Life After Dating: An Open Letter To Our Single Friends
So you’ve finally found The One (or at least The One For The Foreseeable Future) and you’ve committed to a serious relationship. Now what? In our new weekly column, Life After Dating, we’ll discuss the unique joys and challenges of coupledom.
Dear Single Friends,
We haven’t seen a lot of you lately. And when we have, there have been strained exchanges and tense subtext. We can see you stifling an eye roll when we bring up our S.O.’s name. So we stopped bringing up his name because we didn’t want to make you feel weird. That only made us feel weird.
Single friends, we’re not dead, we’re just coupled. Everything has changed, but at the same time, nothing has changed. That sounds really esoteric, but it’s not. All the little things have changed — like, we now spend Sunday mornings snuggling instead of getting a pedicure and we’re not going to be around to do orphan Thanksgiving this year. Sorry. And no, we can’t be your single wingwoman on Saturday nights. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hang out on Saturday night. We do. Because despite our relationship status, everything else is the same. Our friendships, especially.
One thing we didn’t consider, when we finally found love, was losing you. We get it, we used to feel this way about our friends who paired off and drifted away. We’d be like, “Another one bites the dust.” Or “When will it be my turn?” Despite what you may think, we remember what it was like to be single. We’ll never forget. The horrendous dates that make you want to hide under your covers forever. The long, winter nights awake, worrying about your uterus shriveling up without ever having the chance to have a family. The self-deprecating jokes about being a spinster that we secretly believed. We remember the good things too, like being able to watch trashy reality TV at any time of the day or night, eye-banging cute guys on the subway, and ordering a pizza without having to worry whether or not your boyfriend hates pineapple. Sometimes we miss these moments of freedom so much.
Something that’s become glaringly obvious to us since coupling up: one person doesn’t fulfill all of our needs. We already knew this, but now we understand it on a much deeper level. Here’s something we haven’t told you: sometimes we feel lonely within our relationships. It has nothing to do with how much we love our partner. It’s hard to explain. It’s a very specific kind of loneliness where you berate yourself for being lonely because you shouldn’t be, but still, you are. It’s the human condition to feel lonely, regardless of relationship status. Sometimes we specifically feel lonely because your presence in our life is much sparser and we feel this disconnect from you. We feel a sense of emptiness when we realize that our social circle has suddenly transformed into a never-ending stream of double dates with coworkers we don’t even like that much. We’re still figuring out how to navigate all this. We’d really like some help.
People have this strange idea that being in a relationship solves problems. It never does. If anything, it intensifies them because another person is staring at you, holding a mirror to your issues, telling you LOOK AT THIS THING YOU NEVER WANTED TO DEAL WITH. DEAL WITH IT! You never did that. Our friendship included an unspoken pact to go easy on each other and just be the “fun escape” part of each other’s lives. Sometimes we long to do the things that only we can do together — like drink a bottle of Prosecco and go buzzed shopping at Sephora or slurp ramen noodles and gossip about our mutual friend’s ridiculous Instagram selfies. Sometimes we are filled with sadness, thinking that you’ll never want to do these things with us again. We miss you.
We still need your friendship. And we still want you to need ours, too. We still want to give you advice and get advice from you. Speaking of which, we swear we didn’t mean to be smug or annoying when we said, “You deserve someone truly amazing” or “You will find love when the time is right.” We really believe that. Someone will love you, we’re sure of it. Because we love you. We swear we don’t think we have the answers to all the universe’s questions just because we’re in a serious relationship now. If anything, we’re even more in awe of the sudden and seemingly random trajectory of cupid’s arrow. Being in a relationship may have given us a new perspective, but the intention behind our advice is still exactly the same as it always was: we love you and want to help you navigate this crazy world, just like you help us.
And guess what? We still need relationship advice from you, too. Is it OK that we can’t stand the sound of our boyfriend chewing a sandwich? Is it weird that we still get crushes on people sometimes? How do we handle the whole farting-in-front-of-each-other situation? These are the kinds of ridiculous questions that never came up when we were single; they’re the kind of ridiculous questions only you can help us answer.
The truth is: coupled is just a relationship status and it doesn’t have to alter the state of our friendship. We never thought that we’d have to lose you just because we gained a partner. Please remember, no matter how googley-eyed we are right now, we’re still the same person, the same friend, and we still need you in our life. Maybe now more than ever.
So give us a call, OK? We’ll bring the Prosecco.
[Photo from Shutterstock]