“Why Are You Still Single?”– Part 1 of 3
It’s the most dreaded question an unmarried, successful, independent woman is asked most, and it’s often received with an eye-roll. Those 5 dreaded words: “Why are you still single?”
Please, folks, for the love of God, stop asking that fu%king question. We get the concern and pseudo compliment behind it, but it also feels like the scarlet letter is branded on us every time it’s asked. Over the years, I have learned to laugh it off and play around with the person asking. Some responses I am most proud of are:
“I don’t know. Why are you still married, Carol?”
“I’m over-qualified, Bob.”
“I think its due to that chain email I didn’t forward back in 2007, Karen.”
I, up until a couple of years ago, felt such shame around my singleness. I went down the ‘what is wrong with me’ road, way too many times to count. I was embarrassed by my choices and knowing better. I was ashamed for not following my gut. I was humiliated by what people may think. And then, one day, something suddenly shifted, and I started to get right with my oneness…now I honor it, and today, I share it. Which is quite uneasy for a chick who has been steeped in shame this whole time.
If you know anything about shame, it cannot survive being spoken. It thrives in secret. I am done with the secrets. I started “The Daily Feels” for this exact reason…not to make my business public knowledge or to receive praise or sympathy (hell no). I decided that the longer my story stays hidden, shame wins. And I am not ok with that any longer. So thank you for allowing me to share and shed the shame which no longer serves me. Here goes it…
I have come to terms with the truth behind why I travel this life alone. Some tell me I have no luck when it comes to men. Nah, it’s not about luck. It’s about choice. And I have chosen those to love poorly. I have chosen to stay in relationships well past their due date. Now, let me stop here for a second and let me be clear: my singlehood has nothing to do with the actual men I chose to love, it has to do with ME. And only me. I chose to date them. I chose to fall in love with them. I chose to stay in shitty situations. I chose to be treated less than. I chose all of it. I am fully owning my shit here, folks. So. let me declare right here and now, I am finally (46 years in) cleaning up this ‘shit’, ONCE AND FOR ALL.
The ‘shit’ I am about to share is going to be rationed over a 3-part blog series. Because let’s be honest, a 46-year-old single woman has a lot of content to work with. From meeting guys on dance floors to the pages of Match.com, to finding love on Facebook – I have experienced every dating medium there is. I have stories – oh dear God, the stories! But for this blog, and for the sake of my son one day possibly reading this – I will just share four. The four that impacted my life most. The relationships that helped mold me into the woman I am becoming today. For the lessons that these traveling professors, who I once called boyfriends have taught me, the blessings they bestowed upon me, I thank them all.
I have been on my fair share of dates, yet I have had four serious relationships in my life. Two were long-term, despite knowing early on that they should have been short-term. But, you know, young and dumb… and dumber. The other, not long at all, and yet it was special in what it taught me. I opened my heart widest for this one, and well, life and circumstances said: “Nah, not him”. And the fourth relationship is the one I am currently in, which I can confidently say is forever.
So yes, I know heartbreak…and healing. We’re pretty good friends at this point. You know that friend who you might not see very often but, when you do, you feel like no time has passed. The difference is, unlike “that” friend, the heartbreak and the healing process fu%king sucks. Listen, I have had my stomach cut open twice, 6 root canals, 10 teeth pulled, broken bones, rhinoplasty, head contusions, but nothing, I mean NOTHING hurts like the breaking of the heart and the healing to mend it. More on that later…
I am not going to lie. I never was the chick who dreamed of my wedding day. I never pictured the white dress, the bridesmaids, the Viennese hour (God, don’t you just love a good Viennese hour?). It just wasn’t important to me, which is odd for a chick, I know. I mean, that’s possibly why I never achieved it. In fact, I know it is. Because what we manifest comes to life in some way, shape, or form. I know this because the one thing I did picture and want were kids and, well, now I am a mom of a rad 6-year-old boy.
My longest relationship was 8 years. I moved out to Arizona after college. My first month living there, a friend came to visit. It was June 1993 and we went dancing at a club in Tempe called The Mill. We’re on the dance floor in our baby-doll dresses (note: it was the 90s), dancing to Offspring’s “Gotta Keep Em Separated”, and a blonde, blue-eyed skater-boy came up to me and started dancing and acting like an ass. Because, well, skater-boy. And from that night on, I spent 8 years with that ass (lol) and we lived together for 7.5 of them. For two of those years, we were actually in love, while the other 6 we were cohabitating as brother & sister. No, no… more like mother and son. We both actively took on those roles. He needed to be taken care of and, well, I always did want kids, so it worked…until it didn’t. We lived in Arizona together for 3 years and then moved to NYC. We were in our early 20s at the time, and I was uber focused on my career, rising through the ranks and carried my scab-kneed, Vans-wearing, ramen-noodle-eating skater boy along for the ride. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, so the mother in me advised him to go back to school. The mother in me supported him through all 4 years of nursing school, mentally, emotionally and financially. Yes, the skater-boy became a nurse. During those 4 years, he dabbled in modeling, became super interested in NY fashion, waited tables, and partied with college kids (he was 26 at that point). After 8 years cohabitating, he graduated college, I threw him a party and that’s when the question came to me: where do we go next?. I did not want to marry him, and he probably felt the same. We spent 6 years on two different paths that, in my heart, knew would never merge. Two weeks later, he announced he wanted to move back to AZ. I didn’t. We called it quits (happiest day in my parents’ life – lol). So, there I was: 30 years old, single, with a burgeoning career and what I would come to discover was a bat-shit-crazy ex.
