I have a confession to make. I am in my mid-twenties, living in London, employed, paying rent, drinking too much and all those other standard, normal things expected of a woman in my position, except for one thing: I am Single. And not single but ashamed and desperately swiping right on Tinder, throwing myself at any and all men in bars hoping that they’ll love me but entirely and happily Single Through Choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to while away an evening playing on Tinder and have been widely recognised for my flirtatious ways since I thought ripped fishnets looked cool with Converse boots but with no strong intentions to follow through. I’m aware that it’s bordering on Cardinal sin to admit such folly, especially as a woman (who knew we could function independently?) but I have a good reason for such a controversial lifestyle which is simply this: I am happier on my own than I’ve ever been in a relationship. And no talk of ticking body clocks, comparisons to blissfully happy couples or pressure from ageing relatives is going to change that.
I am not anti-relationship in any way. I have seen how relationships can work and fully support how others are happier in relationships than alone but I struggle to accept why reasonable, intelligent people are willing dig in their heels, nails, pickaxes etc to cling onto the ever-encroaching decline of a relationship that just isn’t working. Whatever media and literature depict, single living isn’t shameful, we don’t (often) spend evenings singing ‘All By Myself’ in our pyjamas and the story doesn’t have to conclude with a declaration of love, a public kiss and the chime of wedding bells. There are some great reasons for choosing singledom, some of which I’ve detailed below:
You’re in full control of your own happiness. If you don’t like something, you can change it. Those choices are entirely your own and you don’t need to consult another person every time you want to move house/change jobs/get a haircut. If you want to wear that tiny minidress, do it. If you want to eat takeaway on your sofa all day, that’s fine too. If you want to dance around your flat to the Frozen soundtrack, maybe make sure your flatmate isn’t home first. Whatever works for you, the world is your oyster.
No one else’s happiness is dependent on your actions. A certain ex-boyfriend of mine, in the heat of an argument used to point a furious finger at me and proclaim that I Made Him Miserable. All capitals, no prisoners. It was my fault for suggesting that we tidy our bedroom or maybe do a grocery shop instead of ordering pizza. Whatever the accusation, he was definitely more miserable once I got sick of the drama and moved out.
Duvet control. I am a sausage-roll duvet snuggler and no one can stop me. Or worse, wake me up attempting to extract the bulk of the duvet from underneath me in the freezing cold dead of winter.
Freedom. I know that one’s a cliche but I love having the freedom to do whatever the hell I want. My best friend and I used to have the most wonderful nights out and always kept an eye on the others’ safety but now she’s left singledom for relationships-ville and after every night out will text me in an absolute panic, claiming that she will never drink again because she drunk-dialled her boyfriend and he was so very worried about her and she can’t possibly do that again (she always does, though. It’s great).
Hook-ups, flirting and sexual tension are way more fun than holding hands. Recently I spent an evening having an incredibly forward flirt-off with a man who I was fully aware has a girlfriend (on a different continent, but still). When he questioned my intentions I replied completely honestly ‘I’m hitting on you, but I’m not planning to go anywhere with it’ to which he responded ‘Fair enough, carry on’ and we had a wonderful evening followed by a series of open innuendos, flirtatious texts and the most delightful tension.
[Tweet “Hook-ups, flirting and sexual tension are way more fun than holding hands #single”]So it isn’t all doom and gloom and buying multiple cats, weeping at romcoms and waiting for ‘The One’. If I met someone who transpired to be ‘The One’, I wouldn’t turn them away but despite stereotypes I’m not desperately searching for another person to validate my existence and I’d rather not have to kiss my way through a pond of frogs in the hope of finding a prince.