I can’t stand it anymore.
When I battled weight issues, I used to make a list of every girl I knew and categorize them as ‘skinny’ or ‘not skinny.’ There were few women on the list who made it into the skinny category. It sounds neurotic, but I was trying to convince myself that I should be ok with how I looked, that I didn’t need to starve.
It’s kind of a weird analogy, but I’m going through the same thing with dating. I’m no longer looking at my matrix of the characteristics I want in a man on the Y axis, and the guys I’m dating on the X axis. No, that would be the normal thing to do. Instead, I’m listing out all the people I know who are single and deciding whether or not they ‘love being single.’ Then there’s the complementary list of my friends who are married or in relationships and deciding whether or not they ‘love being committed to their partner.’
Single vs. Committed…Place your bets.
Let’s start with being single, because in everyone’s life history, we are all single to begin with.
Remember back when you loved Footloose and all your friends were single? Then high school came around and you tacked posters of New Kids on the Block onto your wall. If you’re a guy, the only chick on your mind was Alyssa Milano. But if you’re gay, well…I guess you were also mesmerized with NKOTB.
Then interests diverged. Enter Stage Right: Pearl Jam. Exit: Kenny Loggins. Enter Stage Left: R. Kelly. People started to listen to different music. One by one your friends started hooking up, chatting about the prom. But it was ok because there was always the anti-prom continent. There were the loners who you couldn’t believe brought a date to the 10 Year Reunion. And…going stag was perfectly acceptable.
Fast forward fifteen years later. The amount of money I spent on wedding gifts last year totaled a mortgage payment. Babies are popping out. And when I want to see my friends, they have to ask permission! “Mr. [INSERT FRIEND’S LAST NAME], can Jenny come out and play?”
When I’m around couples, I stare accusingly—ready to lash out on anyone who questions my independence. I feel like the freak. Everyone feels sorry for me. All alone.
That’s when I refer to my list. My list of friends who are married or in relationships. They’ve got issues. One of my friends wants to have a kid now. They’ve been married long enough. The wife’s not ready. She won’t budge. Two of my friends are ready to call it quits with their significant others, but alas, a lack of follow-through.
Then there’s the newlywed with many years of dating her husband before marriage. She makes me believe that being single can’t be too bad. We went for a walk. “Cathy, it’s hard. Couples who say that it’s great, that they love being married…those people are lying. That’s bullshit. Everyday there’s something that grates on my nerves. It’s tough. Being married is hard.”
That’s when I think maybe being single is superb. Until I realize—although being married is hard work—not many of the married ones want to return to the dark side. Whereas all my single friends want to jump ship. They’re walking the plank above shark-infested waters—they want a boyfriend so badly even if he’s a shark!
Who knows. The grass is always greener no matter what your situation. I’m trying to isolate hardships and imperfection to validate my current situation. It’s not helping. Just like the list I made of the skinny girls never helped either. It was simply one of many coping mechanisms. Maybe if I just stopped thinking about it.
If only I could.