October 19, 2022

SEX ON THURSDAY | Single or Taken: Why do We Want What We Can’t Have?

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Why does it always feel like when we’re in a relationship, we’re yearning for the single life we once led? On the other hand, why does being single for too long feel like an endless search for a decent partner in a sea full of Mr. Wrongs? Our partner asks for too much, and we yearn for the times when the only person we had to please was ourselves. They ask for too little, and we worry that they’re about to call it quits.

The war between the single and taken life is a battle as old as time itself. Maybe it’s a case of always wanting what you can’t have or the grass being greener on the other side. Even when we’re happily single or taken, we can sometimes be jealous of our friends in relationships, perfect or not, or jealous of our friends who are free to live a loose, single life. 

Even when we don’t necessarily want our relationship status to change, we singles always want bits of the taken life, and those that are taken desire things that only come to those that go stag. Admit it! Even if you’re happy as can be with your partner, part of you really misses going out and flirting with a good-looking stranger. Even if you love being single, you want to hold someone’s hand and make all the other bitter singles jealous.

On a separate note, why does it always feel like potential suitors come knocking at our door whenever we’re content in a relationship? Personally, this has happened to me time and time again. As soon as I start seeing a guy I like, all my old hoes come crawling back. It’s like I send off a signal or something. Warning! Virginia Snatch is finally approaching romantic contentment! Some hot guy — any hot guy — send her a flirty Snapchat and fast! I repeat, Virginia is finally approaching happiness!

After the hoes come crawling back, I remember how fun it was to have them. Before I know it, my second-guessing nature causes things to peter out with my almost real relationship, and the old hoes disappear as fast as they came. I find myself in a spiral of doom, waiting for the eventual “talking stage” to come and fail all over again. 

Dramatics aside, I’m not a stranger to the single life. I haven’t been in a real, established relationship since my junior year of high school. I’ve dated since then, but I haven’t had a boyfriend since I was sixteen. While the single life has been good to me, I can’t help but envy my friends who’ve been in long-term relationships for a hot minute — especially the healthy ones. Where is my perfect match? Don’t a crazy amount of people find their future spouse in college? All I have is a situationship that isn’t going anywhere (and fast). 

Though some might argue that I’m sitting in a pot of jam, perhaps the perfect medium between single and taken, I’ve never felt worse about my romantic prognosis. I’ve been seeing the same guy for nearly two months, and we’re never going to date. I go out to parties, flirt with other guys, and even though my hookup isn’t my boyfriend, I feel guilty for even entertaining the thought of engaging in a NCMO. I don’t have the luxury of being entirely single or the commitment of a real relationship. Clearly, a situationship isn’t what I’m searching for, or the perfect middle ground between single and taken.

As we approach cuffing season, I hope to gain some clarity on what I really need — what we all really need. More than a significant other, hookup or single lifestyle, we all need some balance in our romantic exploits, not to mention our social and academic lives. Now, saying this might make me seem like I know exactly what this balance is, but I don’t. Maybe by the time it’s warm out again, I will.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy, and I don’t need to be 100 percent single to be satisfied, either. The same goes for anybody and everybody. I can find happiness in the relationship limbo I’m currently swimming in, not desperately wishing for a boyfriend or dying to be free from the shackles of commitment. I’m letting fate decide for me this fall, even though, as Glen Cook says, she’s famously “a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Virginia Snatch is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected] The Slip ‘N Slide runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.