I get asked the question a lot “why are you single?” This is a question with so many facets its hard to know where to begin. But here goes. (Side note: this is not easy to write because I know there may be family members or others that I don’t really want to see this but this is my truth and I feel in healing myself I may help others so its worth it).
My first “boyfriend” in 6th grade was so popular with the girls that he dumped me for someone who would go “further” with him and my best friend lost her virginity to him when I moved(me and him were broken up by this time). Yes all the middle school girls wanted him. He was a looker but he was not good boyfriend material. (Who is in 6th grade, but I digress).
This was the beginning of my bad boy, emotionally unavailable man phase.
In high school my boyfriend was nice enough but played a lot of games and was controlling. Every time I would make plans with my friends, he would deliberately pick a fight so I would be so upset I wouldn’t go with them.I was obsessed in that relationship like would literally throw tantrums when we would fight. I let him have my emotions on a string like a puppet. If we fought life was bad if we were getting along, life was good. But I was always afraid, not of him physically hurting me, but of being left. I would ask for constant reassurance that he wouldn’t leave me. I know now this stemmed from my fathers abandonment. But at the time I just wanted his love and for him to never leave our relationship. Well after 2 1/2 years together he did. I was driving in a random neighborhood and saw his car. He soon walked out with a woman I had never seen before. She told me they were hooking up. I wanted to forgive him and try and work things out but after weeks of back and forth and knowing he was still seeing her, I went to her apt he came to the door, said ” I’m going to be with her” and slammed the door in my face. And that is how things ended with my high school sweetheart.
To say I was heart broken was an understatement. I was sick for weeks, I couldn’t eat or get out of bed. I felt so betrayed. My sister and friend finally got me out of the house to a night club and I met my friend Brandon.
Brandon was a football player for the Wisconsin Badgers football team. We became instant friends and I hung out with him all the time. He was the one who made me want to go to college and I’m thankful for that but he also introduced me to college athletes unfortunately.
After being so hurt by my ex I had the mentality of I will never care like that again, I will never let someone have my emotions like that. So I had casual flings. Mostly with men I met going out downtown, where all the college students hung out. And yes some were college athletes, most of whom were highly cocky, emotionally unavailable and quite disrespectful. One of whom kicked me out cuz I would not hook up with him and told me he was having someone else come over who would. (Side note as a woman writing about this I am cringing from the jugdement that will ensue, oh the double standard).
I wanted so desperately to not care but I did. I still hoped some of the men along the way would see my worth and want me to be their girlfriend but in all honesty, I couldn’t see my own worth.
I continued to have short ‘relationships’ with men throughout my 20s, It became easier to have casual relationships with men because I never had to risk getting truly hurt. But I was hurting myself by never allowing true intimacy and commitment. I didn’t realize that I was also damaging my view of men. I began to see men as opportunists who only wanted one thing and were incapable of love and loyalty. Because I was choosing men who were users and emotionally unavailable. But I cannot completely blame them. I made really poor choices when it came to dating. I chose the players because I knew they would never give me what I really needed so I never had to risk being vulnerable. I began to become more cold and detached because I had to be, as the type of men I was dating were mean and they never stuck around long, so I got used to the goodbyes. It was like a self fulfilling prophecy, I was so afraid of being left, I would chose men who always left, further proving my insecurity that I was unworthy of a man staying.
I cannot blame my father’s absence for everything. But it played a major role. I felt that if my own father did not love me enough to stay, what man would?
I had no idea it would take years to unravel the damaging thoughts and beliefs that have formed from continually dating emotionally unavailable men who never committed, and the mistakes I made with them.
As I write this today I wish I could say I have completely healed those wounds and the years of mistreatment I faced from guys and the guilt from myself. But it is a work in progress. I am learning to love, to trust, to be vulnerable. A lot of young people think its all fun and games in our casual hookup culture, what they don’t realize is if you are not careful, the wounds of those times, can leave scars.
So why am I single? Because healing scars takes a while and I know only God and myself can heal them. I have also had to grow accostomed to dating men who actually are kind and respectful and emotionally available. When you get really used to dating jerks ( because deep down your insecurity tells you you deserve that) it begins to feel like the norm and I would often sabotoge with the good guys (feeling unworthy).
I know now I do deserve an amazing man as I am an amazing woman and I will not settle for someone that treats me less than I deserve.
My true hope is this post will help someone out there. I also hope that women who are labeled will be better understood. The double standard is a terrible thing. I actually believe both genders who are casually hooking up are generally doing it for the wrong reasons. (Looking for love in the wrong places, getting an ego stroke, improving self esteem, frustrated with not meeting the one) all of these reasons are self serving. I think most of us desire love and companionship, I know I do.
I now realize, I was looking for love in all the wrong places and have learned my path to love has actually been one of learning to love myself first and foremost. Maybe my path to getting there has been full of mistakes and certainly some regrets but it is my path and I am slowly finding my way back to love,because after all that is what we are put on this earth to do.
Love and light