I’m single and in my thirties. And as such, I get asked by well-meaning acquaintances, friends and family why I’m not panicking. Now, I’m lucky. My parents have never put any pressure on me to get married and have kids even though I know they would both love to be grandparents. But others often seem stupefied that I’m not freaking out about the fact that not only am I not married (nor have I ever been) but I don’t currently have a boyfriend.
I was even approached recently by a reporter working on a story about women in their thirties who are using online dating sites – a couple of friends talked me into OkCupid last fall. The message the reporter sent me to see if I was willing to answer a few questions made me laugh out loud – she actually used the term “biological clock” – but it also made me realize that many people just don’t understand how someone can be comfortable being single, at any age. I’m going to assume that the reporter was one of them as she didn’t like my response that I didn’t hear any clock, nor feel panicked at my lack of marital prospects.
This isn’t to say that I don’t like guys – I do – or relationships – I was dating a guy last winter/spring, it just didn’t work out. Nor does it mean that I’m not looking for “the guy” – hey, if Gong Yoo or Ryan Reynolds asked me out, I’d say “yes” in a heartbeat… maybe even quicker. Okay, obviously I’m not out there looking for a movie star but you get the picture. It’s not that I don’t want a boyfriend, I do.
But what I won’t do is settle and I think it’s funny that even in this day and age, there are people who think that once a chick hits a certain age, she should just pick a guy… any guy… and get married. What the??? I thought that kind of thinking went out with duels and crinolines. Um… society, you do realize that we can vote, wear pants and actually make decisions without a guy.
I feel like I need to reiterate that I’m not a man-hater – I get that sometimes when I go on this particular rant – nor am I against the institution of marriage. I simply believe that marriage should be a life-long commitment and as such, it works much better when both parties are in love with each other. Call me a romantic – I am, actually – but I believe that love is a necessity in any relationship and getting married simply because one’s age has hit that milestone number that society has arbitrarily placed is ridiculous. Why should I make myself – and probably another person – miserable simply to make others more comfortable?
For all that I’m romantic and think that love is a key ingredient, I know it’s not the only thing one needs to build a lasting relationship that is a true partnership. It’s important but not the only thing.
How do I know this? From sad experience. You see, I’ve been in love… twice. Unfortunately, both times there were other elements missing. I’m one of those people who believes in love-at-first-sight because that’s how it works for me. Twice so far!
The first time I was quite young – in university, we actually met just before I left for my first year – but even then I knew my mind and when we started getting serious and discussing children I was shocked and saddened to find our that he didn’t want them. It ultimately changed out relationship because I wanted children in the future (not at 20 or 22 but I did want them) and he didn’t so strongly that he made sure he couldn’t. It was weird at the time because the conflict showed me how much I did want children.
The second time happened when I was in Korea. It was a fabulous, intense and ultimately brief relationship (although we did try to rebuild it later). This was one of those cases were one party – me – cared more deeply for the other. I ignored all the warning signs because it was just so much fun – so incredibly intense, like I jumped off a cliff I drove head, or perhaps heart, first into the relationship. But that intensity should have told me – along with the fact that the ink was barely dry on his divorce – that it was going to burnout quickly. Do I regret it? No, loving someone is always a good thing even when it doesn’t work out.
But despite – or perhaps because – I’ve been in love before (and hurt), I want it again. When it comes to a relationship I want my cake and to eat it too.
[Side note: there’s an expression I’ve never fully understood… I mean, what’s the point of having a cake if one doesn’t eat it? Just saying.]
So I’ll stay single and enjoy my life on my terms until that wonderful day when I fall in love with the right guy at the right moment. But just because I believe in love and relationship and marriage doesn’t mean that being single isn’t also fun. I’ve never understood how it has to be one or the other. Why can’t I enjoy being single when I’m single and love being in a relationship when I have a boyfriend? Why can’t I just live my life on my terms? I’m okay with being single in my 30s. Why aren’t you okay with it?
What are your thoughts on dating, relationships and being single?