On Being Single in College

Let’s face it—it’s fall. As pretty as the leaves and trees are, and as delicious and comforting pumpkin spice lattes are to drink and hold when the air is cold and nipping at your face, it sucks to do it alone. While your gal pals are always a great support, some things you just want to do with a special someone. 

For me, this sucks because the reality is that every “cuffing” season comes and goes, and I’ve spent every single one of them single. I’m embarrassed to admit this to the people I meet, but I’ve never been in a relationship with any other person in my entire 19 years of existence. I have no awkward first kiss stories or terrible first date blunders to share during Truth or Dare, and let’s face it, playing Never Have I Ever with me is almost comical. I turn 20 in two months, and I can’t help feeling that I didn’t experience any of this as a teenager. 

I used to always wonder—am I missing out? Is there something about me that repulses potential relationships? If you are in the same boat, I would advise you to not go down this rabbit hole. As a high school student, I spent a lot of time trying to decipher what was wrong with me and why I was this one anomaly among most of my friends. This was awful for my self-esteem because so many traditions revolve around “dates” such as homecomings and proms, and so I would always be single and sad. Over time, I realized sulking was not healthy for me. 

So, to anyone wondering what the answers are to the reason you’re single, there probably isn’t one. Society and social media have made it impossible not to feel the overwhelming pressure of being in a romantic relationship and it sucks. As much as I love rom-coms, love songs, and TV shows, they blur the lines between the fantasy and the reality of relationships. The reality is that you don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy and your entire life doesn’t have to revolve around your romantic pursuits.

As teenagers and young adults, we often forget that our lives are just beginning. We have so much time to fall in love and out of love and have crushes and face rejections and engage with others. I’ve had to face this reality and sometimes it sucks, but I realize that I love myself, and if I have people who love me and can recognize that, others will too. I know this is super cheesy, but I like to think of it as a good meal. Would you rather sit and have the food rushed to you because you are hungry? Or would you rather have the best meal of your life because someone took the time to prepare it more carefully? I think if I’m going to experience an epic romance anytime soon, I’d like to have the best meal of my life. 

Yeah, I know. Easier said than done right? I, like everyone else, also fall into the trap of wanting a relationship. You see your friends or everyone around you in adorable relationships with people who love them and you want that bond. I feel that more than I would like to admit, and something I’ve realized is that’s totally valid. You will always see Google posts (trust me, I’ve combed through hundreds of these) about how love will come to you, or that “your time” will come, or whatever the heck that means, and you just want to push those aside because you’re sick and tired of waiting for someone to just fall out of the sky. 

And then on the other side, there's a stigma about how women are dependent on men through romantic relationships and how you shouldn’t want a relationship because you’re strong and independent and don’t need to be moping over some guy all the time. There is some truth to that, but you have to acknowledge that that shouldn’t mean that strong women should be emotionless, detached, and single. I know that as much as we all want to be the strong, independent woman who “don’t need no man,” we can’t help that we just really want that emotional connection with somebody. Not the person you mope over when they don’t text back, but the one that claps the loudest when you get your diploma or your dream job. And let’s face it—your body has needs too. Being touch-starved is a real phenomenon. Single ladies, you are not alone.

I guess the bottom line here is that it’s okay to feel sad about being single from time to time. We all get lonely and just want someone to kiss under the mistletoe. However, as I have learned, it’s dangerous to stay in this pit of despair for long amounts of time. For me, it comes and goes. I just have to remind myself that I value myself and I can’t let my relationship status affect how I feel about myself. 

Just because I’m almost 20 and never had a boyfriend doesn’t mean that I’m not pretty or not smart or not interesting enough for people to take an interest in me. It just means that I haven’t found someone who has taken the time to get to know me and fall for all the things that make me great. Not everyone finds their soulmate in college, and we have to remind ourselves that just because someone is “Kenyon married” it doesn’t mean they are actually married. We’re young, navigating adulthood, and developing our identities, and that means it’s okay to be single—just a friendly remember for this “cuffing” season. 

 

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