I realise that I’m a singleton when my love life (or lack of it) provides hilarity to my work colleagues and married friends, and comfort to my fellow single friends. Yes, there are other indicators that I’m not in a relationship such as the space beside me when I wake up in the morning. There are the looks that attached women give me when I am in the vicinity of their men. My mother bends my ear sometimes daily about the possibility of being left on the shelf. And let’s not forget that almost all of my close friends that are the same age as me are married, married with children, engaged, or in a relationship that will probably lead to all of those things.

I went home to Dublin last Christmas and got straight on the phone to one of my closest friends. We caught up on all of the gossip and made plans to meet up. I commented that I was glad that at least she was single like me and could keep me company on the round of evenings with The Couples. Cue an uncomfortable silence, followed by, “I thought you knew that I’m seeing somebody. We’ve been together for a while.” I then listened to a glowing report on the gifts and shared moments of their relationship. I felt like she’d kicked me in the teeth. Who was going to play with me on my visit home? Even more worrying, what the hell was my mother going to say now?

Many singletons can relate to my plight.

One of the cumbersome tasks of daily life has now become fielding enquiries from my mother about men and when I’m going to get married.

Each day of any visit to my mother is an opportunity for her to lobby me on meeting a man, buying a house and having a baby. This is from the same woman that wanted me to be on my own for as long as possible so that I could appreciate me following the break-up from my ex-fiance.

Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are posters up all over Dublin. “Man wanted to marry my daughter. All offers considered. Must be willing to have a child within one year.”

My mother was in a car crash last year, thankfully escaping with minimal injuries despite it being a total write-off and being cut from the car. At first, I feared she was pretending to be okay. I soon realised she was just fine.

Apparently she realises how lucky she has been and thinks God is watching over her. She said that after the accident she’d thought, “Oh my God. If I had died, you kids would have been orphans!” Keep in mind the fact that both our father and stepfather are alive and well. Her next comment confirmed she was just fine. “And then I thought, oh my gosh, I would have died without grandchildren. When I’m going to get grandchildren?”

Surely if I could just magic a man, house and kids out of thin air, there would be no such thing as a singleton? I’m only twenty-eight years old. Is there really a cause for concern?

While it would be nice to meet a guy who had the prospects of potentially being long term, I have no room for a chump in my life. Harsh as that may sound, why would I choose to purposefully wear out my brain with the wrong guy when I can be alone or continue to date?

I’m fortunate that I am surrounded by great family and friends. I’ve always known that they were there, but I realised just how lucky I am when my relationship with my ex-fiance ended, and I had to pick up the pieces of my life. Between my job, social life, family, and time to myself I have a full week. If I’m to allow a man into my life again in terms of an actual relationship, they must share the same values and have qualities that make for a strong relationship. I will only adjust my life if I truly think that a man is worth it.

I’ve lived alone for over two years, and while it’s not a permanent thing, I love it. I think that every woman should have the opportunity to live by herself. It’s great to not have to worry about what somebody else thinks and just do things for you. Living on your own, if you’re single though, can highlight your singledom like nothing else.

I always realise I’m single when I need to hump something heavy up the stairs, fix something, build Ikea furniture, make dinners for one (almost always wastage), or when I’m unwell.

When I get home late there’s nobody to give me a cuddle or waiting up for me. On the other hand, when I come home with seven pairs of shoes, I don’t have to pretend that some of them were already there, or that something cost less than it did. I can watch what I like, when I like, and football and cricket scores are the least of my concerns. I don’t have to be tarted up constantly, and if I feel like turning my bikini line into a jungle, I can. Hurray for sleeping with the TV on, ironing my clothes naked or in my knickers in the mornings, and luxuriating in me-time.

Yes, sometimes it’s not ideal, but for me, it’s bloody great.

When I look at my attached friends who appear as if they need an operation to separate them from their partners, I pat myself on the back for living my life the way I want. In years to come, I’ll barely be able to snatch a moment beneath the piles of kids clothing to iron and skid marks to wash out of my future husband’s boxers. I can comfort myself that I didn’t do it a day too soon. I’ll be thankful I got wise about the dipsticks that I kept finding myself with, that I’ve had lots of me time, and that I have no regrets.

Don’t knock being single, and don’t assume the grass is greener on the other side and that couples have it ‘better’. Each lifestyle brings its own rewards and issues. In the meantime, while you’re single, revel in being you. Get to know you, and make sure that you love who you are. When you do make the transition from meals for one to meals for two, you’ll find that you make better choices about who you end up in a relationship with and give your time to. You will be more in touch with what you want out of your relationships. See, being single has lots of benefits!

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