Re-posted from my old blog; originally published in May 2016
Being married is better than I imagined it would be.
My very Korean and Christian upbringing had led me to believe that marriage is mostly about hard work and making sacrifices for the other person — and a lot of it is — but the truth is, it is pretty sweet (automatic dinner dates, a strong man to help me carry groceries, someone to go see all the super hero movies with, and the gross stuff — kisses and hugs, etc.).
But most of the time, I do not talk about it.
It’s nobody’s fault, but there is definitely something that I cannot share with people who are single, not because they are single, but too many people in/near NYC are single. And not only are they single, but they are stuck in this horrible dating scene of this city where love comes to die. Trust me. I know. I’ve been there, too. It is seriously so frustrating watching many beautiful, smart, kind-hearted women in their late 20s and early 30s who are finding themselves surrounded by “guys” (not men, not boys, but somewhere in between) who are interested in having fun but not settling down anytime soon. I could go on about how terrible dating is in NYC, but there has been plenty of thing written about that. This isn’t about that. This is about the other side. What happens once you cross over to the other side?
I am 29 years old and have been married only for a year, and my social life has basically died since I got married. A big part of it is my fault. My still very Indiana brain tells me that anything that requires more than 10 minutes of walking (in heels, in going out clothes) is not worth it. Plus almost all social events has alcohol (which is fine but my low alcohol tolerance and aging body doesn’t fare well the day after) and so many “fun” things in NYC require me to stand for many hours in very loud music. How does anybody have a meaningful conversation at Ichi Umi (which, by the way, is literally the worst bar in NYC and should be set on fire immediately, but that is for another post).
But when I was single, I did it all. Every weekend. With genuine enthusiasm. HIMYM called it the “single’s stamina.” I call it: desperation. My desperate attempt to feel like I was young and alive. Whatever it is, there is a certain excitement about going out (even if it is the same bar ten Saturdays in a row) because there is a possibility of meeting someone new every time. Even if the #1 priority isn’t meeting a guy, coming home after a night of getting hit on made me feel okay about my attractiveness (and my shot at getting married). I admit these motivations weren’t exactly noble or healthy, but that is where I was around 2012-2013 before I met my husband.
Now that I don’t need to get my “highs” from NYC nightlife because I am happily married, I have gone back to my natural habitat — curled up on my couch, with my laptop, drink flat diet soda, and watching Netflix. This presents an issue that I did not anticipate before getting married — how do I connect with my single friends? Most my adult friends I have made after I turned 25 became my friends while we were drinking at bars. We bonded over terrible first date stories and gossiping about how annoying engagement announcements were on Facebook. We built our friendship with an assumption that we would stay single for a long time (like so many of our older friends who did not get married till they were 32-35). But I left. I broke the pact.
I don’t feel superior about being married slightly earlier than the NYC average, but I do feel a sense of guilt for leaving my single friends so quickly. My biggest fear? Fear of missing out. Fear of being seen like a happily married person who is trying to rub it into everybody’s face. Fear of my honesty being poorly received. And this is all because I was a bad single person in NYC.
More than anyone else, I spent most of my time trying to find a S.O. rather than investing in my friendships. I used social events with my girlfriends as a chance to meet new people instead of paying attention to THEM, my friends, because I was self-absorbed. I wasn’t truly happy for my friends who found love. I was a bad single friend. And now I have transitioned into being a bad married friend.
Without being too guilt stricken, I admit that I love being married way more than I was single, but it’s because I was not living my single-hood to its fullest potential. Whenever I tell my friends these days, hey, enjoy this time, enjoy your single-hood, they think that I mean GO ON MANY DATES! Now, that’s a part of it, but what I really mean is enjoy your life as it is while it is the way it is. There is so much more to life than your relationship status. Be the best version of yourself in whatever status you’re in. Is that cheesy? Absolutely. Is it true? I think so. I wish I could go back in time — when I was single — and be better friends to all of my friends — single friends AND married friends. I wish I could tell my 25-year-old self that I don’t have to wear heels to everything, and that hating on engaged/married people won’t bring my future husband to my present any quicker. But I can’t go back in time, which is why I plan to be the best version of myself today — if I go out with my single friends today, I will be the best friend I can be. Paying attention to them. Loving them as they are and loving me as I am too. Because while boyfriends and husbands are significant, friends are awesome for doing all the cool stuff that the SO’s can do without the gross stuff (xoxo).