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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Being Alone Forever - Literal Ways To Cope

Being single forever. Here's a "Being Forever Single" list of coping mechanisms. Google and Yahoo answers were not very helpful.

I know. It sounds dramatic. It sounds negative and cynical. It sounds self-defeating. Whiny. Silly. There are way worse things. Some people are happy with being single forever, or prefer it. I am not one of those people. I know it sounds like I need a void-filling man in my life. I don't. I enjoy my life (mostly). I am loved and cared for by so many people, and I love and care for them too. I have a pretty good family back home who love and miss me. There is no shortage of platonic love in my life. That wasn't always the case. I'm so grateful for it.

But romantic love, dating, finding dates, being in relationships: not something I excel at. I've tried it all:

• Just "living my life" and not caring
• Actively searching
• Focusing on/trying to manifest what I want (basically the shit taught in "The Secret")
• Not focusing on what I want
• Just "letting it happen"
• Giving "love more freely" (both in being kinder, more loving, and in the "casual sex" way)
• Giving love LESS freely (as in being aloof, not putting out, no sex on first dates, all of that)
• Actively NOT searching
• Waiting
• Online Dating
• Being "the aggressor"
• Being the aggressee
• Playing by "the rules"
• Being myself
• Being someone else
• Asking out guys that I like
• Giving guys I'm meh about a chance
• Giving Nice Guys™a chance
• Pretending a Douchebag™ is not a Douchebag™
• Being monogamous
• Being poly
• Settling
• Not settling
• "Putting myself out there"
• Having realistic expectations
• Having an "ideal" relationship/partner in mind
• Releasing all ideals
• Giving the too-hot, too-good-to-be-true guys a chance
• Various combinations of all of the above

I post a lot about my online dating adventures on facebook. Mostly, I keep it funny and lighthearted because that's mostly how I try to approach it: not too seriously (plus, if you look like me, and take online dating too seriously, it will quickly make you depressed and hopeless). I get a lot of advice when I post (now rare) things about being alone forever and how fucking depressing that occasionally is.

And I appreciate the intentions behind the advice people give me. But most of that advice comes from folks who: 
a) are married/attached/coupled/actively dating;
b) are conventionally attractive;
c) are not sex workers;
d) find dates easily;
e) are not fat;
f) are into dating more than just straight-ish cis males (which, to me, seems to open up a lot of possibilities);
g) just don't care that much about dating, or can take for granted that they will have lovers/mates in the future;
h) are way less selective than I am, or are content with casual flings and one-time hookups (which is awesome for them, but not ideal for me - I've tried that - and it makes me dislike myself).

Saying things like "you'll meet the right guy™ one day" or "it will happen when you least expect it" or "Just live your life, the rest will fall into place" or the worst one "you have to love yourself before you can love another" come from a place of caring, and maybe even personal experience, but they are NOT, in the least bit, helpful. For one, those haven't worked for me or been true yet, and I love myself very much, thank you. (For a more comprehensive list of shit I am tired of hearing, and some comprehensive eye-rolling GIFs, please click here.)

I get that y'all are trying to be helpful, and that from your perspective, my seemingly stank attitude makes me an unattractive date, but here's the thing: I am foolishly, illogically, ridiculously, forever hopeful when it comes to relationships. In online dating, which is where, due to being a self-employed homebody, I find most people I end up dating for one or two days, I'm careful not to come across as overly negative and hopeless romantically. I make a point to avoid dating sites when I am feeling down about the state of my love life. Like most people on there, I put my best foot forward, and when I find someone who seems genuine and interested, I keep a good balance of engaged and slightly aloof (until things progress, of course). And generally speaking, once a guy realizes I'm not going to have sex with him, he disappears (if not way before that).

