There’s a strange undecipherable sadness that people lock you with when you tell them you’re single – one they usually reserve for missing dog posters and terminally ill patients – are you going to be okay, they ask. Sometimes, they’d even pat you on your back sympathetically.
It’s a tale as old as time. Ever since mankind began archiving history, people have always frowned upon singledom. If you choose to be single, there must be something irrevocably wrong with you. Do you have commitment issues? Are your standards too high? Do you get very dismissive of romantic relationships? Are you emotionally distant? Were you unloved as a child? Could you have abandonment issues? Do you have bad body odour? The list of possible suggestions for your ‘conscious decision to remain single’ is endless. The question is always ‘why are you single?’, not ‘what makes you single?’, and that right there is the difference.
As a thirty-something self-sufficient gay man, I blame mainstream media for the disdain with which people usually approach singlehood. The Disney-style romance has been packaged so well that if you were to find it at a supermarket marked up to 200% of its price, you’d still buy it. That’s how highly society thinks of being coupled up. The world wants you to believe that unless and until you’ve found the Yin to your Yang, you can never be truly complete. Happy? Probably, but wholesome? Definitely not.
And that’s why we live our entire lives trying to find that one special person who is perfect for us. We cry, we fail, we try, we bail. But once you’ve been through multiple serious relationships (such as myself), you begin to suspect that there’s no such thing as the right person, only multiple versions of wrong.
It’s only then that you know what you are really (not) looking for. We are looking for the wrong person. But this isn’t just any wrong person – it’s the most perfect version of a wrong person there is. You can be eighteen or eighty and still not understand your self-worth because this realization doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years (or sometimes, even a decade) of exhausting relationships and lonely mornings to just wake up one morning and realize that you are not, in fact, alone. You have the most important person in your life right now.
You have you.
The only rule to finding your happy ending is this: you don’t need a significant other to find your happy ending. You don’t need a significant other because you are lonely. (Hint: you need a friend.) You don’t need a significant other because you are bored. (Hint: you need a hobby.) You need a significant other because they add value to your life. You need a significant other because you are ready. For everything else, there’s a credit card, takeout food and your phonebook of friends.
One thing I have learnt is that there are three things that are certain in life: death, holiday weight and the importance of loving yourself. Relationship columns and dating guides will tell you that society views singlehood as a state of incompletion. A problem that needs a solution. An anomaly that needs to be fixed. An equation that needs to be balanced. A jigsaw puzzle that needs to be completed. A B-Grade Bollywood movie that desperately needs a plot.
But here’s a plot twist you did not see coming. You no longer need to arrange your life around that empty human-sized hole in your heart, because – bigger plot twist – there isn’t one. Settling down doesn’t mean finding a soulmate, romance or even lifelong companionship.
It means settling into your own. Get this – Your most fulfilling relationship is a lot closer than you think it is. They’re actually reading this piece right now.
See, here’s the thing. Love is love is love. Heartbreak is heartbreak is heartbreak. There’s no mathematical formula, no chemical reaction that needs to be balanced to find true, eternal love. No LHS = RHS when it comes to making a connection. Contrary to popular belief and popular magazines, the most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life is a Me-lationship.
Yes, bad puns aside, you are the person you need to fall hopelessly in love with. You are the person you need to take out for dinner. You are the person you need to buy a birthday gift for. You are the person you need to shower with love and affection, but most importantly, you are the person you need to emotionally connect with.
If you’ve been reading this piece with the same dedication with which I wrote it, you’ll realize that the point of this blog isn’t to help you find the One (or to teach you how to be effortlessly single).
It is to help you become the One. Find your spirit, wrap it around yourself tightly and snuggle in. You deserve every bit of it.
Now get out of this column.
You could do with some sunshine, love.