The Art of Being Single: I’m Listening

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This morning one of my good friends told me that I was a “very strong woman.” What I heard was I was never going to find a man. Isn’t that interesting? What he meant as a very loving compliment actually means to me that I will remain single because no man will be attracted to me. And, I know … several of you will insist that there will be men that will be attracted to a strong woman, but I can tell you that many of my male friends have confided in me that strong women intimidate them. One even said that he just wasn’t attracted to a woman that had a lot going for her because he didn’t feel like he could help her. I have been told that I am intimidating. The irony is that most of my good friends – male and female – think I’m quite sweet, vulnerable and loving. And, yes, they also think I’m strong.

I feel like God has been talking to me lately. When something comes up 3 times in a short period of time, I start to think that maybe God is trying to tell me something. A week or so ago I met a man online who was a really nice guy. I was really interested in him. He had some things going on in his life that were a bit unorthodox, but I’m okay with that. I’m a little unorthodox myself. But, when I thought more about it, I got scared about whether or not I could trust that he was who he said he was. I’ve met men who were married. I’ve met guys who were just players. I’ve heard about guys who take advantage of women for money, sex and may even put them in danger. With this particular guy, there would be no way to meet his friends, his family, his co-workers or even see a home to discern if he was on the up and up. I decided I was too scared to continue getting to know him. Maybe I was wrong, but I realized how scared I was of getting in a really scary relationship again. Hmmmmm… maybe I’m the one who’s afraid. And, I decided to accept that.

“Single” means you are brave enough to face the glorious unknown of the unaccompanied journey.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

I decided to quit online dating. Maybe it is just too much work and too risky for my comfort zone. I just don’t have the stomach for it right now. This weekend I experienced a trigger that reminded me that I had never been in a relationship where a man had my back.  I am a big proponent of being gentle and understanding with myself, and I actually can understand why I would feel like I need to be so strong and self-sufficient. I’ve always had to be. So, yes, my friend, I am a strong woman. AND …. I really don’t trust that I can not be strong because I’ve never had that experience. So, God is starting to talk to me. I’m starting to accept that I’m okay the way I am.

This morning – and this is number three – I saw this article online about being Single at Heart. I answered yes to most of their assertions, and, yes, I just may be Single at Heart. My first husband traveled all the time, so, I basically operated as a single. I didn’t date other men, of course, but I did everything on my own. In my second marriage, I tried to be a good little wife and work as a couple, but it was a very unhealthy relationship, and it didn’t work. I’ve always done better as a single. I’m happier. I am less lonely. I have less emotional and mental distress. I have more friends. I am able to be me. I might be better off single. You could argue that I haven’t found the right man, but what if I’m the one not capable of being in a long-term relationship. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me. I just might be made to be single.

Now, if you’re feeling sorry for me or worried that I may be giving up on the ideal – marriage or a committed relationship, you may be discriminating or have a bias against singles. Why are we called singles? Are married people called doubles? No… because married is considered the norm. Statistics show that less than half of the population is married. Why is that the norm? Why is that the ideal? And, according to some sources, even same-sex couples that have the right to get married now are choosing to say no. This article lists reasons not to get married. I agree with quite a few of them. The article makes a point that marriage has not proven that it is the most viable option of living. So many marriages end in divorce. For me, it’s proven to be devastating financially, emotionally and mentally. That’s one reason I’m so careful of relationships now. I don’t want to spend another 7 or so years investing in something that turns out horribly. I want to enjoy my life. I’m tired of all the work I’ve had to do during marriages.

So, I’m left with the knowledge that I may not be the most attractive type of woman for marriage, I am afraid of marriage, and I’m really happy single. So, God, I’m finally getting it. If I think about why I’ve been looking for love online and dating, it’s not really because I want a relationship. When I have met someone, I’m so busy I can’t find the time to get to know them, and I’m the type of person that makes time for things I really want to do. My gut tells me that I’ve been searching for love online for the past two years because I didn’t want to be considered bitter because of my past failures. And, if I’m not looking for a partner, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME. I actually feel pretty damn good about myself for the first time in my life. I’m not bitter about marriage. I’m not bitter about men. I’m really happy for those that make it work. I have lots of good male friends that I really love. Marriage just doesn’t look attractive to me. I don’t want to work that hard anymore.

