The Vicious Cycle

As I’ve said time and time again, dating in your 20’s is hard.

Now that I’ve been single for a bit over a year, I’ve noticed a cycle happening over, and over, and over.

First, comes a desire to meet new people and get involved with someone. I get back on Tinder and Bumble, or I randomly meet someone or start talking to a friend of a friend, whatever. We’ll refer to this as stage one of the cycle.

If dating apps are the poison I pick, next comes a stage of feeling overwhelmed, we’ll call this stage 1.5. I’ll get involved in way too many conversations that I feel the need to narrow down for myself and end up on the same awkward sushi date three times in a week.

Then I get involved with someone and move way too fast into the situation, stage two. Not into a real relationship or anything, but just. Spending a ton of time with them. Sleepovers. Not much emotional involvement but the physical and material aspects of a relationship flood into my life in what seems like a day. Basically a whole lot of Netflix and chill nights.

And then, inevitably, after no more than a couple of months, it doesn’t work out. Sometimes its them, sometimes its me, but whatever the situation, the third and final stage of this cycle is the end.

The truth is, a lot of it stems from the fact that I haven’t felt about anyone how I felt about my ex. I just wanted to be with him and only him, and I knew it after only a few weeks. I was into him. And sure, I’ve gotten emotionally attached to dudes and liked being around them (well okay, this actually has only happened with like one guy), but its never like it was with my ex.

I guess I keep dropping guys and starting over because that’s the missing piece I’m searching for. And honestly, its a little discouraging that I can’t for the life of me seem to find that piece again.

It is kind of comforting, though. I have had a hidden fear that I don’t really like to talk about. A fear that maybe I’ve always jumped from relationship to relationship so quickly in the past not because I found the right person, but because I feared being alone. I know now that that is not the case, because with as many opportunities as I’ve had to get into a relationship, I’ve never stayed when I knew it wasn’t right or when I knew I wasn’t being valued.

But anyway, the point of me hashing this cycle out with myself is that I am caught in the middle of it right now. I’m in the midst of stage two, but I get this looming feeling that another round of stage three is in the cards. I just have mixed feelings about him at this point. But also, I really barely know him. I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve hung out together. This makes me want to continue the situationship and see what happens, but my gut feeling is saying something different to me.

I think I’m ready for these cycles to end, but not because of the wrong person. I have it in my head that my next real relationship will be my last, and that I will be in it for the long haul once I finally find that right person. My gut is telling me that current dude is not that guy, and my conscience has me wondering if holding out longer is okay or if this would lead him on. I know he likes me, but how much? And are our differing opinions and views of certain things something that, in the future, would cause problems? Does he even realize how different our views are, or have I not been as forward about all of that as I should be?

It isn’t something that I’m going to decide tonight, but I definitely need to keep these things in mind and answer these questions for myself soon enough.

Stay tuned.

-Jessica

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Single, but not lonely (Part II)

The biggest issue I have with the whole single = lonely thing is the fact that I am not fucking the slightest bit lonely.

First of all, can we remember that just because I’m single doesn’t mean that I haven’t looked at a man since my ex? Sure, I go back and forth with my feelings about the whole dating thing…well, okay, maybe not so much back and forth as much as 85% of the time feeling like I never want to be around another man again, 10% of the time spending like two weeks hanging out non-stop with a guy who I actually like being around before they decide to ignore my existence, and then like maybe 5% of the time double booking myself on Tinder dates all weekend long (yes, I know, I am at times the female version of a fuckboy, but you can either play the game or get played, am I right ladies?). I wouldn’t call it good, or healthy, or anything of the sort, but I definitely can attest that the majority of the time, if I’m not seeing any guys, it’s by my personal choice, and therefore I am not feeling lonely about it all.

My next, and most important, point, is that even if I wasn’t seeing guys when I wanted to see them, there are also these people who I like to call friends that most individuals spend time with, and who I happen to have in my life. I would in fact argue that I have some of the best, greatest friends that a girl could ask for. And this incredibly grateful, lucky girl typing this out right now, has friendships in her life that go back as far as 21 years ago. That’s literally almost all of my life, you guys. How many people can truly say that they have friends that they have known since they were three, four, and five years old?

And of course, I have friendships that only go back one or two years that are awesome as well. My very best friend is someone I’ve only known for two years, and she has introduced be to a whole group of friends who I get to call my own now (shout out to Angie for being responsible for literally 90% of my current social life lol).

Finally, I literally have multiple cats trying to lay on top of my body every moment that I am at home.

See? None of this looks like I am EVER ALONE. As I type this it’s like the orange one can sense that I’m thinking about him, and just moved from his spot a foot away from me on my bed and is now laying literally on top of my arms, making it slightly difficult for me to type.

On a more serious note, though, I don’t want to just speak for myself. Maybe someone is single and feels lonely because of it, and while I’m sorry to hear it, that’s totally okay and I will be the first person to validate your feelings (because I am all about validating other peoples’ feelings, let me tell ya). But what I don’t like is when people act as if, because one is single, they should feel lonely. People are allowed to be happy and content, regardless of their relationship status, and whether you personally agree with that or not. You shouldn’t need a relationship to feel whole, and nobody should make you feel like you do.

So don’t feel bad for me, and don’t try to convince me that I need to be less happy than I think I am.

-Jessica

Single, but not lonely (Part I)

I hate that being single is thought to be synonymous with loneliness.

