Do You Like Being Single?

Back in my college days, I rented a room in a four bedroom house with three other guys I had known from growing up. We had all known each other at least since the third grade. We had a big idea that we could get a house for $1000 per month and split the rent four ways and save a bundle.

We moved in at the first week of May and shortly thereafter, I got a summer job back in my home town, working for the State Parks as a maintenance crew guy. Trash and toilets for $7 an hour. I worked ten days on and four days off. I lived with my parents for those ten days and then I would drive back to the Front Range on my long weekend. Most of the time, I would stop at the house I was renting (because I was still paying $250 per month even when I wasn’t there) and then I would hang out with my girlfriend at the time in Denver or usually hit Renaissance Festival (several times) during the summer. I think I went four times. Maybe six. We would sometimes go both days.

One long weekend, I stopped long enough to pick up some of my stuff and then I spent the weekend with my girlfriend. It was just us at her dorm in CU. We went to Ren Faire, various other places. Then I went back to the house I was sharing just before hitting the road back to Walden.

My roomies had a sit-down with me.

“Where were you this weekend?”

“I spent the weekend with C. Why?”

“Well, you just come and go as you please and you never tell us where you are going. For all we know you were dead on the side of the road someplace. We worry.”

“Did my rent check clear?” I asked.

“Yes, why?”

“That’s all you need to worry about. The rest isn’t any of your business.”

They didn’t like that answer. Hell, I actually had decent boundaries back in those days. It would take an awful marriage to break that down, where your life is no longer yours and where you go and what you do and who you spend time with and who you talk to and why did it take you ten minutes to drive home from work and is that perfume I smell…and and and all took over.

You accept the mantle of things like kids and bills and you get things like social mores and standards twisted to put you in your place in a bad relationship.

I talked with my therapist this morning and she brought up a very good point. She told me that people will get into a dysfunctional relationship because they cannot stand being alone. And the chaos it provides is actually comforting to them if they haven’t been a part of a functional one. All they’ve known is chaos. They cannot just be comfortable being alone.

That is actually a good sign when you can be alone. We are wired for connection, but we also have the choice to be discerning too. So, with a friend of mine tonight, I asked what some of the things they enjoy about being single are. Here’s a list of things we came up with! Enjoy! Provide some of your own in the comments if you like!

  • You can eat what you want
  • You can watch whatever you want on TV
  • You can just hop in the car and go someplace if you feel like.
  • You can leave a mess in the kitchen and clean it up later.
  • No fundamental differences as far as how things like butter are kept around.
  • No drama. No BS.
  • No lies/lies by omission.
  • No having to calm someone down.
  • No sex obligation, or feeling guilted about it.
  • You can drive how you want without criticism. You can miss that exit and just look for another one up the road.
  • No obligatory contact when you aren’t in the mood (foot rubs, back scratches, neck rubs–usually never reciprocated).
  • Not wondering where someone is on a Friday night and why you aren’t with them.
  • Not wondering who someone is texting all the time.
  • No concerns about someone acting shady.
  • Not being given assigned chores like you are ten.
  • No feeling like you are being controlled.
  • No conversation about “Where should we eat?”
  • Nobody is bringing home another dog if you don’t want one.
  • No obligatory dinners or visits with in-laws you don’t like.
  • You can listen to whatever music you want.
  • No criticism about where you left your socks or boots or jacket.
  • No little messes to clean up after someone all the time.
  • You can put things in your drawers however the hell you want.
  • Quiet in the house.
  • No conflict on how to discipline the kids.
  • No communication problems.
  • No in-law drama.
  • No body criticism.
  • No pouting.
  • No yelling or fighting.
  • No lying in bed after a fight, and feeling obligated to be right next to that person for the next eight hours.
  • No bickering over stupid shit.
  • No being reminded of past mistakes to use against you later.
  • You can decorate however you want.
  • You don’t fight about money.
  • The only “Honey Do” projects are the ones you start.
  • No passive aggressive conversations about your behavior in public.
  • No arguments about how money is spent, children are raised, position of the toilet seat.
  • You can travel light, not have to check in with people unless you want, and in some ways you get to experience things on your own terms at your own pace. (I’m a big fan of solo travel).
  • No checked luggage!
  • No having to make decisions for other adults like they are children.
  • Stay up as late as you want
  • Have that glass of wine, whiskey, beer. Have two.
  • Sing in the shower/car/etc. as loud as you want.

So, really, being single isn’t that bad!

Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known

Yesterday I asked the question “why am I going to therapy when all I have to do is go to a bar and lower my standards?”  After all, in spite of all this healing and working on myself, I found myself alone on Valentines day.

There are so many answers to that question. For one thing just because you are with someone doesn’t mean you are healthy. You could be repeating bad patterns that will continue to make your life a living hell. Especially once the Honeymoon Phase is over. Everybody is having a great time while they are getting laid. It’s organic chemistry 101. It’s called Dopamine. Oxytocin. Seratonin. The feel good chemicals you get after an orgasm.

Codependency is one of those toxic traits to get rid of as is the potential for abusive relationships. Therapy is part of healing, and healing reduces the possibility for painful and horrible relationships. (Sorta like a vaccine). It allows you to escape those sad choices and live a happy, fulfilling life. Free from being controlled by someone else. Free from violence. Free from losing yourself and what is important to you. Free from compromising yourself and getting lost in that.

The worst thing about codependency and trauma bonding is when you have problems and you fix those problems with your partner, you get a rush. So, then you continue to sabotage and fix for that rush. Trust me, I’ve been there. It sucks, because it isn’t real. It isn’t healthy.