I've gone so far as to ask some of my more honest friends (some of whom rejected me for dating, and from whom I could expect honest answers) in the past "what's wrong with me?" Aside from one friend suggesting I was a bit blind to my privilege (which was true, and is also something I've done A LOT of work on - ongoing), they are quick to re-assure me that it's not me. And I don't really believe it is. I'm not lying or over-compensating when I say "I think I'm awesome" or "I'm beautiful". I really, genuinely believe those things. When I point out to people that guys don't want to date a fat sex worker, I know a lot of people assume I'm projecting insecurities. I'm not (though, of course, I have insecurities. Who doesn't?). I love my fat body and treat it (mostly) very well, and I expect anyone I partner/sleep with to love my body too. I also love my work, and am not ashamed of it. I provide a valuable service that helps many people in many ways. It's not all in my head that (most) men treat fat women, and sex workers, as disposable objects: good enough to fuck, but not good enough to date. That I am both really compounds the struggle to find a suitable mate.

And so, when I lament (now only on rare occasions, and depending on what the moon happens to be doing) that I will be alone forever, it's not because I'm feeling sorry for myself. It's because all past and present evidence suggests this. It's because there is a war on fat women AND sex workers, and because I am both. It's because there are countless men out there who would gladly date/love/marry me if only society/friends/family didn't police the shit out of that, so they just marry skinny women and cheat on the side with a fat hooker because it's easier that way. What I really need is not your well-intentioned but, frankly, mostly irrelevant/tried/privileged advice. What I need are ways to cope with the probability (see, there's always a sliver of hope) that I will never have a loving/balanced/exciting romantic relationship in my lifetime.

This will be an ongoing list, so check back for edits, but so far I've got:

How To Cope With Being Alone Forever

(Ongoing List)
1. Friends. Have awesome friends. Especially one friend who shares your experiences, and is happy to commiserate with/distract/console you when you need it. Socialize. Do it over skype if you're a homebody or it's winter.
2. Filled Time. Fill your time, your life, with things/people/activities which you love!
3. Avoid Romantic Comedies and Love Stories. Ok, maybe the occasional love story, but definitely avoid the rom-com. For one, they are horrible. For two, they don't really exist in real life unless you're thin, white, and look like a model (and even then, I think it's pretty rare).
4. Exercise. Even though, yes, when you're out doing it, you will see happy couples doing it together, and on bad days, that might make you cry or feel shitty. Exercise. It gets your blood pumping. It tires you out. Find something you like doing, and do it. For fun. Just do it for fun. I strongly suggest cycling, swimming, dancing, rigorous masturbation, cleaning, or team sports.
5. Don't date while sad or low-energy, or to make you feel better. It's not fair to those you're dating, puts a lot of pressure on them, and in my opinion, clouds your judgment.
6. Write, create, express yourself. Somehow. Record a podcast. Draw a comic strip. Something. Get those feelings out.
7. Be kind with yourself. There is nothing wrong about wanting a romantic relationship. It doesn't make you desperate, or un-feminist, or pathetic. It makes you human. Not being able to find that is tough if it's something that matters to you, and being sad about that is OK.
8. Find the things you love about yourself and embrace them.
9. Find the things you don't love about yourself and change them, as best as you can.
10. Remember all of the people you've rejected. Sure, some of them were insecure man-children with bad breath and limp dicks who suggested you lose a bit of weight, but some of them were nice, wonderful people who just weren't for you. Always remember that. It doesn't lessen the sting of rejection, but it can be a reminder that YOU. Are. Fine. Not everyone will be a soulmate.
11. Understand triggers, and learn to recognize them.
12. Understand luck, and that some people are just lucky to have met the right person at the right time! Or perhaps they have more access to meeting different people. Also understand that these people may trigger your sadness. I remember when one day I saw Lindy West and her boyfriend I was like "she's fat like me, and a loud-mouthed feminist LIKE ME, how come she has this handsome boyfriend??" Well, maybe she doesn't self-sabotage dates? Maybe she's semi-famous? Maybe she's just luckier? Maybe she's not a sex worker? Maybe a million different things. Having a few outward things in common does not a relationship formula make! Plus, I'm sure Lindy West is awesome. And so are you!
13. Cuddle with your pillow. Seriously.
14. Get REALLY good at masturbating. Make love to yourself. Light candles. Drink wine. Play your favourite music. This book helped me become an expert at physically loving myself.

Got any ways that YOU cope with the above? Comment below or send me a message!

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