The Culture Shock of Being Single After a 10-Year Relationship

The Culture Shock of Being Single After a 10-Year Relationship

Ten years. That’s how long my last relationship lasted, and trust me when I say I thought it was going to be forever. She was the one, or so I believed, but in life, shit happens and all of your plans change. I’m creeping up on 30 and didn’t think I’d be at the place I am in my life right now. I thought I’d be married with at least one kid and a homeowner by now. You know, the American dream. Yet, here I am, a 29-year-old single, freelancing automotive journalist. So, what happened? When did things shift from the vision I had in my head? That would require some time travel, so let’s go back to 2006, the last time I was single before my very long-term relationship.

There I was, 18, single, and very ready to mingle. I was having a good time meeting new people and not committing to anyone in particular, but #Matt2006 (as my brother calls it) didn’t last too long. In the fall semester at Pasadena City College, I decided to take a psychology class, because my friends said it was an easy A. What I didn’t expect was meeting a girl in that class who would then become my girlfriend for the next 9 years. We made eye contact, she invited me to a mutual friend’s party, and we hit it off. I’m not going to go into detail (yet), but after spending nearly a decade together, we decided to end things because we simply saw life differently. Our paths didn’t align and I had no choice but to accept it and walk away. But I’ll talk more about all of that another time.

Flash forward to 2016 where I found myself single again and the dating game had switched up on me heavy. I honestly didn’t know where to start. I was out of it for so long, I wasn’t sure if I even knew how to play “the game” anymore. “So, do you like bread?

I don’t know if it was just the time period or what, but I remember it being much easier to talk to women back then. In 2006, you could walk up to a girl you like, strike a conversation, and she’d give you her phone number. Now, girls will ask to scan you. And when I say “scan,” I’m talking about Snapchat. I’ve come to realize that it’s not just an app to create stories via photos and videos. It’s actually a tool women use to pick up guys. Trust me, it’s happened to me a few times now. Instead of exchanging numbers, girls would open up the app and BOOM! Done deal. They’d give me their social media evaluation and watch me from a safe distance before deciding whether or not they want to spark anything. The result is always a toss up. I still keep in touch with some girls who gave me the digital runaround, while others ghosted me real quick for whatever reason.

If there’s one major difference from 2006 to 2016, it’s definitely the advancement in technology. And I’m talking about everything from cell phones, applications, social media, the lot. Back in ‘06, cell phones were still just phones. All you could do was call and text. Friendster died, Myspace had already peaked, and Facebook was on the rise. Shit, Instagram and Snapchat had yet to exist. Dating apps were a dime a dozen, and even if you were on eHarmony, you wouldn’t tell anyone about it. There were less distractions and more real-life interactions. Those were simpler times when people weren’t scared to go up to strangers and Instead, we bury ourselves in our smartphones and miss out on life.

I just want women to know that there are still good, genuine guys out there if you just give them a chance. I know some of you have been hurt, but guess what? Guys get hurt too. It goes both ways. You know that guy you constantly dream about? The one that will write you love notes, open doors for you, and text you early in the morning and late at night. He’s out there, and I can say that because I’m one of them.

So, although this isn’t how I pictured my life, it’s a new chapter and I’m turning pages ever so eagerly every day. For one thing, I’m doing something that I love and am extremely passionate about--writing. I started writing about cars and here I am writing about my feels on dating and relationships, and I’m excited to share my stories and tell you about new ones along the way. Dating is definitely a lot harder now than the last time I was single, but I’m OK with that, because I’m not waiting or looking for the right girl to come my way. I’m just making sure that when she does, I’ll be ready.

Just a 30-year-old guy that writes about cars, dating, and relationship.