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You Have Your Whole Life To Be Single

At the bottom of this post is my response for the last question of “Poppin’ Questions Podcast 35.” I bring this to your attention because it is where I repeat a phrase I wrote in my first installment of “‘Until I Get Married’ Relationship Facts.”

“You have your whole life to be single” was my response to a question from a young man who emailed me recently. Here is his question:

I’m turning 20 this Sunday. I have a best friend (and I really mean best friend), and of course she’s female. It’s one of those relationships where we’re we became good friends,then started to like each other, but couldn’t be together because she went off to college out of state. I’m sure I don’t have to explain how I feel about her. She tries to control her emotions and feelings towards me so she doesn’t get hurt; something that she’s learned to do from situations with numerous guys that have played her. It’s really hard for me sometimes. Now, I’m not interested in a relationship with anyone else. But do you think I’m wasting my time when I could be living the “single life” like so many my age are? Is there a point to be worrying about a girl I’m not with?

As I said, you can see or hear my response in the video at the bottom of the post, where I didn’t really have time to emphasize my point, so I am writing this post not only for the guy who emailed me but all the guys who are young, in love, and probably thinking they’re doing it wrong.

Fact: You’re not going to get very many of these women in his life. People love to say there’s plenty of fish in the sea, but there aren’t a lot of sharks. The woman you’re talking about is a shark and here’s what you do with sharks:

Fight for them.

Go for her and go hard for her, because love is worth all the risks.

Obviously, you recognize the difference between how you feel about this girl versus how you feel about other girls. It’s different, and if you don’t think it’s different, let me ask you this: How many other girls have you so confused and lost you have to write to a relationship blogger for some guidance?

I’m pretty sure the answer is zero.

Once you understand this girl is worth your best effort, consider the risks of trying. You could fail or you could succeed and both outcomes will carry with them their own burdens.

FAILURE
Now failure, in this instance, is not a permanent thing. If the girl insists now is not the time, for the reasons she’s given you (she’s been broken-hearted, etc), fall back. Let her figure out that cynicism, at her age, is a self-inflicted sickness. Give her the head space she needs to figure that out for herself, and in the meantime continue to be her friend. Gamble away all the other chips, but always, always keep the friend chip in your pocket. It’s the only chance you have for her to see in you what you see in her now.

SUCCESS
This may be a little bit more difficult to wrap your mind around, largely because right now you think if this girl says she’s ready to be in a relationship, and you are too, what can possibly go wrong? But as the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for.

In your question was a hint of confidence that if you persisted, eventually she will believe in you and you two could be together. I also sensed how that worries you slightly because you don’t want to be the lone guy amongst your friends who is in a relationship. You don’t want to be on boyfriend duty while your guys are riding around on their own girl watch.

Stop worrying about such a thing.

What you and you friends (who are all probably around your age) have yet to realize is at some point, playing the field is more work than what it’s really worth.

I once went broke for a girl with whom I was madly in love. She lived clear across the country and the only way we could be together is if she uprooted herself and move to where I lived. Because we were both in love, this move made total sense at the time. But things happened, and eventually, after she moved out here and in with me, she moved out and we broke up.

When our relationship ended, I was so emotionally spent and exhausted, I decided to not only be single, but to focus on being single. Prior to her, I found myself constantly getting wrapped up in relationship after relationship, some lasted longer than others, but all had depth. Having undergone the experience of a relationship in which huge sacrifices were made to be together, I realized the single life was what would be best until further notice.

Over the past four years, I discovered how valuable being single can be but also how overrated it can be too. Some of the hardest times in my life were probably more difficult than they had to be largely because I had to go through them alone. I wouldn’t say I didn’t have anyone, but I certainly didn’t have the consistency of one person in my life at times when I needed it the most. The other thing I learned is, sometimes being single can take such a concerted effort on our part, we end up doing more damage to ourselves than others. I’ve met a lot of fantastic women in my single years, women who deserved all of me, but because I was so caught up in staying single, I had to break their heart to protect my own.

That was never fair to them and completely selfish of me.

Of all the lessons I learned from being single the most important was this: Going back to the fishing metaphor, there are plenty of fish in the sea, so many that you really can fish forever. No one is saying you have to fall in love with each and every one woman you meet; that’s as unhealthy as preventing every girl you meet from getting closer to you. But recognize the women who are custom made for you; the women who aren’t just good on paper, but good for you. Then, understand those women are worth the effort because you only get a few, if you’re lucky.

The choice to be single is yours, but fate or whatever higher power you believe in plays a slightly larger role in love. Sometimes it arrives at the least expected of times, and sure we can choose not to capitalize on it, but I would advise to choose differently. Just because there are plenty of fish in the sea doesn’t mean you have to fish forever.

My answer to the question in “Poppin’ Questions Podcast 35

To submit a question for consideration on a future episode of the Poppin’ Questions Podcast, go here formspring.me/jozenc.

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  • Guest

    wow definitely a letter to my younger self. Well said!

  • MellM

    Your post just spoke to me. You seem like a romantic at heart, but with the practicality of a person who has truly experienced life lessons and learned from them. Not jaded…practical. I love that you told him to fight for it because, as a woman, I think some men don’t know what its like to have true desire for a woman other than sexually. There is nothing like the pull of a person who truly meets your mind. I tell guy friends, platonic and otherwise, that a man who truly captures a woman’s mind is one that will be able to keep her close. No games, no lies, just laying it all bare. You’re advice sounds like a line from one of my favorite movies, A Bronx Tale. 

    “You gotta do what your heart tells you to do. Let me tell you somethin’ right now. You’re only allowed three great women in your lifetime. They come along like the great fighters, every ten years. Rocky Marciano. Sugar Ray Robinson. Joe Louis. Sometimes you get ’em all at once. Me? I had my three when I was 16. That happens. What are you gonna do? That’s the way it goes, you know? Tell you right now. See this girl? Maybe this girl, she put wind in your sails. Maybe she’s your first great one.”

    Great post, Jozen!

  • Guest

    I’m just trying to holler at some of that asparagus!