When you've been single a while, it becomes a part of your identity, whether you like it or not. I've always been at peace with living life solo.
Sometimes, I crave a partnership. Sometimes, I can't imagine giving up my solitude. But overall, I've been comfortable with my own company. I pride myself on my independence.
I've worked very hard to become someone I like — someone I love — and I enjoy having the confidence to take myself out to dinner or happily spend a night watching Netflix in my own company. Lately, though, something has changed.
I met someone, and he's not just anyone. He's nothing like the multitude of flings I've enjoyed while being single.
It's someone whom I intentionally text first, someone I've gone out for brunch with and someone whose company I've begun to enjoy. I don't enjoy his company more than my own, but I enjoy it in conjunction with my own.
As my coupled-up friends and family started to rejoice, some things they said left me wanting to pull on my little black dress and take home the next guy who bought me a drink. If you want your suddenly not-so-single friend to brave the terror of a blossoming relationship, try to avoid saying these things:
1. "I knew you'd find someone eventually."
You did? Was this a giant treasure hunt? I didn't even know I was meant to be looking for this someone.
While I know you are your SO are deliriously happy — and believe me, I am beyond happy for you — that doesn't mean I've been endlessly searching for a ticket to the same path where you found your happiness. Saying this to me feels like you're saying you never thought I was complete on my own.
2. "This time next year, you might be married."
Other variations of this include, "He'll make great husband material," and "Can I be a bridesmaid?" *Cue alarm bells screaming in my head.*
I know you think this is what I want, but it terrifies me. I am still getting used to inviting this person to watch a movie with me.
I'm not ready to even use the R-word yet, and you're telling me I'm on a highway to matrimony? This honestly makes me want to block his number, move to the country and buy some cats.
3. "So, when can we meet him?"
Honestly, at this point in time, I'm probably only telling you about him so if I go missing, you know what to tell the cops. I'm letting this person into my life piece by tiny piece, and my friends and family are the final frontier.
Please don't pressure me to move quickly with this.
4. "Now you'll have someone to look after you."
Oh, thank God. All this time, I've been wandering aimlessly around my apartment, bumping into walls and eating Styrofoam for dinner.
Seriously? I'm a full-grown adult, and I've learned how to look after myself. I'm completely self-sufficient, and I actually find it terrifying to think of handing over some of that responsibility. The idea of being dependent on anyone for anything sends a cold shiver down my spine.
5. "What are you so worried about?"
In all honesty, I'm terrified that if I get in deep with this guy and things go to sh*t, I won't find it as easy to be on my own. I never want to feel lonely in my own company.
I'm scared of needing someone else to be happy. There are reasons I've stayed single this long, and some of my worries don't just go away overnight. When you ask me this, I'm probably trying pretty hard not to ask myself the same question because the answer is paralyzing.
6. "You've finally joined the club."
Do I get a membership card? Are there meetings? Should I bring cheese and dip?
I've spent years studiously avoiding romantic movies, couple restaurants, Ikea, brunch and all the other domains owned by couples. My initial reaction to all things "coupley" is complete disinterest.
So, when you say this, my stomach turns, and I start to question everything I'm doing. Not that there is anything wrong with the "club," but let's take baby steps, OK?
7. "Watch out! You'll have less time now."
What a hideously depressing thought. Nothing terrifies the last single girl more than the thought of this new guy jeopardizing all the things she's grown to love about her life. I know if things get serious, we'll probably both make sacrifices.
But, I'm counting on him to love me for who I am and give me the space I need. I never want to kiss goodbye my "old" self or my "old" life. As I said, I've created a life I love. I don't ever want to lose that.
8. "Just make sure he's not like your ex."
Really? F*ck, thanks for the advice. I hadn't thought of that myself.
In fact, I was looking for a guy exactly like that assh*le who broke my heart. I know it hurt you to watch me go through that, but believe me, it hurt me more to go through it. I stayed single after that because I promised myself I'd never feel that way again.
I'm already terrified enough, and I really don't need to be reminded that my judgement was so colossally bad the last time. I'm trying so hard to trust my instincts with this new guy. I need you to trust me as well.
Please, just let me volunteer information and come to you when I'm ready to talk. I know this is usually a hugely exciting time for people, but for the reformed single girl, this is a monumental life change. It's f*cking terrifying.
Bear with me, and when I do join the club, the chips and dip are on me. I'll even bring Champagne.