A few weeks ago, I went out with a couple of friends from university. We went out for dinner and had fun discussing things related to our lives and education. We then decided to attend a club downtown with 90s music, and the drinks began to flow. Soon, a friend who I had only known for about six months began questioning me about my perpetual singledom. She even started pointing out various delectable men in the club, wondering why I did not pursue them.
This did not seem the time nor the place to explain the reasons behind my choices, and it left me merely smiling and shaking my head. My friends from high school who know me better than I know myself have long since stopped trying to foist various unsuspecting men on me, and thus the topic of me and relationships is never talked of among us. This is why the actions of my uni friend threw me for a loop.
Now, let us establish the known facts to avoid confusion. I have nothing against people in relationships. I have parents who have been successfully married for 35 years. Many of my friends are in established relationships, although there are several who are still single. I tend to choose friends for other reasons than relationship status. I still cry when I watch a particular scene in Titanic, and romance is in every story I write to some degree. As an introvert, I love curling up with a romance novel, and Jane Austen, who created Mr. Darcy, happens to be my favorite author.
I Want to Come to Know Who I Truly Am
I feel like I am finally gaining my autonomy as a 30-something adult after a rocky start as a teenager and a young woman in my twenties. After having spent so much time missing experiences many other people take for granted, like living on my own, having a steady job, a long-time partner, or even getting my driver’s license, I feel like I need to be confident in myself before allowing another person access to my heart. I wish to stand on my own feet, not on the shoulders of somebody else. I need the chance to overcome the ideas of the person I always wanted to be, the happy, extroverted girl whom everybody likes on first meeting, and come to know who I truly am.
I need to learn to function as an adult, to balance my own finances, to buy my own place, to study further the subject I love at university, and to work hard at the job I have with awesome colleagues and patrons. I want to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids, I want to teach English in Japan because I love the author Haruki Murakami, and I want to spend a semester in New Zealand as an exchange student. How can I do all this if I have someone else to consider as well? It is do-able, yes, but can I expect another person to uproot their lives every time I yearn for a change?
As an Introvert, I Need Plenty of Time Alone
Another reason has to do with my introverted nature. Due to bullying as a child and teenager, I have trouble letting other people into my life. I am overcoming the problem as I get older, and I recently realized I might shut out the good with the bad if I never allow anyone access.
Yet, as an introvert, I require extensive time on my own. After a few days with a friend at a cabin last week, I needed more time off to recover due to us being together constantly for those days. This is a friend I dearly love and can speak with for hours on end, as well as sit in silence while we pursue our own projects on each end of the couch. My friends are like family. We can talk forever about our mutual shared interests, but once we’re done, we need some time alone to recharge.
Romantic relationships are no different; one would require time and effort I simply do not have at this moment. At this point in my life, I need to place myself first, along with the relationships I share with the people I love. Trying to pursue a relationship would cause me to either put myself or loved ones on hold. I do not wish for either.
I Will Create My Own Happiness
The old adage that you must learn to love yourself before allowing others to love you rings true to me. I wish to be confident in myself and who I am before committing to a relationship. I have come to the point where I like myself, but I feel as if there are several points I would like to change for the better before my partner in life arrives.
In truth, being the introvert that I am, I am not only realistic but also fatalistic. The right person will come along at the right time. Cameron Diaz waited until her forties to get married when she felt she had met the right man. My best friend was single for four years, and she was prone to telling us that she would die alone, half in jest, half in earnest. When she finally came to know herself and love herself as she was, another person came along who did as well. They are a couple to this day.
When I am ready, the opportunity will present itself. Even if it does not, I believe I will be happy and content in the life I fashion for myself. I will not need another person to make my happiness, because I will create my own.
Therefore, I implore others to treat their fellow humans with respect. Do not automatically assume like my friend that someone single is pathetic because said person is not in a relationship. Many people are satisfied in their marriages, and likewise many introverts choose to live their lives single. Respect that choice and do not interrogate anyone or force them into situations they would rather not be in.
Romance novels and movies have created the illusion that one needs a partner in order to become complete. Make your own happiness, be your own partner.
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