It is amusing that I am often asked ‘why are you single’.
It is perhaps the most commonly posed question, second to ‘are you pregnant’.
I am not pregnant… I simply love carbs and tacos. Thank you.
I have chosen singlehood at this time and am comfortable within it.
I have been single since deciding to divorce July 2014 and finalizing Feb. 2015.
During these 5+ years, I have not had a significant other or even been on a date.
Therefore, I decided with Valentine’s Day approaching to address the question.
The answer is not necessarily simplistic or short.
The question is often paired with a qualifier, including:
- You are attractive/ intelligent.
- You are established/successful.
- You have a sense of humor/good personality.
- You enjoy camping, mudding, shooting, whiskey, cigars, etc.
Thus, the simplistic, dismissive, and ‘easy’ response would be “I intimidate men”.
- I hope the majority of the male gender (CIS) would not be so easily intimidated by a woman who is able and willing to be at least their equal.
- It fails to recognize my singlehood as an active choice.
If I chose to seek a significant other, I am confident that I could find a warm-bodied male who is able and willing. However, I am not confident that he would necessarily be the person I would need, or further want, as a partner in this life.
Truth: Relationships are Complex
A healthy long-lasting, particularly romantic, relationship requires:
Connection is not simply physical/intellectual attraction and similar interest.
It is a deeper, unexplainable gravitational pull between two persons.
Compatibility is primarily composed of similar moral, religious, political, and family ideologies. Although not identical, these must be respectfully discussed and navigated, if not or the differences are significant the relationship will struggle.
The partners have similar paths in life. Again, these paths need not to be identical but must coincide and co-exist. If partners are traveling in opposing directions, either one will change paths or eventually the distance will become too much to bear.
I know that love is not enough.
The relationship requires at minimum the connection, compatibility, and similar paths in order to continue forth and thrive. I have had a partner, whose journey led down a path I could not follow him upon and made the difficult decision, despite connection and compatibility, to end the relationship, eventually pieced my heart together, and carried on with my life.
Humans, our lives, and our shared lives in relationships are complex, deeply intertwined, and exists within the gray-scale of paradoxes.
When I enter into a relationship, especially romantically, I invest myself completely in mind and body, heart and soul. I desire a partner who similarly invests. Thus, the connection, compatibility, and similar paths is merely the foundation for a partnership built of honesty and loyalty while embracing the quirks and accepting the baggage.
It is essential that the relationship be a PARTNERSHIP, sharing in the responsibilities, joys, and sorrows of our lives. And thus, partners who encourage, support, and challenge one another to continually improve, striving to reach their full potential, and becoming who God has, is, and will call them to be, individually and together.
The ideal partnership shares in the physical and financial ‘adulting’ responsibilities of a home, a security blanket from the stresses of professional and public life, and built upon a foundation that can withstand the forces of said responsibilities and stresses.
The ideal partnership encourages similar to a cheerleading squad amid challenges who charge the field to be among the first to celebrate successes, perhaps in a grand gesture or a simple ‘you got this’ text message.
The ideal partnership honors our individuality of differing goals, interests, and hobbies, which nourish healthy relationships with family, loved ones, and friends.
The ideal partnership embraces fair compromises, which priorities the need of a partner above the want of the other. One partner should not be expected to always sacrifice their needs, aspirations, or wants to appease the other.
Thus, the following are not healthy or acceptable partnerships, if …
- One person is to be seen and not heard;
- One person is to follow in the shadows of their partner’s ego tending to it;
- One person is to be parented by their partner;
- One person is to be an eager, lost puppy following their partner; and/or
- One person needs to be ‘needed’ by their partner.
The key to any relationship is communication, Communication, COMMUNICATION. BUT, the communication must be firmly rooted in honesty.
This necessary honesty is not only with the partner, but begins with the self.
And thus, requires self-reflection and self-awareness.
As our situations, responsibilities, relationships, and journeys shift with time, it becomes increasingly important to have these honest communications about financial, emotional/mental, physical, sexual, and spiritual well-being with the partner including communicating changes in needs, wants, and expectations of the relationship and the partner.
