As women, we’re told that we should be better at being single, expect more, and live for ourselves, but the longer we hold out, the longer we see how agonizing dating can be. Eventually, my best friend couldn’t hack it anymore and settled just for the sake of being in a relationship. I had a front row seat to the whole experience, and frankly, it terrified me. Here’s why:
There is no way to sugarcoat it — being the last single girl sucks. It was so much fun when all my girlfriends were single, but when one got into a relationship, there was a domino effect. One by one, they all found a guy and she was the last one standing. My best friend was flailing. She no longer enjoyed going out, and all she was thinking about was meeting a guy so she could fit in. Being the only single girl magnified how alone she was, and that caused her to make some bad decisions in dating.
Being alone isn’t a death sentence. We all have moments of weakness. These moments seemed to only magnify her loneliness and bad decision making. She would sit in her empty apartment, stalking all our friends that were in happy relationships on social media and simultaneously crap-talking them while admitting how jealous she was. She’d jump into relationships she shouldn’t have — random guys at the bar, on dating apps, etc. And for what? Just for the sake of not being alone. Ugh. The old cliche is right, though — we have to be good at being alone before we can be great in a relationship. Seeing her settle for something that was beneath her time and time again really solidified to me that being alone is better than being chained to a relationship that really doesn’t work.
There are huge red flags that are non-negotiable. We’ve all been there — we really like a guy and want things to work out, so we start to ignore red flags that we shouldn’t be ignoring. My best friend was the queen of ignoring red flags. She ignored them because she didn’t want to go back in the dating pool, and she didn’t want to seem like a bitch for admitting that these things bothered her. As a result, she settled, and it was downright shocking to me. If the roles were reversed, she would have told me to run for the hills, but for her, everything seemed to change. She only cared if our friends noticed the red flags because then she could no longer hide what a bad situation she was in.
I can’t let the opinions of others interfere with my relationship. We all want our friends to like the guy we’re dating, mainly because their opinions seem to bleed into our relationship. They draw attention to one little thing, and suddenly, that’s all we can think about. It starts to eat away at a relationship. Can our friends’ points be valid? Yes, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. My best friend started to obsess about every little thing her boyfriend did, and it caused them to fight over things that really had nothing to do with their relationship. I care about what my friends have to say, but their word can’t supersede my feelings about who I’m dating.
I can’t compare my relationship to a friend’s relationship. It is hard to admit, but the minute our friends expressed concern about the guys she was dating, my best friend was doomed. She genuinely cared (maybe too much) about what our friends thought. Some of their concerns were valid; others were completely subjective. Our friends’ opinions became her opinions — not because she was easily manipulated, but because she wanted so badly for her boyfriend to fit in with our social circles. Once I saw what our friends were doing, I felt so bad for ever judging her relationship. At the end of the day, she and her boyfriend are the ones who are in the relationship — not me or anyone else.
Love isn’t one size fits all. My best friend was constantly comparing her relationship to those of our friends, and her relationship started to crumble. She wanted her boyfriend to posses all the same qualities and meet all the same expectations as our friends’ boyfriends. It’s great to have standards, but our friends had some pretty high standards when it came to their relationships, and not all guys are going to fit those expectations — not every guy is going to be the unicorn. It’s up to us to find our own unicorn. I want a guy who meets all MY expectations, not the expectations of those set by my family and friends.
I can’t give away my power. We’re all super guilty of letting our relationship become our world at one point or another. We cater to our guy’s every need and never turn down an opportunity to hang out with him. But there’s a point where it can become toxic. My best friend became her boyfriend’s caretaker and made him her world. His world and her priorities morphed into one, and it was sad. Her happiness was based on her relationship status. She gave him all her power! Giving away her power changed her, and not for the better. I still want to be my own person and do things for me, not just for my relationship.
I can’t worry that this is my last chance at love. Dating is hard, and being a hopeless romantic is harder. After she’d been dating someone for a while, my best friend would think, “Is this it? Is this The One?” She would think this with EVERY relationship. She would get her hopes up and put all she had into a relationship when most of the time, the guy didn’t deserve it. Seeing her become so desperate for love made me realize that I have to be patient. I started to realize the right guy and the right type of love will come only when I’m not forcing it and suffocating the life out of it.
I’d rather be single than be desperate. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. A normal relationship is difficult as it is — why put up with nothing less than what I deserve? Settling is giving up — giving up on what can be and what should be. I refuse to give up on myself and on love just because it is easier to be in a relationship than to be alone.