Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon

By Holly A. Phillips

“Sure, I’d dated guys for years, but even then, I was never allowed to keep things at their homes. I was never really a part of their lives.”

As a singleton, I’ve spent many-an-evening as the third wheel, or as the seventh wheel. I’ve even been addressed as “the single friend.”

Most of the time, none of this bothers me. In fact, if I’m ever a witness to a couple’s fight or an awkward moment, I can go home feeling relief that I don’t have to deal with anyone but myself (which, admittedly, can be a handful).

But sometimes, I see a couple so happy that it makes me wonder just how much I’m missing out.

One of these moments happened recently at a tailgate. My friend, whom I call “Gym friend” since we workout together, invited me to his company’s tailgate.

Free food and free beer? Don’t have to tell me twice.

I was excited to meet his friends, and his boyfriend.

My gym friend had been single for more than two years before meeting his now-boyfriend, Wes.

His last relationship ended out of infidelity (his boyfriend cheated), and he was determined not to settle.

His dating past was a string of relationships – one right after the other.

“My rebounds turned into long term, somehow,” he told me.

I’m familiar with the feeling.

We walked to the tailgate, where his parents and his boyfriend met for the first time.

I approached Wes, introducing myself.

“Oh, ‘Gym Holly?’” he asked.

His laugh was infectious and I appreciated his lack of judgment when I shoveled three cake balls into my mouth (one at a time, of course).

Post-tailgate, we gathered at a house nearby to watch the game. There, Wes rolled up on his bicycle, complete with helmet, and Katy Perry blaring from speakers in his backpack.

He greeted my gym friend with a kiss, and I loved the way they clicked. They hadn’t been dating for long, but they seemed to fit together so well.

We took the party to gym friend’s house, where Wes’ dog had her own food and water bowl.

I realized then that I’d never had something that good, that serious.

Sure, I’d dated guys for years, but even then, I was never allowed to keep things at their homes. I was never really a part of their lives.

I spend a lot of time telling myself that I don’t want that, or that I don’t need a partner.

But that night, I realized that you can’t trick yourself for too long. I do want someone to share things with — if he’s got a dog, I’ll make room for dog bowls!

Not only was I happy for my gym friend, but it gave me hope. Here was someone closed off from dating for years, and he found someone to appreciate him for who he is.

That’s what I’m waiting for.

My dating past isn’t pretty, but I’ve learned a lot. And I need someone who understands me, who appreciates my hard work, and who will love me even in my old sweatpants and argyle slippers.

My gym friend met Wes through mutual friends – a method I’ve tried, but hasn’t worked quite yet. Still, I’m open to whoever comes my way.

I suppose you just never know who’s going to be a passerby, or who might end up sticking around for a while.

Read more about being a hopeful singleton on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.

Staying Hopeful

Remaining Positive as a Singleton:

1. Look Inside: Remind yourself of all the good qualities you’ve got, and why you’re not willing to settle.

2. Stay Busy: Do the things you’ve always wanted to do. You’ll feel empowered accomplishing them.

3. Be Open: You never know who you’ll meet, and who’ll be a match. Be open to what’s around the corner.

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