The Monthly Reminder of Ann Relationship Gone By – Gifts from Exs

Is it polite to keep gifts of an ex-partner?

Well obviously they were gifts at the time and so they are yours to decide upon as you will, but are there certain gifts that should be given back? I suppose a family heirloom or something of familial sentimental value should be returned, but what about other things?
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Singled Ann Out

Why do people care about my relationship status? It seems extremely invasive and keeps opening me up to ‘oh deary, you’ll find someone,’ and ‘you should meet so-and-so, you’d make a cute couple.’ It as if they believe I am biding my time until primary monogamy magically finds me.

To be perfectly honest, I’m looking for a new word for Single. Because I don’t believe I am their definition of ‘single’.
Single seems to imply that I am looking for a change in status, that I am either for or against the idea of a relationship. That I am in a transitive phase, regardless of how long that transition may be. That I am looking for a standard primary monogamous relationship.

To me, my ‘singleness’ is not a status but a state of being. I am not looking for a serious relationship. I suppose I could say that I’m interested in ‘casual dating’ but that also rings false. Maybe one day a primary monogamous relationship will come along and my status will change, but that isn’t related to my ‘single’ state of being. In the past I lost myself in relationships, people, and love. I am no longer willing to lose who I am.
That is what being ‘single’ means to me, no matter what relationships the future brings, that fact will never change. I am a distinct entity and I refuse to lose that again. But how does that relate to my status as a ‘single’ person?

Why does thinking about this make me question everything again? I really hate how I keep cycling around and around. Maybe I’m not even ‘single’. Maybe I’m ….something else. (Maybe I’m overly self-involved and full of it) But I think I lie somewhere between ‘single’ and ‘it’s complicated’. I want to meet people and foster relationships, I’m just not looking for a primary monogamous relationship. I want to make friends and have people I’m affectionate/romantic/sexual with, but again, I don’t want a primary monogamous relationship, I also don’t want a one night stand or a casual fling. Its like there are all these socially acceptable categories for relationships….and I don’t really want any of them.

Actually maybe that’s the whole point, that I don’t want the standard idea of a primary relationship.

How exactly do I explain that to people? I’m looking for friendships that may have elements of a secondary or tertiary affectionate/romantic/sexual aspects to them…. I don’t even know how that would look if it happened. Its a very odd thing, wanting something but not knowing what it is. I want to be in a relationship with myself firstly and other people secondly. How do I explain that?

Any suggestions on a new ‘Relationship Status’?

Sacrificial Ann

Today, I want to address the idea of sacrifice, and how it relates to life as a single person.

To put it simply, I do not see being single as a sacrifice at all. I do not see my choice to remain so for a currently indefinite amount of time to be a sacrifice. I do not think I am sacrificing happiness or physical affection in order to remain so.
Nor do I think I’ll be sacrificing my values should I happen to enter into a relationship in the future.
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Single Ann

I hate the word single.

Actually I amend that. I don’t hate the word, I hate the connotation.

sin·gle/ˈsiNGgəl/
Adjective:
Only one; not one of several: “a single red rose”.
Noun:
An individual person or thing rather than part of a pair or a group.
Verb:
Choose someone or something from a group for special treatment.
Synonyms:
adjective. sole – unmarried – only – lone – individual – solitary
verb. select – choose – cull – pick out – separate
More info »Dictionary.com – Answers.com – Merriam-Webster – The Free Dictionary

See the Synonyms? Sole, Unmarried, Only, Lone, Individual, Solitary. While not negative in and of themselves, there’s this idea of loneliness attached to them that I don’t agree with. Society also reinforces this idea, “You don’t want to die alone do you?”

I hate the idea that fulfillment doesn’t start until you fall in love. That being alone is a default state, not a choice. That being single is something to pity, something to be sad about. That you cannot be complete without another person.

I am recently re-singled, out of a relationship that only lasted four months, for various reasons. All I really wanted was someone to have fun with, nothing serious, a friend would be fine. I think the problem was that I felt that I was expected to “get back into the dating scene”. It had been four years since my last relationship, so I was single for what society apparently considers to be a “looong time”, aka 4.6 years without sex. “How do you survive?”
I’ll admit that there were times when I wanted to date, but before my last relationship I had gotten to the point where I was happy being single. However, I had this expectation or precept that my life wouldn’t be complete until I was in a romantic relationship.

Which is what this comes down to.
This expectation, where does it come from? Why do I have it?
I have no problem with romance and I love to read romantic fanfiction, however why was I under the misconception that I have to have a relationship to be happy, to feel complete, to be successful? To just be? And not just a relationship, but a sexual/romantic exclusive monogamous end-all-be-all relationship. I have been in love, madly in love. Four years ago I was head over bloody heels and crazy in love. The kind where I felt like my chest had been hollowed out and left bleeding when it ended. So its not from ignorance of that passion that I have these thoughts, its not lack of experience either. I’m also not ‘broken’ from that relationship, I’m not ’emotionally damaged’ and scared of love or any of that rot. I’ve moved on and have found my own happiness, so why am I still buying into this idea of monogamous coupledom as the penultimate experience of human happiness?
Why is an avid fantasy life seen as a weakness and an escapist way to get away from reality and not just an element to an exciting imaginative life? Why am I seen as not having passion unless its for someone else?

I hate all these internal thoughts that I didn’t authorize to be there. Its this social brainwashing that we all receive. The story that is told to us everyday from childhood. What is acceptable, what is not acceptable, what it means to be a woman in our culture, what it means to be a man. “Men don’t cry,” “Sluts wear tight clothing,” “You must get married,” and any and all range of stereotypes and ideals that we hold as a society, some are good, some are not. The strange idea that being part of a couple, just two people, is the perfect and ONLY way to be is another one of our societal stories. That true love and happiness can only be found between two people who are madly in love with each other.

I’m not that person. My friendships are more important than dating, perhaps its because I’ve had quite a few relationships (8 ‘official’ and many more dates and attempts) and after awhile I realized that friends will be there no matter what. Friendship has a longer shelf life and is much more stable. Friendship is something that is massively underrated in our society.

But now that I’m single again, I’ve realized that for me, its a choice. Its not a default. That right now, at this point in time. I don’t want a relationship. I don’t want to be swept away in a whirlwind romance. I don’t want to fit someone else into my life right now. I don’t want any dependency or expectation. I enjoy myself, I love being with myself and entertaining myself. I have no interest in a “serious” relationship.

However, trying not to let society tell me who to be and what I need….is kind of an ongoing battle.
Because I’m not built wrong, and I’m not abnormal, and I’m not deficient or sociopathic just because I don’t want what I’ve been told to want.
I’m not broken, so why does it feel like people keep trying to convince me that I am?