So, here's the thing. Single people really do get the short end of the stick. In no other facet of life do we tell people that they shouldn't want what they want; that that instead they should try being happy without it. Of course not! We are a society of consumers, of constant improvers, of wishers, of wanters. Have you looked at Pinterest lately? (I have not, so I actually am asking. What goes on there, anyway?) But when it comes to partnering, suddenly everyone is a Buddhist monk. Desire leads to suffering. Eliminate desire to find your peace. Ommmmmm... "Don't want it and it will come." "Stop looking and you will find it." "You have to be happy with yourself, first." But guess what: I can be happy with myself and also want to find someone to share life with. They are not mutually exclusive! It doesn't mean that without it my life is abject misery. It does mean that I may write a blog post about it once in a while. But so would anyone who's been wanting something that for years has remained tantalizingly out of reach.
I don't think about my life as it is currently as having "a hole" or as being somehow "incomplete." (Though I definitely wouldn't call it "exciting" or "fulfilling" either, but I know that the blame for that falls squarely on my shoulders, and not on a missing boyfriend puzzle piece.) See, I also want a dog, but not because I think my life is "incomplete" without one. I think maybe my life would be better in some ways with one, sure. A companion, someone to go on walks with, something to snuggle, and wait, I lost track of what we were talking about here. Dogs, right! (Though the similarities between benefits of dog vs. boyfriend are pretty uncanny.) But the difference is, if I wanted a dog, I could go out and get a dog. I could do it, tomorrow. And he would have to stay with me, goddammit, because he would have no choice. (Aaaannnnnd that's where the whole dog/bf metaphor falls apart.)
Unlike getting a dog, finding someone to share your life with, whether for a few months, a few years, or, lord help you, longer than that, is one of the few things in life that we have absolutely no control over. Oh, sure, there are things you can do to increase (or in some cases, ahem, decrease) the odds, but when it comes down to it, you have absolutely no control over whether someone stays or goes. The only other comparison I can think of in terms of the emotions and lack of control involved is fertility. There are women out there (and thankfully I am not one of them, or I might be a real mess right about now) who want a baby so badly, but through no fault of their own are unable to become pregnant. I've heard them say things like they feel incomplete without a child, that they feel like there is a hole in their life, and they desperately want a baby to fill it. And here is where I get a bit stabby, because does anyone ever, ever tell these women that they shouldn't want what they want? To buck up and be happy with life on their own? I'm pretty sure the last person to chirpily tell a woman struggling with fertility that "it will happen when you stop trying!" ended up with at least a smack in the face. For some reason, wanting children is regarded as a legitimate desire in our society, but let a single person make a wistful remark about maybe wanting a boyfriend (or worse! a husband!), and watch how squeamish everyone becomes. I'm positing a theory right now that these people are actually terrified of the fact that some of the most important things in life are out of their control, and that rather than admit that, they are more comfortable changing their desires to match their circumstances, even going so far as to suggest that others change their desires, as well. But you know what? Fuck that.
Some things are out of my control. "Finding someone" (gag) is out of my control. That doesn't mean I will stop wanting it. If I don't get it, I will be sad. Such is the nature of wanting. (I guess the Buddhists were right after all.) It doesn't mean I won't be happy sometimes, too. (Will I be happy sometimes, too?)
If we can celebrate (and even glorify) someone wanting an antique French farmhouse weathered teak wood sideboard (is that a thing?), why can't we also celebrate someone's sincere desire for something so much more important than that? When and where did we all lose sight of what really matters???
(And yes, this whole post was actually just a long rant against Pinterest. Gar smash consumerism and rampant materialism blarf. And yes, I am actually just pissed about being poor.)