The line from a Fergie song keeps rolling through my head, incorrect grammar and all:

“A girl like me don’t stay single for long.”

I cannot remember the last time I was fully single. I know it’s only been two weeks, but I really can’t remember the last time I was single-single, like I have no one lined up to date next, no one waiting in line to date me, like I did living in a small town where men outnumbered women 8 to 1. College may have been the last time I didn’t consider myself in a relationship with anyone.

Just as someone very close to me, cough, cough, has grown accustomed to not dating, I have grown accustomed to always being in a relationship. I walk or run during my lunches and reflect on this.  It’s like that other song, “I Wonder As I Wander.” Anyway, I’m not in a rush to get back into a relationship. Little Guy and I are still settling ourselves here. It’s given me time to think.

This last breakup wasn’t so bad. The first three days kind of sucked, but I felt so free and relieved, betrayed and misled at first, and I had a many hours in the car by myself the following weekend, but this breakup was a good one. The one before that pierced my gut. It hurt. It bit. It burned. I realized why.

The one before had a lot of the qualities that I look for. For example, he had good hygiene, knew how to clean and did it, didn’t do drugs ever, would take me out for delicious meals, cook delicious meals, try new foods, and could spell. One year he brought me back coffee from one of his few trips, and I LOVE coffee. His grammar wasn’t always perfect, but no one is perfect. He didn’t grow up with two English majors for parents, like I did.

He had some major flaws that I have added to the list of Things I Will Not Tolerate. He drank too often and didn’t go to the dentist. Yeah, I know. He had little motivation to better himself in his career, health, or mind. He talked about starting to run for the entire four years we spent dating and yet he never did it. He was stuck and seemed to like being stuck and probably didn’t view himself as being stuck, but I knew if I stayed in that little town, I would be stuck in it with him. I needed to grow in my career and surroundings and be able to run without it hurting to breathe. I had grown out of that little town and its limits.

I believe we’d still be together if I hadn’t moved away, and I would feel the same way I felt two years ago when we got back together, but not “together”. We had already lived together with it not working out, so where could the relationship really go? Maybe I limit myself by thinking that way. Not every relationship has to end in living together or marriage. Maybe I had the perfect relationship and took it for granted. In some ways, I did have it pretty good. I didn’t have to answer to anybody but me and Little Guy. I didn’t have to share my living space with anyone but Little Guy. We saw each other once or twice a week which worked with my limited free time. It felt empty or lacking after the first, big, gut-wrenching break up. I could  never specify the right word for how it felt. I felt unimportant. When I moved away, I moved away. He didn’t take it well, but to me, all I had done was move away because we weren’t “together”. To him, I was important. He didn’t show it well.

I didn’t think that having a “not-together” kind of relationship set a good example for Little Guy. I didn’t think that having a significant other who chose the bar over any other activity we invited him to set a good example for Little Guy. I didn’t think I’d ever find a man in that little town who acted any differently or had priorities that were more important that making a living to go to the bar. Even the good ones had a strong magnetism toward the bars. That isn’t what I want in my life or Little Guy’s. I choose my kid, reading, exercise, sleep and tea over the bar any day. And my mom. She’s important too.

So, I’m sure one day, when I’m ready to try again with dating, I’ll meet this certain someone at a bookstore or on the trail or at a restaurant with really good food. I’m a sucker for really good food, especially, really good, healthy food. Maybe it’ll be at Whole Foods and he won’t be a vegetarian! I’ve been there and done that, too, for ten years. Maybe, one day. For now, I have a classic book and a little someone, who means more than the world to me, ready for my attention.

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