Single and loving it? These are not words I ever thought would come forth from my mouth. I wasn’t happy being single as a teen. I wasn’t happy as a semi-adult when I was being a bridesmaid, yet again, while wishing it was my wedding I was walking in. And I certainly wasn’t happy with my singleness post divorce when I had an insatiable desire to be loved and wanted and not alone.
The road to contented singleness has been a rocky one.
I just started watching Sex and the City. I pride myself in loving things well after their shelf life, so no, I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m only now catching the show. Just look on my Pandora feed. I’ve been listening to Erasure. I have no problem enjoying old things.
I had always wondered what the fuss was about, especially when everyone was referring to themselves as an Amanda, Charlotte, Samantha or Carrie. Well, now I get it. Here are four single women with every imaginable characteristic, flaw, view on life, and dating habit. Take your pick. You’re sure to find yourself in there somewhere. I admit to finding myself undeniably drawn to the character Carrie Bradshaw. Certainly not because of her New York apartment, perfect golden locks or $800 shoe fetish. That is where we part ways, to be sure. My most expensive shoes are from Designer Shoe Warehouse and there is nothing designer about them.
But Carrie has this affinity for dating unavailable men. This, I have become a pro at and can painfully relate to her horrible magnetism to Mr. Big, who could not be more unavailable. And it’s not even unavailable as in attached to someone else. No, unavailable in other, more complicated ways.
My first plunge was with an old college boyfriend I reconnected with after my divorce. I truly didn’t go into the relationship wanting anything more than friendship. I missed him and his kindness, and the fact that we were both single made it ok so communicate again (after many years!) I was unprepared for two things when we started talking. One, that the attention would be so nice. And two, that he had held a bit of a flame for me all these years. Boy, did that make it impossible. We spoke on the phone but mostly emailed because he was in a different state. It kind of went from zero to sixty, from talking about work, to flirting a good deal and sending emails all throughout the day.
Aside from the distance, we were different from each other in ways that were insurmountable. We both knew that, and talked about it a lot. But that didn’t stop me from believing we could actually succeed at a long distance, lop-sided relationship. When we finally broke off communication, because it had just become too confusing and difficult to maintain, I was a total mess. I grieved hard and felt unwanted for a while. And wanted to reconnect with him at least a dozen times after.
Then I fell for another guy who was clearly unavailable. He even told me so. He lived in the same time zone, at least, but he wanted friendship only. But, my god, he was handsome. It’s hard not to fall for that. And he was kind, generous, smart, well read. We had a blast. We went for hikes and stayed up all hours of the night watching each other’s favorite shows. Despite his insistence that he had only friendship for me, things were often confusing and misleading. I fell head first, despite the warnings. I was a mess. I would have done anything for him. I eventually had to break off what we had going. I was in love, and he was not. It was horrible. I cried for months. I haven’t seen him in several years and it still feels like I lost a pretty great friend.
I have been through so much grief chasing after someone who is not meant to be mine.
I’ve chased after guys on Plenty of Fish who spent days chatting with me, then suddenly ghosted. Apparently that’s a thing now, ghosting. And I don’t mean coming back to seduce you over a pottery wheel. No, it means quite possibly literally falling off the face of the earth. It means spending a whole day on your phone (when you have so many other things you should be doing) telling someone your whole life story through little message bubbles…making plans, picking a place to meet up next weekend, picking a wedding gown (in your mind, of course). And then, the next day, poof. Gone. Never to be heard from again. Ghosting.
I have made second date plans before even having a first date and waited for a guy to call me while he was probably making out with some younger, hotter fish. How did I become so drawn to unavailable men?
So I finally did a Google search. Google therapy. There’s an app for you. And this is what I found – insecure, hurting, or anxious women are drawn to unavailable men because #1, we think there’s no danger of getting hurt, or #2 we believe that if we can turn an unavailable man available by our sheer wonderfulness, if we can work really hard to make someone love us, then we can finally believe in ourselves and our worth.
How sad. Because if a man is unavailable, it says something about him, not about me. And my value should never lie in convincing someone to love me.
And that is how I came to be in this place. I finally started to see my own value, and stopped needing to find it in a relationship with someone else.
Oh, I don’t miss the days of neurotically checking my phone to see if I got a text or a like or little bubble message from Plenty of Fish. You can keep your fish. And Miss Bradshaw, you can keep all those unavailable New York men to yourself. Because I’m single and finally loving it!