“I just feel like you’re so lonely. Life is so much better for people who have love.”
These were my grandmother’s words, a woman I cherish more than just about anyone else. She was calling to inform me that I was the last of my cousins to find that elusive love she was waxing poetic about. It wasn’t a pep talk, exactly. More like a reminder of all I am apparently missing out on.
(Since this conversation, that last hold-out cousin of mine has broken up with the girlfriend my grandmother was so excited about. I’ll admit to being secretly gleeful about that revelation. Because … solidarity, yo.)
I’ve been telling my poor grandmother for years that I will probably never get married. It’s not that I’m closed off to the idea, it’s just that I have a really hard time picturing that future for myself. I’m 32 years old, and my relationship history is pretty dismal.
In fact, if I’m being honest — I would venture to guess that I will probably always be a single mother. And here’s why:
I’m Not Lonely.
Despite my grandmother’s conviction that I surely must be wasting my days away pining for human affection, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am surrounded by love, by amazing friends and this incredible daughter of mine who lights up my life. My daughter and I are always heading one direction or another, making plans with the other people I care about most. I have never been so content, so genuinely happy with my state of being in my entire life.
I’m Stupid Picky.
In my 15 or so years of dating, I’ve been around. I don’t mean that to sound skanky, but … it’s not like I haven’t given love a chance. The problem? Out of all the men I’ve ever dated, there has only been one or two that I felt a genuine connection with. It is a rare thing indeed for me to meet someone I feel like I could picture spending forever with. Sadly, I can’t even remember the last time I met a man who gave me butterflies. It’s definitely been years.
Internet Dating Is the Worst.
Just … the worst. And yet, I am a single mom to a toddler, I work from home, and all my friends are married couples who are friends with a whole bunch of other married couples. So how else am I supposed to meet men?
I Have Issues.
Look, it’s no secret. I’ve got some issues. I don’t trust easily, and I haven’t had the best examples of what a healthy relationship should be. This is something I have actually worked really hard on resolving, but the fact remains … I’m good at taking care of myself. I actually manage to function as a successful, stable, happy woman and mother when I am on my own. And it’s scary to think of messing with that, of trusting someone else with my heart when the people who were supposed to be responsible for protecting that heart in the past, have been the same ones who have inflicted the most hurt. Abandonment is a common theme in my life, starting from very early on. Pushing past that and trusting someone to love me for the long term doesn’t come easily for me at all.
I Hardly Ever Drink Anymore.
I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my pre-motherhood dating escapades were heavily fueled by alcohol. With a drink in my hand, I am bold, funny, and charismatic. Sober, I’m mostly an introvert. My closest friends can get me to come out of my shell, but walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation? Yeah … that probably isn’t going to happen without some libations. And honestly, I just have very little interest in parenting my toddler while hungover these days.
I’m Mostly Aloof, Until I’m Not.
So, 9 times out of 10, I’ll meet a guy and know I’m not all that interested. Which makes it easy to play “the game.” When you don’t really care, there’s no pressure. But on the rare occasions when I do meet someone who sparks my interest, it’s possible that I scare those men away. We’re talking over-sharing, epic text messages, and proclamations of intense feelings way too soon. The sad thing is, I know I’m coming on too strong as it’s happening, but I almost can’t stop myself. I’m so excited to have met someone who actually gives me those butterflies, I instantly smother them with my affections.
Apparently boys don’t like that.
I Want the Fairytale.
There are very few relationships I’ve witnessed in my life that I would actually want for myself. Which begs the question, what do I want? Well, I want a man who is great with kids and totally open to adopting a houseful with me. I want a man who is smart and driven, sexy and hilarious. One who gets me, and who challenges me, and who makes me weak in the knees. Basically … I want everything. And I’m not sure the image I have in my head of what love should be is something that actually exists in real life.
My Daughter Will Always Be Priority Number One.
If you think my expectations of what I want for me are implausible, we probably shouldn’t even discuss my expectations of what I want for the man who steps into that paternal role for my daughter. Truthfully, as much as I want that father figure for her, I am also absolutely terrified of choosing wrong, of messing up our dynamic by choosing a man who isn’t worthy of being her father.
I Wear Yoga Pants and Hoodies. Every day.
Let’s face it, I’ve basically given up. I mean, I still clean up pretty well, but it’s rare that I put forth the effort. Again, probably because I am a single mom to a toddler who works from home. My uniform is yoga pants and hoodies, wet hair piled on top of my head, and not a lick of makeup. I’m comfortable but not exactly screaming to the world, “I’m single, boys! Come and get me!”
I Just Don’t Want It Enough.
And the number one reason for my enduring single status? I’ve come to realize that I just don’t want it enough. Unlike a lot of people I’ve known in my life, I’ve never been afraid of being alone. Yes, I would like for my daughter to have a father. And absolutely, I would love to find love. But when I think about all the frogs I might have to kiss to get there, I just want to bow out entirely. There are so many things I would rather be doing with my time than going on a bunch of mostly mediocre dates in the hopes that one might spark my interest.
I’ve always been a girl who fights for what she wants. If I really wanted this, I would probably be willing to try a little harder. But I’m not. Which I think says a lot.