Instead of being an unconditional friend to her when she got dumped or went on a shitty date, I would tell her it was her fault and blame her for it. If I were to be single again, I would be a lot more laid back and compassionate about the whole thing. People love to ask you why you aren’t dating or when you plan to or force advice or single guys upon you when you didn’t ask. There are some things that are in your control — like choosing not to listen to people who make annoying single comments to you — but there are other things that are not. You’ll be on OKCupid scrolling though suitors like a mofo, you’ll be accepting potential setups, guys will be popping out of manholes on the street to date you. Understanding that people are strange, unique creatures not to be understood (yourself included sometimes) — especially when it comes to love and intimacy — is the most invaluable realization a single person can have. And this would give me carte blanche to feel sorry for myself. I thought I had taken all I could back then, but I still had another 2 years and 3 months of bad dates, breakups and romantic disappoints before anything lasting.
Seriously, people said the most offensive shit to me — from commenting about how embarrassed I must be to attend my brother’s wedding alone to how I might have better luck if I straightened my hair on first dates. In order to stay sane through long stretches of singlehood, you’re going to have to drown out all that noise and remember that it doesn’t matter what other people think. Like the big one: when you’ll meet the right person for you. The sooner that you accept that you cannot control that, the easier your life will be. Then you’ll go through dating fatigue and erase your online profile and sit in a dark room for weeks. It allows you to go out on a series of horrible, mortifying dates or be rejected a stupid amount of times and shrug your shoulders and realize that it has nothing to do with you. Oh, I thought things were going great and then he told me that he had an allergic reaction before our date and then I never heard from him again. Comparing yourself to other people is always a waste of energy, but when I was single, I had this perception that being in love made your problems go away. So how do you cultivate the kind of patience that takes years?
Although I didn’t believe it at the time, I gave myself the most awesome advice. Love is a mystery that you can’t harness or control or elicit or will.
To quote myself to myself (how meta), my main point was that I should be patient and do nothing: “In waiting, you’ve grown impatient at times and have tried to force things that weren’t meant to be, fought too hard for something that you knew was wrong, held on too tight to something that was already dead and gone, or pushed people away out of fear. Accept that it’s a mystery and sit down, shut up, enjoy your freaking life, and patiently wait your turn.”, because, like I said, I had lost faith, even in the truth of my own words. Exactly what I told myself to do — be patient and wait my turn — was precisely what led to me running smack into the love relationship I was waiting for. I ran into him on the subway one day and the rest was a wonderful mystery.
I look at him sometimes and say, “Why were we both on the same subway car that day? Even though I’m in love, I don’t have single amnesia in the least. I can’t remember who said it now, but a Buddhist philosopher talked about cultivating a lifelong, unconditional friendship with yourself. Sometimes, during my long ass single stretch, I would get jealous watching my friends get snapped up left and right.
I remain strongly connected to the part of me that wrote this letter. It’s National Singles Week — not that I need a holiday to reflect — but it’s just as good a time as any to look back on some of the wisdom I took with me from those eight years I spent with myself, which in the end, I am grateful for. The biggest mistake I was making as a single person was trying to fight against, punish or shame single Ami. People will impose their ideas about relationships upon you … The most annoying part about being single — aside from what an asshole I was to myself about it — was what assholes other people were to me about it. There were times when it seemed like everyone I knew was in love/getting engaged/getting married/having babies. I said this to myself back in 2010, but put that Guns N’ Roses song on repeat because this is key.
Just about any form of online dating is represented on oasisoflove.