There are many benefits of being single.
We can sleep on whatever side of the bed we want and binge-watch Hallmark movies if we so choose. We can travel without having to factor in someone else’s schedule, and we can enjoy structuring a life with only our own needs at the center.
Be that as it may, there are also several difficult aspects that come with being single. For instance, we don’t always have a plus-one to bring to events, and we encounter judgment about our single status every which way we turn. We have to endure holidays alone, and there’s no one to celebrate with when times are great or to hold us when times are tough. And we get never-ending advice about what we can do to end the “curse” of being single.
Consider this your public service announcement from your single friends:
1. Stop telling us to settle.
Most of us aren’t waiting for the GQ or Cosmo cover model to come our way. But attraction isn’t a non-issue, so stop telling us we need to settle for someone we’re not attracted to in order to be coupled. That’s really insulting to all parties. I sure as hell don’t want someone to “settle” for me because something better hasn’t come along, and I’ll be damned if I’ll treat another human being this way. We want to be with someone who is excited to be with us, who thinks we’re sexy as f*ck and loves everything about us. We don’t want someone who is just counting their blessings that they’re not alone.
2. Stop telling us to get our sh*t together so the universe will reward us with a mate.
Do you have any idea how incredibly offensive that is to most of us? First of all, there’s an underlying assumption that all of the coupled people have their sh*t together, but I don’t buy that. Then there’s the assumption that it’s our own fault if we’re alone because we clearly need to work on ourselves more. There’s something to be said for every person, single or coupled, who improve themselves for their own benefit, but it’s pretty damn insulting to be told that we’re single because of some flaw we need to fix. Examining our dating patterns and working on ourselves aren’t unimportant, but it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not we find a partner.
3. Stop telling us to learn to be comfortable alone.
I was married a long time and dated that person for several years beforehand. There seems to be an assumption that I can’t live without a man, when the reality is that I had a lonely marriage, and I’ve never had a healthy relationship. So when I get told that I need to get comfortable being alone, it’s deeply hurtful. Particularly when the people saying that have rarely been out of a relationship. We don’t need to be told that we’re not lonely or that we need to enjoy our single time more.
4. Stop assuming we all want to be coupled, or that we all want what you have.
Please don’t assume that you know what we want, especially when we’re telling you exactly what it is we do want. Our lives don’t need fixing just because we’re not walking through this life paired up.
5. Please don’t tell us we’re doing “single” wrong.
That we should pick up partners in bars—or to stop doing that. That we should do online dating or we shouldn’t. We’re the ones who have to live our lives, and we’re doing the best we can. We all have different comfort zones, just like we are drawn to different types of people in the dating scene. This is just another way to tell us that we’re at fault because we haven’t found our someone.
On the other hand, here are some things our coupled friends can do.
1. Offer a listening ear, a hug, or even a shoulder to cry on.
There are times when we’re lonely and times when it’s tough. All we ask is to be there for us and not to judge us, or ask us to pretend to be fine when we’re not. Give us a safe place to talk about our fears and struggles without feeling like we have to hold back for your comfort.
2. Offer an introduction to a single friend only if we’d like one.
That kind of support is great, but please don’t try to talk us into something that we’re not comfortable with or shove single people in our path. Just because we’re single and your friend is single does not mean we want to be coupled together.
3. Take a time-out from your own happily coupled existence to spend time with us as friends.
Everything doesn’t have to be a coupled event. Sometimes it’s nice to get together with our friends without including their partners. It’s so easy when we’re in relationships to forget the world outside, but it’s healthy for both partners to take a break and go spend time with their separate friends.
There are days when it sucks to be single, when we feel like we’ll never find someone who will love our precious souls or see us for who we are. Then there are days when we love our beautiful lives and are happy with them just as they are, single status and all.
For our coupled friends, please simply be respectful of us, as we will try to be with you and your relationships. We’ll try not to assume we know everything about your relationship, if you’ll please agree to stop telling us how we’re doing “single” all wrong. If we can find this baseline of understanding, we can support each other. Consider this a PSA with love.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editors: Catherine Monkman & Callie Rushton