If being unattached works for you, great. It ain’t working for me.
I’m going to start with a comment about the terminology I’m using. I’ve settled on unattached to indicate a state in which someone has no romantic partner. I was going to say single, but this does not quite fit. Some single people can have a romantic partner and yet still be single, in the sense that they’ve never been married.
I’d say that my initial impulse to go with single is a result of the oppressive heteronormativity and mononormativity that are everywhere in our society. According to these two normativities, you start in life as single, then you get married, then you die. For some people, these normativities also allow the status of being divorced. However, you cannot return to the state of single. Of course, you can remarry, and divorce again.
I am currently unattached. I was married for 22 years, that relationship lasted a total of 26 years. Post divorce, I’ve been in multiple romantic relationships, even a threesome, but none of these relationships lasted. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I don’t like being unattached. I like to care for someone. Yes, I also like people to care for me, and at times it is fairly important, like when I had cancer, but finding someone to care for me is not my primary goal. I want to care for someone else.
Let me add here that it is not just for the sex. Yes, the sex can be great, but I also like to love people outside the bedroom and use my life experience to help them. I’ve replaced a car headlight for an ex of mine. I’ve helped multiple exes with their mental health problems. I like to say that I’m polyamorous, not polyfuckerous.
Every now and then someone comes to me singing the praises of being unattached. They’ll typically use the term single but translated into my language the message is:
I used to hate being unattached, but I’ve learned to be happy with it.
For these people, there’s a process that exists that can get you from being unhappy with being unattached, to being happy with this state of fact. Listen, if this happened for you, all the more power to you. I’m not going to deny your own experience. It becomes an issue when people take this idea and want to impose it on everyone. They imagine that everybody has to go down the path of acceptance. This is my issue.
Let me clarify something. If I don’t feel entirely satisfied when I’m unattached, it is definitely not out of a desire to meet some sort of social expectation. Yes, the social expectation is that we should all form heterosexual pairs, and that unattached people are somehow incomplete, or broken. My take on this is, screw society and its demands. What do I mean when I say screw society and its demands? I mean the following:
- We do not have to be attached to anyone else to be happy. It is possible for unattached people to be entirely happy and not feeling that they miss anything.
- We do not have to be with someone of the opposite sex. Queer folks are allowed to exist.
- We do not have to be only with one other person. It could be two people, or three, or more. Polyamorous folks are allowed to exist too.
I’m pansexual and polyamorous. Yes, I can be romantically involved with multiple people and feel compersion towards them. If you don’t know, compersion is that feeling of joy which happens when your partner(s) experience romantic success with someone else. I’ve felt compersion before.
As I’ve said before, if you are unattached and are happy about it, then that’s great. Just don’t take your own experience as some sort of process that everyone has to go through. I think I’ve said it in other articles, but I’m going to repeat it here. All my relationships, even the failures, have taught me something about me or the universe. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without these experiences. No, I don’t think I could have learned what I learned in some other way.
If you don’t want someone to care for in your life, that’s entirely fine. For my part, I do want someone to care for. This is why I’m still looking.