FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Let’s Celebrate Being Single This Summer!

feature photo by Zackary Drucker for The Gender Spectrum Collection

Hi superstars! Guess what? Today is the first official day of summer, and do you know what we’re gonna do together? We’re going to celebrate being single! Wheeeeeeeeee, join me!

I’ve been single for about 15 months now, and in my professional opinion, it rules! This time last year a lot of folks on Team Autostraddle had just gone through breakups and were happily and chaotically single with me, but a lot can happen over 12 months and now many of those same pals are in new partnerships. And that’s rad, and I’m happy for them (sincerely!). But you know who I’m ever happier for? Me! Because I’m still single, and I know it is the absolute best thing for me to be right now.

Here are a few things I love about being single: my time belongs to me, I can flirt as much as I want, I never have to share my leftovers, I can prioritize my friends, I only have to stress about my own family, a one night stand is always a possibility, crushes, spontaneity, being entirely self-sufficient, feeling very free, endless possibilities for the day – the night – the week – the future – forever!!!

Is it possible to achieve some of those things while partnered? Sure, but I didn’t. Will I be single forever? Maybe, I don’t know! Am I truly single or am I practicing solo polyamory? Honestly not sure but whatever I’m doing I’m centering myself and prioritizing my needs above all else and that feels amazing and honestly life changing!!!

So please join me in the comments to have a huge summer party celebrating the joys of being single! And if you’re partnered and happy, yay you, but maybe you could humor me and make a note of something you enjoyed when you were single! And if you’re single and sad, that’s okay and your feelings are valid – but maybe, just maybe, there’s one tiny little piece of you that enjoys one single small thing about being by yourself? And maybe you could share that with us, and we could affirm you and lift you up and you’ll be happy to be here, single, with all of us.

Per always, the Friday Open Thread comment section is a place where you can talk about anything you want, really, but I thought it would be really fun and cool to center today’s conversation about all the AMAZING parts of being single, because we live in a world that exalts romance culture and privileges partnered folks, and us single babes who are thrilled with our solo status should be celebrated as well! So let’s do it! We’re celebrating! I brought champagne and sparkling water, there’s a chocolate fountain with fruit and marshmallows in the back, and I’m personally going to do about seven different costume changes throughout the course of the day. I’ll start off in a sparkly silver bathing suit because why the heck not! I’m single, I can do whatever the fuck I want!

Happy summer, sunbeams! Happy everything, my fellow singles! Join us, everyone! Let’s talk about why being single rules, and how you’re gonna take advantage of it all summer long!


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Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 282 articles for us.

78 Comments

  1. “But you know who I’m even happier for? Me!” I LOVE YOU VANESSA.

    And I love being single?? You summed up so many of the reasons why. Mostly focusing on myself AND the endless possibilities when interacting with others. Those seem like opposites but maybe they aren’t. Because aren’t all my crushes really just about me? My feelings, my fantasies. Dating a bunch of different people can really teach you a lot about yourself.

    I love meeting people and genuinely getting to know them. But I also love meeting people, genuinely getting to know them, and then sprinkling in an elevated fantasy of who they could be to me. I used to think that was unhealthy, but the more I embrace it the more I recognize the importance of knowing myself in that way. Knowing who I’m attracted to, knowing what I want, knowing my fantasies, etc.

    Also it’s just a lot of funnnnnn.

    • DREW!!!! i love that you are the first person to comment on this thread! single solidarity forever babe <3 I LOVE YOU.

      i agree that focusing on oneself AND interacting with others seems counterintuitive but actually go hand in hand. the main thing i feel i’ve gained from being ~alone~ for 15 months is a deep knowledge of myself, what i want, what i need, what a dealbreaker looks like, where my priorities lie, etc. i genuinely feel like if i ever get into a deep partnership again it will be so much healthier and more fruitful because i am a better version of me than i ever have been before. but also, if i never have another intentional romantic partnership, that’s fine too, because i’ve organized my life in a way where i give and receive care in a variety of ways and i feel very fulfilled in my community and friends etc.

      and also yes! the idea of crushes as a means to understand yourself better and a healthy place to project some fantasies without getting hurt is so smart and so true! I LOVE CRUSHES, even the truly crushing ones that actually CRUSH ME.

      also i’m sorry and again this might be a me thing, maybe some people can accomplish this while partnered, but i have NEVER had so much fun going out dancing as i do when i’m single. i thought i hated dancing but that’s not true! I LOVE DANCING. WHO WANTS TO GO OUT AND DANCE AS A BUNCH OF SINGLE BABES?!?!?!??!

  2. I’ve been single for 6 years and by single I mean ‘nobody has dated me or had sex with me or anything like that’. Closest I’ve got is flirting.

    Part of me feels like a loser. But for five of those years, I was battling mental illness and a recluse who wouldn’t leave the house at all. No wonder I was single. Part of getting better has been learning to be a bit more selfish.

