Why Does It Feel Like I Should Be Embarrassed To Admit That I Want To Be In A Relationship?

Growing up, my parents felt happy whenever I met someone with true potential. In their eyes, a good guy would lead to marriage and, if we were lucky, children. However, they seem like pretty much the only supporters of this life plan. For most of my friends, that idea sounds like a nightmare.

  1. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed about having a husband. It sounds lame, I get it, but I still had plenty of career goals too. There was just something romantic about finding someone who really wanted to share a life together. My parents had a great marriage, so they gave me a wonderful blueprint for how things could be. I didn’t dream about weddings, just everything that happened after the fact.
  2. Maybe I romanticized some partners too much. It’s embarrassing to look back to my late teens and early twenties and think about all the guys who I wanted to be “The One.” In general, they all lasted around three months. But that’s all a part of growing up. With each relationship, I learned what I wanted and what made a good partner.
  3. My friends seemed to celebrate the breakups. It’s not that they didn’t want me to be happy. They just wanted me to join the group. A majority of my friends are single but not necessarily looking. They realized that the dating scene is just not worth the hassle. I appreciate that about them—they aren’t afraid to conquer the “someday, you’ll find someone nice” conversation that they’re likely to get from their aunts at Thanksgiving. I don’t want to believe that I was conditioned to view marriage in a certain way, but seeing the perks of it daily growing up did help.
  4. I tried hard not to write off my friends when I dated someone new. I know the stereotypical drill: you date a new guy and he’s your world for a few months. I hate that. I always tried to spend time with my friends when a new guy came along, but they always seemed to ghost me. It hurt my feelings that they treated me differently because I chose a different lifestyle.
  5. I’m fine being single. Really, I am. It’s a little lonely sometimes, but I don’t need someone else to be happy. I just prefer to share my time with others. I think everything is better with a partner. Watching movies is more fun, ordering a pizza is easier (and won’t lead to a crazy midnight binge when I remember there’s almost a full pizza in the house), and if my boyfriend happens to be “The One,” then we’re creating memories we’ll hopefully look back on for years to come.
  6. When I eventually met someone nice, they formed a new group text without me. We used to talk about everything together, but now that I’m with someone great, they think that I can’t relate to them anymore. It’s almost embarrassing since I did nothing wrong. I don’t want to say that they’re jealous since they’re not even trying to leave singlehood behind. When we got engaged, I didn’t even know who I could tell.
  7. Real friends should be happy for your achievements. And yes, finding “The One” is an achievement. So is starting a family and buying a house. Not many people I know have tied the knot, but a lot of people I know have rolled their eyes when getting invited to a wedding. Is it that old fashioned to celebrate love?
  8. I’m not ashamed to admit that he makes me stronger. My guy helps me push my limits. Things I may have been afraid to do, like going out to camp or taking a cross-country road trip, are things he encourages. And I always have a ton of fun on these adventures. Sure, I miss the days of dating and flirting and going out just by myself, but these new experiences are all I’ve ever wanted.
  9. Remember, what works for you might not work for everyone. I’ve found a better group of friends who I can grow with. I’ll always have love and respect for the singletons, but it seems like they made their point crystal clear. And by cutting me out so quickly, maybe I was holding them on a higher pedestal than I should have for all those years.
  10. The traditional blueprint still works. Families look different. You could be with a partner for years without committing. You can choose to have a kid, five kids, or no kids. Or maybe the two of you just feel comfortable with a few cats and dogs. That’s the beauty of life—you can live it any way you want. Never feel ashamed or typecast for going after the vision you’ve always had.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.