Lessons Learned As a Single Twenty-Something

When it comes to love, I can’t call myself ‘experienced’.

I envy (!) those people who have had been in long-term relationships; though they have loved and lost, at least they recognize what real love is. I don’t have a clue.

I think all I’ve ever had was a long list of crushes, something that closely resembled a relationship but wasn’t in retrospective, and a few first dates here and there. There were lots of ‘possibilities’ and ‘potential boyfriends’ and some ‘almost – shoulda, coulda, woulda’ but like that Brandy song says, “Almost doesn’t count.”

What I learned was that with each guy you meet and fall interested in, you change a little. Not in such a way as if to please him, but you can’t help it when you find someone fascinating, you delve into their passions and interests just to understand them a little better. That’s why I always feel that boys are the best teachers you can find. They bring you out of your shell, and make you step out of your comfort zone and broaden your perspective. You see life from another point of view, and a lot of times, I find that with every guy I’d met, I’d gained something from them; whether it was a new interest, an acquired taste in a drink or a type of food I never tried before if not because of him, and some can actually fix your attitude; mold you for the better. I could never be one of those extreme feminist women who hate men, and believe in the lesser side of men. I am grateful for them – I am what I am because of my mother and the men in my life. I come from a family of all-boys and I think it is through the opposite sex that I learn most about myself; other than books, men are the key to my own self-discovery.

But something else I learned was that you never really quite know just how much you actually liked someone until after ‘in retrospective’ comes in. There were the ones I thought I was head over feet into, but later, realized, I was more interested in the idea of being with them, than them themselves. Then, there were those I denied my feelings for, but long after, I realized what a fool I’ve been. But you know, you learn. You learn to figure out what’s real and what’s just in your imagination. And through trial and error, you learn to distinguish between the gems and the fakes. The seemingly nice guys sometimes are actually the most insensitive assholes. From experience, I learned that the ex-girlfriend is the best measure of a man. If she was a bitch, you can bet he’s worst. In the Al-Quran, it was said that “Good men belong with good women, vice versa”. I believe in that.

Oprah Winfrey said that, “Rejection from a man is often God’s protection.” So, don’t despair when you find yourself in an ‘unrequited love’ situation. It’s just a quick fix from the Universe to save you time and further heartache. In a totally unrelated note, I doubt in the effectiveness of self-help relationship and dating guides, such as the infamous “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “Why Men Love Bitches”. No one book can solve one big problem of love-matching humanity; it’s an unfair generalization of men, and it puts too high a standard on them, and ignores them of their own vulnerability and insecurities, and commonly, an even bigger fear of rejection. Most times, love is so vague, and surprising and uncontrollable, but most of all, it evolves. Emotions can change. My mother always said, “Never passionately hate someone. You will eventually fall in love with him.” Through experience, I learned that was true as well.

There are two main school of thought when it comes to finding love; some say it is something you pursue and you make happen. On the other hand, Diana Ross had other ideas. She sang, “Ohh, you can’t hurry love. Ohh, you just have to wait.” I think both are tried-and-true but the solution depends on what kind of person you are. Can you live with the insecurity of having pursued a man instead of having him pursued you? Or, can you stand to wait, not knowing if it might happen to you, or not happen at all? It’s up to you. Find it, wait for it, I say, if it is fated, it will be.

Just before performing “Love Song For No One.”, John Mayer had this to say about the song, ” …You just gotta wait your turn. He’s out there, she’s out there. They’re just learning what to contrast you against.”

Need I say more? The right person is out there, but it just might not be the right time yet. Maybe he needs to learn a thing or two about women before he knows how to treat one right, and maybe you need to take a look at yourself in the mirror as well and deal with your own shit. But here’s a cool random fact: Do you know research found that the ‘right person’ is usually someone already in your contact list? Maybe you need to double-check your mobile now, just to see if you missed anyone actually worthy of your time. 😉

But the most important thing I learned through the lack of romantic love in my young adult life, was that I don’t need it. If you find that you’re ‘incomplete’ and believes that finding that perfect match will fill up a void, you’re dead wrong. I was in your shoes once. Oprah Winfrey had this to say, “Married or single, if you’re looking for a sense of completion, I encourage you to look inward.” To connect with another human being is most definitely a human need, but the lack of it should not be detrimental to your state of happiness. I like to believe that “Good things happen to those who wait.” and that something is worth having when you know how hard it was to find it in the first place. So why the hurry? Let the man or the girl get his/her act together, and when he/she is finally ready, they’ll find you.

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