#Soloteam: 5 Ever-Evolving Stages Of Being A 20-Something Single Woman
Dad is screen-shotting your Instagrams. He's going to create an online dating profile for you. Do you prefer OkCupid or JDate?
I received this text while sitting solo through previews at the movies last night. With that, I officially became a specialist on single females.
There are many assumptions around the 20-something single female: She's sad; she's desperate; her clock is ticking; she thinks she'll never find love; she'll actually never find love; she goes on a bounty of mediocre dates and lives for nights in with her girlfriends clicking spoons while binging on ice cream and RomComs.
I have been uncoupled (how did we live without this term?) for three years. Previously, from 16 to 24 years old, I was a serial-monogamist. Experiencing singledom for the first time as an adult is kind of like being reborn (bear with me here).
In a sense, you are a baby again: There's lots of coddling, soft foods, sleepiness, crying and stumbling (in the drunken sense). You're also thrown into a world of dating apps, one-night stands and Beyoncé-inspired quotes that are supposed to help get you through it all.
It's taken a while for me to learn that being single isn't one state of being. Just as relationships vary from partner to partner, being alone transforms you and is dependent upon your relationship with yourself at any given time.
Contrary to my awakening, I have found that “single” is usually discussed as a stagnant predicament (and yes, most of the times, it is viewed as a predicament).
In lieu of this, and as a recently self-proclaimed expert, I present to you the varied forms of singledom:
Sad single is when you wallow in your own self-pity. This stage commonly occurs right after a breakup or in the wake of a friend finding a new partner.
This stage will do the opposite of kick you in the ass; it’ll push you into bed and place a pint of ice cream by your bedside table (oh yeah, sad single has its perks).
This stage is very important for healing and grieving. It’s important to let yourself feel emotions and accept those emotions, but to also understand that they will pass.
I have tried to skip this stage and jump directly into the promiscuous single stage. I was a firm believer that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, but the only way to get through it is to GET THROUGH IT and actually deal with it.
Besides, if you are sad and hung up on someone else or an idea of yourself that isn’t who you are, being with someone else is honestly out of the question.
This stage is arguably the most fun out of all of them. It does not have to mean sleeping around or even dating around (but it most certainly can); it means finding a sense of empowerment as a female and owning your charm, sex appeal, wit and whatever else you have to offer (which is likely a lot).
This stage can get messy, especially when it involves a lot of partying and drinking. It’s a dangerous realm to live in, as it can test your self-esteem.
Stay in this stage as long as you’re having fun, but as soon as you’re not, reevaluate, immediately.
Your subconscious may know what you need (or don’t need) better than you do. It may also act out by purposely leading you to the wrong people to ensure that you don’t enter a relationship before you are ready for one.
I craved intimacy and companionship, but kept finding men to date who were unavailable. Unavailable comes in many packages: Mr. I Just Got Out of A Relationship, Mr. We’re Just Friends, Mr. Foreign and Leaving the Country in a Few Months, Mr. Emotionally Devoid... the list goes on.
While it was still a blow to my ego when these short-lived pseudo-relationships did not work out, I always had the reassuring “I knew they weren’t available” to fall back on.
It’s taken some time to come to the conclusion that my fear of rejection from my last breakup led me to date people who I knew could not reject me because it wouldn’t work in the first place.
Not to be mistaken with promiscuous single (which onlookers may confuse with desperation), desperate single is when “putting yourself out there” becomes a job, or in some cases, a career.
Desperate single is eight OkCupid dates in one week, chasing after the server who works at the local coffee shop and has a coke addiction because he pays attention to you, or begging your friends to set you up with literally any unattached male they have access to.
Desperate single doesn’t sound like it’s right for anyone, but sometimes, it takes desperate single to make you realize that just anything isn’t good enough for you. Which leads to...
Happily Choosing To Be Single
You can’t lie to yourself about this one; you’ll know when you’ve made it. A person who chooses to be single isn't against love; it just means he or she isn’t in a race to find it. It is the form of single that values self-respect and self-improvement above all else.
Our society presents finding love as the most important thing in life, and that is a somewhat accurate message, but the love you find for yourself is just as valuable as any romantic love. When you reach this place, cherish it, and if someone else comes along who wants to cherish you, as well, then go from there.
These are just some of the forms of being single I have seen and experienced. They don’t all happen in the order presented, and they don’t all happen only once.
What we need to realize as single females is that we are changing constantly; we are not always clichés and being “single” does not define who we are.
Ultimately, going to the movies solo every once in a while is pretty nice.
Photo Courtesy: Twitter