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“Don’t give up, ” my friend urged me, my shoulder in her hand, a vodka martini in mine.“You’ll find something that feels right eventually.” I realized that it had somehow, unbelievably, been a decade since I was in love. I can, often to my own detriment, fill hours, days, sometimes weeks, with actives of complete solitude without a speck of loneliness. Intent on my career, being single felt more like a badge than a blemish.Even if you’re one of those people who is adamantly against it, you’ll try the online dating scene at least once. Same is true of finding a mate — especially in a huge city like NYC. New York is a city of 8 million people, so it’s hard not to assume that there might be someone better out there for you. Curiosity may kill cats, kittens and other felines, but it’s also very human.If you’re part of the Sex and the City generation like me, you will never be free of relating your dating woes to those of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. Even in your most smitten of states, you’ll wonder, “Can there be more than this?If there's anything I've learned, and learned the hard way, it's that people in open relationships are a tricky breed. Besides, even if they claim their open relationship is legit, that doesn't bode well for your long-term prospects. You can’t change people, you can’t fix wounded birds, you can’t save people from themselves, and you especially shouldn’t sacrifice who you are because of someone else’s shit. While I don't knock their choices, I can attest to the fact that everyone I've had, er, "run-ins" with were actually not in an open relationship at all.

With each date I felt more like the profile I was trying to represent, and less like an actual person.

I met other women with ambitious goals and strong ideals and we clung to one another, our new friendships built on shared challenges and tools we were just learning to articulate.

We reminded each other not to over-apologize, shared tips on power stances that felt so goofy but worked so well, urged one another to speak up and ask for what we wanted; tools the other 75 percent of the student body, for the most part, didn’t need to think about. With grad school behind us, my friends and I settled into good positions at good jobs, found livable-sized apartments in San Francisco, built lives we were proud of.

I’d had relationships -- some serious, one as short as a day, and more two- to three-month experiments than I could count -- but for the most part, for the bulk of my adult life, I had been single. I watched friends from high school, then couples from college, pair up and settle down. I wanted independence, self-discovery, the autonomy to make my own choices.

I moved to an apartment in the East Village and jumped head-first into a fancy consulting job, followed by a cross-country move to California for business school.

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