Monday, November 06, 2006

Guess what? Some of us like being single

I read the comments on our blog entries not only because readers offer insightful commentary, but it's also a great gauge for what people are really thinking. And I've noticed more than a few comments that snipe at my "unmarried at 36" status. For instance, I recently wrote about people's different dating styles, and I concluded: "I think that if you find the dating style that works for you (and that might involve a few bad dates, but those always make great drinking stories later), eventually you'll find the best person for you as well."

Someone snarked (anonymously, of course): "And, as never having been married, how's that philosophy working out for ya?"

Uh, I'd say pretty well.

Marriage is not high on my to-do list. It never has been. In fact, I consider myself lucky because I'm not a woman whose deepest desire is to marry and have kids. Don't get me wrong; producing responsible, contributing members of society has to be the hardest and most rewarding job there is, and I admire anyone willing to do it. I'm just saying I have many friends who ache to be a wife and mother, and try as they might, they still haven't found the right man to do that with. I see their pain and frustration and I'm relieved I don't feel the same pressure.

The part I don't get is why so many folks assume that if I'm coming up on 40 and I'm not married, there's something wrong. But I'm actually in good company: According to the Census Bureau, there were 89.8 million unmarried and single adults in America last year. More and more of us are choosing to remain single for longer periods of our lives, or to remain single for all our lives. (And don't get it twisted; being single does not mean being alone.)

Here's the thing: I could be married tomorrow if I wanted to be. Anybody can be married. There's just that little thing called standards. Most people want to be with someone who meets their personal standard of intelligence, or beauty, or financial standing, or career status, etc. People want to be with someone who shares their goals in life, their belief system, their dreams for the future. Not just any ol' Joe or Josephine Schmo will do. Why commit yourself to any ol' Joe or Josephine just because you've reached a certain age and that's what people do? Life's too short, man.

So here's what I recommend: All of you who would criticize us happily unmarrieds should see to your own households, and don't worry about ours. We're doing better than fine, thanks.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deidre, you go girl! I commend you for your stance. Although I'm not nearly as comfortable in my singleness as you are I feel your pain. A life can be complete without a spouse and/or kids.

Anonymous said...

Thank god! I'm 25 and marriage is something that may happen and something that may not - just not that concerned about it. HOWEVER, I will be pointing all my nosy relatives and well-meaning friends towards your blog! The relatives tremble with the fear that I'm smart, financially independent, and happy being a singleton - they're convinced there is something wrong with me!

Anonymous said...

Just as you are not compelled to get married, I am not compelled to have children, as a lot of women aren't. My life is totally complete without children and my husband and I couldn't be happier! We live very fulfilling lives just as we are, and you should be proud to be single! Nothing is wrong with being single, and nothing is wrong with not wanting kids.

Anonymous said...

Ahmen

Anonymous said...

Right On!!!!
Just like people ASSUME if you are dressing nicely and wearing make up it is because you met someone special.....Puhleese.....there are days when it just please me to put in the extra effort.

Anonymous said...

I been single for about 3 years now after a 14 year relationship went south. I have to agree, being single is loverly! Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! I am 33, single and loving it! I listen all day to folks complaining about their spouse and marriage...no thank you! I am certainly not opposed to marriage but I agree with you, Diedre, that if I do get married it will be because I have found someone who makes my life better, not just because I found someone. Everyone keeps asking me when I am going to settle down - well let me see, I have a job, a home, and lots of family and friends - I certainly feel settled. I guess they are just curious why I haven't settled for someone that I don't really love...like they have.

Anonymous said...

I never had the desire to be married but met the most wonderful guy and we got married. I love him with all of my heart but do (sometimes) miss the freedom I had when I was single. I am so glad I didn't give into the "I HAVE to be married" and opted for the "I WANT to be married". I may miss the single life sometimes but I never regret MY choice.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a relationship, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, Deidre?

If you're single and proud, why not blog about that instead of this pretenion of being some kind of expert in relationships?

You know - write what you know?

Anonymous said...

Can we start a blog named "Guess what? Some of us like being married with no kids"

We get the same "hate" we don't have kids. So yes I can relate.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am turning 37 tomorrow and single. Granted I would like to find Mr. RIGHT, but I refuse to settle for Mr. Right Now.

Anonymous said...

Deirdre, I'm also 36 and never married...it's not what I planned for myself, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. I appreciate you standing up for the single folks! The grass is not always greener on the other side...

Anonymous said...

I'm 28 and single after a 4 1/2 year relationship. I thought I might be married by now, but hey, I would so much rather be married to someone I have a lot in common with and actually love than marry just the next warm body that comes along (like so many of my friends have done). My friends have a hard time understanding that I'd rather wait and that whole "you don't have to have a man to be happy," concept. My mom was my age when she married(she was considered an old maid at the time)and she and my dad were married for 33 years (he died in 2002).

I hate this whole concept of people thinking that women NEED to be married but single men in their late 20's, 30's, 40's, etc...don't. Talk about a double standard.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised that you are taking this stance on why you're not married. I'm glad that you are so happy being single. It's also no shock that you are still single. You say it's by choice - I say there's not a soul out there that would want you.

RT said...

This may surprise you, Deidre, but speaking from the point of view of a guy married (to the same woman) for 34 years, I applaud your stand!

Not necessarily because you choose to be single, but because you choose to be who you are, and shrug off inappropriate pressures to conform to others' ideas about what you should do with your life.

Hurray for you!