Love Letters from Ana: To the Unattached

Being unattached can promote a preserved-self, a mysterious-self, and an independent-self. But is detachment healthy?

There are times in our life where we are all we ever need. These are special moments. Being single is a cyclical period in our lives where different feelings ebb and flow into our consciousness. Sometimes there is loneliness or doubt and then there are those other times when you stop really giving a damn about the minutia of “being single.” Today, I write to the unattached, the person who doesn’t want anyone right now and is having trouble pinpointing this change of heart that seems to be so contrasting with the mind set of peers. Is it healthy to be unattached?

Being unattached is often pegged as a negative thing. It is also an attribute primarily used to describe men. What women often mean they dub someone a jerk is someone who cannot seem to commit or is expressionless when it comes to her feelings. He is unattached, the quintessential modern American bachelor. An unattached female can be described as cold, a bitch, or a prude. A woman being unattached is often believed to be warranted by past relationship pains – a counter hysterical way to deal with continuous hurt. Meanwhile, an unattached guy is just a cool and collected ladies man: an ideal form of a male youth.

What is the problem here? Are women ever actually unattached or are we just putting up walls in order to protect ourselves from being hurt? Although I often preach vulnerability to be the way to connect with people on a deeper level, there are times where I absolutely believe a woman should have her guard up. Often, this ends up being most primary encounters with the opposite sex. The reason? If you’ve been hurt before, you find yourself wanting to protect yourself. And sometimes being withdrawn is a tool used to attempt to match your outward expressions with your inner feelings. You might be unattached to an ex-boyfriend because you want him to read you as content with the breakup and any new relationship in his life. Inside you might be holding back tears. In this case, being unattached is a coping mechanism called “fake it till you make it.”

But women can also be unattached because they just feel like being unattached. While often our withdrawal is from hurt, it can also be because you are satisfied being by yourself. It could be that you are unsatisfied by what is out there and would prefer to stay alone, or that any kind of relationship seems too complicated for your uncomplicated life at the moment. It could be that you just want to play the field and not be judged for your actions. If you’re not feeling particularly warm and fuzzy towards anyone, and you’re not desperately waiting for this feeling to find its way to you, you feel relatively complete being just you.

Being unattached is not just for single women, however; it is also for women in relationships. You might be feeling unattached to your boyfriend one day maybe a few days a week, this can just be the cycle of feelings that also comes with being in a relationship. On the other hand you can also feel so unattached that you see the end being near. Being unattached can also be used as a tool in relationships of playing cool. I know that at the start of my relationships I get super excited, but the other person would never know because I try to keep it really cool.

Being unattached can really be a superpower to women. In that sense, it is healthy in moderation. It can also be a state of mind or a way of coping with the pangs of past love. Either way, this quality, typical of the bachelor lifestyle, is a practice that all women have and should utilize at some point in their lives.