I love romance, love, and couples who just can’t get enough of each other… in theory. In reality, I need a decent amount of space from the guys I date and it always causes a problem. You’d think they’d be grateful for the freedom to do their own thing so often, but apparently not.
I value my solitude. I like being around people—I’m been dubbed everything from “outgoing” to “that obnoxious brunette at the party”—but the introvert in me needs to regroup solo. I get my best work done when I’m alone. I do my best writing, do the most house cleaning, and get the most exercise when there isn’t anyone around to distract me. I’m my most me when I’m by myself and I crave that time often. Maybe it’s the social stereotype that all women want to get married, but a lot of guys are either surprised or turned off by my love of being alone.
It’s normal for guys to need space but apparently not women. I’m pretty active on Tinder. When a guy doesn’t respond for a few days, I don’t sweat it. Sometimes they’ll come back like, “Sorry for the delayed response, I rarely open this lol,” and I’m like, “Sweet, me too.” However, last week I didn’t respond to a guy for more than 24 hours and he accused me of ghosting him. Why does this stranger need my attention so badly? If I were a different person, this would bother me, but I’m usually relieved that I don’t have to sacrifice my personal time quite yet and I can start swiping when I’m feeling social again.
In my experience, most men don’t know what they want. Is it just me or does every male comedian complain about having a wife that wants his attention too much? Sitcom dads are constantly bemoaning the fact that they have wives who need them or want to spend time with them. My guy friends always say that they wish they had more “guy time” to be away from the girlfriends they love, which doesn’t really make sense to me but whatever. Once a guy told me he broke up with his last girlfriend for being too clingy, and then when I didn’t make an effort to see him for a couple of days, I was accused of not being interested. Make up your minds, gentlemen.
Dating isn’t my only social obligation. My remaining free time isn’t reserved just for dating. This should be obvious, but apparently, it needs to be repeated endlessly until the sun swallows us whole because it is something that the guys I date don’t seem to understand. I have friends, family, two jobs, roommates… I need to make time for everybody and some things (or people) are going to fall through the cracks. If it comes down to visiting my perfect baby niece or going to a bar with a guy I’ve known online for a week, I think it’s obvious that I’m going to choose baby snuggles. You are not the center of my world just because you bought me drinks and let me make out with your face.
I never divide my time equally. When I hang out, it might not just be for a day or an evening. If the situation allows it and all parties are on board, I’ll spend several days with someone. I was snowed into my last boyfriend’s apartment for three days and it was amazing. We had so much fun. I guess that’s why he was a little confused when he didn’t see me afterward for a few days. I can be pretty “all or nothing,” which I understand is jarring for anyone who isn’t harboring a tiny hermit in their soul like I apparently am.
I’m a people pleaser. Like I said, I like being around people; part of the reason is that I like making people laugh and seeing them happy. That often comes at the sacrifice of my own desires. I’ll go to places I don’t really care for if someone else prefers it. I’ll watch a movie I have no interest in if a friend wants to see it. You can imagine that this can spiral out of hand pretty quickly and put me in some situations that can be dangerous, especially when it comes to dating. I recognize this as a personal problem I need to work on. Until then, I need ample time to be by myself to regroup and center myself and make sure my priorities are in line.
I’ve been called selfish for it. Listen, I’m more than willing to sacrifice my alone time to be with someone if they need me. I’ll drop everything and run across the country for a friend in trouble. If my boyfriend is feeling lonely, needing intimacy, or had a bad day, then I’ll be there the moment he says so. But if he just wants someone to keep him company while he cooks dinner, I’m not going to put it high on the priority list. I’ll see him again. I will be there for many dinners, and breakfasts, and midnight snacks in bed watching Stranger Things on Netflix for the third time. For now, I need space.
I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’ve been warned by friends before that, if I don’t change, I might not find anyone. I’m then forced to remind them that I like being alone. Being single is dope. I have no problem becoming a spinster and no warning will change my mind. The idea that I need to date someone to be happy is ridiculous. I don’t care if guys are bothered by my solitude. If they can’t handle it, they can go find someone else. There seem to be plenty of women looking for a man to dote on them and spend all their time with, but few men who just want a loving companion to love and sometimes leave the hell alone.
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