It’s The Rule of Thirds

Natasha Lam talks all things dating, starting with everyone’s favourite position: third-wheeling.

Yes, that’s right, I am not in a relationship. That’s not for you to coo at sadly, or to pat me on the back with a patronising ‘you’ll find someone’ – it’s just a fact. For the most part, I am quite happy with being single and, excluding the occasional drunken swipe on Tinder, I do not find myself yearning for a boyfriend.

However, there is one thing that makes me wish I was in the relationship: most of my friends are in one. Of course, I want my friends to be happy and I definitely like some of their significant others. But, it gets quite lonely to not be in a relationship when everyone aorund you is in one. Every time a new movie is playing, I am left to go alone or to wait until it’s inevitably made its way to a streaming platform while all my friends skulk off hand-in-hand with their boyfriends, girlfriends and partners.

More than a few of my group hangouts are now infiltrated by a partner or two, and every “what are you doing tonight?” text either goes unanswered or is met with a “I’m out with Simon*”. Clearly my friends don’t believe in The Rule of Thirds: everything’s usually better in threes.

90% of the time, I am very happy in my own company and I am usually so busy with my degree, my job and my writing that I go days without seeing my housemates. But even the most introverted among us – and I am more of an ambivert than anything else – need a little bit of human interaction once in a while.

Socialisation is an inherent part of our DNA, no matter how minor, and going without it so often makes me feel incredibly lonely and is enforcing a societal norm of ‘needing a relationship’.

Women are consistently told they need a boyfriend, which is misogynistic and, in some cases, also homophobic. There’s a common idea that you can’t live a fulfilled life if you’re not in a relationship and that you need to be dating someone to be happy. Because, of course, women can’t be content with their successful careers or multiple degrees or their best friends. And, the sad thing is, it’s hard not to play into that stereotype. I don’t believe or support that belief, obviously. But, sometimes you just want a cuddle and it’s hard not to have that when those around you do.

Saying that, I will scream if one more person tells me to “try Tinder” or “find someone at the SU” – thanks for the great advice but I think I’m good. One day, maybe I’ll be the one in the relationship and – at risk of sounding too narcisstic – my friends will be vying for my attention.

Until that happens though, it wouldn’t hurt if I was invited along to the see the new Marvel movie too. •

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.