I would rather be hurt by the truth, than comforted with a lie.
Simply, I will not give a partner cause to question my emotional or physical loyalty. I expect the same.
If you desire another, do not cheat.
End the relationship. Do not waste your time or mine.
I do not profess to be ‘perfect’ … to start:
- I do not have a flat stomach…. Dang those carbs and tacos! (Yum!)
- I am feisty… sarcastic… and stubborn.
- I definitely talk back.
Plus, I have additional quirks that challenge relationships.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/High-Functioning Anxiety
I am OCD with high-functioning anxiety.
It manifest in high standards for others and yet higher standards for myself.
It also manifests in the need for my environment, home and professional, to be clean and well organized in order to focus on necessary tasks and/or to relax.
Thus, a well-suited partner would recognize these triggers and assist in maintaining a clean, orderly home.
The high-functioning anxiety, rooted in its need to be ‘productive’, challenges my ability to relax. It is abundantly noticeable in the need for busy hands with crafts, entertainment on the smart phone/tablet, or typing a blog post whenever watching television (or a movie). The exception is if I am actively cuddling with a partner, the fur-babies, or sleeping.
This quirk drove my ex-husband crazy.
Gypsy Soul with Roots
I have a ‘gypsy’ soul…
I have a desire and passion to explore life through traveling, adventures, and experiences that introduce me to different people, lands, and cultures.
But, I need a home with roots…
After a ‘gypsy’ adventure, I need to return to a sanctuary that enables my batteries to be re-charged before the next.
Thus, a well-suited partner would establish roots with me but enjoy travel and adventure.
‘One of the Boys’ / ‘TomBoy’
I can be a lady when necessary, but I am more comfortable as ‘one of the boys’.
I do not embrace the socially enforced gender ‘norms’.
Thus, a well-suited partner would be supportive, protective, and loving while recognizing that I am neither weak nor incapable.
In the words of Gretchen Wilson’s ‘One of the Boys‘:
I know I don’t act much like a lady
but I still need to be somebody’s baby
Yeah, you might find me making too much noise
But I’m more than just one of the boys.
In the words of Miranda Lambert’s ‘Tomboy’:
She’s a tomboy.
She’s got a softer side she’ll never let you see
with tears in her eyes she’d rather be caught dead
Sweet contradiction with no guarantees
She is what she is
You get what you get.
But, Tyler Rich’s Leave Her Wild offers sound advice for a potential partner:
Find a girl that scares you half to death
You’d kill to be the train she wrecks
and don’t tell her I never met someone like you
then try and turn her into every girl you ever knew
Don’t tame her, try to chain her
The second you do you’ll break her
don’t dull that shine that caught your eye
’cause you’re afraid somebody will take her
She ain’t a dial you just turn on and off
she ain’t found, but she ain’t all that lost.
WE ALL HAVE BAGGAGE, especially a thirty-four year old, divorced person.
- I have been accused of being too independent.
I have been ‘doing it on my own’ for awhile, previously it was the Gapen Girls doing it on our own since I was seven years old.
- I lack tolerance for alcoholics, whether binge or daily.
My ex step-father and ex-husband struggled with alcoholism.
Although I indulge in the occasional adult beverage, alcohol cannot have priority over the partnership/relationship and the partner.
- I do have anxiety about a partner accepting my inability to have children,
which is directly rooted in a shift in my marriage that contributed to the divorce.
- I had been concerned that I was not ‘open’ to a relationship.
I did meet a person, who I thought might have potential as a partner.
Although ultimately I decided not, it did affirm that singlehood is not rooted in fear or a closed heart.
The Downside to Singlehood
I will not deny that singlehood includes moments of loneliness,
yet I know that the loneliness is worse in a relationship with an ill-suited partner.
Besides, I have the companionship of Highlander and Valkyrie.
- Highlander (dog) DEMANDS a significant amount of attention and affection.
- Valkyrie (cat) enjoys a daily routine of affection.