you would do on your own. You might dress up or dress down a little more when going out, shave more often, wear your hair a certain way, or disguise your disgusting, yet natural, bodily functions. When you’re single, you only have to worry about your own self-loathing when settling down in pajama shorts that don’t hide your unshaven legs for an all-day Netflix marathon, next to a mountain of snacks that taste so good but are bound to make you gassy. There’s no having to put on a happy face for someone else or hanging out with someone else’s friends when you don’t share the mutual interest. It’s an unencumbered paradise.

Also, no more worrying about living out of an overnight bag or a drawer! When you’re single, you get to shower in your shower and sleep in your bed. You know exactly how the towels have been used, how recently the sheets have been changed, what that smell is, and how to turn on the hot water. You don’t have to differentiate between how to load their dishwasher versus yours, sleep only on one side of the bed, or listen to their music playlists. Finally, you get to unapologetically be yourself.

 

Life and happiness are about perspective. If you perceive your romantic situation or lack thereof as good, then it is! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reasons for loving singlehood, so comment below or send me an email at belle@twofeelswrite.com.

October 15, 2017
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