Yep, that happened.
Yep, that happened.
Whenever I go over to see my girlfriend, Rebecca, I can feel the excitement build as she opens up the garage door. She shares the enthusiasm and within seconds we are in each other’s arms. She says to me “I missed you.” Unless I say it first.
We have been together a little over two months, although we were friends since last October. When we began going out, it had been a few months since I broke up with my last ex and a few weeks since we stopped talking completely. At the time, I was unsure of what to make of it.
For the past month and a half, I have been occupied with the return to school and my relationship with my girlfriend. It has been a tremendously positive experience for the both of us, which I will write more in detail about in upcoming posts. Today, however, I wanted to address a canard that I heard when I was in my “chronically single” days. I kept hearing from others that it was far better to be single than to be in a relationship.
I have no doubt that there are some people who legitimately are better off being single, people who are asexual, aromantic and have no interest. But these weren’t the people I was talking to. They were people who I could infer as, for whatever reason, being unsatisfied with their current status. Perhaps they were in a toxic relationship, or perhaps they wanted to reduce their own discomfort about being single through rationalization.
But as someone who has spent a long time being single and who has seen a lot of lonely singles, I want to dispel this idea that “things are just better when you’re single”.
My particular issue with this notion is the idea that being single “gives you more freedom”. The logic is that, without another human being that you need to be responsible for, you have more options available to you.
But in practice, human beings are creatures of habit, and it doesn’t take long for a rut to set in. My nights alone were spent with activities that were more about killing time than meaningful experiences. It was an alleviation of discomfort as opposed to the introduction of joy, and these two aren’t the same thing.
Above all else, I remember saying “This would be so much better if I had someone else to share this with.” While I was able to engage in solo activities, I found myself quickly bumping up against the limits of those activities.
When I started seeing my girlfriend, by contrast, I gained freedom. Now, I could go places that I previously wouldn’t consider because going to those places alone wasn’t going to be nearly as fun. Suddenly, walking around the park in Columbia, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and returning to Final Fantasy XIV were all viable options.
All of this has been great in terms of our bonding, and we’re practically inseparable now.
That being said, I would not advise anyone to stay in an unhealthy relationship for this reason. After all, it only works if you genuinely enjoy being around your partner. But to me, I have noticed a marked improvement in not only the activities I want to do but the enjoyable of activities that previously felt like chores. Cooking at home is no longer a menial, but necessary task, but a wondrous discovery of new dishes and ingredients.
Sometimes things are better when you have someone else to share them with. Don’t see anything wrong with that. Especially since my girlfriend is an amazing human being who is always fun to be around. I’m looking forward to all of the great times we’re going to be sharing together!
EDIT: My girlfriend came down with something and we have shifted our date to either this weekend or later next week. Nonetheless, we are both very enthusiastic!
Valentine’s Day holds special significance for me, even if the turn of events that brought my good fortune had not occurred. These are for reasons that I am not yet quite comfortable sharing, though perhaps that may change over time.
Many days ago, I remember praising SunkenThought’s article in which she described the relationship she had with her husband. That was for a very specific reason, because I was at the end of a long string of lousy dates that never seemed to go anywhere. I was consumed by the cynicism that modern dating, online dating especially, engendered.
My peers have become worn out, and many of them remain single. But not just single, they’re lonely too. Many of them yearn for affection and love, but things just don’t seem to be working out for them. It is not just my male friends who feel this way, as my female friends also feel this crushing sense of loneliness. If there was a theme to the 21st century millennial dating experience, it would be the Beatles’ classic “Eleanor Rigby”.