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"Why Aren't You Settled Down?" | Part One

The question that absolutely nobody likes to be asked. On this particular occasion, I wasn't offended but it did get me thinking...

"Wow, you're still single?"
"When will you marry?"
"Still a single pringle?"

However it's asked, that question isn't usually greeted with a joyous response, let's be honest.

Okay, I must admit, 10 years ago, I didn't think I'd be single at 27 but hey ho. A few weeks ago, during a coffee date, I was asked why I wasn't settled down. "You've had a long time to meet someone." Yes. So have you.

I wasn't annoyed but I don't think that I really got to articulate my reasons - not that I needed to but it's actually something that I've been mulling over and here are a few of my thoughts.

I can't bear the thought of facing the heartache that I have in the past again. Break-ups make me feel like I'm going to die. I cannot allow something like that to take my focus again. I've got too much to do. It takes me months to get back on track. It rattles my confidence. My anxiety goes through the roof. Honestly, it's not something I ever want to experience again.

I can only focus on a few things at once. Do I believe that I can have it all? Absolutely yes. Do I think that I can successfully take care of all of those things at once? No. I can't imagine running businesses, maintaining a marriage and then potentially throwing kids into the mix at this point in my life. What is this obsession that society has with achieving everything before you're 30? Also consider that not everyone has the same aims in life. Whoever ends up with me deserves me at my best.

For me, these are still my years of building. I am creating some sort of foundation, so that when I do find the person I'm going to build a life with, there is something to show for it. I don't just mean in terms of tangible things; I mean that when they get to know me and really see the parts of me that nobody else has, what will they find?

I'm really turned off by the term 'settle down'. Two of my friends have referred to it as 'levelling up' and that's exactly what it should be.

When I've been on the verge of whining about being single, I have actually had to stop and ask myself: Melissa, are you really in the right space to be in a relationship right now? Are you really willing to set aside a few of your wants and desires, to consider someone else's? Are you ready to share your time? Are you willing to be open and vulnerable with someone? In short, the answer is 'no'. Well, not entirely. I'm getting there.

See, there's a lot of emphasis on the other party, when a relationship breaks down. 'Oh, they were this, they were that.' They didn't consider what I wanted. They did this. They made mistakes. Much of the time, that's justified. Maybe you dated a terrible person. But honestly, how often do we hold the mirror up and ask ourselves 'was I my best?' 'Am I my best right now?'

I truly believe that the right person will bring out the best in you. I'm not just talking about the surface level stuff. Yeah, it's nice to pass the time with someone but I mean the things that really make you a better your core. Truth is, I've rarely encountered that. In fact, maybe only once. Until I experience that again, what's the point? Because that's when you do end up settling. I don't want the baggage. I don't want the hassle. If I've waited this long, I may as well get it right. 'Just give it a go.'  No because I know myself. I am intense and I'm not willing to jump in and drown again. I honestly believe that if we used a little foresight sometimes, we'd save ourselves some heartache. Red flags exist for a reason. Listen to your gut.

My gorgeous friend Simone phrased what I was thinking perfectly, the evening that I was writing this post:

I can hand on heart say that I am still a work in progress and I'm happy with that. I am so in love with my self-development, my life and becoming more of who I'm meant to be. Put it this way: if I'd been a bride at 21 and married who I wanted, we'd have made a huge mess of the entire thing and I'd have played a big part in that. I was pushy and impatient. I was insecure and I cared way too much about what other people thought. I didn't articulate my feelings well. My need for people's approval in an unhealthy way is dead and gone.

I also don't believe in forcing things. On paper, there could be a million reasons to be with someone but if the spark's not there and you find yourself compromising on things that are non-negotiable, move on. I've also had to break my tendency to attract projects. My best friend said to me, "Mel, no more projects. It's not your job to fix people." I don't think that moving on always means moving on to the next person; to me, it means setting about living your best life, for you - not anybody else.

This is getting kind of long, so I may well turn this into a mini series. If you've made it to the end of this, thank you! And let me know your thoughts. 

Lots of love, 


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