Single girl angst

What irritates me most is that we are still defining women by relationships. It just reflects this neediness about being ‘whole’ only if you’re in a partnership, about being validated as a woman only if you have a bloke. Once again, it is women who are made to feel like they’re going to miss out, and it is men who get the easy ride because some women are panicking. – Virginia Haussegger

Why is Jennifer Aniston the poster girl for single angst? by Rachel Hills, The Age.


After my relationship of eight years crashed and burned in spectacular fashion, I told myself no half-arsed relationships! Eventually. You know, after the endless months of moping around the house, being a wreck and wondering where it all went wrong. But still, came out of it thinking no half-arsed relationships. Which turned me into a bit of a freak because aren’t we all supposed to pair up and mate for life? Isn’t there something wrong with a person who’s perennially single?

There’s an enormous amount of pressure put on people, women especially, when they’re single. The general inference is that there must be something wrong with you if you don’t couple up as soon as humanly possible. I can feel the swirl of pity around me because I’ve been single for so long. It’s not even a conscious thing. People tut, then sigh and have this look on their faces that says they’re sure all my problems would be fixed if I’d just find a nice boy and settle down. Uh… I feel pretty settled as I am right now. And I’m not sure why finding a nice boy is supposed to the solution to all my problems.

It’s like all the single people are cluttering up the place, making it look untidy. Society doesn’t like it when people do something different and being over 35 and single definitely doesn’t fit the grand plan you’re supposed to subscribe to. Sometimes I feel like it’s been decided there must be something wrong with me because I’m not in a relationship.

I’ve seen too many examples of relationships where people have ended up settling. It’s not that they’re miserable or unhappy but there’s still something missing. I think people are afraid of being alone so they stay with someone when they know they shouldn’t. Settling sells everyone short and it ends up with both parties feeling less than happy and satisfied. I suppose that’s what makes me different because I’m not afraid to be alone. Still, there is this niggle in my head that maybe I’m wrong. Most of the time I can ignore it because I know with unshakable conviction that I’d rather be single and occasionally lonely then in a relationship with someone who – if I’m brutally honest – I feel meh about. Maybe that’s stupid, unrealistic and just plain dumb because it’s lead to the situation I’m in now where I’m always the person who upsets the balance of the table settings.

90% of the time I’m okay with disrupting the even numbers because I’m okay with where I’m at. It’s the 10% of the time that’s a concern. Guess which percentage I’m in right now? I think it ties into my inability to make good choices at the moment. I feel that when it comes to the relationship question, I’m not good at making sensible decisions so I opt to make no decisions at all. Better to just ignore it all and not deal with it than get myself into another situation where I get hurt. And that’s the problem isn’t it? I’ve been hurt too many times to be comfortable with putting myself out there.

There’s also the flip-side of the argument in that I simply can’t be bothered. I’ve been on my own for so long that I’ve filled the spaces in my life with other things and that doesn’t leave any room for another person. I suppose that’s my indicator that I’m really into someone – I’ll be willing to change my behaviours and make space in my life for them.

But this is all a moot point anyway if I won’t get out there and actually meet new people.

2 Thoughts on “Single girl angst

  1. brent on October 15, 2010 at 21:19 said:

    I ‘settled’.

    And I’m glad that I did.

    I got married when I was 20, which was ridiculous because, frankly, when I was 20 I had no idea what I wanted out of life let alone a life partner.

    If I were in the situation now I’d reject anyone with huge self-esteem issues, anyone obese, anyone not at least tolerant of outdoor activity and sports, anyone without a love of camping/beaches/snow, anyone with a non-existent sex drive, anyone with a gaping fear of social situations… and the person I married turned into all of those people.

    Relationship-wise I’d say quite truthfully, even in front of my wife, that for much of the last 5 years the single reason why we were still married is because we have children together. So with all the stress that we’ve been through we just haven’t really had the option to separate.

    I’ve always thought that I just didn’t believe in myself enough to attract a ‘real’ woman and that’s why I settled for my wife 12 years ago – we kind of just fell into a committed relationship without really analysing it too much, and then there was rent to pay, and then uni, and then kids, and then mortgages, and then and then and then and then and suddenly we’re in marriage counselling talking about how she doesn’t want to touch me anymore and whether that’s my problem or her problem and this has been almost the only thing I’ve thought about for about 3 years now. You know – the usual bullshit 30-something catastrophe story.

    And I think just recently I’ve realised that I’m actually better off with her. I mean, aside from exhibit a) my children, for whom I would gladly repeat this entire 12 experience, in so many ways she’s a better woman than I deserve.

    She’s geniunely truthful and honest – to the point of aggression when it suits her, but her spade is a spade is a spade. It’s a rare thing in life that you can literally accept at face value every word that comes out of someone’s mouth, and trust that at any point in time they’re doing the right thing.

    She’s the kind of person who will pay you $50 if she think she owes you $35. She’ll bring you home made chicken soup when you’re sick.

    The day that I got made redundant she just looked at me and said “Ok.”

    Truth be told I’m not Gandhi in Brad Pitt’s body either… and she’s completely ok with who I am. That’s rare – she’s never tried to change me.

    —-

    What I’m saying is that there are two ways of looking at ‘settling’ – you could also choose to label it ‘accepting’. People have flaws. Not everything goes very well. When you enter into a relationship – turns out you get a human, not a 3d printout of your every last desire. Consider yourself lucky if you find someone you’re comfortable with, who makes you laugh, who you trust, and who is serious about providing you with emotional support.

    I saw this episode of Dr Phil the other day about middle aged women complaining about how hard it is to find a good man. There was one sad 43 yr old who was intending to have a baby with her alcoholic abusive partner because she couldn’t envisage any other way of meeting a man. Fair enough, that sounds like a tough situation, and Dr Phil just ignored her other than telling her the obvious: no you CAN do better.

    There was another 47 yr old career woman who’d spent a few years trying to find a man and had discovered that there were no men available for her. It wasn’t like she was demanding much: she just needed a single 45-50 yr old, unmarried, Christian, career-driven, physically athletic man who wanted to start a family with her. And I’m like “!!!!!!!!” in my living room shouting at the telly – “Lady, that boat was 2 decades ago!!” but really what I was thinking was “That’s so sad. Where on that list was love? What about trust? What about if she meets a 55 yr old overweight bus driver who just… makes her feel good about herself?”

    —-

    Sorry. I don’t know you. I just came on your blog post from the BV site and it’s Friday and I’m home alone bored so am mostly really typing to get it straight in my own head.

    I’m certainly not trying to come on to your blog and tell you how to live your life, or try to make you feel bad because you’re an uncoupled fiend who makes for an odd number at dinner parties or anything like that.

    Just trying to say that the happiest couples aren’t always the ones who are perfect for each other.

    I think both things are true: that on the one hand it’s ok to be in a relationship with someone other than your textbook perfect match and on the other hand it’s ok to be by yourself if that’s how you like it.

  2. brent on October 15, 2010 at 21:25 said:

    so i was in two minds about whether to hit delete or submit, sorry, because it’s not like you asked for my opinion or anything… then again this is a blog with a comments section…

    just trying to say that if you were my friend you wouldn’t cop any judgments from me about the way your life is panning out, but don’t be too hasty with your ‘no half arsed relationships’ plan.

    Dragons lie that way.

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