“Of course there’s hope for you, you’re a good person,” he says this in one of our many conversations where I jokingly ask him to save me from the frustrations and impossibilities of modern love. He’s my best friend, and he’s also my ex-boyfriend; a situation that after a lot of bumps, now makes perfect sense to me but I would be hard-pressed to explain to any potential suitor. I take in his words, but just as quickly push them away, knowing what I know about what’s really out there, “It doesn’t matter what kind of person I am if there isn’t a good person for me to be with.” I say these things a lot when I talk to him, complaining about the guys I meet who use me up and throw me away, compare and contrast one guy to another (and always to him), and express my deep-seated fear that there really isn’t someone for me, that my one love has come and gone and that I’ll end up the crazy Cat lady. Sometimes he’ll indulge me and answer with all the reasons why any dumbass guy would be lucky to have me. Sometimes he just tells me to shut up because whining is so not sexy.
“It’s complicated” would be an understatement. But in truth, what relationship isn’t these days? Friendships are also unspoken competitions, relationships balance on the thinnest edge because we can’t label them; they break apart and reform faster than the clouds. And though I have a web of people that constantly has my back—including him, my family, close friends, random people commenting on this blog and on Twitter—the truth is that I’m fairly on my own. I don’t have to consider anyone else if I decide to spend every night of the week bouncing from party to party. There’s no one at home that I have to check in with. Truthfully, it wouldn’t matter if I came home or not, so long as I was still alive and paid the rent. And there is an incredible freedom in that, but freedom can also very quickly devolve into confusion and loneliness.
I very much like having my little bed all to myself, especially given my penchant for fighting epic battles in my sleep. I like having a room of my own to think and not have to fight for the TV remote. But when I come home from a very long day, when I’m too tired even to feed myself, when crying seems like the most productive way to spend my time, that independence curdles a bit. Then, it’s not so much a freedom as a burden, and I begin to wonder what it might be like to have someone to call when these moments hit. Someone that would rush over to give me the simple hug that would make things a thousand times better, or just distract me with a ridiculous phone conversation about the latest episode of our favorite show. It’s then that the one-night-stands seem like a waste of time, the stubborn clinging to singledom feels pathetic rather than strong.
But aside from the fact that there isn’t a man-shop where I can pick out a boyfriend to bring home, I don’t announce this shift because I don’t want to enter a relationship simply because I’m lonely. To me, that’s not a good enough reason and it usually doesn’t work anyway. It usually leads to a desperate grabbing for whatever comes your way, and man do I not need any more of those mistakes. I had hoped that a relationship would sort of sneak up on me: that I’d meet a guy, get to know him and love would take me down out of nowhere like a wounded antelope. But it seems that instead, I’ll have to be open first, let the world know that I’m ready, and then hope that I find someone who’s ready too.