Learning to say goodbye to a happy singlehood

Guestpost by Red on Feb. 13th


Photo by Kendra Rose Photography

I proposed to my girlfriend early last December. I spent months organizing a big Hobbit premiere party, and cutting a fake trailer to show as my proposal. So when the girl of my dreams said yes, and everything went like it does in the movies, I thought that was the happy ending to my single-hood. Bam! You're engaged, it's what you wanted and worked for, proceed to have a bridal glow till you walk down the aisle! Right? Wrong.

I felt like there must be something wrong with me. I wasn't as happy as I should be. I got exhausted when someone asked about the proposal or the wedding. I thought it might be that I had spent months on a huge proposal and was just tired. I wasn't disappointed in how the proposal went, and I had no reservations about my now-fiancée. But I still spent about 50% of every day wondering if I should call off the wedding.

It was hard to watch my fiancee glow, and tell everyone all about this huge proposal that I was now convinced was a mistake. I knew I had no doubts about her. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, she was going to be the mother of my children, our life seemed like a wonderful adventure stretched out before us. But I still couldn't feel the excitement it seemed I should.

Lying in bed one night, sleepless and guilty, I started Googling "Cold Feet." Among the fairly unhelpful articles, there was one titled, "Mourning my single self." Upon reading it, I had such a moment of epiphany that I was surprised the choir of angels didn't wake my fiancee up.

I wasn't unhappy with my engagement; I wasn't scared of the wedding or the marriage. I was sad that the awesome things I did when I was single were no more. One of the aspects of getting married is the goal of never being single again. And in seeking marriage, I hadn't said goodbye yet to a lifestyle that had been good to me.

I was an epic single girl. I rocked being stringless and ringless. I never felt the need to be with someone, and so was only in relationships sporadically. It wasn't all great, but the good things outnumbered the bad. I loved using up all the hot water and leaving wet footprints around the apartment. I stayed up till god knows when, mainlining junk food and bad action movies. And more than anything, I liked the bar scene.

I knew every bar in my college town, and took it as a compliment rather than a statement about my lifestyle when the bouncers waved me in with recognition. But bringing people home was now a game I didn't get to play anymore. More and more after my engagement, I found myself chiding myself for checking people out. "You're about to be a married woman, you're not supposed to want to flirt anymore."

I needed to know that I could still draw someone from across the room, that they could want to spend all night talking to me knowing I might not go home with them.

Almost in tears of nervousness one night, I told her my idea. I wanted to take her home from a bar one night. We would switch our rings to another finger, meet somewhere we've never been, and pretend to have met for the first time. I needed to know that I could still draw someone from across the room, that they could want to spend all night talking to me knowing I might not go home with them. I felt needy and horrible even asking, but thankfully my girl knew this wasn't a statement about her not being enough. She agreed and we waited for a good day.

A few months later we put the plan into action and the night went better than I could have anticipated. I picked a divey jazz club we had never been to. The old excitement of going out to meet someone was there — I got my hair done, and tried on dresses I hadn't pulled out in a while. I walked into the club, spotted her, and headed back to the bar. A few minutes later, this gorgeous blonde in a Star Wars t-shirt and killer boots asked if she could buy me a drink.

I found myself listening to her and engaging in the conversation more than I had in a long time. This wasn't like sitting next to her on the couch, plugged into two devices and making occasional comments about Portlandia. This was sitting together in a booth, being acutely aware of when our knees would touch, and wondering what she would do if I kissed her. I sat up straighter, tried to be wittier, and found myself falling for her all over again. And when we went home together, it wasn't just a matter of course, it was a mutual victory.

I feel better leaving my single self behind now. The date went so well for both of us, we might do a repeat every so often just to remind ourselves we would still choose each other. And when people ask us how we met, while I'm telling the real story, I can say in my head, "She saw me across a dim jazz club and asked to buy me a drink…"

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About Red

Red is an aspiring children's therapist living in Dallas, TX. She is full of feelings, and it is usually up to her remarkably patient fiancee to help her deal with them. When she's not having feelings, she likes to craft, cook, generally Star Wars it up, and play table top role-playing games.