I’m a realist. I may be single at heart. I may not be capable of sustaining a long term relationship. I may not be the type of woman that most men are seeking. I may not be making time for developing a relationship. I may enjoy my female friendships so much that I’d rather sacrifice a romantic relationship for them. Let’s face it, I’d end up sacrificing those for a romantic partnership. Don’t tell me I wouldn’t. I can’t tell you how many friends dump their long-term relationships with me when they get married or become part of a couple. Then, when they break up, I’m their best friend again. And the number of people I know that are staying married because they are afraid to be alone is astounding. It took me so long to leave because I was afraid to be alone. Is that a relationship? Staying out of fear? It sounds more like a prison sentence. If you are one of those people, let me tell you that being single rocks. You have to learn to love it, but aren’t you trying to love something you don’t love anyway?

The one thing that really bothers me is the stigma about being single. I’m a second class citizen. Well, if I don’t get picked, I’ll be happy single. I’ve been lucky enough to have it both ways, and I’d rather be single. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to date or have sex or be with men. It does mean that I will only get married again if a lot of things change inside of me. But, if I stay as I am, I’m happy. I know it makes some people uncomfortable. I don’t get invited to my couple friends’ houses. For some reason, couples can’t get to know a single person. It’s like I’m the Velveteen Rabbit. I’m only real when and if I become part of a couple. It doesn’t matter if the couple really can’t stand to be around each other, as long as they are part of a couple, they are invited everywhere. If you are single, you are relegated to singles’ functions only. I mean… I’m probably just trying to hit on your husband anyway, right? You know… because I’m so desperate for a man. I’ll be real honest, it’s usually your man hitting on us. We are usually saying no. Whatever .…. No wonder people have a fear of being single when they are married. It looks so bleak from their point of view. It’s just like marriage. It’s only bad if you can’t adapt.

So, I think for now I’m going to accept being single. I’m going to have my full life and not put any pressure on myself to get out and meet somebody. Yes, I will get out and have fun. If I meet somebody I like, then maybe I’ll get to know them better. But, if I don’t, I don’t. One of my friends reminded me yesterday of what a great life I have. We just caught up with each other after many years, and she went through my FB posts to see what had been happening in my life during the time we had been out of touch. She told me it was pretty amazing. She asked if I realized how many people had posted on comments I had made… how many had told me how much I inspired them … touched them …. helped them … made them laugh? When I was married, I wasn’t able to do that because I was focused on one relationship. It’s a choice. I like having all of that variety. I’ll take the risk of dying alone and being eaten by my cat. It’ll make a great blog anyway. 🙂

6 thoughts on “The Art of Being Single: I’m Listening

  1. About online dating . . . Although I don’t have any experience with it, I have some thoughts, and I’ll comment. Seems to me it would be a bit like playing the lottery. IOW, OK for entertainment purposes only. Sure, you might get lucky, but it’s nothing to depend on or be serious about, really. If you want to meet people, best do it face-to-face by communicating with and expressing some interest in the people that cross your path in a day. According to Proverbs, “The man who hath friends must shew himself friendly,” or in Mark’s paraphrase, “The person who has friends must appear as a friendly person.”

    • I have to agree. I approached it like a Rolodex. Here’s some available people to meet in person. Honestly, it takes so much time to meet and screen that it becomes a burden. I’ll do it for awhile then go live my life for awhile. I think now I’ll just live. If there is somebody interested in me, I’m fairly easy to find. And I’m probably an acquired taste anyway. I’m not for the masses.

  2. I have to say, you being a strong woman makes you attractive to other strong women! I enjoy hearing about your life and adventures and hope that, were I to find myself suddenly single, I would embrace my own life as vibrantly as you do yours, the good AND the not so good.

    And on the topic of men’s reactions to strong women, I was hired many years ago by a manager who was attracted to strong women, and then watched as each member of my department was let go one after the other, because he couldn’t get us to kowtow to him. I avoided the axe only by quitting before it was my turn. Poor guy, I hope he figured out how he was sabotaging himself.

  3. I love reading your articles! Bottom line….it’s ok to be you. That is all you can be and should be. And the strong..independent .,self efficent woman you are….it’s just the “KING” in us! It is our mold…our heritage..and I love it! Just go about your happy..busy life everyday and don’t look for or expect anymore than your happiness brings. We open and close doors everyday! You never know when you may open that Grand prize door…..”When the price is Right”….you’ll know ……:)

    • Aww … What a great way to think! It’s been a relief this weekend to NOT be online dating and just do what I want to do. I told somebody this week that if somebody wants me, they’ll just have to find me. I’m fairly easy to find!

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