The Grass Is Always Greener

I've been on both sides of the couples' equation -- married, single, dating, living together, and oh, single again. When I go out for drinks with girlfriends in long-term relationships, I'm shocked when they're jealous of my singleness.
11/27/2012 04:04am ET | Updated January 26, 2013
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Woman screaming while covering her ears and shutting eyes in frustration

Attention People Who Wish They Were Single:

Here's one for you: Why is the grass always greener on the other side? Because it's fertilized with bullshit.

I've been on both sides of the couples' equation -- married, single, dating, living together, and oh, single again. When I go out for drinks with girlfriends in long-term relationships, I'm shocked when they're jealous of my singleness. They sigh and say "oh, those were the days." They talk about the thrill of first dates, first kisses, how nice it must be to "have my freedom." They ask for updates on the dating game and suggest potential prospects. They raise an eyebrow and ask if there's a "special someone in my life" with a coy smile. A friend volunteered to go speed dating with me -- "I just want to watch!" she exclaimed gleefully.

What the what?! I'm working hard to keep my head above water and my heart together, and you want to trade places? Whoa nellie. You're overlooking all the invisible and unwritten and clearly underappreciated advantages of being part of a couple. In case you've forgotten, the list of coupledom perks is extensive, and includes:

• Having a guaranteed +1 for events that showcase your success as an adult. I didn't make the rules, but being unattached after a certain age causes folks to raise an eyebrow.

• Having someone who opens their arms and folds you in a big hug at the beginning and end of the day.

• Not being seated at weddings with the one other single who is a whiny, uninteresting Eeyore.

• The pleasure of watching your person branch out of their comfort zone, try something new and succeed!

• A warm body in bed that isn't your cat.

• An automatic partner in silliness. Why else would I wrap a t-shirt around my head, squint one eye and walk around the house calling myself a pirate?

• When you find a new freckle and assume it's melanoma and that you're gonna die, at least you find comfort knowing you won't' die alone surrounded by cats.

• Someone to drive the car around front and pick you up when it's raining.

• The joy of overhearing someone you love tell a story where you are the hero or otherwise expert or awesome.

• Someone to talk to at the toddler birthday parties when everyone else is pregnant, trying to be pregnant, sleep-deprived and/or nursing.

• An emergency contact that actually has you as their emergency contact too.

• No longer receiving books in the mail from your mother with titles like, "Embraced by the Light" and "9 Magnets to Find Your Soul Mate."

• The squeal of glee you utter when your person wears the new shirt/socks/boxers you picked up while thinking of them.

• A person who calls you out on your bullshit. We all need it sometimes.

• Watching his face light up when you've organized a birthday event and all his friends show up for him. Because he's awesome. Seeing him feel loved and appreciated.

• Avoiding those awkward moments when you're following a dude down the metro escalator because he smells amazing, then he turns around and catches you sniffing his shoulder and is completely weirded out. Just me?

• Feeling pride in your partner's successes, like when he nails a speech or holds his own in a dicey conversation, or finally gets that promotion.

• New cultural education via his friends: "What exactly do you mean by an 'undercarriage towel?'"

• A reason to charge your phone while at work -- since your person is texting you, or wants to make plans after work, or generally communicates so that you get a little lift during the day.

• Make-up sex.

• Seeing him send a tweet or tell someone how amazing your new recipe was, or when he asks you to make that one thing again because he liked it so much.

• Someone who shares the burdens of your crazy family, and understands that a call from that particular insane aunt means you should be met with a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate.

• A reason to go to the gym.

• A reason to skip the gym.

• A backup person to help with your flat tire, dentist appointment, vet appointment, cable guy, airport pickup, grocery shopping and directions.

• Someone who thinks your jokes are funny -- or at least tells you very nicely when they're not. (Never underestimate the importance of practicing a joke before launching it at a dinner party. Apparently "daschund" is not pronounced as DASH-HOUND.)

• A person who doesn't care if you ever wax another part of your body 'cuz damn girl, you look GOOD!

• Hearing your girlfriends compliment him.

• It is so much cheaper to share groceries, food and rent with another person -- and one that you actually WANT to live with.

• Someone to start dinner when you're stuck late at work -- and is happy to make the effort.

• No more logistics planning of who's driving where, sleeping over at who's place, do I have the right work clothes in my bag, did I pack my medication, did I bring gym shoes? You know who you're going home to.

Of course relationships take consistent, hard work and you don't always feel like investing. But look at this quick hits list of good moments that come back to you! Plus, let's not even start down the path of how much dating bites and divorce sucks.

November is a month for gratitude. If you -- the unsatisfied coupled one reading this -- are feeling cramped and resentful, obligated to your 'ole ball-n-chain, then read this again. Find something good about your significant other, then take a minute to say thank you. Do it for you, for them, and for all the singles opening a bottle of wine and heating up Trader Joe's in front of the TV tonight -- alone.