A Singler Clarification

by Sarah on June 21, 2013

I wrote two posts this week in which I got rather “personal” in an attempt at vulnerability... also, I needed an example, and I’m the only one I have at the moment.

Unfortunately, I feel like I made a bit of a mess of everything in those posts, so I’m here to try clarify.

On the plus side, despite the frustrations of trying to make myself understood through writing, I’m grateful for friends who ask for clarification and challenge me on my ideas so I can work on presenting myself more clearly.

First of all, how I feel about my life and my relationships does not say anything about other singlers. Singlers can be asexual, poly, casual daters... all kinds of things. The definition was designed to be loose and flexible, and while I’d like to improve it in the future, I need to get more singlers involved in the process first.

Singler is not defined as “people who are exactly like me,” so if I use examples or concepts from my own life, just know that I don’t speak on behalf of a whole group of people. (I almost wrote a “whole community” but alas, we are not yet a community.)

On to the personal stuff.

One of my friends read the posts this week and had some questions about my singler lifestyle, which I realize many others may have as well, so I wanted to share some of what I told him.

NB: It’s freakin’ hard to be this personal about things which I’m not necessarily entirely comfortable sharing with the world. But I’m doing it because I feel like there’s a conversation that needs to be had, and I want to be able to open up that dialogue. Be gentle and assume good intentions, please.

The question started because he mistook my label of “singler” to mean that I prefer one-night stands or short-term relationships to deep, long-term connections.

This is drastically untrue, but also probably something that many people would assume.

Of course, it’s worth saying again that everything I write herein is about me and doesn’t apply to singlers in general. Some people do like many short-term partners. That’s their cup of tea. Here’s mine:

I like deep connections with people. I just think that the way we relate to any one person will inevitably change over time as we each grow and that trying to too tightly define what the relationship is supposed to be like can put undue pressure on it.

I have had friendships that sometimes are sexual and sometimes are cuddly and sometimes are dormant and I think all the ebb and flow/wax and wane is part of the beauty of the thing. To say, “we’re in a relationship,” even an open one, starts to create obligations and expectations.

Now, on the other hand, I think setting boundaries and discussing expectations are seriously important.

By saying that I don’t define things, it means that I don’t like using other people’s labels. Slapping a label of “dating” or “relationship” on something often means we’re expecting that thing to look a certain way. Meanwhile, our partner may expect it to look a very different way. By not doing that at all, we have to negotiate our own specific situation in a way that clearly works for each person involved. In this respect, I take a lot out of the poly book. The fact that many of them still use the word “relationship” for these radically different and highly negotiated shiops and I don’t may be purely semantic.

At the end of the day, the main point for me is that, while I’m happy to share large parts of my life with others, being a crazy extrovert and lover of people, I don’t see myself Sharing A Life with any one or even any small limited group of people for the rest of forever. That’s mostly what I’m protesting against with the ‘singler’ thing at it’s core – the idea that if we like each other, like to spend time together, and maybe even are having sex that eventually we have to share a house or pay bills together or in some way pile these other social structures on top of the relationship which may have little or nothing, in actuality, to do with our particular connection or how we feel about one another.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing one’s life in that way, but I just like my life too much to share. Which doesn’t seem to affect the depth or quality or intimacy of my connections too much. If nothing else, it lets me go deeper with more people. And I love that.

Got questions? Want more clarification? Leave them in the comments, and I will respond. Also, I’ll be back next week with some way less personal posts about singlism and discrimination. Yayfun!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob June 21, 2013 at 10:11 am

Love this! Thanks.

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Sarah June 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm

😉 Thanks for all of your great insights.

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