    Yes, I’m bi. But I find that out better on my own, just looking at men, than when I’m dating a guy. Because in the past I’ve been more afraid of offending a guy I wasn’t into then of dating him, so I dated guys I wasn’t into. That was a really big problem and I think means I didn’t consent properly because I was afraid.

    I haven’t dated a woman in 10 years. But I know I love them. And every relationship I had with women was 100% consensual, not me being talked into anything (or talking anyone into anything).

    So I guess what I like about being single is 1 time to be on my own 2 time to figure out my interests and learn to be a bit selfish and 3 not being with a guy just to be polite.

    Also have other bi women or women who dated before they came out had an experience where they were ‘told’ what to do, where to go, what to look like? (I’m assuming this is a male entitlement problem although I guess some women/nb people might be like this too) I’m glad I’m free of that. I look really butch, I wear boxers, I do all the things past boyfriends would have told me not to do and I feel more like myself/more free for that.

    Also I’m going to a retreat at the end of the month full of good looking lesbians/bi women 🙂 So there’s that.

    • wow thank you for sharing, it sounds like you have had a lot of opportunity for growth over the past 6 years and i’m so excited for you that you’ve figured out what you want and what you’re looking for. you are definitely not a loser! i completely agree, learning to be a bit selfish has been a huge part of my journey in being single. some of my exes called me selfish in a way that was meant as an insult, and while i can understand that when you’re partnered you need to compromise more than when you’re single, i also actually firmly believe that all adults should be a little bit selfish. i personally had a bad habit of tabling my own wants and needs to prioritize my partners’, and then feeling really resentful, which honestly was a me problem not a them problem. being alone allows me to take up the space i need and want, which helps me figure out what the heck i want in this life.

      i’m so so so excited for you that you’re going to a retreat at the end of the month! i bet it’s going to be amazing. have fun, you deserve it! <3 <3 <3

    • When I was mostly dating men, I found I had more of a problem of them not outright telling me what I could and couldn’t do/look like, but having such a loud silence about it that they may as well have just ordered me around, if that makes sense?

      One of the most gratifying moments I’ve had was when I used to have super long hair mentioning to a boy I was sleeping with that I was thinking about cutting it off, and having him beg me not to because of how much he loved my long hair …. and then going the next day and cutting it all off. It was a literal weight off my shoulders!

      • Oh yeah, dudes definitely express their opinions about how they want you to be, and it’s almost always “more feminine” either in appearance or behavior. Oh, don’t cut your hair, oh, can’t you just be nicer? Can’t you just be less opinionated? 🙄 It all comes down to “I might want to fuck you, but I don’t actually _like_ you.” Grim stuff.

        The last time a dude did that, within days of our breakup I chopped all my hair off. So there, jackass! That was four years ago and my hair is gayer than it’s ever been. It’s basically like a permanent “fuckboys do not interact.” 😆

    • Women and NB people can be just as bad if not worse than men, butchphobia exists from internalised misogyny/homophobia to a kind of misandry I don’t have a name for.

      With men trying to control how “their woman” dresses it’s not just an entitlement thing it’s also very much a status thing. How “good” she looks reflects on him, he’s powerful and successful just look at how beautiful and well dressed his wife etc.

  3. I have been single since January! I’m really loving it. I have my own place in 3 years. I can do what I want and go where I want and be who I want. I feel a lot freer. Clearly the relationship wasn’t great. Here’s what I’m enjoying most
    – Cats! You bet I got two more cats when I left. Cat cuddle puddles are the absolute best.
    – Cereal for dinner. My ex hated this. I love it.
    – Exploring my queerness in so many ways….mainly just Tinder but shhh
    – Sleeping over a crush’s house and slinking out at 8am with no shame
    – Naked dance parties at 9pm. And 12am. And 7am.
    – Letting the dishes pile up
    – Flirting with anything that breathes
    – Not using dishes when I eat meals. Mac and cheese out of the pot…yup
    – Cuddle sessions on the couch with my new crush and then…sending him home!
    – Sleeping alone!
    – Sleeping with other people!
    – Reconnecting with my friends
    – Solo movie dates
    – Spontaneous trips. I’m going to Montreal in two weeks…alone!
    – Learning to be a human on my own. It’s hard and scary but oh so exhilarating

  4. I’m single-ish(queer bff count?) & sad-ish, but I think some of that has to do with the binaryism of dating apps. Tinder is trying to fix that, but it hasn’t rolled out for me yet. I matched up with someone yesterday who asked me why am I in the all-women section. Part of me wanted to snap back with a sassy answer, but couldn’t think of a good one. Instead gave the honest reply of “I’m an agender trans woman & sure as hell, not a dude on an app with no 3rd option.” The person replied I expect that. I was expecting some form of binarism or transphobia, but instead kind of boring person, which beats using an ice breaker only to get unmatched seconds later. The only downside of being single is, I can cost money(though some of that is due to my car eating more gas than it should, fuck).

