Landisa: I'm 25 and single in Cape Town, why that matters

2020-01-24 09:26
Duanne Aspeling

Duanne Aspeling

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Where do I start?

Well, maybe with a little disclaimer.

I'm not against dating, relationships, marriage or however you'd like to classify a romantic monogamous or polyamorous relationship between people.

Rather, I’ve always believed that it differs from being single.

It seems obvious, but just take a step back and think about it. Often when you get out of a relationship, there’s a strong desire to be wanted again. While single, you could still be in a relationship with the thought or longing of being in a relationship. Still with me? Great. This is natural, but I’ve found this to be quite problematic. 

Growing up, I was conditioned to think that marriage was the pinnacle of success. This has come from religious doctrine, my [somewhat] conservative family and the false portrayal of what the perfect relationship is supposed to look like painted by the media - all skewing my view of what it meant to be a successful adult. 

They’ve done this by painting the perfect picture of what life at a certain age should look like. By the age of 25 you should be engaged to marry the love of your life and by 30, start thinking of starting a family etc. To those asking about my love life, I always have the same response: I just smile and giggle awkwardly.

The journey to fully loving yourself isn’t an easy one. To me, loving yourself is a process of realising that you’re enough. In fact, it’s a journey I’m still on and proud to share. Just three months ago, I returned from the most magical European summer holiday where I met the most incredible people, living my best life along the Italian Riviera. Life was perfect.

However, I returned home and slipped into an unhealthy habit of comparing myself to everything I saw on social media. I thought: "Why isn’t my life like this?", "Why don’t I have that?", "Why don’t I look like that?" I can continue, but you get the picture. 

This lead to me making the decision to take a break from social media for a week. Which turned into a two-month social media detox and it felt great.

I’m going to state the obvious, but I was able to be more fully present and realize the impact that I have in my circle - I realized my self-worth. I learned three things from my social media hiatus: 1) things are not always as they seem (duh), 2) putting yourself first is honestly so refreshing and lastly, 3) I’m surrounded by people who genuinely have my back, with zero judgement.

And yes, there are times that I would not be completely opposed to being with someone. Someone who is interested in me and gives me all their attention. I’d scroll through Instagram and see couples who look like they have it all. Comparison is so toxic for your mental well-being, I know. 

However, I sometimes think "what if", "why can’t this be me? What's wrong with me?".

I’m human after all. But then I quickly snap back to reality and realise that these conflicts I’m having in my head are completely unjustified and based on someone else’s highlights reel.

I've found that it’s also pointless comparing myself to everyone else. 

A friend recently made me aware of the term "self-partnered", and you know what?

I sort of like the ring of that. I just wish that society would stop putting pressure on those of us who choose self-love to justify our decision for doing so.

I think society does this because it’s what it’s always done. Similar to legacy thinking, if something’s always been that way, it’s very difficult to unlearn.

So why not leave me alone and just mind your own business?

The world needs saving for crying out loud.

Duanne is a Marketing Co-ordinator, MBusSci candidate at UCT, founder of @singleincpt_, and lives in Cape Town. 

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