pain

Being Single is More Practical Than a Relationship

Painting by Liu Yanming

Painting by Liu Yanming

Everyone wants to have someone to share in their successes and failures, dreams and fears, joys and sorrows. We want a person who will stand by us when everybody else seems to be on the other side. Ideally it would be someone who wants to be there for us without conditions, questions, “ifs” and “buts.”

Still, many people choose to stay alone. I cannot tell you why everyone does it, but I can answer for myself.

I don’t choose to be alone because someone hurt me in the past because I grew up in a broken family and certainly not because I am lesbian or man-hater. Ugh! I have to deal with these questions every time someone asks why I’m still single. And, people, it is offensive to put us in a box just because you cannot figure us out.

I chose single blissfulness for the simple reason that I am a coward, a smart coward maybe, but a coward just the same. I spend all this life protecting myself from getting hurt. I do not take risks or let passion consume me. I do not let myself fall just for the sake of falling.

Whenever I get close to someone, I instinctually put up my wall and don my metal armor. Early on, I try to assess the probability of success of a possible relationship and weigh its pros and cons. I will find reasons why it is bound to fail and tell myself to be wise about it. I stay for as long as I can rein my heart, but when it becomes uncomfortable I always do the next best thing – I run.

Why do I always sabotage my own happiness?

Well, let me tell you why. I grew up in a poor family. My father’s business had several unfortunate incidents that turned it to bankruptcy before I even finished high school. Therefore, my college education was the result of collaborated efforts by my own parents as well as well-meaning relatives. A charity case, in other words.

On one hand, you might say that I was still lucky for getting support for my education. Yes, that may be the case. However, it was not easy when you do not know who will pay for your tuition fee next semester, who will provide for your allowance, or who will supply for your needs as a teenager. Most of all, it was not easy to know that you are incurring a debt of gratitude. You amass it without knowing if it can be repaid. This kind of debt can easily stay with you.

Still, I was able to complete college, luckily landing a job with one thing in mind – that I can finally start my own life. Yet, I have three younger siblings who were entering the university at that time. I could have chased my own dream, true, but that would mean either putting their future in jeopardy by turning my back on them, or waiting for somebody to extend charity. So, I was torn between prioritizing my own dream and letting someone else’s dream have a chance.

I am a proud soul. Pity and charity wilt my spirit. I would rather make a thousand sacrifices, suffer hunger if needed, and walk on fire just to not be pitied. Moreover, I did not want my brother and sisters to incur the debt of gratitude and spend their lives paying for that. So I made the decision to support their education and forego my own dreams.

Eight long years was how long it took to finish the responsibility of putting them through university. But it did not end there. When I start something, I see it through no matter how difficult, no matter if it breaks my heart along the way.

I gave my full support even after they finished school. I know that exposure to various environments could help young people develop their self-confidence, so I made sure to take them to nice places whenever I had extra money. And when they needed further schooling, I never complained. I was happy to provide them the opportunity that was unfortunately not given to me. I am capable of giving all the way.

To make the long story short, that phase in my life ended. They now have their own life and I am happy for them, without regrets.

Still, having taken on that huge responsibility changed my perception about family. I love kids tremendously. They are wonderful creatures to have and behold. However, I know quite well it is a bed of roses – with thorns. So, I made a pact with myself: I will only have children if I am absolutely sure that I can provide for their future quite well, regardless of whether I stay alive or not. I will never leave a kid of mine improperly provided for.

My experience taught me that you can’t always rely on people. Those who promised you they would be there for you may not be there after all.

I learned that the best fallback, the best safety net, is to depend only on one person who will be there for me no matter what the odds are – my dear self. That is how I came to love singlehood.

Will I ever change the way I am? I do not know. My cowardice is sometimes more overwhelming than whatever feelings I have towards any guy. Maybe I will settle, maybe I will not. I always believe that if I meet the right person, then maybe all my doubts and fears will vanish into the thin air. Who knows?

But, right now, I am fine being single. It is simple: no complications, no responsibility, no children’s future to worry about, and I can always do whatever I want to do, like chase an adventure or two.

I am not unhappy with my life. I do not feel as if I am missing something and I never feel alone. Luckily, I have a gang of soul sisters in my sisters and cousins who have the same passion for travelling and discovering new places that I do.
We share the same dream and realize the same dream year after year. Our sole motto in life: work, save, travel, repeat. And, when none of them are up to an experience I want to try, then I am also not afraid to try it on my own.

Life is sweet. Singlehood is bliss if you know how to enjoy it. And living in this century and age, we have an awful lot of choices. How can anyone ever say that flying solo is boring? You hold your life in your hand. It is not a question of being inside or outside a relationship or marriage. It is a decision you make – if you want to be happy, you can be, single or double or whatever, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman or anything in-between for that matter. Life is simply how and what you make of it. Enjoy the journey.

Written by Marisse Lee