Seeking to Lose Single Status

In Columns, Features, My Life: Straight Up with a Twist by Tashauna Swanson

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I’m twenty-five and single. Yes, single. I’ve never really dated anyone or had a romantic relationship. It might be embarrassing for some to admit something like this, but I think part of human growth involves sharing and learning from the experiences of others as well as our own. So, I am putting myself out there.

I have grown up with a muscular condition that has never been diagnosed. I was informed I either have two things going on, or I have my own unique condition that maybe nobody else in this world has. I compare it to Muscular Dystrophy because many of my physical traits are similar to those of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I have been in a wheelchair since the age of ten, and also had scoliosis as a child. I was always somewhat shy and soft spoken, and of course there are some of my adolescent years I wish I could block from memory.

Single and Sassy

I consider myself lucky, I’ve never really fallen victim to depression or self-esteem issues. I was brought up attending a mainstream school, and fought the same fight most young people with disabilities need to go through. The fight is to simply be viewed as an equal in the eyes of our peers.

This carries over into matters dealing with the opposite sex.

As an adult, I sometimes reflect upon how I viewed dating, romance, and sex when I was in my late teens and very early twenties. I had a few big crushes, but it was really hard for me to even find a guy to have a crush on. Maybe I was being extremely picky. As cheesy and as cliché as it sounds, there had to be something “special” about the guy. I was always trying to read between the lines and analyze his words and actions towards me to determine if he was “into me.” Ugh. I cringe when I think about those years and how I acted like a silly teenager. But, that is what I was.

The topic of the opposite sex is seen so much differently as an adult. I think it takes becoming an adult, experiencing life, and simply observing the experiences of people around you to help you find who you are and what you want out of life. For the past two years, I’ve seen a few of my friends get engaged, married, or have kids. I am now the only single person among my close circle of friends. I’m comfortable being single, and usually don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t need a relationship to validate my identity or to feel whole or worthy. I am confident in the fact that I do have something to offer, whether it is to someone else or to the world in general.

Over the years I’ve flirted a bit here and there. I have had guys approach me when I would go out to the bar with my friends. Unfortunately, I was most often targeted by the wrong types of males. These are the kinds of guys who use the sex laden pickup lines and attempt all the smooth talking they can manage. Needless to say, they picked the wrong gal to do this to. I am not going to fall for a man who talks that way. Sometimes I would get so tired of these empty lines I would almost ask them what their mothers would think if they knew their sons chatted up women like that.

I understand that the bar is not the best place to find quality guys, but it can be done. I come from a small college town that is also home to a couple large international corporations. There had to be some men here who had decent manners and great personalities who had their lives in order, right? If there was, I don’t think I was looking hard enough. Loud bars also aren’t conducive to conversation anyway, and I can’t exactly talk loud.

Summer as a single?

Last summer, I did meet someone who changed how I felt about relationships, love, and sex. I didn’t meet him in my town; he wasn’t even from here. He found my Yahoo profile online, saw my picture and thought I was cute. He randomly contacted me on messenger and we started getting to know each other. I found out he was an amputee from New York City, and he was so incredibly funny (not to mention totally handsome). Something between us clicked. We chatted for a year, talked about meeting, and um…had some rather racy conversations. This continued until a couple months ago. I’m not naïve so I always knew it wasn’t a relationship. You can’t fall in love with someone online. I held no expectations so when he found someone in his area to date; I really wasn’t disappointed and wished him the best.

Although we are no longer in communication, I guess I can give him a little credit for helping me see relationships and issues related to them in a different light. Also, society often stereotypes individuals with disabilities as asexual and this is something that also gets wired into our brains. This is not a good thing and needs to stop. This guy helped me to understand sex isn’t taboo for us and it is a subject we need to communicate more about in terms of relating personal experiences and resources to inform one another. There are people out there who will see us for who we are, see us as beautiful, hot, sexy, and attractive. It is not impossible for us to find love. We just need to find ways to let more people see us. Why should we closet ourselves?

Following my online fling (I guess I can call it that), I knew what I needed to do. If I yearned for my personal life to progress the way I wanted it to, I needed to take action. It was imperative that I meet individuals outside my rural bubble. Someone referred me to a free online dating site that has become one of the largest on the web. I finally decided to grab the bull by the proverbial horns and go with it. Last month, I posted my profile and I am happy to say I have been communicating with some really great guys who actually live in my state. Although I have not met any of them face to face yet, I am proud of myself in that I am taking more control of my life in a way I really hadn’t before.

I feel like I understand the male gender a lot better as an adult, as well as how dating and relationships should be viewed. Not everyone will see these topics the same way because everyone is different. In looking for someone to date, and during the process, we must always be realistic. If after a few conversations or dates the other person feels you aren’t right for each other, don’t feel rejected. It just means there is someone else out there who is better suited for you. Always be honest, open, and I cannot stress this enough, communicate! Know what kind of person you’d like to be with, but be a little flexible. Nobody is perfect.

I’m not saying everyone has to approach looking for a relationship the same way I am, but if you really want to reach a broader pool of people, you might want to give the online thing a whirl. It is quite fun. Who knows, in the end, you might find exactly the man or woman you are searching for and be able to change your single status.

Did you like this article? Read more articles from Tashauna’s column, My Life: Straight Up with a Twist! Or check out a more recent article like, 7 Ways to Be Audaciously Empowering!

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