People seem to know why I am single. And not just me, but all you-single-women in the collective. Singleness is like a communicable disease and everyone around you is Web MD, dying to diagnosis you. You’re single for any number of reasons:

  • You’re intimidating
  • You’re fat, ugly, or generally unlikable . Rare are the people who will say this to you directly though they will hint that maybe you should try to eat less, or smile more, or, you know, seek some professional help.

My personal favorite diagnosis?

  • You’re standards are probably too high.

That one always confused me. Aren’t you supposed to have high standards? And is it really that much of a turn-off to have high expectations about a relationship? You wouldn’t want to date me because I expect you to open my door, or God forbid, pay for the date? What??

Two weeks ago I probably would have met my “you’ve got a case of the singleness” diagnosis with a shrug and some semblance of the above paragraph. But that was before The Magician reappeared. Oh the Magician.

The Magician and I are having serious fun getting reacquainted. We talk on the phone, we text, we go out together, we do stuff. We even discuss each other with our respective Besties. It looks and feels like a relationship, but we’re not dating. We’re just “hanging out.”

Hanging out is exactly like dating — only without a future. For whatever reason(s), you and your boy-toy are not likely to make it down the aisle or even as far as one of your parents’ house. The refrain of your time together revolves around #nothingserious and #nopromises.  It’s more of a stalemate than a romance. Hanging out is the status quo and since there is no future, the only thing that can change your relationship, is that one of you finally leaves or gets pregnant. True Story.

Most of my single girlfriends are in similar dead-end relationships where it isn’t bad enough (or bad at all) to end it and yet, it isn’t going to go anywhere either. I was in a similar impasse when I was in the sixth grade and this boy asked me to “go with him.” We never quite went anywhere.  We didn’t talk on the phone or in real life,  but we were “in a relationship.” and I was mostly confused.

I’m not as confused now with the Magician. Like I said, there are no promises — I understand where this stands. But I would counter the diagnosis above that I have too high of standards with this:

My standards are not high enough.

Yours probably aren’t either. Of course I understand why this is. The winter is always too long and Virginia is entirely too cold, and it’s amazing to connect with someone that you are attracted to. But, I  don’t accept the status quo in any other area of my life — whether it’s following my dreams, pursuing my goals, my career, my writing,  or my belief in social justice — so why accept it in a relationship? Going into 2015, I’m going to try two things and see how it changes my dating life:

Step 1) Set standards. I’m not talking pointless hoops to jump through to prove something,  but a realistic idea of what I want in a relationship. Not everyone will meet that standard. That’s not my problem.

Step 2) Hold the standard. This is the hardest part, but in the words of my friend SDW, if something is non-negotiable then stop negotiating. Amazing abs and a model face won’t make up for a smoking habit in the long run.

I guess you’ll hear how it goes.

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