My love life is currently carefully constructed by late-night “wyd” messages, and coming to terms that I’ve been ghosted… again. It’s safe to say that I’ve made it to my ‘roaring twenties’ and I’ve never been in a relationship. This wouldn’t feel as bad if all of my friends were in the same boat as me. However, for each of my friends, they each have a partner. When this was happening in high school, everyone told me, 

“University is gonna be your time!” 

I believed it for a while until I got to university, and still, nothing changed. I continued to be getting played and felt I never deserved the time-of-day from people I was interested in. This time around, none of my friends could say anything that actually made me feel better. Their advice no longer had the same effect on me anymore because it felt like I was doing something wrong. Maybe the problem wasn’t the people I was interested in, I thought, “maybe it was me?” In return, I was upset I was missing out on the experiences that people write songs and make movies about. Where a young adult stumbles into love after a romantic series of events.

As someone who tries to analyze and rationalize situations, I found that  I could not do anything else except blame myself for how I felt; it was my fault I was missing out on romance. It was my fault I could not be happy with myself. I told myself, “I shouldn’t have said this,” or“I shouldn’t have done that.” 

I continued to give my friends relationship advice until a realization struck me:I was no better at giving advice to people in relationships than I am refusing to take advice about being single from people who are in relationships. I admitted to myself, my friend’s advice had the right sentiment but it was up to me to repackage it into something I would believe. This was my Carrie Bradshaw opportunity to revamp a bit of advice and let at least one person out there know that you’re doing nothing wrong. I get what it’s like being twenty and single.  

“Delete the apps! You don’t need them. Meet someone organically. It’s better that way.” 

As a young adult who has been living in a pandemic for nearly two years, I have not met a single person organically in quite some time.  The dating scene since the pandemic has made it significantly harder to meet the right person outside and feeling guilty about it isn’t productive. After all, restrictions, social distancing, and masks make it all the harder to approach other people. It’s unreasonable to tell people to stop using dating apps without providing any sort of alternative.Consider dating apps an okay place to remind you people outside your friend group exist! While staying safe, a couple swipes and conversions will not put the potential (I loosely use the next word) relationship as any less important to people who met in the cooking classes or fantasies dreamt of. 

“It’s gonna happen when you least expect it.” 

This is my favourite piece of advice. I think it’s also the piece that makes single people feel the worst. This is because it makes the person receiving this advice feel helpless. How can most people I know coincidentally avoid looking for relationships, and land them shorty? I can’t explain the science behind that, but I can share what’s helped me wrap my mind around it. 

Everyone is ready for a relationship and at the same time no one is ready for it. A relationship is about learning skills in life and about yourself and others. That is, the universe is out there always forcing you to learn something. No one can control the lessons they need to learn because life is unpredictable and one cannot determine his/her/their fate. 

The reason I don’t outright reject this piece of advice is because at heart I believe it. The take-away is more comparable to how some of the best nights out with your friends are always the ones you didn’t plan for. They’re spontaneous and earlier that day, you didn’t see it coming. 

“I wish I was single sometimes! You’re so lucky.” 

No one is helping anyone when they say that. However, the principle of the comment might be worth looking at. Being single comes with its perks! Never compromising on dinner dates, and I always get to pick the movie. I know what interests me the most because I’m only focused on fulfilling my needs. 

I’ve noticed the people who have said this piece of advice sometimes wish that they can act selfishly, especially when they can’t hog all the covers at night. A relationship means constantly sharing and it can become exhausting. I can just barely stay on top of my responsibilities before checking up on someone else’s day. I will no longer take for granted that being single provides me with the opportunity to not have to worry about another person. Instead, let me sleep in so late I forget to text someone “Good morning.”

At the end of the day, my friends are trying their hardest to understand but ultimately I believe if they’ve ever had a relationship, they will never get it. Nevertheless, it’s not up to them to get it, and it never was. No one is going to have the same experience with dating and it’s up to everyone to individually figure out their habits along the way. How I feel, and what I believe, is unique to my experience dating. I can revamp all the dating advice in the world, but it will only affect me as much as I believe in what is being written.  

Valentine’s Day seems like a day meant to make single people feel like they are missing out on something. In reality, people always feel like they’re missing out on something: single or in a relationship! This Valentine’s Day I’m going to be focusing on not letting the people around me make me feel like I’m doing something wrong romantically. Reality has proved that I am far from the only 20 year old staying in. Join me in finding the unexpected joy in dating, and don’t take any advice too seriously.

HEADER IMAGE SOURCE; BY SADIE LEVINE (instagram: sadiesartthings)

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FIND YOUR PLEASURE: A CONVERSATION WITH THE LAKE