I’ve found that the knee jerk reaction of most people, particular those in relationships, is to proclaim, “Of course there is, you just have to…” What follows is usually a list of suggestions that involve some magical mixture of self-improvement, compromise, and Zen awareness. Sometimes those people are right. But sometimes even the most enlightened, well meaning, nicest people in the world will be single, whether they want to be or not.
The question got some really great comments over on our Facebook page and I wanted to share some of them with you. To read the comments in their entirety, visit Women at Forty on Facebook. (Photo credit: Flickr exfordy)
I’m 40 – soon to be 41 – & I have been in love. However, I’m not married, & I don’t know if I ever will be. I’ve had a few relationships, but it’s been a while. Part of me is still hoping, but I’m no longer desperately longing for a man. A …few years ago I arrived at the place where I’m truly content to be on my own, & I’m no longer bothered by wanting to be with a man. Yes, there are times when it’d be great to come home to a loving husband & to share my life with him, but, overall, I’m quite happy on my own, & I’ve come to realize that I love myself just as I am & that I’m happy as a single woman. MK
I guess what I am trying to say is that there is likely someone out there for everyone, but we have to be realistic about it and focus on the things that truly matter more than the things we are conditioned to believe or are told matter. I know several women who are single because the *NEED* a man who is 6’3″, makes over $200k, has never been married, has no children, works for a Fortune 500 company, has perfect credit, speaks fluent Italian and Swahili, was a gourmet chef in a previous life and also a certified masseur… REALLY? RD
I am personally in a long term relationship but I’ve run the whole gamut of feeling on relationships over the years … Friends often think their life is over without a man and that’s so sad to me… DB
I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re a woman who is single who sometimes/often feels like she’d rather not be then you don’t have to follow the script that says you somehow need to compromise more or work harder on yourself, or any other variety of self-help/relationship mantra that’s being repeated. Yes, we should all constantly be in a space of self-development and growth, but sometimes the truth is, it’s not you, it’s them, and we shouldn’t be afraid to say that.
That last bit was all me. Here’s my take on being single. There are many beautiful, content, happy women who are single just because that’s just how it worked out. Yeah there are some with deep seated issues who are materialistic and unkind and only like bad boys. And there are many women in relationships with the very same traits. To suggest that the only “answer” to being single is to work on yourself suggests that 1) Being single is a “problem” that requires a solution, 2) Being in a relationship is always better than being single 3) The goal of working on yourself is to find “the one” and 4) That there’s something fundamentally wrong with you or you’d surely be coupled up by now. These “solutions to singleness” aren’t only offered up by friends, well meaning and otherwise, but it’s a script single women (and some men) repeat to themselves over and over again.
When it comes to being single there should be no guilt about it, no shame associated with it, no rush to find blame or point fingers as to why. Singleness can be a state of being just as any other state of being – as rewarding and fulfilling as you make it.
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