Your single friend is dating you (and, like, a bunch of other people)
So, for 6 years I have never called someone my boyfriend (Are you my bf?), never been a girlfriend, and, never had consistent monogamous *cough*relations*cough* with a person. But like, don’t worry; It’s fine.
When you have been single for as many years as I have been, you end up ‘dating’ everyone in your life.
It’s all very selfish. And apparently, I’m not the only one who has done this so I’ll just assume that it’s all very normal.
Here’s how I imagine it: Every person has a needs pie chart that slices their needs in the appropriately sized slices for what’s important to them for their own social/psychological survival (think Maslow’s Hierarchy but not thought through at all).
These needs for me would include friendship, confidant, motivation, love, security, sex, and like, more of the sex.
Imagine that if you have ‘a person’ in your life, they are able to BE a lot of those slices for you, so you have less of a need, outside that person, to get those remaining fractions handled by other people (which is why us single people see our married friends just a little less frequently).
I have had some amazingly intimate platonic friendships with strong women, depended on various males for some of those more carnal intimacies (and some of the less carnal ones), treated roommates like sisters or spouses, been part of other peoples’ families, and treated my dog like a child (I’m the fun mom…I’m not the fun mom).
In a lot of ways, I feel fulfilled because I get to experience all the great things you get in a relationship with one person (friendship, sex, partner, confidant, coparent, therapist etc.) but with SO MANY PEOPLE. It’s exciting, transient, and fits my ever changing and growing self.
I think the big question (for me) is…how long is this lifestyle sustainable? And, is it in fact, a healthy way to live?
Here are some examples of the types of relationships I’ve had while compensating for the fact that I haven’t found the right guy (or been ready to meet him). Maybe you’ve done this too.
The Best Friend You Treat Like A Boyfriend (Confidant, Friendship, Motivation, Love)
I’ve had best friends who would sleep over, we’d go on dates to like wine country, buy each other presents, make our Facebook profile Pics as pics of us, have a million inside jokes, call and text each other multiple times a day — it’s called ‘codependence.’ It’s just like having a new boyfriend that you’re crazy about because they’re JUST LIKE YOU OMG! It’s so nice to have someone to be codependent with, who brings out the best in you, but you’re missing something — sex, attraction. For me, this close friendship always ends with them finding someone who can provide what we have PLUS some of the missing elements, they no longer need you as much any more; It feels like a huge loss.
The Sister (Confidant, Motivation, Security, Love)
The sister and the best friend you treat like a boy friend are very similar except that you don’t necessarily have this whirlwind friendship and the love there is often more unconditional and definitely less fleeting. For instance, I have 4 of these friends: One I’ve known since she was 12, another who I met when I was at my absolute worst self in college (her first words to me were ‘Nice corn rows’), another person I met my last semester of my senior year of college, and another who I met via a craigslist (roommate) posting and with whom I lived with for 2 years after college. I know I love these betches like sisters because if they ever had hard times, needed a surrogate, a piece of a kidney, a place to stay, someone to babysit their kids…I’d do it in a fucking second. These are people who will, through the security of your love for them, motivate you to be the best person you can be and look at yourself in an honest lens.
The Coparent (Security, Confidant)
This particular one is new to me. I got a new roommate on July 1 who was introduced to me through a discerning friend, and on July 3rd we got a puppy. Depending on someone, working as a team, creating consistency and a schedule, these are things that traditionally a spouse and coparent do, to raise a healthy, well-adjusted spawn. I honestly could not have gotten my puppy if she wasn’t here and I feel really fulfilled with this new-age nuclear family that we’ve created.
The Family (Security, Love)
Don’t get me wrong — I love my family. We are actually quite close. So close, in fact, that one time my therapist said we were ‘enmeshed.’ But, when you treat people like sisters or have a best friend who you treat in some ways like a boyfriend, you end up meeting the parents. Obviously I’m a charming individual so I end up ingratiating myself and getting invited on family vacations, to Christmas dinner, family game night, and experiencing the perks of having a mother (or father) who isn’t close enough to you to point out more obvious flaws, and is also too polite to bicker. I mean, just this year, I went on a friend’s family vacation to Tahoe, attended my 5th annual Christmas dinner, been invited to one of my ‘sisters’’ family birthday night, and FaceTime and emailed with another family.
The Hookup (Sex, Love)
I always joke that I’m basically a predator on the hunt — I even have a hashtag that I use to make fun of my predatory behavior, #eatpreylove. But mostly, I think I become more like a zombie. You know how when zombie’s haven’t had brains for a while, their eyes get dark, red, and they resort to their most basic instincts? That’s me after about a month without sex. Obviously I try to mitigate that response with umm…other tactics…(I’m referring to masturbation)…so as not to become consumed with thoughts of sex, but sex is definitely important when it comes to physiological needs.
I’d end this post by saying however you fulfill your needs, make sure you are always actively trying to fulfill all of them. Who knows…maybe one day you’ll find someone who fits more of your needs. Happy hunting :)