I have never been in a relationship. Not only am I single, I am thoroughly single.
There was one point in my life where I was the only single one in my whole friendship group. It’s worth mentioning that this friendship group formed after I moved schools for my A-Levels, and set up two of my new friends with two of my friends from my previous school. I was literally Cupid, despite having no qualifications in the ways of romance given my previous experience with love being underwhelming at the very best.
Somehow, despite the fact I have never had a boyfriend or a girlfriend, can count on one hand (without using all five fingers) how many dates I have been on in my 20 years on this earth, all my friends agree that when it comes to relationship advice, I’m pretty stellar.
I take pride in the fact I’m a pretty fucking great agony aunt when it comes to the woes of romance, and I’m always happy to comfort and soothe my friends in times of heartbreak. And that’s not even because I’m quietly smug about the fact I have a single friend again…
Acting as a shoulder to cry on, a (semi) successful match-maker and a relationship counsellor has taught me a lot about life in love. Here’s a few things I love, and hate, about not being in a relationship.
1. I love… not having to partake in PDA.
Ok, so in the last year, one of my flatmates got into a relationship with one of the boys I lived with in student accommodation last year. Before I get ahead of myself, I just want to stress this: they are a beautiful couple. Observing the love and affection they have towards each other is incredibly endearing, if a bit cringey – but hey, that could just be the bitter single spinster in me talking.
When it comes to PDA, from my experience – and from experience, I mean my scientific observation – every couple is different. I’ve had friends in perfectly healthy and happy relationships that in a social setting won’t so much as look at each other (ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea). My flatmate and her boyfriend however, they’re the other kind.
Trust me: it’s impossible not to be a creeper when they’re sat on the sofa canoodling whilst I’m cooking my pasta. I won’t lie, it can be a bit uncomfortable to watch, but I’m not about to say, “can you please stop being all soppy and gushy? You’re wetter than my spaghetti” and thus be accused of being bitter and jealous.
That said, from the last few months of coming home to work to a big ol’ slap of PDA, I’m grateful for my single-ness saving me from partaking in such.
2. I hate… having to explain my singleness to my family members.
Just before my mother departed after helping me move into university in first year, she optimistically remarked that she might not see me this Christmas if I get a better option to join some prospective in-laws for the festive feast.
As I always in response to the prospect of myself being in a relationship, I laughed and remarked that I was sure I would see her at Christmas. And, surprise-surprise, for lacking a more romantic option, I was indeed home for Christmas. And Christmas came with a whole load of host of festive exasperation, largely relating to my relationship status – or more accurately, my lack thereof.
When I asked my aunt if she would like some parsnips, she answered my question with another question, and one that was not in the slightest related to the honey-glazed root vegetable I was offering her. “Who will you be kissing under the mistletoe this Christmas then?” she asked. GROAN.
It isn’t just Christmas either. Naturally, I go home as little as possible nowadays.
3. I love… not having to share my bed.
Up until I moved away for university, I had never graduated beyond a single bed. Naturally, when I got a double bed in second year, I was extremely excited by the fact.
Now, I’m not a star-fish sleeper. Having slept in a single bed all my life, I am fully accustomed to sleeping on one side of the bed with minimal movement. I sleep so statically that the right hand side of my bed will remain as undisturbed as it was when I made it up with freshly washed sheets.
Another thing re: my bed – I have something of a penchant for pillows. Perhaps this has something to do with the sense of emptiness I hold in my heart for the lack of romantic love in my life, but large, cushy pillows have done a pretty good job of filling it thus far. The idea of another body pillaging my perfectly arranged pillow arrangement, let alone kicking me in the ribs in the middle of the night fills me with dread. For the sake of the health of my bed – and my ribs – I happily remain single.
4. I hate… not being able to impress someone’s parents.
For as long as I remember, I’ve always enjoyed the company of other people’s parents who, according to the thorough accounts of my friends, all consider me a hoot.
One of the things I feel I am missing out on in my single-ness is the opportunity to meet some new parents. As far as daughters-in-law go, I think I’d make a pretty exceptional one. I’m something of an old-spirit (maybe this is where my unsubstantiated status of agony aunt comes from) I tend to find I have a lot in common with the middle-aged, close-to-retirement age bracket.
Hey, maybe I should be grateful… it would be pretty hard to explain to a prospective boyfriend that I’m only visiting to catch up with his mum.
5. I love… that I haven’t had my heart broken.
If there’s anything I’ve learnt about romance from my friends, is that for all of its good stuff, it can be really fucking shit.
I can hardly count the number of times I’ve seen my friends in tears over the person they’re seeing, dating, or just shagging, and it’s pretty brutal. One friend likened splitting up with her boyfriend as a pain comparable only to grief, and as someone who last lost a loved one to the sweet release of death years ago, I’m in no rush to re-experience such pain.
Though that said, I’m not naïve. I know that with first love, inevitably comes first heartbreak. Whilst one side of me wants to experience both sooner rather than later for the sake of dealing with it whilst I’ve got all of my friends around me, in truth, I’m not in any rush.