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been solid. I am now going to sleep half an hour earlier so I can wake up about 35 minutes earlier to go on early morning bike rides in my area. I feel a bit tired, but also feel like I also feel a bit stronger if that makes sense. So, far have done 4 out of 5 days(a gal needs her rest, but also had a flat tire). I spent my Sunday at the coast just walking and relaxing. Then went to a mall for family time in the afternoon, which was nice. Also, season 2 of Pose, wow soo good! I plan to be outdoors on Sunday again. Then maybe stop and cuties for an ice tea and then a haircut cause friends and family giving me that look that my Jewfro is getting unmanageable(it’s also a bit dry). Speaking of which, anyone knows of shampoo or condition with estrogen in it? My friend says there is one, the name slipped her mind.

    BTW read a Dia article of yours, which is floating around tumblr, and it’s excellent! Thank you!

    Really like the colors & crookedness of this tree.

    Thank you for viewing & reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • That tree is so gorgeous! I don’t know about the estrogen shampoo but my Heeb-fro loves Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk or Deva Curl. Both turn it from frizzy to silky and shiny, kind of.

    • “Tinder is trying to fix that, but it hasn’t rolled out for me yet.” Do I want to know? Last I heard Tinder was still age-discriminating, there’s already enough of that on dating appa that I hardly feel like I need more.

      I don’t know of that shampoo or conditioner (skeptical estrogen would matter for hair). I tamed my curly hair with advice from Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. It’s a lot easier to find sulfate-free shampoo than it used to be.

      • I know Tinder got sued in the state of California for that, but it sounds like it didn’t change their way. And the update was supposed to show people first with like gender first so trans people will see trans people first while women see women(trans-inclusive I hope) first. As for shampoo, I was thinking estrogen would work as a way to make my hairline stop from receding while taming my hair a bit. Plus, work as a very mild hormone increaser(really worried about starting E for various reason).

        • Also, what Dia article were you referring to?

          Some technical information about estrogen and stuff follows, feel free to disregard if you don’t want to know.

          Estrogen is readily absorbed through the skin, so topical application is not going to stay localized. (You can get estrogen administered by a patch rather than pills or a shot.) In terms of preventing hair recession, estrogen unfortunately probably isn’t going to do anything. Hairline recession is primarily caused by dihydrotestosterone, which the body converts from testosterone, and low levels of estrogens aren’t going to affect the amount of dihydrotestosterone produced. If you actually want to prevent hairline recession, the two ways that are tested to work are minoxidil (topical application, OTC) and finasteride (prescription, has some side effects that bother most cis men but don’t bother many trans women). YMMV, I used both before starting estrogen but I still have some significant hair loss, though not enough that I need to wear hats all the time.

    • al! thank you as always for a lovely lengthy comment. i feel you on tinder – anytime i get remotely excited about it i experience something negative that makes me want to take a very long app break. my favorite dates are people i meet in person or people my friends set me up with. but i’ve also been taking more space and not dating too much at all and that feels nice too. i think my favorite part of being single (well, one of them) is just leaning into whatever i feel like without having to check in with another human.

      i’m glad you’ve had a solid week! mine has been very busy but also good. i am really excited about a lot of work i published this week on autostraddle – i got to edit the A+ kink gallery which is like, the coolest thing i’ve ever gotten to work on, and my best friend wrote an essay for our outsiders issue (“what happened when i began to dig”) so that felt really special to edit and publish, too. and thank you for the sweet note about my dia article! i’m never on tumblr so it’s nice to know it’s floating around there.

      i have no hot tips about shampoo but it sounds like some other commenters have you covered. and thank you as always for the lovely nature photography. i always look forward to your comments on the friday open threads.

      have a wonderful wknd! xo

      • Thank you for your reply. This convo was on Bumble, but I feel like I get more matches on tinder and then people who unmatch, while with Bumble I get people who don’t reply within the 24 hours.

        That’s exciting you got to edit an A+ kink gallery. I hope you get to do more, if you want! And thank you for the compliment.

  5. It took me a long time to be ok with my single life, but I am glad I was able to get there! I don’t have to deal with anyone objecting to just how many soccer matches I’ll watch in a day, and I’m free to drop everything and fly out to Minneapolis to help my best friend move to NYC!

  6. The anniversary of my birth is aligned once more with the summer solstice, I celebrate that.
    In witchy ways and non witchy ones.

