Single… Not Broken

by Sarah on July 16, 2013

Spotted ElephantThere seems to be this pervasive myth in society that single people of a certain age inevitably have something wrong with them.

A few weeks ago, I was at a bar with a friend, and he was complaining about the fact that a woman he was dating has children.

He then proceeded to explain that it was worth putting up with, because if a woman was his age and didn’t have children then there was definitely something wrong with her. (Because women who have children have at least, by common assumption if not in actuality, not been single at some point in the past.)

I always think of this as the ‘gym class’ method of viewing the proverbial dating pool.

In other words, it’s a zero sum world out there. There are only X number of people available to choose from, and the good ones are going to get snatched up early. If you make it to 30 or, god forbid, 40 without having acquired a person to share your life with, you’re going to end up with the fat kid.

(As the fat kid, I will say that I was actually pretty good at team sports, so it’s not necessarily bad, but in the interest of talking about what’s wrong with this analogy, we’re not going there.)

First of all, there are billions of people in the world, so the idea of this finite pool from which to choose seems patently absurd to me.

Secondly, various other factors may keep “high quality” people out of the dating pool for many years. I’m 30, and a lot of folks my age are just finishing with advanced degrees, med school, law school, etc. I also know some fantastic business owners who are focused more on their businesses than on their dating lives. Same with artists. Same with sports players. And activists. And a shit ton of other people with career and non-career related interests.

There are a ton of wonderful people out there who have just had better things to do than searching for a life partner for the last ten years. This is actually a characteristic that makes them desirable. People with their own lives make better partners, guaranteed. Ya know, if they want to be partners. And if they don’t? Then they’re freakin’ awesome solo humans.

The myth that the most important things people have to do with their lives are find a partner and procreate (which, by the way, aren’t mutually inclusive), is just that. A myth. If that’s all people focused on in their lives, a lot of other things wouldn’t get done in the world.

Third, and most importantly, some of us don’t want to be not-single.

People come as individuals. Pairs are not the default way of existing in the world.

Yes, many folks who are really focused on marriage/family will try to get those things “taken care of” early in life.

But for the rest of us… maybe we’re not broken.

For some of us, we’re just not interested.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen J August 18, 2014 at 6:09 am

“…more awesome every day” totally Rocks, doesn’t it?
Sometimes, I wish I had a “partner” to share the journey with again, but then I also remember that *not* having to be concerned about their not-mine
wants and needs is so freeing, and opens up so many more anything-is-possibles!

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Julie Sorenson July 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Love this! As a 45-year-old, single, never-been-married, been so busy, where has the time gone, working hard on my business, but would like to get married some day just not today, woman, I would like to simply respond that I am getting more awesome the older I get, so if somebody wants to think there is something wrong with me because I’ve never married, his loss. Seriously, more awesome every day.

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