You need to be with someone. You need to find someone to spend Sunday morning farmer’s market runs with. You need a warm body in your bed. You need a mutual TV show – one that’s been canceled and is now on Netflix, so you watch episode-after-episode, laughing together under a blanket. You need hope. Hope that there is a perfect fit somewhere. Even if you have to make it fit.
You break up. You cry even though you’re not sure you feel all that sad. Your heart feels heavy in your chest but you’re pretty sure it’s more from withdrawal than anything else – like that time in college when you tried to stop drinking coffee and ended up in your dorm, curled up in the fetal position with a raging migraine. Yeah, like that. You don’t know what to do without another person so get busy. Swear off men again. You don’t need them. You’re free – single (!) – now.
Meet a boy. Call him a rebound. He’s too tall or too young or not rock ‘n roll enough but you don’t care because he’s warm and his mouth tastes like spearmint all the time. He’s good enough for now and soon you find your own TV shows. The sex is boring and he’s still too tall but it’s something and you know it’s gonna be okay. Two years later the rebound is over.
You cry again. This time it’s because you didn’t end it. And that hurts. You don’t miss him but you wanted to win. How could you lose?! He was your rebound. It’s not fair and so you cry. You cry until you’ve cried off the ten extra pounds you’d put on during your “relationship.”
You keep it off for a while until you meet a boy. Maybe it’s right. But of course, it’s complicated. He’s dating someone. And he’s moving soon. Wow, you know how to pick them! So that’s exactly what you do. You pick him. He leaves his girlfriend and now you’re in a relationship that is built on a lie. You wonder if this condemns your relationship. But this is different. It’s beer and video games and wine and art galleries and mutual friends that you actually both like. You call them “our friends” and mean it. You spend whole days in bed and switch between fucking and reading to each other and it feels more real than anything else ever has.
Then he leaves. Long distance is a bitch. You cry again. Mostly you cry because you know you can’t handle it so you decide to stop handling it. You break up over the phone one Sunday afternoon and never speak again. It’s too sad. You’re too sad. Wasn’t he “The One?” So you’re sullen for a while. Hurt. Empty. It feels sad and lonely and just a month later you’re dating again but it never feels right.
You’ve stopped jumping, finally. You realize that all you needed the whole time is to be alone and find yourself (!!!). Get a hobby. Hate the hobby. Quit the hobby. Find a new one. Write a lot. Cut off half of your hair and paint your fingernails a new color every other day. Wear scarves and hang out at Starbucks on the weekends because nothing says “I’m single and not interested” like a cup of steaming Americano and a garment that resembles a noose. You start to feel fine. You are fine. You don’t need a man. It’s been three months – the longest you’ve ever been without one.
And then you meet a boy.