Single for 21 Years and Counting

If you don’t already know who I am, this is about to get personal quickly. So, hi! My name is MaryCate and I’ve been single my entire life, 21 years, 4 months and 18 days on the day of this being published. This is partially by choice, but mostly as a result of fate and a few moves, both romantic moves in terms of pursuing — or the lack thereof —but also physically moving countries multiple times throughout my adolescence.

Being single has allowed me to grow in ways that I do not believe I would have been able to otherwise. It also leaves me with countless questions and desires that are yet to be answered, and likely will only be answered through experience. Most of these questions tend to fall in the realm of what is appropriate or expected and what is not, mundane questions in the eyes of many, but they are simply things that I have not had to deal with personally. The desires are well, desires.

Some say that being single is something that once you get out of, you simply cannot return to — and this is something that I find solace in. Although many factors in my life have kept me single, there is an instinct in the back of my mind that repeats to me that this is the only way it was meant to be for me and that this is exactly where I am meant to be.

It would be an inaccurate depiction of this way of life to talk about it as all roses and other pretty flowers while completely ignoring the many negative accompaniments of being single for one’s whole life. 

Content Warning: The content below discusses themes of assault and sex, please continue reading with caution or stop reading this article now if these themes may make you uncomfortable. For resources on assault please check out these resources.

Being single does not mean that I have abstained from my own list of firsts, they have just happened at more peculiar times with more peculiar matches. I was a teen when all of my “major” firsts wentr down, from my first kiss to going on my first date, to losing my virginity, to getting mono to becoming a survivor of verbal and physical assault. I didn’t need a committed partner for any of these firsts, some for the better and others for worse.

Staying single throughout my different experiences allowed me to grow and (re)gain confidence at my own pace and in my own ways. During times of hardship and challenges, I controlled the pace at which I decided that I was more comfortable with returning to intimate activities. I was able to reclaim my autonomy without any pressure from a partner. I hope that everyone in a relationship has a supportive partner that they are able to experience the same lack of pressure when times get tough. But, in my journey, I needed to reclaim my autonomy on my own — and I am glad I did.  

I can appreciate that there is something comforting about having a partner to fall back on and share one's life with, although I have only personally experienced this with friends who are more supportive than I could have ever asked for. Working through these things is something that cannot be done with just anyone,  I believe that I would have pushed any hypothetical partner away when it got tough — because it got tough, and I am still working through these things years later. 

Being single for a prolonged period of time is not for everyone, and it is something that I have had to work with myself on to become more comfortable with. However, I can now say with confidence, that being single for my entire adolescence is exactly how it was supposed to be for me, and I am content with that. I don’t envision my entire life being a single-flying one, but everything happens for a reason, and I am happy with that.