I'm writing this post from my bed.
I'm un-showered, even though I came home from CrossFit three hours ago.
I'm slugging back red wine and crushing a party size-serving of chips and salsa.
I turned my phone on silent an hour ago, just so I would stop checking to see if the guy I like has responded to the text I sent earlier.
Needless to say, I don’t think you get much more single than this.
There are nights when I rejoice in it, and there are nights when I sulk in it.
Tonight, it’s the latter.
But as I sit here, elbow-deep in a bag of Tostitos and knuckles clenched around a topped-off glass of wine, I can’t help but be grateful for this single life I’ve been living for almost a year now.
It’s an unexpected and — for me — unwanted learning experience.
I say it’s "unwanted" because I’m the relationship type.
I’ve never had a one-night stand (nor will I ever).
I like commitment.
Dating gives me anxiety because I never know what to say or do.
Should I text him first? Will he text me?
What’s the right emoji to use? Should I even use an emoji?
Let me screenshot this and send it to all my friends to see if it’s okay.
What should I wear?
Unwanted or not, I’m on one hell of a self-learning curve.
I think it’s so important for every woman to have this bittersweet journey, especially in her 20s.
I’m learning when to keep my guard up and when to let it come crashing down.
I’m learning how to be patient.
I'm learning what I like and what I don’t.
I’m learning so much about myself because I’m finding time for myself.
I’m trying new things.
I've joined CrossFit and hot yoga, and I quit some unhealthy habits that were crippling my self-esteem.
I’ve tried tons of new restaurants completely free, thanks to first dates.
But besides learning about myself, I’m learning a lot about the dating pool.
Let me tell you this: When they say there are plenty of fish in the sea, it's true.
But the ones you want to catch are really, really hard to find. They're borderline nonexistent.
I’ve met tons of guys ranging in age, profession, personality, height, hobbies, etc.
However, after dozens and dozens of dates and hundreds of right swipes that have amounted to nothing, I’ve been able to put a label on just about every single one.
I’ve boiled them down to six main categories:
1. The Ex
When one relationship ends, it’s so easy to look back at a previous ex and question why that relationship didn’t work out either.
Call it delusion or curiosity, but it always seems like a logical first step when you’re single.
So, if you’re both single, why not give it another whirl?
It’s comfortable. It’s fun.
It’s your opportunity to double-check he’s really not the one who got away.
When my high school sweetheart found out that my recent ex and I had ended things, he came back into my life the same way he left it: like a tornado, leaving a path of destruction in his wake.
Without getting into details for his sake (and his girlfriend’s, whoops), the verdict was we broke up for a reason.
That’s always a validating feeling.
In the words of my inner spirit animal, Taylor Swift, we are never, ever getting back together. Like, ever.
But hey, like I said, it can’t hurt to double check.
2. The Non-Committal Charmer
He’ll tell you you’re exclusive, but he won't ever make you his girlfriend.
He'll monopolize your free time to ensure you don’t spend time with anyone else, but he won’t commit.
You’ll never meet his friends or family, so don’t even try.
He is in complete control of the relationship because you let him be.
His charm, wit and personality compel you to stay.
His goal is to perpetually keep your relationship in a hostage situation.
You want to see other people, but you don’t want to put what you have at risk because it’s comfortable and fun.
You’re convinced that at some point, he’ll come to his senses.
So, you’re going to want to quit while you're ahead. Don’t waste any time.
3. The Egotistical Prick Who Plays On Your Heartstrings
Is it rough to call these people sociopaths?
They’ll do everything they can to make you like them in a short period of time.
They’ll cook you your favorite dinner, buy you nice wine and compliment you on the weird things you wish people would notice.
They make it so easy to let your guard down.
Then, one day, they’ll just stop talking to you.
They’ll give you some bullsh*t excuse like they’re just "not ready for a relationship right now,” or they “really like you,” and "it scares" them.
No, you just needed an ego trip. Or, you needed to get laid.
Or both. Whatever.
These types of guys are the reason all women are a little hesitant, confused, broken and — yes — crazy.
There are plenty of them out there.
4. The Former Frat Guy Who Just Can’t Let Go Of College
In my opinion, these guys are the absolute worst.
This is mainly because they don’t even realize they’re being the absolute worst. The naivety isn’t at all charming.
He doesn’t have to be a frat guy. He’s just the guy who loves college.
He can’t grow up.
He loves his boys and beer pong more than he loves his job. He knows more about chugging beers than investing in a 401(k).
He has no idea how to start or maintain a conversation. His career path is questionable.
He most likely has the life goal of being a stay-at-home dad.
“That’s what she said” jokes are far too common, and he finds them far too funny.
While I personally haven’t gone on a single date with one of these guys, they exist in the masses.
So good luck, female young professionals of America who thought men matured after college.
As I say to my dad, "I’m looking for the smartest idiot over 25."
5. The One You’re Just Not That Into
These, for me, are the most common.
Then again, I think they're common for everyone.
If we were into every person we met, there wouldn’t be anyone special, right?
But sometimes, you really want to like someone.
He has a great job. You love his friends and family. He's funny.
You have everything in common. You can text all day and never run out of things to talk about.
Your Snapchat exchanges keep you laughing all day long.
He's proud of you. He cares about you.
You’re even a perfect match (according to the stars).
But, you just aren’t into this person, no matter how hard you try to be.
While relationships take effort, you should never force yourself to fall for someone because you think you'd be great together.
It's a recipe for disaster and heartbreak, and that's one sad situation I won't ever willingly walk into.
So when you find yourself in this kind of mess, you have to break the ice.
It's unfair to string the other person along when he's clearly feeling all the emotions you wish you could.
When you're dating someone you’re not into, but whom you love as a human being, breaking the ice is a double-edged sword.
You both end up hurt and bummed.
6. “The One”
Every person I talk to tells me “the one” will walk into my life when I least expect it.
It won’t be because I spent my entire lunch break swiping left and right (mostly left).
It won’t be because I asked my co-workers, friends, family and acquaintances if they know someone else who’s completely exhausted by the routine dating scene.
It certainly won’t be because I got drunk enough to get the nerve to walk up to a guy and strike up a random conversation.
No way, not me.
I’m told I’ll meet someone in a sweet form of serendipity.
I’ll accidentally spill my coffee on him at Starbucks.
We’ll bond over the fresh produce at Trader Joe’s.
We’ll be at the same bar for happy hour.
Something will happen.
When that something does, in fact, happen, all those heartbreaks, mistakes, moments of weakness and feelings of guilt will wash away.
You won't question whether your guard should be up or down. What or when to text won't be a thought.
Everything will slip into place.
Because as everyone always says, "When you know, you know."
So until then, my advice to every single woman out there is this: Be a lady.
Be fearless, but not careless.
Be willing to love and unafraid to get hurt.
Put yourself out there. Learn to love yourself.
Discover hobbies that fill your time.
But this is the most important piece of advice of all: Never ever settle for any of the five who come before "the one."