How To Tell If You're Happily Single Or Low-Key Terrified Of Settling Down

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Three years ago, I found out my ex was living a double life. A year later, he was married to the girl he cheated on me with, and last month, I found out they are expecting a baby together.

I'm not an obsessive psycho ex keeping tabs on it. I just found out through various means, and quite frankly, I was over it the minute I found out. But, I'm giving you the context of why I'm such a cynic when it comes to relationships.

Since then, the guys I've dated just don't stack up to my new expectations of what a good relationship should be.

I'm not sure whether or not it's because subconsciously, I don't feel like I deserve a nice guy. I know I must have been cheated on for a reason. So, I become attracted to ones similar to my ex (fuckboys). Crazy, I know.

Another reason could be that I adapted so well to being single and not having any sort of commitment for longer than a couple of months. So now, I'm used to being the single girl with the good stories among my friendship group.

I'm 27, and when my mum was pregnant with me, she was told by a psychic that I would grow up to be a writer and get married at 28. She's got one out of two things right so far, but the latter point scares me to death. This is especially true because according to my mum's psychic, I have a year left to fall in love and get engaged. (Highly unlikely.)

What I want to know is, can you become so used to being single that you develop a phobia of being in a committed relationship?

I have been in two long-term relationships, so I know I can do it. But, I was a different person back then and oh so young. These days, the moment someone is interested in me, I freeze after a couple of dates and end up ghosting the guy. I'm the bitch, but really, I'm too scared of committing. So, I don't want to end up wasting either of our time.

While speaking to fellow single girls, the ones who have been single the longest were also the ones who have been cheated on. So, I decided to do some research to see if it was something in our subconscious. An irrational fear, maybe?

It seems that after a while of being single, we become more selfish and notably more self-sufficient. We no longer need to think about another person's needs before our own. It's obvious, I know, but this means it's harder to care for someone else as easily.

Our defense is on high alert, even during the first date. So, we can usually suss whether or not we will agree to a second pretty quickly.

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Going from one relationship to the next within a shorter span of time is much easier for us to adapt to because we haven't stopped flexing our relationship muscle memory. It makes sense.

For those of us who have been single for a while, at least we know what not to settle for. We know exactly what we're looking for in the opposite sex. The thing to remember here is, perfect doesn't exist, and our expectations outweigh reality over time.

The best thing I read during my research was this paragraph on thoughts4men.com, which states the following:

It's all just to cover up the fact you're scared, and your instincts are telling you to run in the opposite direction as fast as possible because then you can't be hurt by this person who now has partial dictatorship over your happiness. The greatest risk of all is… staying… and giving in to the fact you're actually starting to care about someone: someone who now has the ability to destroy you.