I know a lot is going on in the world right now. And it seems so shallow and self involved to be writing about being single right now. I’m not writing about it because I think it’s more important than police brutality, or murder, or riots, or a pandemic. But I’m not in a space mentally or emotionally to be engulfing myself even further in every awful thing happening in the world, or trying to find something original — and more importantly, valuable — to say about what’s dominating the news.
The thing is, no matter what’s happening, or how crazy the world becomes, our own selfish concerns never really subside. No matter how tragic — or great — things seem, we still want those same things. We want to love and be loved. We want to feel fulfilled. We want validation. It’s what makes us human.
When quarantine first started, I was honestly excited. I was going to work from home for 2-4 weeks, and I had an unprecedented opportunity to take a break from dating without feeling guilty, or like I wasn’t putting enough effort into the life that I wanted.
The first few weeks of quarantine were kind of exciting. I talked to people I never thought I would talk to again. I got unprompted apologies and explanations I never thought I would get. And all from the comfort of my apartment.
Of course, it wasn’t all this journey of gratification and contentment. I remember this girl I follow posting “If the world was ending” on her Instagram story, and listening to it over and over and weeping. I remember the subconscious hope at the back of my mind that the guy that had hurt my feelings a short couple months before this all started would reappear with the apology and explanation I really wanted, begging me for another chance. I questioned breaking things off with the doctor I’d been dating a short few weeks earlier, that checked off all the right boxes but I couldn’t see myself ever falling in love with.
I’ve been in love once in my adult life — and even he drove me crazy. I realized that as much as I want to love and be loved, I genuinely love being alone. I realized that as nice as it would be to have someone to put on cute outfits for, and make out with, and force to take pictures of me, I’d rather be alone than with someone I’m not crazy about.
People have been freaking out about being single in quarantine, and I won’t pretend I’m immune to it. But both of my roommates went to their parents’ homes at different points since quarantine started, and I had my apartment entirely to myself for over a month. And I realized in that time just how much I cherish time to myself.
When I first moved to Virginia, I started going to a small church and the bible studies before the sermon were themed around marriage and relationships. A lot of it wasn’t immediately applicable to my life, but people said things in those bible studies that I never forgot. Something that always stuck with me was when my preacher, talking about the importance of discernment in who you choose to spend your life with, said “the only thing worse than being lonely is wishing you were.”
And his words have never rang truer for me. It’s easy to like people, and become infatuated with them. But real connections — the kind that change you for the better and challenge everything you thought you knew about love and can stand the test of quarantine — are few, far between, and worth waiting for.
I’m not saying that any couple that struggled adjusting to quarantine wasn’t meant to be, or is inherently incompatible. It’s not natural to spend that much time with one person. But I know too many people committed to partners they barely like because they think it beats being alone. For them, maybe that’s true. But speaking for myself, I’d rather be single than trapped in an apartment trying to convince myself I love someone that I settled for.