    Finally have a jean jacket again, I had one as a kid that got me in trouble with the gender police because somehow even tho the tag said Girls Medium it was somehow a boy’s jacket according to classmates I think were super jealous of my awesome jacket.
    Anyway I put all the button pins I’ve managed to hold on to over the years on this new jacket.
    7 pins in total and one of them is my AC/DC pin I wore all through out my Catholic high school years on my uniform cardigan.
    It came in pack of buttons of their classic album art and so of course being a 14 year old little shit I chose the one of Highway to Hell and got away with it all 4 years.

    This song has been stuck in my head lately

    Within Temptation – Paradise (What About Us?) ft. Tarja

  7. I love love love humans but, PHEW, are they exhausting. I’m currently in the longest single period I’ve had since I started dating. there are a lot of things i miss about being in a relationship, but i know its not the time. i’m tired just dealing with day to day interactions. adding romantic entanglement to that, while tempting (and i’m open to it), sounds like just enough to push me over the very thin edge i’m already tip toeing.

    overall, nothing sounds like enough reason to give up the true, beautiful freedom i have currently. the longer i’m single, the more i value myself, and know that i can’t give that up just for the sake of scratching an itch.

    plus, FLIRTING. guilt free and awkward and fantastic flirting. learning how to date again. real, actual dates.

    forcing myself to sit in my mess and face my own stuff, without distracting myself with a relationship, is invaluable.

    basically, fuck yes single summer 2019.

    • YES TO EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF THIS COMMENT.

      “overall, nothing sounds like enough reason to give up the true, beautiful freedom i have currently. the longer i’m single, the more i value myself, and know that i can’t give that up just for the sake of scratching an itch.”

      ^^^ that in particular resonates so hard. you are awesome. happy single summer 2019 to you!

  8. I’m single and have been forever. In my 20s I was not ready (being trans and not transitioning for in retrospect dumb reasons will do that to you), and then I was unemployed (yay Great Recession!), but now I have a job and have my gender as sorted out as it’s going to get. I don’t exactly mind being single, but I miss living wirh family and socializing that doesn’t require going out into groups of total strangers. Lately I’ve spent my time wondering about how other single people deal with our culture being so completely oriented around monogamous pairs. If I need someone to look at the side of my head and tell me if that’s a suture sticking out of the incision, how do I get someone to field that kind of weird and intimate request?

    • these are such great and valid questions. i actually have been working on a piece that i think will publish next week about creating a culture of community care that de-centers monogamous romantic partnership. you’re right, the world totally caters to those kinds of relationships. but i try very hard to build purposeful important connections with people in different ways. last week my best friend squeezed a reoccurring blackhead out of my back after i told her my ex used to do it and so it hadn’t been removed in 15 months because i can’t see it, let alone reach it. i know that’s kind of a gross example, but it was honestly so sweet and tender. and she was so enthused about it! i firmly believe that we can create bonds where we can love and care for each other outside the realm of monogamous coupledom. i send you good vibes and love to cultivate those connections in your single life!!! <3 <3 <3

      • When most of my friends have hived off into their monogamous pairs, how do I find friends who are looking for those kinds of intimate (and not in the romantic/sexual sense) emotional connections? I’m trying, but I don’t feel like I’m succeeding. I look forward to reading your article.

        • i think some of it depends on where you live. i have quite a few friends in the PNW who are either single by choice or single moms by choice and they do a lot of community building together. it also might be worth a try to check out intentional community spaces –– i believe there is a website dedicated to a directory where you can check out different living spaces that purposefully connect people in an intimate way without romance/sexual stuff. not that you necessarily want to LIVE in an intentional community (unless you do!) but a lot of those spaces cultivate the kind of community i’m talking and host events, volunteer days, work parties, etc where you might find likeminded folks.

          good luck <3

  9. tbh I love being single – I’m a very extroverted introvert, so while I love being social and meeting people(and flirting outrageously with every single person) and going on adventures, I ALSO love eventually being able to slink off into the night and not talk to anyone for days, which is hard to do when you have a partner(for me)!

    But specifically this summer, being single has so far allowed me to: go to my VERY FIRST A Camp, where I had an absolutely lovely time, and then live my Sagittarius truth by following Camp up with renting a car and driving up and down the Californian coast for a week! There was something so deeply freeing about being beholden to no one but myself, being able to plan out going to only the places that interested me and being able to change my plans at the drop of a hat because I didn’t have to check with anyone else (and I absolutely threw my plans out the window every time I drove past a sign that mentioned getting to see animals of any kind. Elephant seal vista! Surprise dog beach!! Bookstore cats!!!) and really being able to take everything at my own pace.

    I’m sure in a (good, healthy) relationship I could have also had a great time, but I’ve really made my summer so far about *me* and figuring out who I am and what I want, in a way I never remember to do when I have someone else to focus on. Here’s a little snapshot – I hope some of my joy bleeds out through this pictures into your summer(s), too!

