When you're in your mid-30's in the Midwest and you've never been married, people try to figure out what's wrong with you.
Somehow, it must all be your fault. After all, someone as amazing and wonderful as you couldn't possibly STILL be single.
You wanna know why I'm single in my 30's?
The answer is remarkably simple: I didn't wanna marry the wrong person.
I didn't even want to continue dating the wrong person. How outrageous of me! How absolutely ludicrous for me to leave relationships that weren’t fully working! How terrible of my partners to leave me when it wasn’t quite right. If only I had known I’d still be single in my 30’s maybe I could’ve settled. Maybe I could’ve gotten a ring and lived a perfectly sort-of happy life.
But I didn’t want to marry the wrong person.
It’s so simple. And yet, people still question it.
People I love have told me I have commitment issues, searched around for why I leave, asked me if I gave the other person enough of a chance. And I had to stand there, in my truth, and respond, "I don't have commitment issues. I just didn't want to marry the wrong person.”
I've had first dates ask "How is a girl like you still single?" as if there's some hidden truth or shoe that they're waiting to drop, some deep, dark secret or well-hidden dealbreaker of all dealbreakers. I’ve had to confidently reply, "I haven’t found my person.”
By the way, I'm perfectly fine. I’m not a secret sociopath, I don’t smell like onions or ruin all my dates by accidentally stealing things. I’ve done a lot of internal healing work the past few years, and I’m still not perfect, but that shoe they’re waiting to drop? It’s probably that I’m chronically late and I own a Huawei phone.
I've had strangers on the Internet tell me "You need to date better people.” For the most part, excluding two of them (Hi Mike and Jason!) I've dated genuinely amazing men. Some of them loved me unconditionally and always, always showed up when it counted. We shared similar interests and friends. These people, they made me laugh. They were kind. They were passionate and loving and thoughtful. And deep in the motherfucking, heartbreaking part of my soul, I knew they still weren't the right people for me. It broke my heart, every time, to end relationships with good people. I know that if I stayed with them, I could’ve been happy enough. Maybe it could’ve all turned out okay, but I've seen enough relationships disintegrate to know that it probably wouldn't have.
Ultimately we'd probably diminish each other's shines and you know what, I wanna shine like a motherfucker. I wanna be with someone who sees me for all my magical, kind, smart, talented glory. And I wanna meet someone who also feels like they shine like a motherfucker around me.
I’m not looking for a Disney ending. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of a Nicholas Sparks’ love story, but I want what my friends have, someone who still sends you texts after seven years of marriage saying “I woke up and realized I married my crush and get to go to bed next to her every day, jackpot.” or my friend who just got engaged and you can literally feel the love and respect they have for each other when we go out for dim sum.
I’ve had the good fortune of meeting three of my ex’s wives. In fact, I officiated one of their weddings, and let me tell you, it was so incredibly cool to see them find their people. To marry people who made so much more sense for them than I ever did. Women, who because they were right for them, made them motherfucking shine with happiness. It illuminated what was missing in our 85% compared to their 99%. (She wanted to stay home and play videogames with him. I want to be out. She thought his flirting with the waitress was silly and charming, I thought it was annoying.) Even though I haven’t found the Patrick to my David, it made me feel hopeful when I saw that they had.
I'm tired of apologizing for being single in my 30’s. I’m tired of having to explain that yes, I want to have children. And yes, I know my fucking clock is ticking. And yes, I understand that partnership is fulfilling and yes all of that. But no, there isn’t anything wrong with me. And no, there isn’t something I need to be doing differently. And no, I don’t need to be putting myself out there more. I haven’t found my person yet because the universe has other plans for me right now, and that’s okay. Why can’t you be okay with that too?
And you know what. It's actually brave. All of it. It's brave to leave relationships that aren't quite right, relationships that feel off just enough that you could almost talk yourself out of it, if it wasn’t for that tiny, teensy, voice way in the back of your heart saying “no.”
It’s brave to walk away from 85% good enough.
It’s a kindness to leave someone when you can’t be 100% in the pool with them.
It’s courageous to stand in your truth and acknowledge that you’d like partnership and that also that you haven’t found the right person yet even though that might mean you’ll have to be alone a little longer.
So there you have it.
Why am I single?
I didn’t want to marry the wrong person.
But if you know anybody kind and funny who shines like a motherfucker, send them my way.