Relationships have always been something that I’ve convinced myself I don’t really need, but they have always taught me so much about who I am as a person and what I truly want out of life. I had my first serious relationship when I was 17 years old and I met my ex-boyfriend at the local grocery store I worked at. I was a cashier, he was a stock boy, and from there we continued our romance in the halls of our high school and on our lunch breaks at work, where everyone knew we were a couple. We broke up about a year into our relationship, safely put he was ‘hanging out’ with another girl with his friends and he had developed feelings for her. I became a crazy girlfriend, constantly pushing myself further into his life but being rejected and pushed into a deeper hole after he realized he needed space and freedom. After a month apart, we met again at a party that a mutual friend was having and I drunkenly cried and confessed I missed him and wanted him back. We ‘hooked up’ that night (hooked up in my high school terms means made out a little bit and then parted ways) and then got back together for another year and a half. Near the end of our relationship, I was 20 years old and I had never had the chance to be just be on my own and enjoy the freedom that legality in Canada and the ability to have an alcoholic beverage at a club could bring. I also had developed a crush on a younger guy whom I also worked with (oops) and I realized that the feelings of love I had for my ex-boyfriend were just merely feelings of intense friendship. I was never in love with him.
We broke up and I was single for 2 years; I had FUN. I dated a lot of different guys, I went out all the time, and I experimented with a lot of drinking and social activities (some of which I probably can’t say on here). I did NOT want a relationship with anyone; in fact the mere mention of a long-term commitment made me run in the opposite direction almost instantly. I downloaded Tinder, was meeting guys and going on dates, and just enjoying being a young, single girl enjoying the bar scene.
I remember one night after getting home from the bar and retrieving a guy’s phone number, I felt lost. I had been experiencing a downfall of meeting guys and then running away because they didn’t fit my definition of who I wanted. Did this mean I was ready to meet someone, was I ready to settle down? I went through a good couple of months where I was really depressed and in the process of finding out what I genuinely wanted from life. Society tells you that when you’re 21, you should want to be single and enjoying the drunk scene, hooking up with random strangers all the time. I had my fair share of hook-ups and talking to random guys at bars, and I realized that I was over it. I remember one night my friend invited me over and I could barely move, get up, or even talk. I was crying endlessly for hours because I was upset that all along I hadn’t seen my worth. I was letting guys walk all over me and take advantage of me. I was believing that because I was a young, single girl; I was supposed to become a vulnerable flower and let guys have sex with me because ‘that’s what single girls should do.’
I realized that all along I was so repulsed by relationships, I was actually terrified of the possibility that the RIGHT person could fall into my lap and I wouldn’t know what to do. I was so used to stumbling upon the wrong guy and expecting failure at the end, that the thought of a connection actually becoming established and a relationship going well was purely terrifying. The realization that I was ready to meet someone is the reason that I met the right person, and the reason he’s in my life today (but more on that story later ;)).
SO, if you’re single and you’re enjoying the dating scene, that’s AWESOME! Keep enjoying it until you realize that you don’t want to anymore. Every person goes through changes and realizations at different times in their lives. Don’t feel pressured to settle down just because you’re best friend is engaged, or your sister is having a baby. If you still want a couple of years (or maybe even more) alone, you are completely and totally allowed to have as many years as you want. I was 21 when I realized I wanted a deeper connection with someone, and I felt wrong because everyone around me was so obsessed with hooking up and with the bar scene. Your own feelings are never wrong. Listen to what your heart wants, focus your energy on that, and you will get there, my friend.