I had a message from a cousin I rarely hear from the other day. I have a small family, most of which are in the UK bar my parents and brother. The only two cousins on my Dad’s side are similar ages to my brother and me, and it’s safe to say we had no contact with them from when we moved to NZ over 25 years ago. Actually, I did hear from him, 3 years ago when I was first diagnosed with leukaemia, and nothing since then.
“My wife and I are having a baby this weekend! My brothers partner is also due in a couple of months!” he writes out of the blue.
“Wow that’s fantastic news congratulations to you both!” goes my response. It really is, don’t get me wrong. Super amazing. Plus, it’s awesome he got in touch again!
A few hours later, I’m feeling a teensy bit left out of life, again, ‘normal’ life that is. A life of weddings and babies and all that ‘normal’ stuff.
Being single is hard. Being virtually the only single female with no children of my age group that I know, is a bit grim. Single, and infertile, might I add. My previous relationship was pre and during cancer, which ended almost 3 years ago. God only knows how to be in a relationship post cancer! Although I’m sure that comes with its own complexities!
When you don’t work, and refuse to go on tinder, what are the options for even meeting someone? Not many it would seem. Or is it the dreaded, “you’re not putting yourself OUT there”.
Usually at this point, if I ever talk about it, I get told things like, “you’re so lucky you have no kids, peace!”, or, “oh my god no periods is everything!” (I actually can’t argue with that one!) “You’ll meet him when you aren’t looking/least expect it” (this one’s a classic – I’ve been ‘not looking’ most of my life), and, “maybe you’re not ready”, and, “you can still adopt or get an egg donor!”
Yes, I also know I haven’t ever had a ‘healthy’ relationship so I don’t know what I’m missing out on, and I can sleep in.
So are the ‘benefits’ of being alone (can you hear the Days of Our Lives theme tune?).
Just. ENOUGH. It’s a drag to hear these things, even when I know they come from a good place. I think it’s because people in relationships have clearly forgotten what its like, and tend to be quite dismissive of the loneliness. There’s someone you can turn to, cuddle (not being touched is HARD), do things with, cook and exercise with, and just knowing you have a ‘partnership’. I know it’s sadly not always the case, but people in couples get to have support when shit gets tough; single people always have to crack on and ‘fix’ ourselves FIRST before a coupling is possible.
I mean, someone to make decisions with! Christ I hate decisions. When faced with literally most decisions (as simple as do I go to the bathroom before or after I put the jug on in the morning?), it’s almost like I freeze! Paralysed by the uncertainty of making the ‘wrong’ call! Ridiculous (and a pain in the ass – trust me, I’m not being indecisive for a laugh).
Over the years I’ve been told (and believed) I need to ‘sort’ myself out first. Really though? Did everyone else only enter relationships once they transcended to some super serene being? No. But I focused on weight as being the reason for singledom during my twenties (before cancer obviously, there’s now a lot more reasons I’m single). A million diets, a thousand exercise regimens and self-esteem at nek level lows all led to the same conclusion. So let’s just, get real. I know it’s not socially acceptable to admit loneliness, but come on. Obviously I am not the only one.
I have never thought of myself as being particularly maternal, and I always joke about not really liking kids. But I’ve realised it’s not true! I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent time with lots of friends and their children this year, and LOVE them, and it makes me ache in ways I didn’t think I would.
Here’s why I can’t ‘just adopt’ – I’m not in a fit enough state to look after myself let alone anyone else. I don’t have the income or the energy to raise a child by myself (I think its extraordinary what single parents do, actually any parents!). Then there’s health issues to consider, not to mention adoption laws! There is a time period needed of being ‘well’ after a cancer diagnosis before you’re even eligible. They’d say a “hell no!” to my application.
Being realistic, the NZ branch of our family ends with us. My two male soon-to-be-Dad cousins will continue the family name, but the unlikeliness of my parents ever being grandparents makes me sad sometimes. I’ve had super close friendships my whole life until cancer. Between that and friends mostly living outside of Wellington, (how dare they!), sometimes it can feel like being up shit creek without a you-know-what.
So, I hope to one day find love, and to have that next level connection with someone. Someone who will make all my decisions for me. Joking!