A week ago I talked to a woman in her mid-twenties who had just moved to town. She seems cool. I enjoyed getting to know her, though we barely scratched the surface. We talked a little about how hard it is to be single in a small town like this one. There’s not much of a single adult population and it’s tricky getting to know a community when you’re new and you live alone. She seemed excited to meet someone close in age who was single and a potential friend. I get it. When I started in Winterset, I didn’t know many people. I’ve learned it takes a couple years to settle in and make friends outside of work. I showed my new friend empathy.
Then another friend in on our conversation asked me how Steve was doing. New friend asked who Steve was and I used that terrifying word “boyfriend.”
“Oh,” she said sadly. “You have a boyfriend.”
“It’s okay,” I said, quickly. “He lives 3 hours away. We can still be friends.”
As though we couldn’t be friends if Steve lived in town? It would be a different level of friendship, though. Having a boyfriend lowers my friend rating. It just does.
It’s been awhile since I was on the “seriously seeing someone” side of the fence. There have been a few shorter stints of consistent dating but I know Steve is a long term relationship. Heck, we’re facebook official. Obviously this one is important. I felt like I should apologize to New Friend for having a boyfriend. That has nothing to do with Steve. I am happy with him. I’m praying everything continues to go well there. But for the first time, I was on the other side of the couple vs single person gap.
There’s a division between singles and people in relationships. There’s at least a slight resentment when a good friend couples up, even if you like the other half of the couple. Maybe I just speak for myself. I was glad when friends found boyfriends or girlfriends and even when that turned into marriages, but part of me coveted that connection. It seemed so easy for other people to find someone to be with and always so hard for me to find the right person. Because I’ve waited, I won’t apologize for having a boyfriend.
I know meeting Steve has adjusted my priorities and that’s awesome for me, but sad for some single friends. I could hear it in New Friend’s voice and I remember how it always was for me before Steve. It’s probably how Jacob felt in Twilight when the older boys changed into werewolves and he hadn’t yet, so he was a mix of jealous and annoyed.
Um. I just compared dating to being a werewolf. I should probably stop there. I don’t really know where I’m going with this train of thought anymore. I’ll come back to it again sometime unless I don’t.