The Experiment: Two Months in

Via Public Domain Pictures

Via Public Domain Pictures

It’s two months into the experiment in living intentionally single, so I wanted to give an update on how the experiment has been going so far. It’s been surprisingly easy to let go of the idea I need to be with someone, and, as last week’s post suggests, I’m beginning to think that this is my default mode of being. I still feel lonely on occasion, but I’m realizing there’s not a whole lot of emotional needs that friends can’t fulfill. In fact, I’m quite enjoying the extra mental energy I have back from not focusing it on potential relationships.

I don’t know if this will last. I do wonder, if the right person or people came along, would I be interested in a relationship? I’m beginning to think I would be happiest living with a few beagles in a nice quiet house. I like my alone time, and the few times in my life when I’ve been in roommate situations have tended to be pretty miserable for me. After all, I may not keep the cleanest house in the world, but at least it’s my house, and that’s a comforting feeling.

I know I’m only two months in and, with ten months ahead of me, I might have a drastically different picture at the end. For now, though, I’m quite happy and content and enjoying the experience. It makes me wonder why I’ve put so much energy into all this in the past.

The other thing I’ve notice is I’ve become very aware of singlism when it rears its head. The discovery that Prince Charming is a victim of singlism was quite unexpected, and I continue to notice bias towards single people in the media as well as in the attitudes of people. It’s kind of disturbing how much I haven’t seen in the past.

To give an example, I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead. On the show, breakout character Daryl Dixon has shown an almost asexual disinterest in sex and romance since he was introduced in the first season. Yet so many people have been intent on “shipping” him with various characters, especially fellow survivor Carol. The implication has been that Daryl would be happier in his post-apocalyptic life if he were in a relationship with someone, anyone, and that being in a relationship makes one inherently more happy. By extension, we need to be in a relationship to be happy.

Never is it considered that maybe a person might have different priorities from finding a life partner in a post-apocalyptic world. In a world where survival is not guaranteed and one must be vigilant on a daily basis, it’s refreshing to see that those who are happier alone may be more likely to survive.

The real reason, of course, is that people are projecting their own insecurities about being single onto Daryl, believing that he needs to find true love in the midst of flesh-eating zombies. This brings me to my third lesson from the past two months: when it comes to relationships, there are a whole lot more insecure people in the world than I ever imagined, and one coping method people use is to put their unhealthy expectations onto everyone else. That’s not a judgment, merely an observation: people spend so much time looking for a relationship they miss their lives passing by them. Like me, there are a lot of people who have absorbed the “supposed to”‘s from western culture with nothing to counter these unrealistic expectations.

As the experiment goes on, I’m hoping to explore ways of countering these narratives and communicating to people that it’s time to create a new cultural paradigm that recognizes and values a variety of relationship status and structures.

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