Yes, I am alone. More to the point I am single. I’m not lonely. Do I miss physical touch?  Yes. Jeez, that is at the top of my list for Love Languages. Is physical touch worth getting into something harmful with someone? Hell to the naw. 

My therapist says I shouldn’t have to make myself dysfunctional to match with someone. It’s such a simple statement, but consider this. If you were interested in somebody who had a broken leg and they said the only way they would date you is if you also had a broken leg…there you go. 

If you are broken you will only look for broken people to fill in those broken pieces. When things are broken they aren’t more interesting. They are sharp and harmful. They hurt when you cut yourself on them. I’ve seen that thing about the Japanese bowls going around, and I think people are missing some of the metaphor. Yes the bowls were broken and repaired with gold. And they are beautiful. But they were repaired!!  They are no longer broken!

And that’s what I’m doing. I’m being repaired. Today it feels good. Being broken is not some goddamn Red Badge of Courage. Healing is important. And unless you want to go on being broken, used, and hurting yourself (and others) you need to do something about it. And just because you are no longer single doesn’t mean you are fine.

Read this damn book. Then read this one. I’m not an affiliate with Amazon, this is just a recommendation. Read them a couple times. Then do the work.

That’s why I go to therapy. I’m doing the work. Not to prep myself for meeting someone and bullshitting them that I’m just stable enough to tolerate. I go to feel comfortable in my own skin so I don’t go to a bar and lower my standards to distract myself from the Toxicity I am potentially carrying around. I go because on an emotional level, I see that there are days I have a big splintered bone sticking out of my arm, and something needs to be done about that.

There’s a reason people who go to Alcoholics Anonymous say “My name is ____. And I’m an alcoholic.” The first step in fixing a problem is to admit you have one. Take ownership of it! I have problems that I am going to therapy to fix! I’m not virtue signaling, and admitting I have these problems isn’t what makes me flawed. Fuck, I’m pretty flawed. But I don’t like living like that, so I am doing the work.

Mental health is so stigmatized in this country. If you admit you have a problem, then you are looked at differently. People avoid you. Courts look at you funny. You get put on watchlists. I say bullshit to that. Do people look at people who wear glasses as weak, because they chose to get help to see better, rather than pretending they can’t see as well without them? Getting help didn’t cause the problem. It takes strength to admit you have one and you are doing something about it.

I’m working on my mental health because I have the rest of my life to walk around in this meat suit and it feels better once you are healed. Just like walking around with a broken bone.  Let that thing heal before you climb a mountain. Either alone or with someone else.

And as a friend told me, stop looking for broken people to try to fix. (Damn, that was real talk).

Otherwise you are going to be carrying them up the mountain when you should both be climbing.

Here’s a song I have fallen in love with. It hits on so many different levels. I like the live version the best, and no, the clip is only subtitled in Spanish. The song is actually in English. Enjoy.

Angry Chair

Today was Valentines Day, which is a day for most of us that traditionally sucks.

A big reason for this is because those of us who are single see it as a day we are reminded that we are alone. And those of us who are in a relationship have some kind of bar they need to meet, and unless it is new love and everything is wonderful, somebody usually falls short of the mark.

Today, I was informed that the woman I was in the “situationship” with (that I burned bridges with after four years of friendship too) posted a FaceBook Official picture of herself with her new guy on their Valentines Day date. I haven’t seen it. I don’t want to.

That’s never easy, is it? You never really realize how raw you still are inside until you hear about that.

A lot of my previous post was about that. I have mixed emotions about it. Part of me is sad to see no possibility of that bridge between us being rebuilt or those doors being opened again. Just a feeling I have. Like a feeling that I’ll hear about an engagement sometime soon. I’ve seen it before. I am the Warm Up guy, or as I’ve heard it called the “Foster Boyfriend, helping wayward women find their forever person.” Fuck.

The other part of me feels like a weight has been lifted off of me. That I can close those doors in my heart for good, and hopefully if the person I should be with comes around, I will be emotionally available. I’m ready to start living the life that I’ve wanted to start living for ten or fifteen years now. Chasing my goals and dreams. Not spinning my wheels with situationships.

It’s a mixed bag of emotions.

What I know of the happy couple: they are both damaged. I’m not going to go into the why too much, other than to say both could probably benefit from lots of therapy, but instead cling to other damaged people as a substitute. Then they wonder why shit keeps falling apart.

But you see, I’m fucking angry too, because I am doing the work. I’m going to therapy weekly to deal with my problems and dysfunctions and heal from all the bullshit I’ve survived in my life so I can get to the next step of Thriving instead. And yet, with all of this rebuilding my mind and my heart, I’m alone. And it seems like all I had to do is go to the bar and lower my standards a little bit. Because even though I’m healing, and I feel more secure with myself and my boundaries and my values…it does still sting a little bit. It stings to see that you don’t have to put in the work to heal. You just find someobody who is also fucked up, and you won’t be alone.

Until you are more alone than ever, in a nightmare you can’t escape. At least that’s what I keep telling myself, because I’ve been there. And I’m never, ever going to go back there again. I guess my healing is my business, and my choice.

I can’t say I wish them the best. I wish her safety. I wish she would do the work of healing, because she is an amazing person, but always sells herself short. I know she is gone for good, and our paths have permanently diverged, but I still care. I see a lost soul though, and today, I realized my heart could break a second time. Maybe the first was for a lover, and the second was for my friend.

Fuck.