Would I be happier if I stay single forever?
I'm 24 and have been in two relationships. Both were long distance and online, and I never met either of them in person. The first one only lasted one month and the second one lasted 8 months. Our only communication was through texting/online messages.
In the second one, which ended last month when he left me, I spent a lot of my time worrying that he was talking to a better woman than me or that he had lost interest in me (I could tell that he had definitely lost interest, and I caught him lying a few times, which made it hard for me to believe anything he said). He made me very happy and I loved him a lot, but once I lost my trust in him after the third month, I felt a lot of anxiety as well as happiness, and I cried almost everyday. I also kept comparing myself to other women and feeling bad about myself for being nothing like them.
Now that I'm single, I'm feeling happy, positive, hopeful and free because I don't have to worry about him anymore and I can also get back to the things I had been wanting to do before the relationship started, like learning some languages, reading more books, getting better at things I already do, etc. When I was with him, all I wanted to do was text him all day, and when I wasn't, he was all I could think of, which affected my concentration. I know how bad this sounds.
Tonight, I was looking at Pinterest, and it made me very happy because I was thinking of fun things to do and make. After that, I felt like crying for no reason. Then I realised it was because I had started thinking I would probably feel happier if I'm single forever than if I ever found someone else/got married. I really want to find someone else one day, and I want to have kids. All of this means more to me than "happiness", and I know if I'm unhappy, then he isn't right for me because he should make me happy. I was happy when I was in both of the relationships. The only thing that made me unhappy was my anxiety/constant worrying because he didn't seem honest or trustworthy.
My sister has just found out that her husband of eight years was having an affair, and everyone is saying they never would have thought he would be the type of person to do that. He has turned into a compulsive liar, even now the truth is out. This is another reason why I'm wondering this - If I'm forever alone on purpose, this can't happen to me and no one can hurt me. (Although my brother-in-law's affair and my relationship ending have both taught me what to look for/avoid in the future, which signs should tell me it might be time to leave him and which things shouldn't be tolerated. This should be helpful for me to find someone decent one day).
I know everything that is worth it comes with a risk, but I'm feeling confused right now. It's hard to imagine myself with anyone else; I still miss my ex sometimes; I can't see anyone truly wanting me; I now find it hard to trust any potential partners; I feel as though I'll keep being lied to or cheated on; I don't think there are any loyal or honest people anymore. It seems much more relaxing to just stay single forever, even though I really don't want to be.
The reason why your relationships failed is simple - they were long-distance and online. You also don't really have any experience with dating people, and while sometimes it works out on the first try and you stay together for life, the reality is that you kind of find out more about the person you want as time goes on - and oftentimes that is someone different than the person you settled for.
You make some good cases for reasons why you want to be single. You are happier, have less anxiety, and can do what you want to do - free of worry and emotions for someone special in your life. But being alone gets...lonely. I am sure there are some people out there who are just fine being alone forever, but it's sad when you think what you could have, if there were just one person who would somehow want the same things as you and be into you. Love and companionship are experiences I wouldn't want to miss out on. But many people are unwilling to put up with the disastrous results of rocky relationships and breakups.
One thing I think you are doing wrong is not imagining yourself with anyone else, and being stuck in unrequited love with an ex - who you only knew over the Internet, no less. This is a problem I see occur all too often with girls I've tried to date - they simply refuse to move on from their ex, even if he wasn't good to them. And while I can certainly appreciate someone refusing to forget the good times and feelings they had with their ex, or not wanting to move on after the death of their partner, I think if a relationship ends mutually you need to look forward to starting a new life without that baggage controlling who you are now. You owe that to yourself, and to your potential new partner.
As far as I'm concerned, you have yet to experience an actual relationship. Yes, what you felt with that guy over the Internet may have been real. Maybe you were both serious with each other for nearly a year, and made time just to talk to each other and keep in touch frequently through texts. And if you had met in person, and known each other prior to being far apart, then I could definitely see wanting to preserve what you had with him. The thing is, you never really got to start a true relationship with this guy - it was nothing tangible and, quite frankly, you had no way of knowing how your day-to-day life with this guy would have gone had you actually been together and going on dates, or living together.
And, I see nothing wrong with a relationship starting out online. That is, if the relationship can realistically move forward onto something offline, within a short amount of time after starting. That window varies for people, but I'd say after a few months if you still have no way of meeting up for at least a simple date, it probably won't happen.
As usual my response is getting long-winded, but one last point I want to make is that you should do what you feel is right for you right now. You don't have to feel pressured to date if you don't want to right now, but know that as time goes on you are less likely to meet single guys that have no kids, or guys that haven't had a lot of partners. And you will eventually reach a point where you can't have children - and it takes time just to really get to know someone and fall in love before even having those kids. My advice would be to stay available and keep kind of hunting around for the kind of guy you want, but at the same continue living your life and don't let things beyond your control impact your happiness.
I'm 28 and have still only had one real lasting relationship, and a short-lived one more recently. But I managed to go on a few dates in the span of a year, and learned a lot more about myself and what I want as a result. I am still not having a whole lot of luck finding the kind of women I want to date, or even getting a lot of responses from women in general. But I can tell you that I am happier for having kept looking, and for the failed attempts, because they had some good moments that still made me happy and helped me to grow as a person. I think I otherwise would have been pretty alone this entire past year, then.
I hope my advice is helpful. Live your life, and go make some fun crafts and things! Go see a movie, or buy a shirt that you really want. Hang out with your friends. Draw some pictures. Listen to music. And in the back of your mind, when you feel like it, think about what you want in a boyfriend, and if you've met anyone who has potential to be that person one day.