I’m trying to work out why I’m chronically single.
I’m about to turn 29 and the longest relationship I’ve had is with a three-month-old jar of Nutella. I can safely say that that was an achievement in itself – three months too long. Let me paint a quick picture. I’m successful in a professional sense. I have many friends in a worldly sense. I am by no means ugly in an Amy Winehouse crossed with Lady Gaga sense.
So what is it?
I’m constantly racking my mind as to what it could possibly be. I haven’t necessarily ever been dramatically hurt by men. In fact, I love them. Maybe there were signs way back when I was first ‘active’, and by ‘active’ I mean having my first kiss. I was a late bloomer. Hell, I grew up in a conservative Lebanese family. I’d be shot if I ever brought home a guy in high school. Instead, I ‘chose’ to focus on my studies. Now my parents are begging me for grand-children – the irony! Ethnic parents, am I right?!
The Mamamia Out Loud team deep dive on one night stand etiquette. Post continues after.
The first guy I ever dated ‘Bad George’, dumped me for being too prudish. He figured out I was a virgin. I was too embarrassed to admit that I was. I was eighteen. In my mind, I was too old to be one. He wondered why I would never play with his dick whilst he viciously made out with my whole face in the passenger seat of his BMW. He would always say “touch it”. Did I mention he had a girlfriend? Hence the ‘bad’ in his name.
It may well be this incident that started the fear of relationships.
After the quick realisation that ‘Bad George’ was the kind you don’t take home to mother, I became a player – virginity still intact. I would hook up with every guy in the Western suburbs. By hook up, I mean kiss. Add in a few digit slip ins along the way. I pretended to be sexually liberated and oozed confidence when I really wasn’t. It worked. When it came down to the crunch of the prospect of a real relationship, I was embarrassed by my lack of sexual experience, I’d make an excuse and leave. His hands were too scrawny, what was with his nostrils? He’s not cool enough. When in reality, I was too scared to “touch it”.
I was and still am the life of a party. Overly confident for someone that is riddled with anxiety on the inside. I’m not your stereotypical, ‘shy’ chronically single. I was never a stunner growing up, so I made myself have a ripper personality to make up for it. I am notoriously loud and brash. So when I started to develop into my body and peak physically, on the surface I had the package (or so it appeared).
When I finally lost my virginity at the ripe old age of twenty-two, it was the happiest day of my life. I still have saved the Facebook group message I sent my twenty closest friends – Subject: I lost my flower.
He was a gorgeous boy who was not convinced I was a virgin. A common thought amongst many men prior. Unable to bleed on the sheets didn’t help the cause but I told him to give it a spin and go slow. That he did. We high-fived once the job was done. It was like signing a contract. You have my flower and in return, I have pure sexual liberty. He too ended up rejecting me. We were on exchange overseas and this meant that when we got back to our realities, we would live in different states. He convinced me that long distance would never work for us. I was heartbroken, in my eyes, I loved him and would make the sacrifice. The feeling was not mutual. I was slowly phased out. Being ghosted was painful for me. I should have realised the signs sooner, I mean, who high-fives after sex with a virgin instead of snuggle? No one according to Mills and Boon.
As the years went on, I learned to be sexually unattached. Proud of the fact that I could have ‘sex like a man’ – whatever that means. I’ll tell you exactly what that means in my eyes – get in, get out, get off. See ya later mate! What I didn’t care to realise (and hindsight will only tell you this) is that I was hurting nice guys in the process. I didn’t care; they weren’t the ones.
Still chronically single.
The sex doesn’t happen often. I don’t whore out – not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I wish I was sexually more confident to have loads of sex with loads of guys. I just am not. Emotionally, I would play the field. I became so good at leading guys on and then bailing last minute on dates. I continued to ghost men, just like my cherry picker did to me. For although I knew what it was like to have sex, I always felt and still do, that I was shit in the sack. I never wanted guys to see that I was. The ones that got to experience sex with me didn’t realise that they were lucky enough to hit a jackpot. They always caught me on the off chance I was drunk, or horny enough to make impulsive decisions. Most experiences were awkward for me.
And so the cycle went on. The nice guys would always ask me out, but I was only interested in the unavailable. There must be something conducive to the pain of lusting after an unavailable or emotionless guy that gets me off – hence another reason why I may be chronically single. The nice guys could never understand.
So what was I looking for? What am I looking for?
All my friends tell me that the perfect guy does not exist, that my standards are too high...ya di ya da ya da. You know the drill – you can relate. You’ve heard it all before.
Maybe it comes down to self-worth. What is my interest in taken guys? If they show me attention, is it because they are attracted to me? Yes. Is it because they are bored? Yes. Do they just love the attention, and it’s not really me, it’s just I’m the only one paying them said attention and staying silent about it? Also yes. So then it’s not really about me. They’re not interested in me. They’re interested in my sexual prowess, my emotional sluttishness, my unavailability that isn’t a threat to the sacrament of their reality. I’m their fantasy, not their reality. They don’t really want me, no matter how much I think they do. They’re all in it for the “touch it” factor. I should have learnt this from ‘Bad George’.
So years have gone by where I have ignored the nice guys, and pined after the fantasy of taken guys. And boom – you get chronically single.
Also throw into the equation, I’ve been lusting after my best friend on and off for 10 years. You may have guessed – he’s in a relationship. We spent the better half of last year sending each other nudes. We hooked up in the past when he didn’t have a girlfriend. He didn’t want me then, what makes me think that he likes me now past the physical?
So where does all this lead me? You probably are thinking a number of things, and you’re probably right. A few spring to mind: stupid, ignorant, selfish, self-sabotaging, reckless, complainer, arrogant, insecure.
I love myself but self-loathe at the same time. I can see everything I do with such clarity. Yet, I continue to make the same mistakes. Over and over and over again. And I cannot seem to eliminate the anxiety that overcomes me when taking a chance on a random person who has asked me out.
I have come to accept the comfort of being single, even though nights are lonely. I fill my day with work, with laughter, with confidence. And finally, when I’m left with my own thoughts at night, I can’t help but feel empty. I have no one to blame but myself. I must subconsciously be comfortable in my own emptiness. I have now learned to recognise it’s not necessarily about timing, it’s about changing my mentality. I feel like a bad habit has stuck with me and it’s not easy changing who you are.
I don’t know how.