There is so much pressure to be married today. I’m not sure where thinking came from that if you’re married that you would never be alone. Life doesn’t work that way. I’ve seen so many people get married, have children, and find themselves without their partner and their children away. The truth is, being single seems to still be taboo today. There is a false way of thinking that people will be your security. Where did the stigma of being single and never marrying become an issue?
I can’t tell you how many times I am asked why I never married. It’s as if people want to believe that something is wrong with me just because I made a conscious choice to stay single. I get this especially from married couples and women who are in the latter days of their lives. I never dreamed about getting married, the big wedding, or having children. It just wasn’t a part of my make-up. Instead, I always dreamed about having an education, a career that I would love, and good friends. I feel that those are the things that are sustainable. One New York City author found herself in the same position that I was in. Here she was, in her thirties, unmarried, and at a dinner party that was surrounded by couples. When the conversation turned to her love life, she simply said, “I don’t really know if I’m going to date anyone ever again. Some people are just alone forever.” Her friends rushed to assure her that love comes when you least expect it and to made recommendations for new dating apps. Like me, she wondered, “why, when there are more unmarried adults than ever before would there be so much pressure to couple up? Why does everyone treat me as though my real life won’t start until I find a partner? Isn’t this my real life, the one I’m living right now? Is there something wrong with me, or is there something wrong with our culture?
Over the course of the following year, she set out to answer these questions to see if there was a trick to escaping loneliness. She went on hundreds of dates, read all of the relationship experts out there, and even got into the wellness industry. She tossed it all aside to binge-watch Netflix and eat nachos only to learn that there is a bias in our culture, one that is deep, against being single. She didn’t have to deal with being hurt and the heartbreak that can happen with dating. She was done with it all. She could be alone without being lonely.
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. We could be in a crowd of people and still feel lonely. We spend so much time trying to find someone to fall in love with, that we forget to fall in love with ourselves. The assumption that you have to get married is a cliché that turned many to believe that their self-worth comes from being married. I couldn’t disagree more. We don’t have to change our lives, our addresses, and professions so that we can find that one person that will give us self-worth. What is meant to be will be, and living a full life can mean many things to different people. There is also something that leaves you vulnerable when asked why anyone would want to stay single. Like a fine wine, I have never understood why we have to age in a glass when we can be easily, just as happy in our own individual bottle. It may not be the best analogy, but it’s one that sticks out in my mind. There is nothing wrong with being happy on your own and just to be living single.