    • OH MY GOD THIS COMMENT AND THESE PHOTOS BRINGS ME SO MUCH JOY, I AM EXPLODING!!!!!! thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. i feel very similarly – it’s not like i don’t think it’s possible to center the parts of me i want to when i’m in partnership, but it is much harder! i think that’s true for everyone and it really makes me value my own singledom and others.

      happy single summer, you babe!

  10. I will be honest, I am not particularly jazzed about being single right now! A lot of friends have been coupling up, moving in, having kids, etc. and it’s hard not to feel like a failure as a human being when your last relationship was 8 years ago. I am glad you are happy Vanessa, and I hope I can get there too. Reading people’s comments is helping. But the summer is a hard time to be single! Seems like everyone is out and about holding hands. Every cute woman I meet is already in a serious relationship.

    But I’ll end on a positive note – I do like that I watch whatever TV I want when I want. A lot of my friends in couples talk about how they can’t watch something until they do it with their partner, or have to wait till the partner is doing something else. Meanwhile, if I want to watch all of Vida in a weekend, I can!

    • i appreciate your honesty and i get it! i have had times when i’ve felt very sad about being single. but hell yes, TV freedom!!!!

      also i will say – i think summer is an easier time to be single than winter! everyone is out and about as opposed to hiding away cuddling and drinking warm beverages in bed, and it’s an excellent time to meet other single folks who are out and about! it can be hard when you feel like all your pals are settling down, but if you’re up for it, get out there and meet some different pals! meet up dot com has a bunch of queer options and autostraddlers in larger cities are always putting on meet-ups, too. i know you know this, but i pinky swear promise not *every* cute woman is already in a relationship. i am sending you good vibes for fun summer flirtations, maybe some cute summer dates, and of course, all the TV marathons you could ask for!!!! you got this! <3

  11. My favorite thing about being single is my absolute freedom of making plans. I want to go hear an author I like speak? Sure! I’ve got lesbian bookclub? Great! I want to stay for an extra two hours after bookclub at the ice cream store next door hanging out with friends? No one’s waiting for me to come home. I don’t have to report back to anybody. If I have a week where I’m doing stuff every night, no one is sad that I’m neglecting her. If I want to drop whatever my plans were to go help out my best friends with their toddlers, I can do that. And if I want to spend every night stripping down as soon as I get home from work and eating pasta sloppily on the couch while rewatching Leverage for the sixth time, no one is expecting me for dinner. When I’m seeing someone, I feel this pressure to check in with them before making plans in case they had something they wanted to do, but as a single person, what I want to do is the only factor in whether or not I do a thing, and I love that.

  12. This came at a good time for me after some frustration lately at how it’s expected to be in a relationship and how much more people pester me about it as I get older.

    I love the freedom to what I want when I want without having to check in with anyone first. I need a lot of space away from people and I prefer not having to worry whether anyone’s upset about that. What I really love is having my independence. I know that whatever happens I can stand on my own two feet and be ok because I’ve always got through things before without needing a partner.

    Also, I can sing as loudly and badly as I like in my own home and car without anyone telling me to shut up. I’m not giving that up.

    • And the other thing is that I love walking/hiking on my own. It’s good to do with other people but it’s a completely different experience alone and I need that at least some of the time. So while I couldn’t date anyone who didn’t like the outdoors I also couldn’t date anyone who always wanted to share those experiences with me and would get offended about me going off alone and telling them what a good time I had when I got back. I feel like it would be difficult to compromise there.

  13. I have a chronic illness that I’m still learning to manage, and honestly that is a relationship on its own. I don’t feel like I could handle a serious relationship with another person at this point, but I do like making out with people at parties/camp! I’m really bad at flirting, but I’m very good at party makeouts and getting nervous around my crushes 😎

    I could be okay with casual dating, but I’m still figuring out how I feel about having a ~relationship~ as a chronically ill person without being super insecure about having limitations or like, trying to hide my disability, so I wouldn’t want anything more intense than that.

    Also, camp was the first time in a long time that my brain could even process having crushes? Like, chemically. It’s just nice to feel that again and just let it be simple! So, my answer is that I like being single because I can focus on my health and make myself a priority without feeling guilty, and also get to have fun times with other people without stressing out!

    • I also have a chronic illness that developed over the last few years, which coincided with the longest period of singleness i’ve ever had (which is still going). balancing dating with health is really fucking hard and not a lot of people talk about it! i feel u!!

  14. So sorry not indulging. My life is the exact opposite of this. Ending my current relationship would be my fear of commitment and happiness. We are together while being able to be what we want to be. It is fucking beautiful. First. Time. Ever. And. I. Love. It.

