Since the dawn of gender identity, society has loved to put women into categories. From the homemaker, the Virgin Madonna, and the whore, everyone gets their own little label.
Recently there has been a new category that is gaining some serious traction: the single girl (well, this century’s version). She’s sassy and loves food, cats and wine while joking and sharing memes about how much she loves food, cats, and wine.
You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen people pander to this ideal and for years, I hate to say it, I’ve fit very snugly into this box. So much so, that it became a part of my personal brand.
I was hateful of people in relationships but there I was sitting comfortably in my self-righteous bubble, pontificating about life in the dating rut, what it’s like to be single and where everyone’s priorities should lie. Little did I know, my life would be changing in a big way.
I got a boyfriend.
And while I’m still me, still very much independent and stuck in my ways, I’m not living a sex-and-the-single-girl life anymore. Just the sex part.
Yep, I’m a usually very single girl who is now very much not single. As with any major life change, this made me have a huge shift in perspective. I still don’t believe that everything in your life should take a turn just because your Facebook relationship status changes, but I do feel a lot differently about this once I started dating this guy. I no longer see sharing my life and my experiences as something that is a compromise, but as a privilege. I like having my favorite person know what’s going on with me at pretty much all times and being able to take his opinions into account. Knowing that I’m going to have his support and perspective is not an inconvenience like I thought it would be, but a comfort.
I think as someone who was not only single for so long, but wrote about it for so long, there are some definite growing pains that come with dating. My life isn’t only my own anymore. While I still make tons of time for work and friends, I spend a lot of my weekends in the car and in different parts of the state. My evenings are taken up not by lazily scanning Tinder, but by Skyping and phone calls (isn’t long-distance the best?).
When you go from being single to dating someone who you actually like, not only do you see yourself change, everyone around you starts changing too. I’ve found some of my friends getting more defensive of me, planning our visits more in advance, being skeptical of this new guy I’m bringing into the circle of trust. I’ve realized that I not only identified with this single label, but other people associated me with that as well.
And I have to be sympathetic to this. I spent years of my life being the same exact way, albeit subconsciously, with my friends who had new significant others. And while not all of these ladies and gentlemen are single themselves, there is definitely an uncomfortable factor that comes with someone you love dating someone new—I’ve definitely felt it, too.
Some of these relationship behaviors have come subconsciously. I find myself sharing food, saying “we,” worrying that he gets to places OK when he travels and just basically doing everything that I had previously thought was annoying when others did it without a second thought.
But there are definitely some things that are taking some getting used to. I’m still not the best at sharing a bed, I’m a snorer, which just isn’t cute, even when you’re single. I have a hard time sharing my honest emotions sometimes, even when it would really help me to do so. When you’re single, you’re allowed to be more passive aggressive.
I’m lucky though, because (I’m about to get really sappy) all of the things that I hated in previous relationships don’t seem to be an issue (yet). My years of being single were REALLY important, because I think they helped me find a good egg. I think the biggest thing that happens when the eternally single girl finds love is, the quality of that relationship is really, really good.
Us single ladies have had years of practice in hearing dating horror stories, experiencing our own and observing our friends’ relationship to know what we do and don’t want. It was totally worth the years of tough love and learning to be in something that you know isn’t a complete dud. I’m also a really independent person from the years of being single. I know what I want and that doesn’t change just because I’m in a relationship.
People are allowed to be single and happy, you’re definitely allowed to laugh at me, but it’s not ridiculous that some of us proud single ladies can be even happier dating a nice person. I still like cats and food and wine, don’t worry.
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