I am always in a relationship. I’m a serial monogamist. Seriously, when it comes to partners, I’m a bit like a hermit crab. As soon as I’ve shed one shell (read: significant other) I scuttle around all naked feeling and awkward looking in search of the next suitable shell. I’ve done this for a decade now—never spending more than a 6 month period not in a monogamous relationship.
While I admit this is probably not the healthiest behavior, I have come to terms with it. Someone (probably a therapist) once pointed out that my hermit crab analogy implies that I need a significant other for protection, and to feel whole. Blah blah blah, psycho babble. I LIKE being in a relationship. Plus, I have tried to change it, getting out of a bad relationship and saying to myself (and the rest of my friends/drunken bar patrons) “That’s it! No more relationships! I am going to enjoy being single!”
But the truth is I don’t enjoy being single. I like having someone to come home to, someone to call when I need help, someone to take care of if I feel the need to nurture, and someone who can take care of me when I need it! And of course, don’t forget the cuddling!
And then there is the real reason I don’t enjoy being single: I really like sex. What? Single people have tons of sex! When I am single, and I want to have sex, that means having at least somewhat casual sex. From totally casual one-night stand deals to laid back friends-with-benefits situations, casual sex makes me down-right anxious. I have been in situations where I sleep with someone who I am attracted to but whom I would never ever actually consider dating, and then all of a sudden I am running around wringing my hands and wondering why they aren’t calling me! I go from collected and self-assured to spazz status. I fight an inner battle with myself going “but you don’t even like them!” and responding with “but..they should be calling! Or texting! Facebook chat!” I end up hyperventilating while resisting all urges to contact the sexer for fear of coming off as clingy.
Or worse, I end up dating someone who I only planned on sleeping with once or twice. Perfect example is the guy I dated for an entire year during college. Aside from the fact he was adorable, I slept with him because I had just gotten out of a relationship, and this dude was a total stoner, did nothing but play video games all day and had his mother help him with his class assignments. I am still not totally sure if he showered regularly. Totally un-datable. The perfect candidate for a short-nothing-type fling. Except then I got involved, and then we were dating, and then I spent 9 out of the 12 months we were together trying to break up with him only to change my mind every time when he burst into tears. Damn you, sensitive side.
One of my room mates in college was convinced that my inability to enjoy singlehood would be solved if I only had an array of sex toys ala the Dresden Dolls ‘Coin Operated Boy’. Her self-proclaimed ingenious method was that she would go to parties and flirt with whoever she wanted to, knowing she wouldn’t take them home because her vibrator would do a better job anyways. To further ensure she would go home alone she would stop shaving. (She was Italian.) She was often found at 2 p.m. yelling down the stairs “do you have any AA batteries?!” as I cozied on the couch with my mancandy, allowing her the room to herself and…herself.
I revel in not only the satisfaction but also the feeling of connection that goes along with sex, something that cannot be quenched via an orgasm from a piece of buzzing plastic. Not that I am bashing masturbation, not at all! But I imagine after a handful of weeks playing solely with myself, well I would get a bit lonely! But I could be wrong. The next time I find myself naked and shell-less (read:single), perhaps I will order a plethora of new sex toys instead of finding someone new to date. Pfft…who am I kidding?