For the longest time, I didn't want to get into a relationship because I didn't want to LOSE MY IDENTITY.
I had always feared "losing myself" in a relationship. I just wanted to run free around New York City with my best friend, Owen, hopping from gay bar to gay bar to gay bar to gay bar, not giving a flying fuck about any other person besides myself and my equally wild partner in crime.
I mean, I worked really, really hard to cultivate a healthy relationship with myself. So, the idea of throwing another person into the mix terrified me to the bone.
And the whole concept of "checking in" with another person filled me with a visceral feeling of acute nausea and unease. I didn't "check in" with my parents when I was an out-of-control teenager. What makes you think that as a 30-year-old woman, I'm going to check in with another adult regarding my whereabouts?! Ha, you're cute.
I also have so many huge, massive, mega things I want to accomplish in this short life. I want to move people with my work. I want to write a book one day. I want to continue acting in all the weird indie films my friends make. All of this stuff TAKES TIME, especially in a town like New York.
And I'm a textbook introvert, so excessive socializing makes me feel exhausted and drained; I need a surplus of alone time to recharge my weak batteries after spending time around real, live people.
I couldn't imagine having to balance dinner dates, friendships AND my career. Who the hell has time for all that? I already feel like I'm failing my friends. How could I deal with the guilt of failing a partner too?
Maybe a lot of my fears and anxieties about this are rooted in the fact that I've been called selfish in past relationships. I've been called selfish for wanting alone time with my friends. I've been called selfish for pouring too much of myself into my career, and being too drained to give my all to a partner at the end of the day.
It all made me think being "selfless" in a relationship meant sacrificing my autonomy. I don't want to sacrifice my autonomy.
But now, kittens, I realize all of that garble is total bullshit. You need to be a fully realized human being if you want to be a good partner. Sometimes, being selfish can actually make you more selfless in a relationship.
You need to be a fully realized human being if you want to be a good partner.
So, here are five things that might seem selfish, but actually make you a better partner:
1. When You Skip A Date To Work On Your Personal Projects
Look, if I go on a date with you, rather than stay at home to really hone in on the piece I'm writing, I'm going to resent you. It doesn't matter whether that's fair to you or not.
I'm going to unfairly blame you when the article bombs on the internet, even if I don't tell you I'm blaming you. I will harbor the irritation within myself instead.
If I've learned anything, it's that resentment is poison in a relationship. It's toxic. Once you start resenting your partner, there is no turning back. It's there, and it's there to stay.
But if I say, "Hey babe, I can't meet up tonight because I really need to work on a piece that matters to me," and I stay in and kill it, I will feel better about myself.
I can only feel good about myself when I'm feeling good about my work. And that way, when I'm with you, I will feel accomplished. I'll be present in the moment with you. Half my brain won't be focused on my work. You will have all of me... not just a part of me.
And most importantly, I won't secretly resent you for pulling me away from my ambitions.
2. When You Need To Sleep Alone
When you get used to sleeping while clutching a warm body, you can easily start feeling like you need another person to sleep alone.
The thing is, you need to get used to sleeping alone. You need to remind yourself that you are, in fact, a strong individual who can rock her gorgeous self to sleep.
If I start thinking I need another person in order to fall asleep, I know I'm going to feel wildly co-dependent. And when I feel co-dependent, I'm terrible.
I start to think I need this person in order to survive. Then, I get all paranoid that the person will leave me. I spiral and think, "OMG! I CAN'T HANDLE THAT BECAUSE I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOU."
This will make me read into everything like a territorial freak of nature because I'm SO AFRAID OF LOSING YOU. Does that kind of psychotic neediness sound fun to date? No, baby.
So, just realize that when I need to sleep alone, it's so that I can be a stable, NON CO-DEPENDENT partner. (It's not just so I can masturbate beneath the sheets in peace.)
When I need to sleep alone, it's so that I can be a stable, NON CO-DEPENDENT partner.
3. When You Need To Hang Out With Your Friends
Kittens, you need to maintain your friendships when you're in a long-term relationship. Let me tell you about a girl I once knew (me) who lost herself in the thick of a long-term relationship.
The girl in question got so close to her girlfriend, she drifted further and further away from the rest of her friends. She made her girlfriend not just the person she had sex with and went on dates with, but also her best friend.
She told her everything. All of her problems, all of her fears and all of her insecurities were bestowed onto her innocent girlfriend.
The girlfriend eventually became drained. She was a shell of her former self. This is because it's too much for one person to take on all of someone else's issues and problems.
If the girl had just balanced out her energy and opened up to her friends about her feelings, she wouldn't have felt the need to drain her partner with her incessant ramblings.
4. When You Need To Go To The Gym
I hate girls who show off about how much they work out, too. It's like, shut up, WE GET IT. Now, give me a cigarette (and I don't even smoke).
But girls who talk about working out all the time make me want to smoke out of sheer vengeance.
But low-key, I work out, too. And if I stop going to the gym because I'm too busy having sex, I start to feel anxious AND tired at the same time. And when I'm sad and sluggish, I'm not as much fun to be around.
When I go to the gym instead of that date, I come back to you a more fun, energized partner. Because I've released some stress, built some serotonin in my depressed brain and sweated out my demons, I'm much sexier.
I promise I'm a better person without those horrible demons.
5. When You Just Need To Be ALONE To Dream
Sometimes, you just need alone time for no other reason than you NEED ALONE TIME. You need that time to dream and write and draw and watch porn and give yourself an orgasm and Google weird shit on the internet and just be weird in the way you can only be weird when you're totally alone.
If you don't get the time to let your freak flag fly solo, you're really going to go nuts. You're going to go crazy because we all need time to ourselves in order to release our inner weirdos.
If you repress your inner weirdo because you're around your partner all the time, you're going to start to do those weird things around your partner... and that's not pretty.
You want to maintain a little bit of mystery in a long-term relationship in order to keep the fire alive. Your partner doesn't need to see you do weird things like shave your big toe or watch video tutorials of drag queen makeovers. Because if your partner starts to see you do those things, the next thing you know, you've stopped having sex.
And when you stop having sex, you might as well call it quits, kittens.