A few days after Roger died, several people said to me, “You’re still young and beautiful. You will find someone else.” Superficial, yet well-meaning comments like this continued throughout the years. Of course I want to marry again, right? I mean, who stays single? Well, I don’t see that in my future. I’m not saying never, but I am saying that I am complete as a solitary being in the meantime or forever.
When I was young, a woman’s goal was to graduate high school, meet some guy, then get married. Marriage and children was what everyone did. It was the plan anyway. It was the norm. People still hold onto that same old-fashioned sentiment because they believe that as individuals, we are not whole.
It’s as if we are not meant to be alone. Like it’s not accepted in this culture. Like something is wrong with us if we’re single. Terms like “spinster” exist for a reason. The male counterpart for that term is “bachelor.” It’s not as derogatory or offensive is it?
“Is he dating anyone?” People ask me this of the boys many times. They don’t ask if they’re fulfilled in their careers or if they are engrossed in a hobby they love. It’s quite often the first thing they ask when wondering about their progress. It’s like they are not whole if they are alone. It’s like “alone” is a bad word, one that aligns more with “lonely” than independent.
“No, he is not seeing anyone,” I will say.
“He will find his true love,” they will say, often accompanied by a sympathetic head-tilt.
When considering one’s future, why, then, does the endpoint have to be marriage? Why does there have to be a reason for being single meaning it’s not a simple choice? They must be picky or hard to get along with. Maybe they’re too shy. No, maybe they are happy with themselves.
I am not anti-marriage or anti-relationship. I was married for years and happy in that life. I’m simply saying that it is not for everyone. It does not have to be the way or the ultimate goal for every person.
It is OK if a person is single and the definition of them should not include another, even if they are linked. In our culture, individuality is not yet cherished, but one must lean or complement another. We’ve come a long way, but we ain’t done yet.