Okay, admittedly, this is kind of inspired by my trip to see How To Be Single this weekend,(excellent film, by the way, definitely recommend) but I’ve generally found it to be an awkward subject throughout most of my life.
We’ve all been in the family party situation where your Gran, Uncle or Great Auntie Anne turn to you and loudly question “Have you found yourself a boyfriend yet?”, often coupled with a follow up question of “You’re not one of those lesbians are you?” or “Why not? What’s wrong with you?”. In all honesty, I’m never sure what the correct answer is. “No, actually, Great Auntie Anne, I prefer noseying on Tinder and drunkenly kissing strangers in nightclubs, then regretting it when all my friends put it on their Snapchat stories the next day. Thanks for the concern though, Hun.” I imagine that wouldn’t be appreciated.
So, why is everyone constantly asking this? No word of a lie, I just got back from visiting my Grandparents and was asked by three different family members in the space of twenty minutes if I had a boyfriend yet. And when I said no, I was compared to my parents, my Auntie, and my sibling. The word “yet” is probably what makes us feel so inadequate when we have to grit our teeth and force out a sigh and say “No, not yet.” It’s like they think you’re just lazy, like a relationship, trusting someone with your feelings and welfare, is the same as emptying the dishwasher. It appears that people think you go to university, and BAM. There’s the girl/guy of your dreams, waiting at your door, with a ring, two kids, a dog and a Volvo, when in actual fact, the only thing waiting for you is your macaroni cheese ready meal and a bottle of £5 wine. For some reason there’s some great pressure to be in a relationship as soon as you hit your late teens-early twenties, until you actually have one. Then everyone’s telling you you’re too young to be tied down, that you should focus on “finding yourself” (whatever that means?) and that it’ll only serve as a distraction to your studies/career/social life.
As the family member everyone, I’m certain, views as “terminally single”, I’ve grown to realise you can’t win. There is no correct answer to the “do you have a boyfriend yet?” question. If you tell them you don’t care, don’t have time, or simply haven’t found anyone you like that much, you’re either boring or lying. If you just say “no” you’re met with a sympathetic “aaaaaw” and the promise you’ll “find someone one day.” Thanks, but I don’t need your sympathy. Honestly, I’m not exactly wondering round with a giant butterfly net, on the hunt, but at the same time, I’m not some bitter, old cat lady, avoiding anything with a penis. I’m just enjoying myself, and I know this is the case for so many people. Maybe that’s the correct answer? “No, I’m just enjoying myself.” It’s not like I’m isolating myself from the idea of a relationship, I’m just not forcing myself into one for the sake of it.
Being single isn’t actually something to survive. It’s just your natural state of being and it’s fine to be comfortable in it. You don’t constantly have to be searching for someone else. Sure, at some point, there’ll probably be someone that makes you no longer want to be single, but it doesn’t matter how far away, frequent or rare that is. So I suppose the “how to” part of this is answered by realising you’re not surviving or enduring being single. You’re enjoying being in your natural state, for however long that may be.