    On another note I smuggled a hamster into my house. I am on a mood stabilizer and going to therapy for different types of abuse. I just said fuck it and got the hamster. It is super therapeutic. I am feeding it now by hand. I played with it in the store. and did not get an allergic reaction. Although I am holding my breath now just in case. I don’t know wtf I just did, but I love my new hamster. And magically my dog is chill with it. They WILL NOT be playing together, but he is cool with her cage. It is insane y’all and I am in awe at myself. I am the type of person who usually does 1 to 3 months of research prepares and then decides I’ll never be ready enough. I threw together a bin tank and got everything at once. I am usually pretty militant because I have studied animal and plant science for years, so I can’t believe I did this….. ah!

  15. I’m in the happily partnered camp, but as much as I love my totally awesome, wonderful, best-friend/fantastic co-parent/cute-as-hell husband, I do also enjoy it when he’s off on a work trip for a few days. It’s not quite just “my” time now since it’s summer and school is out so I still have my kiddo around, but during the school year if he is gone then it’s my house, my time, if I want to go to a movie or walk in the park in the middle of the day then I can do it without feeling guilty that he’s still there working and can’t join me.

    I think one of the reasons we’ve worked well together for so long is we do try to make sure the other has time. I make sure he gets to play Overwatch (without Kiddo’s help), he asks if I want time to go on a bike ride, etc. The total freedom all you gorgeous single babes are going on about does make me envious and I wouldn’t give it up for anyone less awesome than my guy. So cheers to everyone, here’s hoping you have the kind of summer you want!

  16. It has been a long time since I’ve been single. Even when I haven’t been partnered (since about age 22- I’m in my late 30s now) I had a lot of little fun things going on, which I enjoyed a lot and miss.

    I have a fear that even though I have a kind, respectful partner, we will grow apart. I’ve been fighting feelings for years now that I need to leave him so I can fully live my truth, but keep coming back… I should have known I was gay because my partner before him was a woman and wowww the chemistry (and with other queer folks as well), so how did I end up with a man? I don’t want to hurt him. It would be an excruciatingly complex PITA to separate, even amicably, because of all of our entanglements. It scares me a lot but I have a strong feeling that’s where we are headed, even if it will take a lot of time to fully get there.

    The idea of being a single mom scares me, the possible rejection, or falling for someone who isn’t as reliable etc as my husband… I hope this isn’t too much of a downer. It’s just been banging around in my head for years and I write/talk about it occasionally and recently it’s felt a lot more real/serious.

  17. I’ve been single for… ever. My singledom has been punctuated by laughably brief periods of dating/relationships to the point where I’ve told my doctor we can just skip the “sexual activity” question when I go for a visit because the answer has been the same for my whole adult life. I go through fits and starts where I think “Wouldn’t it be nice to date someone?” And then I see the shit my friends have to deal with when they’re dating and I immediately self-correct. There’s just so much Netflix I could be watching instead.

  18. I love being single! For almost every reason that’s already listed. However, I do have kids and as a single mom I don’t get some of the freedoms that you really get when you are also child-free. Not that I am longing for those days. *coughs* That being said, my kids other parent is involved and I do get plenty of free time.

    My favorite part of being single is spending time with friends. I have one friend that I often go on weekend trips with. We have the best time picking a location, driving there and just hanging out. We eat junk food, stay up late talking, go to museums or the beach. Yes, all these things are fantastic with a partner. But its not quite the same. I have another friend that we go hang out at the beach all day and watch the sun set. It’s so relaxing.

    I also enjoy not having to share my space. I put shit where I want it and change things when I want. I clean if I want, or not. I can wear my clothes three days in a row and let my grooming slide if I feel like it. I can be gross and feel no shame. Do stupid shit without having to justify why my times not productive.

    The freedom of eating what I want. Going where I want. The other day I decided to go see a movie. By myself. Picked a movie and was out of the house in five minutes. Feel like going to the vintage fair? I spend 7 hours there or 7 minutes. I just find such intense pleasure in these moments of freedom I spend with myself. It’s so rewarding to know that in today’s day and age I can be off in the world doing whatever I want and no one knows where I am at.

    I sleep diagonally across my king size bed that I only occasionally share with kids or cats. Books and art supplies sometimes occupy the rest of the space.

    I do love being in a relationship. But being single is so freeing abd relaxing to me.

  19. I LOVE being single! it has been about 16 months since i was last in a relationship and i am starting to miss it a bit by now, BUT overall the last year and a bit has been so awesome in terms of strengthening friendships and going to therapy and sleeping well CUZ I HAVE THE WHOLE BED TO MYSELF

    • I’ve been thinking more about this since I commented yesterday. to elaborate;;

      — I’ve been reflecting a lot on strengthening friendships in a way I didn’t expect to: through vulnerability. I spent the first five years of my twenties being in a series of really emotionally intimate romantic relationships, and I always had my partner(s) to rely on for talking about vulnerable things. now I don’t have that! and I have to make myself talk to my friends instead. It’s so intense (and valuable) to confide in my friends about issues I have with my family, my gender identity, my self-worth, etc.

