The Mystery Behind Staying Single

By: R. Theodora Appleton
Twitter: @TheApples_816
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(I do not own this image.)

I know that my situation isn’t unique. The odds are, many people have been in the same exact shoes as I am in at this moment. I am 22 and single. When I tell people, they tell me to live it up and enjoy it. I enjoy being able to talk to whoever I want to, whenever I want to. I enjoy answering only to myself. I enjoy the mystery. The mystery of not knowing the future. Not knowing the answers.

The more we age, the less unknowns there are. Hundreds of relationships and marriages dwindle into separation because there’s nothing exciting anymore. The couple has communication issues, or the chemistry is gone. But what makes that desirable chemistry? To say the sparks are born out of mystery isn’t a half-bad theory.

To build on this mystery theory, this could be the reason why so many women fall for the “bad” guy. You know, nice guys finish last. Nice guys finish last because they are easily predictive. They listen. They make plans. They just want to please you. The bad guy is always doing something different. There’s a chase involved and you never know if you’ll get what you want or not.

Over the past years I’ve met many fantastic men. Some were interested in me. Some became my friends. Some left my life completely. There have been so many crushes and crushes are what feed the fire of mystery. They make the journey exciting and unpredictable.

I have gained enough confidence to be aggravated at the crushes and not sad about them. In the past, I would simplify the situation down to me not being good enough. So many women and men think this way.

As we grow into adults, we realize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. This is self-realized. No matter how many people tell you “oh, he is missing out!” or “you are wonderful,” each individual will realize self-worth on his or her own.

I have finally realized that I am worth it. So why do I still have crushes? How can we debunk this “mystery man” fantasy?

If I ignore the desire for mystery and settle for the nice guy, he will foster a wonderful friendship that can outlast any crush. My eighty-year-old self would say to choose your friend. Even though we all know what the wise decision is, why is it so hard to let go of the burning desire to want what we can’t have?

It could be that the journey is more enjoyable than the destination. Someone famous said a quote like that before. Actually, BrainyQuote has an entire section called “destination” where every quote reflects upon the importance of the journey opposed to the end point.drake1

Could these crushes keep surfacing because it is more than the mystery, more than the journey itself? Could it be an issue of idealism? My imagination has sculpted a perfect person, so that I am subconsciously waiting for a human representation to <POOF?!?!?> show up to capture me and live happily ever after.

Moreover, it could be an issue of media. Over 4 years of living in a real-life social media experiment with Instagram and Facebook, I have learned how to act in a social media connected existence. Only now do I understand the fatal flaws of social media. Yes, it makes socialization faster, but it sets us back years in self-efficacy and self-esteem. The fact that we are connected with so many people in the matter of seconds makes it hard for me to believe there is just one person for me.

We are a part of ‘trend culture.’ Where at one moment a style, trait, look, personal quality is exciting. Then the moment passes. Our vices and virtues shift and we find different muses. It may become ever so difficult to complete the journey of love when our perception of what we want changes so frequently.

The divorce rate continues to rise, which isn’t encouragement for youths to go and get hitched. All of these factors contribute to a single nation. The single nation of the millennials. “The single generation of hookups and unofficial relationships.” Yay…

So yes, relationships are intimidating. But what to do about being stuck with a crush. Back to my crush. I am at the point where I don’t understand why this guy won’t go out with me. Here’s the deal:

We work together. He fits my type exactly (thin guy, brown hair, light eyes, isn’t interested in me.) He’s been single for a few months now. I’ve been pretty forward with him, asking him out to the bar when my coworkers and I go out. He’s denied every invitation 9/10 times. I asked him if he’d like to see a film, but he didn’t like any of the movies in theaters. Womp. womp.

It seems like there’s no chance he is interested because if he was, he definitely would have said yes to a movie. At least that’s my thought process.

So it seems like he’s just another crush to get over. Another guy that feeds my need for mystery.

When I think of the future, I can’t tell whether I will be married or not. So much is up in the air, so many unknowns. During a trip to the bar with friends, marriage came up in conversation. One friend thinks the institution of marriage is phasing out. That long-term relationships are opposite of what humans are programmed for.

One friend is currently young and married (and is a romantic.) This friend believes there’s someone special out there for everyone. I recognize a regular at the bar I work at. She’s been married for over thirty years. So naturally I ask her how it has worked.

  • Successful relationships are built on the groundwork of a solid friendship. The first words that came out of her were “we’re best friends.”
  • Successful relationships are built on a groundwork of trust and independence.
  • Relationships work when two people accept the fact that people change over time. She admits that her and her husband are completely different people now than when they met.
  • Love is not easy.
  • Love is something that needs constant work.

Being single. It’s not bad. Having a crush. It’s not too bad. For a crush, can turn into chemistry. Chemistry can turn into an indestructible friendship. Friendship can become a worthwhile relationship. A relationship can turn into a successful marriage. All benchmarks of a journey of love with no specific direction.

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