Our conversations would occasionally veer towards fashion, food or plans for the weekend, but they would always revert back to whether her most recent Tinder date could be ‘the one.’
My colleague, let’s call her Andrea, seemed to always find it strange that I wasn’t obsessing too. And when I said I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, she looked at me as though I had spontaneously grown three heads.
‘You don’t want a boyfriend?’ She said, ‘That’s a bit weird, isn’t it?’
Personally, I find it strange that we’re pressured into always being in a relationship.
If we’re not in one, people want to know why – what is wrong with us?
If we don’t find someone to settle down and buy a house with by 28, then why?
If we don’t want to have kids and get married by 30, then why?
My question is, why is it so weird to want to be single?
Perhaps there are some people who are drastically unhappy being alone, and that’s absolutely fine. But it doesn’t mean that every single person is drunk crying to rom-coms, mainlining Ben & Jerrys and singing All By Myself to their ten cats, every night.
I can do what I want, when I want and I don’t have anybody to answer to.
I can focus on my career, without someone getting annoyed or cheating on me, because I’m busy.
If I want to spend my entire pay-check on shoes and wine, I can.
And, more importantly, I don’t have to share my wardrobe.
Some people might call me selfish or maybe even cynical. But I will tell you why I’m not.
Until a few years ago, I was in a destructive, seven-year relationship that catapulted me to rock bottom; I saw no escape. I was desperate, helpless, depressed and isolated from absolutely everybody I knew. I lost a lot of friends but worse, I lost myself.
Becoming single taught me that I’m not crazy; I was driven that way. It allowed me to heal, find myself, discover my strengths, rebuild friendships, throw myself into my career and learn to love myself again.
It’s not that I’m afraid of this ever happening again, nor have I become some kind of commitment-phobe. That relationship is not something I ever think about now, but it has taught me to never accept less than I deserve.
With or without past relationship trauma, learning to be comfortable in your own skin and with your own company is invaluable.
Your life is important, why share it with someone who doesn’t truly appreciate it?
This constant pressure to just accept a situation, just because society says you should, isn’t healthy.
We become so transfixed on finding someone to ‘put a ring on it,’ that we miss out on life, experiences, opportunities and neglect the love that already surrounds us.
As David Byrne of Talking Heads, once said: ‘Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love, but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.’
So, returning to the original question, why is it so weird to want to be single? To embrace it?
It shouldn’t be, because, to me, it’s not a symbol of failure or shame – it’s a stamp of strength, self worth and empowerment.
The original post features on Metro UK. Illustrations by Ella Byworth.