      — I love going on lots of dates with people and just enjoying being around different ~energies~, even if I’m not meeting anyone I’m interested in pursuing things further with (ngl I also like the feeling of people being into me, regardless of whether I’m into them).

      — Having this much time single has really allowed me to reflect on what kind of relationship I want and what kind of person I want to have it with: I’ve been able to reflect on the qualities of the different people I go on dates with, and think about what I like about them and what I don’t.

      –I feel like I’ve gone through so much personal growth! I’ve done A LOT of therapy, and facing up to fears, and unlearning past behaviors. And I can see that in how I interact with others–I’m drawn to people who are warm, kind, emotionally available, and don’t play games or leave me feeling frustrated/confused. It’s really lovely to see how much I’ve genuinely internalised the things I’ve learnt!

  20. The Summer of Superlative Singleness, what a great idea !

    I celebrate all of the above comments, most especially cereal for supper, yes !

    I did have a recent breakup that basically showed me I’m not ready to get that close to another human, I need time to be with myself and heal up a bit.

    Wait, caring for myself ?? What a novel idea. The other day I woke up thinking What if I took care of myself as I would take care of another person ? That was pretty mindblowing. Baby steps, but the thought is still with me.

    This summer is off to a great start with lots of light fluffy crushes that don’t make me go all emo. Also, I think maybe perhaps some ladies might be crushing on me ! Super awesome and it’s a great way to practice being respectful, of myself and others. As long as I don’t catch feelings, I’m golden.

  21. This is the first time in my life I’m actually really enjoying being single! I had a horrible, unexpected breakup last fall, and then another breakup this spring after I realized that I was not ready to be in a relationship again. It was a hard, but overall good decision. (And it was my first non-traumatic breakup, thank the goddess).
    This summer for me is the Summer of Intentionality, so I’m doing things I want to do, like taking a standup comedy class! renewing my passport! maybe taking up martial arts again! doing more yoga! becoming a plant person! and going to therapy and really focusing on myself for the first time in a while. It’s been lovely so far.

  22. Reading everyone’s comments about relishing their freedom and independence is a very odd feeling as someone who’s spent much more of my adult life single than partnered. Being able to do what you want and knowing how to enjoy your own company is just… life, isn’t it?

    I feel like that sounds dismissive, but don’t mean it to be! It’s just a totally alien experience. When you’re an introvert who’s moved every few years since birth, knowing how to spend time alone is just a given.

    For me, being single feels safe. I haven’t given the squishy parts of myself to anyone who hasn’t already proven I can trust them. I know eventually I need to work on being vulnerable with people again, but after repeated bad experiences it’s so much easier to just not deal with the stress and uncertainty.

    • I think freedom (to a lesser extent) exists in healthy relationships, too.

      Trouble is how widespread abusive relationships are, especially emotionally abusive ones because society on the whole doesn’t see that as abusive.

  23. I have been single for a long, long time; it’s my baseline. One of the things I’ve come to realize in the last year and a half is how many people rely on me for types of support they don’t get in their romantic relationships, and how many people I care for in unique and necessary ways that are not necessarily celebrated in the wider culture. I am a support for my friends in a way they need and wouldn’t have without me; I am a mentor to beautiful and underrated people; I am a resource for my mother in a way she doesn’t find in my married, heterosexual sister; and I am an authority figure for my nephews who teaches them things they wouldn’t hear if told to them by their parents, among other roles. I find that I am no less a nurturer than anyone else, but oftentimes I operate in more creative ways.

  24. I’m about to turn 34 next week and I highly doubt I’m going to find a date within a few days before my birthday so I can say, even if I’m extremely embarassed about it, that I’ve been single for 33 years. It’s not that I don’t want to date or be in a relationship but I live in a conservative city that doesn’t have a huge open/welcomining community and I’m not fully out (due to safety reasons with family and work) and that poses a problem to some women. I hope 34 will be different for me.

  25. In the last year or two I’ve become very honest with myself about what’s going on with me.

    I was in a 7 year long relationship with a man until about 3 years ago. He ended things when I said I was in love with my best friend and we had confessed our mutual feelings for each other.

    Then I moved 800 miles from home and slowly started coming out to friends, then family and everyone else.

    After I had gotten some distance from home I started to realize and process things that happened to me in my life and finally just in the last couple of months I’ve started to work on healing from past sexual abuse. it’s going fine? I have some romantic-ish friendships but am very honest with those people that I am 100% not alright most of the time and that I very much do not want to be in something serious or committed. They all know about the SA and try their best to accept and understand me. I’m working with a counselor to try and unpack it all.

