SingleI’ve recently accepted the job opportunity of a lifetime. This fall I’ll be moving to South Korea to work as an English teacher at a language camp. This is the perfect job for me since I love to travel and experience new cultures. After what seems like years of odd jobs, shady side hustles, and all around struggling to make ends meet, things are coming together rather nicely on the career front. In addition to finally having a “grown up” job, I’m doing more writing than ever and I can honestly say that I’m the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. Even with all of these great career developments I still can’t help but feel like something is missing from my life. In the words of LL Cool J: I need love.

The last time I was in a relationship was almost two years ago. For the first year I reveled in my new-found freedom, kissing boys and doing my own thing was fun. But like with anything, hooking up, serial dating, or ending up in pseudo-relationships, or as I like to call them, “situations” got old after a while. When my ex and I parted ways I made a vow to myself to remain single indefinitely, following the advice of my father, I focused more on advancing my career rather than getting notches on my lipstick case. Continuing to work in food service part-time while applying for writing or journalism positions that I never seemed to get called in for, was soul crushing. The final straw for me came after being turned down for an office assistant position at the cupcake shop I worked for. I began looking into teaching abroad and started applying for positions shortly there after. Even though I was applying to jobs abroad, deep down I held out hope that I’d fall in love with a guy who would change my mind about moving, romantic comedy style. In the end I didn’t magically meet the perfect guy, instead I found the perfect job, which I am grateful for.

Dating in New York City is hard. Everyone is on their grind and no one seems to be looking for anything other than instant gratification. I thought about staying in the city in hopes of meeting someone but I’d have to be a fool to actually do that. My degrees might not keep me warm at night, but they sure do pay the bills. This isn’t the 1950’s and I can’t rely on the prospect of possibly meeting some dude who might like me enough to act right, and be interested in bankrolling my life for the long haul. As women we are often taught that we are nothing without a man in our lives. I don’t feel that way for sure, but I am lonely and it would be nice to have a partner in crime or someone to share my experiences with outside of family and friends.

There is a lot to love about the life I lead. I love to travel and have lived in places like San Francisco, New York, and Amsterdam. I can pretty much do whatever I want without having to worry about how my actions affect someone else. I have friends all over the world which provides a lot in the way of fun and platonic love. But as I get older and more of my friends start coupling off, I’ve begun to get a tad jealous. It seems like every time I log onto Facebook my feed is blown up with newly engaged status updates, baby bump pictures, and wedding day photos. I don’t know if I even want anything as serious as marriage and a baby right now or ever, I suppose it’s just what those life experiences symbolize to me, that has me second guessing the choices I am making. If I want to continue to travel, have a career, and retain my freedom, does that mean I am destined to be alone forever? I don’t want to have to give up so much of myself or sacrifice the things that I want to do in order to have someone in my life. Having a boyfriend right now isn’t practical for my life, but I still want one, and I can’t understand why I can’t have my cake and eat it too? After all, what is the point of having cake if you can’t eat it? As content as I am with my life and recognize how blessed I am to do the things I do, and experience the things I have, I wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side?

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  • lk

    Love your life even with the lonely spells. Sometimes we forget what’s great and focus on what we don’t have instead taking away from our great moments. Traveling and the opportunity for new experiences can get complicated when there’s a relationship.

  • Ash

    Best wishes. In the past, I’ve been known to yearn for things I don’t have. When I’m in a relationship…I miss being single. When I’m single….I want a relationship. We have to learn to enjoy the moment and appreciate life (as it is). The reality is that there’s a man out there for you. I mean…Honey Boo Boo’s mom has a man! lol So enjoy all the positive things that are happening now.

    Some of my best experiences I have was when I traveling solo. Just keep busy and enjoy the moment.

  • Tiffany

    I’m currently in the exact situation. Super fulfilled professionally but in the midst of a “I’m so lonely” period. About 6 months prior, I had a boyfriend but I was unemployed and miserable. So miserable that I lost 15 pounds and my hair fell out resulting in an involuntarily 2nd big chop. But now I’m in my ideal position without a significant other. I may be lonely but I’m far from where I was as someone’s unemployed girlfriend. I figure if a relationship is in my imminent future, it will come. If not, that’s fine too.

    • MARIE

      THAT’S IT. The quality of pickings among more males than ever is very low, misogyny and violence against females and trivial or trite attitudes toward violence against women has been on the rise in recent years. We have like the last two generations who simply do not have a clue about how to treat women (especially BW) with basic respect and affirmation of her unique humanity, and on top of that think it’s cute and praiseworthy to abuse women in all sorts of ways. Despite what many of them have said about themselves about being “natural born leaders”, their consistent, monkey-see, monkey-do, passive behavior demonstrates the opposite.

      This piece is definitely a relevant expression of common quandary among women, especially BW. The socialization system that has conditioned females to measure their personal value and worth by whether or not she has a man and to be competitive toward one another for the attention and affections of a man is a huge cause. I truly believe it all must be dealt with by a deliberate decision to be an adult, which is someone who does not have, “Well, I was taught…” or “We were taught…” or “The media…” as a go-to, consistent explanation for their actions.

      The general vibe I’m getting from most women is a beginning of exasperation with the longtime pattern of advising and training women to accommodate the immaturity and gross selfishness of males. Historically and in contemporary times, it has been the tendency of the female to work and reach and study to make the relationship work more so than the male, his faulty definition of “weak” and “emotional” and the fact that he thinks lopping off his basic human emotional experience and expression is synonymous with being truly masculine is something that our society has been set up to continually enable, so that what we end up with is a bunch of grown men who are developmentally no older than 5.

      So I say when I consider all the rigmarole that goes with a male who has yet to become an adult either because of Peter Pan-ism or hyper aggrandizement, I’m okay with not having a man in my life for a while–I really like myself and have plenty to do to fill my time and feel refreshed. If the pickings improve, surely, I’m willing to couple up, don’t want children, want someone who likes travel as well and is not on some weird submission trip. A man who can simply BE instead of constantly having DO or PERFORM or PROVE is kind of rare; knowing yourself is the best foundation I think, and for me, I know that I cannot handle a man who needs me to give him a fuckin’ Tony Robbins everyday just so he can “feel like a man”. “Building him up” is something he will need to very clearly define and have the right attitude about based in the understanding that it is not some universal, cosmic, divine obligation on my part to him, but something I do out of whatever goodness I can muster as a SUPPLEMENT to whatever he already knows, understands, and is settled in about himself. I want to be his woman–not his psychologist so much.

  • I walked home from my first week of graduate classes in Iceland (just moved from the US) wondering exactly what you have so eloquently expressed. My last relationship was also two years ago, and the fact that another woman is struggling with the same thing conundrum is so encouraging. Thanks!