When my best friend from high school got married, I shared all the pictures of me in my Maid of Honor dress on social media as proudly as if it was my own wedding. My mom even bought prints. But when I joked that it was because I’d never look that good again, I was met with some less than promising responses.
“No, you will. Jen will get married someday.”
Not “you’ll get married someday.” Not one day you’ll be the bride, but one day you’ll be a bridesmaid again.
Combine that with my parents telling random strangers post-wedding that they’ll be lucky if they ever hear that I got married, and you get an accurate depiction of my relationship status.
I know the comments weren’t intentional jabs and my family and friends don’t necessarily believe I won’t ever marry, but it’s hard not to see it that way when the thought’s been lodged in the back of my own mind for as long as I can remember.
I’ll be 25 soon and I’ve never even been anyone’s girlfriend for longer than 5 months, and that was when I was only 17. No matter how many times my friends—male or female—tell me how amazing I am, I can’t help but wonder what must be wrong with me to be this perpetually single.
Don’t get me wrong—I’ve been on plenty of dates and I’ve done the friends-with-benefits thing. But I’ve always believed that for a serious relationship, I shouldn’t be so quick to give up my freedom in order to share my life with someone who won’t necessarily add to it.
But is it my standards that are preventing me from finding love? Or am I just using them as an excuse for why I haven’t found it yet?
There was a time when I trusted chemistry. The connection, that spark when you first meet someone. The feeling in your gut you get within the first few minutes of talking that says, “He’s going to be important to this story.”
Well these people and these relationships have been important to my story, but never in the way I’d hoped. After being strung along by an emotionally abusive asshole for the better part of four years, and then years later being used for sex and immediately thrown away by someone I considered a good friend, all that “spark” tells me to do is run. To be so sure you have a connection with someone only to find out you’ll never be good enough for friendship, let alone commitment, from that person, and it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever truly be good enough for anyone. The risk doesn’t feel worth the reward anymore.
I had more alcohol at that wedding and in the days leading up to it than I probably had in the entire month prior. I know love is real. I’ve seen it happen for others. But I don’t know if it’ll ever happen for me. And I have to tell myself that’s okay, because at the end of the day, it’s always been just me, and I’ve always been okay. I’m proud to be the girl who would rather stand up for herself and walk away from toxic people than cling to them in fear of being alone. If that’s not something worth celebrating, then what is?
Photo Credit: Omar Lopez
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