Ohio, USA

Stop Pitying Your Single Friends

"I just want you to find someone. I want you to be happy!"

If I had a dollar for every time I've been told this by a loved one, I'd be debt free, rich, and living the kind of life I've only envisioned in my dreams. I've come to the conclusion, once and for all, that people really don't believe you're truly happy unless you're in a relationship.
Lately, I've become increasingly frustrated with being asked about my love life. Why is being happily single not as celebrated as being happily married, or in a long-term relationship? It's like the entire world feels such immense pity for single women, and it's just....it's starting to become offensive at this point.

It never fails; whenever I catch up with an old friend, it's always the same three or four questions.
"How've you been?"
"How's work?"
"You got a man yet?"
"Well, what's the problem? You need to get out of the house!"

No, what I need to do is continue minding my business, while you mind yours. "What's the problem?" As if I'm the reason I'm single. Got it. Furthermore, if I knew what the problem was, I probably wouldn't be single. Did it ever occur to people that maybe, just maybe, the person they're constantly asking about their relationship status may not want to be in a relationship right now, if at all? And by the way, telling someone that you just want them to be happy insinuates that you don't think they're already happy and whole. That's not cool, relationship folks. Stop assuming that your single friends are sitting around sulking, depressed, and sad that they aren't boo'd up. Obsessing over some man they haven't even met yet. Hmph. Some of them just might be; however, I am not one of them. Do I think about it? Sure. Let's be completely transparent here. But finding a life partner is the least of my concerns in this moment, and that's totally fine.

It's like the minute I tell someone that I don't have a boyfriend, they immediately offer words of sympathy. "Awww" or "I'm sorry" or "don't worry, you'll find someone." I wasn't worried, but okay.

I will never forget this one time I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch at McCormick & Schmidt's. The hostess walked me to my table, and when my waiter came to greet me, he said "Will anyone be joining you?"

"No, it's just me." With a look of sympathy, he replied, "Awww I'm sorry." Needless to say, I didn't leave him a tip.

I'm no stranger to the single life. Sure, I've experienced love throughout my adult years, situationships (most of which I regret), flings, whirlwind romances, all of it. But, ultimately, I would say that I've been single more than I have not. This may sound slightly pessimistic, but I'm starting to think that relationships just aren't for me. I have my reasons, and I could be completely wrong, so let me not put that energy out into the universe. I mean, I haven't met Madlib yet, so there's still hope (Egon, hook your girl up!).

In a recent interview with In Style Magazine, Tracee Ellis Ross talked about her singledom. "It's sort of fascinating to be 45 and single and childless. Happily single, I should add. Not at home crying about it. These are very big and very personal questions that aren't anyone's business but that somehow, like the right to choose, become fodder for public conversation. Some of the ability to reflect on what I really want comes from pushing up against a society that shames me for not having the expected trappings. I'm very pleased with my existence these days. Have I had to learn to make friends with loneliness? Yes. I think if I were in a relationship, it would be the same."

We really need to start praising the idea of falling in love with ourselves just as hard as we worship and praise the idea of coupledom, because although super cliche, it's true that the most significant relationship that you'll ever have is the one you have with yourself. Let's get that right first.
"People are quick to assume that I'm unhappy as a single woman, and reticent to accept the opposite. Right now, I am truly enjoying my life, and I wish I could tell people that in a way that doesn't elicit pity or skeptical looks. Instead, I find myself often giving reasons for why I'm not in a relationship rather than just stating it as a choice that I've made. In fact, the only time I think I'm missing something is when other people make me feel that way." - Ishani Nath, Flare
Do I enjoy being single? Yes, I do. I don't sulk about being single because I am truly comfortable in my skin, I enjoy my own company, and I bask in the beauty of doings things alone. I'll take a solo road trip or vacation in a heartbeat, if finances permit. But, I do experience loneliness. I am human, after all. Those moments - the lonely moments, they are very fleeting, but they do exist. Having a man in my life won't solve that. That is why it is important, whether you're in a relationship or not, to love on yourself just as hard. I make sure I always take care of me. I buy myself flowers, I pamper myself, I indulge in the foods I love, drink as much wine as I can stand, surround my home with things that spark joy, and rid myself of things that no longer serve me. I don't ever want to expect another person to complete my life, or make me "whole." Let people live. Lay off a bit from trying to hook your single friends up, stop asking them about their relationship status every time you two catch up, stop pitying them, and start believing them when they tell you that their primary focus at the moment isn't finding Mr. Right. It's a new day, and women are no longer settling. Long gone are the days where finding a mate is a goal.

Photo Credit: Nappy
Playlist (because we all need a good soundtrack to write to): Rainy Nights, Gloomy Mornings

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