I am a soon-to-be 38 year old woman. I’m not married. I don’t have children.
Newsflash: I want to be married and I still hope for children. I shouldn’t necessarily have to explain all of this, but in today’s times I find myself in what I call “In defense of being alone.”
I am certain many of my married friends, the friends of friends and family members either think I LOVE being single and ergo don’t want to be married with all of the “trappings” or that something is horribly wrong with me which is why no one has married me.
I don’t deny there are some things wrong with me – stop laughing – lol. I tend to be moody although I manage better these days. I’m somewhat set in my ways – but amenable most days. I like things done a certain way. I’m not fond of people who snore (although I do) and I like being able to have to have time alone. I write. Writers need time alone and time to create. Time to stare out the window. Of course this is the short list of what’s wrong with me. There is the more exhaustive list I’m sure my exes would be all-too-happy to post and discuss.
I’m also weird sometimes. Very sensitive, highly intuitive, a lover of ‘me’ time and not fond of loud background noise if I cannot control it. I’m not a neat freak, but my kitchen and bathrooms all have to be really clean (thankfully you can’t see what they look like right now or you’d call me a damn liar). I will turn around and go back home if I think I’ve left the stove or oven on. I spend money on cheap wine and good food. There are a whole host of really weird things I love I won’t even go into today.
Some days I don’t want to be married because I understand the work it takes to make things work. Being single has it’s benefits in I don’t have to be accountable to someone for where I am and what’s going on. On the contrary, I am the single friend who wants her married and boo’d up friends’ relationships to survive. I have sat for countless hours (maybe into the 10,000 hour level) of talking with people and counseling on relationships. My advice is sound, it works and most days I’m on the money and right. I tell them it’s difficult out here in singledom and unless there’s a gee-golly good reason of misery, abuse and generally irreconcilable differences then my motto is stay and work it out….
Please note, I am not making a case for marriage or singleness. For having children versus choosing to remain without children. Depending who I talk to, there are as many drawback as there are benefits to either. Each of us has to decide what’s really right for our own life.
However, the questions and the looks from friends and family sometimes, when marriage and children come up is difficult and awkward – at best. I’m also being extremely nice here. I’ve been cornered, questioned, speculated at and preached to. Funny thing is it hasn’t come directly from my Mother or Father – thank God. Although I’m pretty sure they worry about me, especially my Dad (Hi Dad!), there’s been a whole host of people who feel the need to have input on this. While I’m thankful for the concern, it hasn’t helped me not one damn bit.
I’m an only child. I’m fiercely independent. It’s not because I want to be. It’s because I’ve had to be. I would love more than anything to hand over these reigns of household management to a trusted man who would be my partner/spouse/lifemate or [insert your word of boo’d up choice]. I am fine with allowing him the ability to make decisions for us and for me to add my input. I’d like to have a #Him to bounce ideas off of. Someone who I could depend on when I was tired or call in case of an emergency. I have surely built a wonderful network of friends over the years who are there. But the intimacy of this sort of partnership is what I crave. I don’t like having to show up for events, wedding, vacations, cook outs and house parties alone all of the time.
In the general scheme of things, I want to be with someone who is available to me when I need him, can support me when I push him away, will take over when I keep my mouth shut and generally help me.
No, I’m not broken. There is nothing wrong with me (mostly). I’m just single.
And that can be for any host of reasons. Choice. Timing. Poor choice of who I chose to date over the years. Spending too much time in dead-end relationships. Trying to revive already dead situations. I’m not new to this, not new to dating and not new to consideration of things.
I can talk about all of the bad relationship choices I’ve made over the years. I will take ownership of them. I made the decision to date these men. Maybe the time spent has resulted in me being on the second half of life yearning for a family and a spouse. But it doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong with me. This time last year I was in the midst of a relationship that makes me thankful to come home to an empty house. If you’ve ever had one of these kinds of a relationship, then there’s an understanding of what I feel.
The point here is many of us who are single (men and women) don’t often want to be that way. Despite whatever our dating and prior marital history may have been, I believe many of us have settled into being alone because we don’t want to settle into the wrong relationship. We’d rather be alone than be miserable with someone just for the sake of saying ‘Yeah, I got a (wo)man.’ Maybe our hearts are too big (in my case) and we can’t bear the idea of having to endure another heartache. Maybe I don’t want to have to discuss another failed relationship or being publicly embarrassed by the actions of my significant other. Maybe, just maybe, I want a place where I can go and still find love, comfort and peace. And maybe there’s no one that’s provided that for me in years on a consistent and committed basis – despite the fact I’ve dated.
I won’t even begin to talk about how many dates I’ve been on and the mayhem and foolishness that’s ensued. [Note to self: book material]. There are the stories those who read my blog know about. There are stories I’ve only told my friends and there are stories I’ve never told anyone and may never share. There are the stories behind the stories.
The issue is many people feel as if it’s because I wanted it this way. That’s far from the truth. I’ve found myself on more than one occasion having to listen to the concerns of others. I’m thankful for the concern but it seems all of the owness gets placed on me and why I’m not married. I mean, I could have been – several times over and realized the person wasn’t right for me. There was once or twice I met someone and I thought they were right – they didn’t think I was right. Is anyone seeing a pattern here?
But here’s the thing – what if I didn’t want to be married or committed? Would that make me a bad person? No, not at all. For those that fit under that umbrella I support them as well. The fact remains I DO want to be married or at least in a successful long-term relationship.
I wrote this a while back and have been anxious to post it. I just ask if you’re in a committed relationship and have a friend or a family member who is single and childless, be nice to them about their situation. Please stop assuming things. If you want to know and are close enough with them, then ask – the right way. The following WRONG statements have been said to me in some form or fashion:
“oh, you like being single.”
“You love your freedom huh?”
“You like doing things alone all the time?”
“I know you don’t want to be tied down or else you’d be married by now.”
“Aren’t you dating? Why not?”
“Why don’t you have any children yet? Have you considered finding a donor?”
“You know you can just have kids and don’t need to be married/in a relationship right?”
DONT’ say anything that even remotely looks like any of the statements above. I have plenty of other examples. I managed to wiggle out of each of these with grace. I didn’t want to destroy the fabric of the relationship or turn out the family event. Just be mindful of what you say. No trapping them at family functions and private events where their singleness or lack of suitable suitors and dates becomes the main topic. I’ve managed to handle it with grace but the snide remarks need to see their way out of these discussions.
Have you ever thought the person could be going through something they need to handle? A financial situation? A health complication? Maybe they aren’t able to have children or are now having to debate if it’s the right thing to do?
I’m just saying there are countless reasons people remain single and childless. Please don’t make assumptions. Even when you love us. It’s not fair. Many people only tell you what they are comfortable telling you. They may not share everything that happens in their life that’s led them to be where they are at the moment you’re speaking to them.
If you have single family members or friends and you’re married, please be nice to them. Don’t assume they are fully content. Don’t assume they are miserable either. If you want to know how they are, then ask. If you want to know if they’re dating, ask. If there are more details, then if you know them well enough, find a considerate way to approach the topic.
I’ve come to a point of acceptance that when it happens it happens. It can’t be forced. It can’t be planned. I need others to get on this page too.
Just be gentle with us. When the time is right, it’s right.
Have you ever been cornered by your family or extended family about your relationship status? How did you handle it?