    But with all that jazz aside I do enjoy being single. I moved into my own place back in February, got myself a dog and a couch and a tv. I can lay in bed until 3pm on Saturday because no one is judging me. I can sit outside chain-smoking cigarettes and stare at the creek that runs through my yard. I can get ridiculously stoned and watch hours of tv/movies, the mess is all me and all mine and I love that. Being alone is very important to me.

    Today I was watching the movie Freeheld for the first time and damn, was I crying my g-d eyes out. It also had me thinking about relationships/singleness and I did have some moments of like “God, when this happens to me who the fuck is going to fight the insurance company on my behalf? WILL I DIE IN PEACE!?” but then my dog put his head on my chest and I was like Alright Dude We Got This.

    I love being single because I am learning to love and accept myself and I don’t feel I have the capacity to be part of a relationship at this point in my life and that is finefinefine

  26. I haven’t been in many relationships, let alone long-term ones, so it was hard to see the most significant one of my life end a couple of months ago. But I have to say, it feels pretty good to have the time and space to be me again, and discover who I am now. The best thing is being able to explore queerness on my own terms again, without someone else dictating how that should be, and judging it according to western social standards and culture. I’m starting a four session drag king course tomorrow and have a couple of dates lined up, so maybe being single won’t be so lonely this time around.

  27. I’m single but occasionally go on dates. I definitely feel somewhat “behind” as I’m still finishing my first degree and many people my age are in relationships, married, pregnant, have multiple degrees, etc. I definitely feel some loneliness, but am working on recognizing that these things will happen for me to, but in the future.

    I appreciate the depth and breadth of my friendships, and the energy I am able to put into them. I can spend time doing the things I want to do, put lots of energy into my school work, and prioritize the people in my life.

    • putting a lot of energy into my friendships and into school are two of my favorite parts of being single before! i think it’s so common to feeling a little “behind” but i always think about an article riese once linked to (i think? or wrote about?) that said that queer people are often “behind” so i try not to dwell on that feeling too much. it sounds like you’re really grounded and accepting though, and i think your viewpoint sounds rad. <3

  28. What I like best about being single is how it makes me feel safe. Relationships terrify me. Because I would feel guilty all the time, and feel responsible for partners’ feelings, and feel like I will panic if I get too close to someone. (not so great.) So being single is a simple fix for that while I try to stop over-identifying with other people’s feelings.
    I like experiencing crushes from a safe distance (and sometimes up close). I do dream of finding a partner, whom I can trust the same way I trust my friends.

  29. I’m 31 and single with the intent of staying single for a long time. Since I was old enough to be in relationships, I’ve held on to them as a proxy for self love. If others could love me, then maybe I didn’t have to do the work myself…

    Things I love about being single: never compromising on how I want to spend my time. Really hot one night stands with people I wouldn’t necessarily want to date. Having the time and space to focus solely on my goals – in fact, figuring out what those are. I don’t even know what I want. Being able to live wherever I want – I moved for this relationship, to a city I’m not necessarily in love with, with the assumption that we would move wherever she got in to grad school, and eventually move back to her hometown. Now I get to figure out where I want to live! It’s exciting and a whole new adventure! I have the time and space to learn to love myself, and most importantly, to learn to trust myself. The way I grew up means I don’t trust myself on any decision, even tiny, silly, small ones. So I am practicing! Anyway, it is all very exciting, and I’m very jazzed and quite happily single. I’d like to stay this way for awhile.

  30. Not to be the “I’m focusing on my career” gal but…

    I started a new job two months ago that I’ve really fallen in love with. It’s in the philanthropic sector and it’s super difficult, time-intensive but incredibly rewarding work. Every day I fall into bed exhausted but thankful and excited for what I got to spend my day doing (and get paid to do!).

    All of which is to say, there is no way I could balance this with a relationship. I’m sure some people could, but I can’t – my 1.5 hour commute sucks up most of my remaining free time, so it’s important to me that whatever time I get belongs to me, and isn’t bound by commitments – even ones as small as a date.

    I haven’t been in a relationship or even just dating / hooking up in a longgg time, but for the first time I feel 100% okay with that and like my priorities are in the right place. Could just be long-term denial, lol. But I’m feeling good!!

  31. My boyfriend broke up with me a couple weeks ago so I’m not really feeling excited about being single. We were long distance so I was still enjoying the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever while still enjoying connection and intimacy. Prior to that relationship, I was single for almost two years, after being in long-term relationships for my entire post-college life.

    I know I need to embrace singlehood and the life I have now but I find it hard? I spent those two years learning a ton about myself, my needs, what I want, and how to love myself. I love the life I have now but very little of that actually changed while in my last relationship.

    I do know that I love my house and my garden, I have great friends, the best kitties, a bunch of hobbies and opportunities to pursue them. I guess now is a good time to love what I have, to remember and appreciate the plans I made and laid and followed through on to get to where I am now. And, amazingly, I did most of this on my own.

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