• Alyssa Piperis

On Craving Independence More Than Romance

I always thought it was bullshit when people said things like, “I’m just not ready for a relationship.” Or, “I need to focus on x before getting into a relationship.”

But now that’s exactly where I find myself. And it’s not bullshit at all.

I will say, there’s a certain level of nonsense when people think they need to be financially successful and/or successful in their career before entering into a serious relationship, and I say that because there’s something beautiful about the journey and the struggle of working to achieve your dreams alongside someone who loves and supports you through it all, so long as that’s mutual.

However, that’s not what I’m talking about in this post. What I want to talk about is the fact that it’s possible to be romantically interested in someone—to even be in love with someone—and still know it’s not the right time to be in a relationship with them, or in general. I think that’s where I am right now, and I’ve never really felt this way before.

It just hit me over the last couple weeks that I don’t really want a relationship right now. I know that seems like a pretty normal, no big deal sentence, but it’s a big deal to me. I think this is the first time in my entire life that I actually feel closed off to a romantic relationship, like my heart isn’t open to one right now. And while that may sound sad, it’s actually a result of huge leaps in terms of personal growth.

I’ve said in previous blog posts that I’ve found this new sense of happiness and independence in my singleness since my last breakup, which I undoubtedly have, but I’ve also talked about this craving for romantic love that lives inside of me. I think that craving for romantic love will always live inside of me, but it’s not active right now the way it was for what seems like all of my life. And I think that’s because I’ve found this independence over the last year that I hold so close to me. I feel protective of my independence, and I’m not sure I’m ready to let someone into my world in a romantic way right now. I mean, I could post this and then meet the one shortly after and have all this just be words I typed up, but I don’t see that happening.

I’ve always considered myself to be a “relationship person,” but what does that even mean? Like, yeah, I’m a really good girlfriend and support system and comic relief when I’m in a relationship, but I don’t even know what a “relationship person” is anymore. I’ll be a great relationship person when I’m in a relationship again, but I don’t think I’m meant to be in one right now.

I genuinely do want to focus on myself. That’s not a cop out like I used to think it was. I just want to nurture my independence and my dreams before I have to rearrange my life to fit someone else into it. Because, let’s be real, a relationship is a commitment. A relationship should be fun and easy for the most part, but it’s still a commitment, and work goes into it. I have no problems with that, but I want to be honest with myself. And if I’m being honest, I want to spend more time focusing on me alone than me and another person right now. I know how new relationships are. Even if a relationship is made up of two normally independent, strong people, there’s a certain level of excitement and reckless abandon that comes into play in a new relationship. There’s also the whole sex part of things. If I’m going to be in a relationship, I need a healthy, fun sex life. And that requires time. Sex should take time and get a little messy (more often than not, at least), and this might sound absolutely insane to some people, but the thought of having to spend more time making my bed because there were two people in it instead of just me on my one side…and the thought of having to do more laundry because I’m going through more pairs of underwear…and the thought of having to use up more time to shower post-sex when I have someplace to be by a certain time… it all just sounds like too much right now. The kind of sex I’d want to have in a relationship is a commitment I’m not sure I want to make right now. Of course, I would like to eventually find myself with someone who excites me and my lady parts too much to even think twice about all this, but for now, that’s where my head is at. And I’m okay with that at this point.

I think I’m realizing that so much of my life and actions have been driven by my longing for romantic love. It sounds so silly and antifeminist, but it’s true. I’ve always gone out with friends with the hope that I can get my flirt on and meet someone I’m intrigued by that I could end up dating. When I pick an acting class, I hope there’s cute guys in the class or that the teacher is cute so I’m extra on my A game. I don’t know where that comes from, but so much of my actions have been dictated by the possibility of finding love. And while there’s nothing terribly wrong with that, it’s also not really a good thing either. It’s awesome to want great love and be vulnerable, but it’s so important to get out of your comfort zone and do things for yourself. I’ve come to love doing things by myself. I go to concerts alone. I go to movies alone. I go to the beach alone. I go to coffee shops alone. And I feel like this is just the beginning of this journey of independence that I’m on. I think I enjoy doing things alone more than I enjoy doing things with other people. The newly single, fresh-off-a-breakup girl I was 16 months ago wasn’t even close to being able to say that, but it’s the truth now. And I hold it so close to me. That isn’t to say that I’m anti-social by any means; in fact, I feel more open and approachable to new people when I’m out by myself. I love that freedom, but it doesn’t mean I want to fall in love right now.

And then there’s the issue of my skin…

I was debating bringing my skin up in this post, because it can be hard to talk about to people who don’t understand it, but it’s a huge part of my life right now and has affected my dating life immensely. Soooo, let’s talk about my skin!

I’ve talked about my acne and scarring issues a little on here, but if we’re being really real: I’ve truly had the worst year or so of my life skin-wise. I’ve been really good about not letting myself get super down or show others how much my skin issues are affecting me, but the truth is, I’ve kind of been putting my life on hold for over a year now. I haven’t said that publicly, but it’s something I’ve been holding in. As independent and confident as I am, I don’t feel ready for a relationship, because there’s so much I want to focus on that I haven’t been able to because of my skin. There are so many things I’m purposely waiting to tackle and go for, because my skin has altered my self-confidence, my daily routine, my career moves, the way I date, physical intimacy, visits home to see my family and friends, my desire to sleep at friends’ places, and it’s holding me back from all the traveling I’ve been planning.

That being said, my desire to travel and continue doing things on my own is currently stronger than my desire to get into a relationship. And because my travel plans are on hold due to my skin issues, everything is kind of on hold. I think in the back of my mind, no matter who I date or how into someone I am, I’m just waiting to start Accutane (so, so soon!) and get my skin clear so I can go travel the world by myself. Accutane can be a little scary, but it’s the closest thing to a cure for acne, it’s a miracle worker most of the time, and my brother took it over 10 years ago and has never had an issue since. In my eyes, my life is a waiting game right now. The state of my skin has put everything in this limbo state, but I’m so close to finally starting Accutane, which will have my skin clear in five or six months if all goes well. I have all these travel plans and career move plans, and I can’t wait to be able to live my life freely again, especially because I’ve forgotten what that even feels like. I know this may not make sense to people who haven’t suffered from acne, but acne seriously takes such a toll on you. People often tell me mine isn’t as bad as I think it is, but that’s because they haven’t seen how bad it really is under the makeup I wish I didn’t have to put on every day. I just want my skin fresh and clean so I can be a little hippie with minimal makeup and run off to other cities and countries, meet tons of different people, see different cultures, gain new experiences, and eventually find my sweet heart open to love so big I want to scream!

Sooo, that’s where I’m at. I feel romantic feelings and am intrigued by people, but right now, I crave independence and travel and getting out of my comfort zone more than I crave the comfort of a romantic relationship. There’s a time and place for everything.

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