I am 21 years old. I have been on dates with three guys total. I have kissed one boy and that happened just two months ago. I'm not exactly a love expert at this point in my life however being single forever with absolutely zero real relationships to my name has taught me a lot about being in relationships and about why I don't mind not having been one yet, even at my age. At Valentine's Day, I get thinking about this more as everyone's relationship statuses suddenly change and mine is still, as always, single as a Pringle.
Here's why I don't mind.
I've been able to take the time to figure myself out. I know who I am alone, and I know what I have to offer someone else. I know how not to need someone although I can still appreciate when someone is there for me and invested in me. I can be my best self for someone else because I have been my best self for me first.
I've been able to take the time to get to know what I even want from a relationship and to separate movie and book ideals from real life, specifically my real life. I've realized that the big gestures, the overwhelming passion, and the smothering compliments are not at all what I want.
Instead, I want someone who will brush their teeth standing next to me at twin sinks along the bathroom counter. Someone who can let the foam drop all over around their mouth and talk to me around the brush with funny muffled consonants and too many vowels.
Instead I want someone who will say please and thank you to me when I give them a band-aid from my purse or when I hand them another napkin at dinner.
Instead, I want someone who won't post pictures of us kissing all over his Facebook with sappy captions, but will leave little sticky notes instead where he knows I'll find them. Sticky notes that might say anything from "I took out the trash" to "there are leftover noodles in the fridge if you want some" to "I love you."
Instead, I want someone who will hold my hand when we walk places and take it back after I have to pull away to itch my face. Someone who will rub little circles on my thumb and the back of my hand instead of asking me for sex.
I want someone who looks me in the eye when we're talking, who doesn't comment on the fact that I'm blushing, even though I know he notices, who pretends he didn't hear me singing in the shower or down the hall or under my breath in the car because he knows I'll stop if he hears. I want someone who will play with my hair without being asked. Someone who will understand that I probably don't want to talk about it, whatever it is, and won't ask but will show he cares another way.
I want someone who will come see me dance and who will begin to learn things about it even though he had no former interest, because he knows it's important to me.
I want someone who only laughs with me, even when I've done something stupid, which happens too often.
I want someone I can wear a bright yellow Ddog tumeric and milk face mask in front of without having to lock myself in the bathroom until comes off. Someone who doesn't point out when I get period-acne spots or when my hair is basically a frizzy wannabe Afro.
I want someone who notices the earrings I put on that morning. Who notices when I smile. Who notices when I feel good about myself and can agree with me instead of just telling me I always look good, even if he thinks that's true.
And in return, I'll do all these and more for him. Whatever he wants, whatever he needs.
The most important thing I've been thinking about with Valentine's Day approaching, is that, no matter what, a relationship is between two people. There is no other half, there is only another whole. You don't fit together like puzzle pieces, you simple are together. And it's up to you to figure out the best way to be together well. What's "right" has less to do with the success of the relationship than what you both put in.
I hope that, when the day comes that I do find myself in a relationship, I will not forget that I am a singular person. That it is up to me to do my part in one relationship made up of two people.