First of all, alone time can be a great thing. After years of constantly spending my time with another person, when I suddenly found myself single, I realized that there was something about myself that I had never before thought to be a problem: I have no fucking hobbies. Literally nothing I enjoy doing on my own in my free time, because I was never, ever alone in my free time. And, much to my dismay, people think it a little odd when they ask, “So what do you like to do for fun?” and you respond by saying, “Well usually when I’m by myself I literally just lay in my bed and stare at the wall and think about life.” And rightfully so, because yeah, that’s fucking weird.

(Disclaimer: I’m fucking weird so I’m okay with it still, but there’s only so much laying in bed and staring that you can do until you start to feel like you might be a pile of trash and need to actually mobilize your body every once in a while).

Although I will never consider myself to be anything less than an extrovert, I’ve learned to enjoy being alone and forcing myself to take on hobbies. Things that I’ve always had an interest in or wanted to learn more about, I actually do now, and I actually like it. And also, with being alone, sometimes you’re forced to pick up hobbies that you didn’t actually like before but now really enjoy. For example, cooking.

Now, the cooking story is actually a funny one. About two years ago, when I found myself applying to graduate programs, on many of the applications you were asked questions that literally had nothing to do with anything academic. One of these questions that I came across on several applications asked about what I enjoy doing in my free time. Since I thought it inappropriate to say, “drinking”, or, “laying in my bed as staring at the wall”, or a slew of other completely uninteresting/inappropriate things that I enjoy and are not at all actual hobbies, I would say things like, “cooking”. Now, two years ago, I absolutely hated cooking, and I in fact did not do it very often. I would try, but usually end up being too tired/hungover/lazy and would end up going out to eat or mooching off of whatever Mike had cooked for himself that day or week. But then I lived by myself and realized that I was gaining weight because of my take-out habits that were fueled by laziness and mild depression, and I was not happy about it. So I started cooking. And now I actually like doing it, like, a lot.

The act of being alone is not inherently bad, and it is not always something that is unwanted by those of us who haven’t found our person yet. And although it’s been shitty at times, I’m so glad that something that I didn’t think was good has taught me something so valuable.

But this is only one small sliver of why I think that we need to throw this idea that single = lonely (or, more specifically, unwanted lonely), throw it out the car window, and back our vehicles up over it.

More to come on those other reasons later, since this post is almost as long as the last paper I turned in this past semester.

-Jessica

Finding Myself

It’s been a long journey, these last 15/16 months.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past over the last couple days, as well as what I want my future to be. And I’ve been reflecting a lot on myself as well and where I was, where I’m at now, and where I want to be.

I still have questions, and I’m still my typical, cynical self. But while I have a ways to go, I realize that I’ve come a long way, and that I need to take the time to recognize this.

I’m more open to having a real relationship now than I was before. But yet, I’m more content than ever being on my own. I’ve realized, because of events that have happened over the last couple of weeks, that I’m no longer in a space in my mind where I’m receiving all of my happiness from other people.

I’ve also found ways to cope and spend my time, like through actual hobbies! I’ve never had many hobbies before, but in recent months I’ve been getting into tarot and astrology. I’m reading more. I’m crocheting a blanket for myself. I’m just doing more things on my own and actually liking it.

I feel like tarot and astrology also give me some guidance and hope for things, too. It’s so interesting, because I will pull cards and feel negatively about them, but then look at the meaning and the meaning will be positive. I feel like my actual life is a lot like that, like, I will think something is going to be very negative, but it will always turn out okay in the end.

This year has sucked nearly as much as 2016 did, if not more. And of course, there are still things going on in my personal life that are hard. Like, really hard. And that are so much bigger than me or any of my problems (but that’s for another post, because I want to try and keep this one on the more positive side). But I’m really, truly feeling better about myself, my life, and the things that are to happen now for me.

-Jessica

Happiness IS a destination if you just aren’t happy.

People keep telling me to stop viewing happiness as a destination that I need to get to. “Be happy with what you have in the now, and everything else will fall into place.”

I bet anyone who has read even a sentence of any other post I’ve made can know without me having to tell you that I think this is bullshit.

I do not HAVE to like things as they are right now. I don’t have to FORCE myself to feel a feeling that I’m not feeling.

But on the same note, that doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful. That my unhappiness with things can’t fuel my drive to get myself to a place where I am happy. That I’m not trying my damnedest to think positively about the way things are or are going to be.

Things don’t just magically work how you want them to work because you try to trick yourself into being happy with all the shit that gets thrown your way. You can go into a situation with the most positive of attitudes and realize that you were an idiot and that everything is terrible. You can go into a situation with a complete shit attitude and come out realizing that you were an idiot because everything is great now.

Life is unpredictable, and too short to stay in a situation trying to force yourself to be happy about it when you just aren’t.

And maybe this is just my inner, currently very discouraged self talking…and I say CURRENTLY because I am working hard to get out of this mindset. Toward the destination that people tell me shouldn’t be considered a destination, I guess.

Jessica

The problem with dating in your mid-20’s

Every single one of us has had a long-term relationship that ended recently and we aren’t happy about it.

Everyone has this bad attitude about dating because they were “fucked over” in their last relationship.

Everyone who has that bad attitude thinks that it’s okay to treat other people like trash because of how they were treated in their past relationship. Or at least, that’s how they feel that they were treated.

So it ruins everyone for an undetermined period of time. People act in self-destructive ways. Or sometimes people just plain play games with each other.

I hate it so much. I hate games. I hate not being straightforward. I hate not knowing what is going through a person’s head when they are acting so all over the place with their feelings.

I just want someone to act toward me the way that I act toward them and it’s not fair.

-Jessica