I began dating 6 months after skater-boy and I broke up. I had a few great dates with the same guy and I was loving the freedom of living alone and being single in the city. My ex and I kept in touch. He had moved to Arizona for a month after we broke up and then ended up in Chicago working as a nurse. Later, had booked a trip to come to NY and we agreed to have dinner. During dinner, I had told him of a business trip I had planned to Vegas that Thursday so if he wanted to save $ on a hotel room during his trip he can stay at the apartment (which we both at one point lived in). He agreed. I went to Vegas, he stayed in NYC. When I returned home, I faced the biggest, psycho, shit-storm one could ever imagine.
After walking in the door, two pieces of paper greeted me on my desk. I put my bag down, thinking it was a note from my ex, but it wasn’t. It seemed to be two separate emails printed out from the guy I was casually dating. I never printed emails, especially random emails like the ones on my desk. I thought it was strange but went on with my day. The following week, I get into work and one by one I get phone calls and emails from different friends, acquaintances, and the guy I was seeing at the time, all expressing me what they received in the mail from an anonymous sender. The first call came from a friend who was battling a drug addiction at the time. He said:
“I received a photocopied notebook with writing on it –your writing in fact — and well, let’s just say you’re pissed, you’re mean and want your fucking money back from your ‘dirt-bag, derelict, low-life friend’…”.
And that wasn’t even close to the worst of them. I literally felt like I was going to throw up. In fact, after the third call that morning, I did. My ex somehow not only hacked into my email (he printed out the emails), he found and read my journal. But he didn’t stop there. He somehow got to a Kinkos, he somehow made copies, and he somehow obtained the addresses & emails to those people in my journal and sent them a copy of what I had to say about them. Psycho-shit-storm indeed!
If you’re reading this and have ever kept a journal/diary, then you know what you write in it are sacred, brutal and sometimes mean truths – or at least they’re your truths. I was sick. I felt like I had been violated in ways I could never imagine. All caused by a man who I spend 8 freaking years with. A man I did whatever I could for. A man who had another disturbing, evil side to him that I was completely unaware of. A man who stripped me of my trust in love and in myself. It took 4 years to repair my heart, my head and my hope that I could find a love that was true and safe and sane.
I was 32 when I started to literally see men again. They were invisible to me for those 4 years while my wounds healed, my heart repaired itself, and I slowly committed to ‘just’ dating — no firm grip on commitment or falling in love. I was just going to date, casually. But at that time, I found that how you go about meeting men had changed a bit. Apparently, the way singles were doing this dating thing was online. Instead of meeting a man on a dance floor or in a bar, you scrolled through profiles reading how they described themselves, often over-estimating their height (LOL) and posting pictures shirtless or with their dogs or sisters’ kids. What other choice did I have? So, I surrendered to the weirdness and entered the digital dating age. I must admit, I never had a horrible, ‘get me the f*ck out of here’ date. There were lackluster dates and ‘you’re hot but lack soul’ type of dates but no ‘I am scared for my life’ type of dates (thank God). I felt like this was all part of my casual dating plan: going on dates with all types of guys to extend past ‘my type’ and keep all options open. I was living out my 20s in my early 30s. Not focusing on anything but meeting new people, having interesting conversations and seeing where it led.
It wasn’t until my 34th birthday where my carefree, fun, match.com dating life became, well, old and boring. Because I was getting old-er and boring – lol. And, as I wrote about in a recent blog, the tick-tocks of my biological clock began to dominate, and my casual dating plan went out the window. My searches on Match.com started to change and become more specific and serious: “wants kids” (check), “looking for a long-term relationship” (check), “financially responsible” (check), “no shirtless selfies” (check), etc.
A year later, I met Mr. 100. The man I wrote about recently. The man who was close to being my baby-daddy. The man who on paper was ‘the one’, but behind closed doors was so fu%king wounded. And unfortunately, those wounds leaked on to me and the relationship.
He, me and our story will unfold in Part 2, next week…