I Haven’t Been Truly Single For More Than A Year Since I Was 16 And I Feel Like I’ve Missed Out

I’m the girl who has never really been single. Before you roll your eyes and mock me, just hear me out. I’ve come to realize that always being in a relationship hasn’t actually done me that many favors. In fact, looking back, I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot because I’ve always been attached to someone. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, that’s for sure.

  1. I’ve always had a guy in the foreground or the background. Since 16, I’ve always had a boyfriend or someone that I wanted to be my boyfriend in the picture. High school relationships rarely lasted more than four or five months for me but it didn’t stop me from pursuing them. I guess you could call me a serial monogamist to some extent because I seem to roll in and out of relationships. Am I just ultra dateable or do I look for relationships? Who knows, maybe both but I’m starting to think that my priorities were skewed.
  2. I missed out on a meaningful experimental phase. Whenever I get together with my friends and we play never have I ever, my friends have much more interesting stories than me, in part I think because they had time to experiment with their sexuality and dating. I never really had that because I was running in and out of relationships.
  3. I missed out on more sexual experiences. On that note, I’ve only slept with maybe 8 people in my life. And even though a person’s number of sexual partners is neither here nor there, it does make me feel kind of silly that most of the guys I’ve had sex with are guys I’ve dated whether short term or long term. Only two of those guys are one night stands, and even those guys were sort of always in the background anyway. So I tend to live vicariously through my friends when they share stories about their sexual encounters.
  4. I struggle with being emotionally independent. Some of my friends have been single for years and as a result, they are so good being alone. I envy their confidence to live life on their own terms and the way that they put themselves first without worrying about what other people think of them. These same women are super emotionally independent when they get into relationships. It seems to me that part of being single is about taking care of yourself and finding other things instead of a romantic relationship to serve you emotionally. I have to admit that as independent as I am in other areas of my life, I struggle with my emotional self and I think it’s because I haven’t ever truly been single long enough to figure out how to solely rely on me. I’m working on it, but it’s not easy.
  5. Relationships have always helped me deal with a crappy family life. Part of the reason I’ve always been in relationships is that I think I’ve always been searching for the stability and support I never got at home as a child. I think I’ve been just trying to escape and find love as sad as that sounds. I’m not making an excuse for why I’ve always clung to guys throughout my life, but I think that my tendency to always be dating or in a relationship has to do with my crappy upbringing.
  6. I spent my truly single year healing myself, but not embracing single life. When I was finally single for the first time in years after a shitty breakup, I didn’t really spend it embracing being single anyway. I spent most of the time nursing myself back to a semblance of emotional normalcy, which I definitely need to do. But I also spent a lot of that year inside my apartment and completely off the market. While that is absolutely one definition of being single, I think that a fuller definition of being single includes embracing the single status. And honestly, I just never did. I never went out with friends and turned down a guy I met at the bar just because I could or felt truly content sleeping in my bed alone. I just didn’t know how to do that. Meeting my current boyfriend shortly after my healing year was a relief because being single, I just didn’t have the confidence to do it.
  7. I’ve missed out on finding myself independent of a relationship. When you’ve always been in relationships, you also tend to do things like figuring yourself out in the middle of those relationships. It’s something I’m not necessarily proud of because for most of the relationships I’ve been in I haven’t come to it as a complete person. I came as a half looking for the other half, not as a whole looking for another whole person. As a result, my relationships failed because I did all of my soul searching in the relationship instead of outside of it on my own.
  8. I’ve learned so much in relationships but I wonder if I would have learned more single. Of course the grass is always greener on the other side, but I sometimes think about what I would have learned about myself and what kind of woman would be if I had spent more time single instead of in relationships. While it is true that relationships can teach you a lot about yourself — trust me, I’ve learned so much — it really took me to be truly single for a year in my early twenties for me to mature and ask myself who I want to be and what I want in my life. It just doesn’t seem like I can get any of this time back.
  9. If my current relationship doesn’t work out, I vow to actually give myself some time to be single. I’m in a really happy relationship with a guy that I don’t want to be without, but if our relationship does come to an end, I’m promising myself that I’ll actually take some time to really be single and embrace it for the first time in my life.
Marie is an ambitious millennial woman, leading a corporate life by day and doing her best to live, laugh and love.