Sunday, May 23, 2010

All The Single Ladies (and single men)

I've been feeling the sting of being single a lot more lately. It's May, so wedding season is coming up, and my engaged webfriends are talking about their bridal showers and arguments with the DJ and the drama that their FHs and FMILs are making (that's "Future Husbands" and "Future Mother In Laws" for those of us who don't live in the world of family acronyms. First comes FH, then comes DH, then comes DD and DS in a BC.) At church, I am the only adult who is not married, much less with children. The pressures of marital roles don't apply to me, so I pretty much have nothing to talk about besides work and crafting and my cat, which just makes me sound like an old cat lady. At work, I'm the only single person who doesn't have kids. I haven't heard from many of my other married friends since fall.

I don't mind being single right now. I mean, I'm going to England for a year, and I'm really glad that I don't have to leave anyone behind. I just wish our kind were not so invisible in the world, the single non-parent. There's a Mother's Day, a Father's Day, wedding anniversaries, date nights, play dates, where those people receive praise and love and surprises because they've got the privilege of being attached to other people, but single people who live alone throw their own birthday parties. There's an Offbeat Bride site and an Offbeat Mama site, but an Offbeat Singles site would just be an online dating site for hippies and ex-punk rockers. I don't know how to have a good time as a single person since my friends moved away or got married because the only information out there for single people is how to get un-single. Maybe that's a plus but it's really not what I'm looking for.

I'm glad I'm not going to a big church right now because this is how it would work: If you're single, 1. something is wrong with you and you need to go to the meat market group to get un-single, and 2. while you're at it, you've got nothing better to do with your time than to serve the married people and parents so they can get a much deserved break. I liked hanging out with middle schoolers then and I hang out with high schoolers now, but the pressure and obligation for single people to take care of other people's kids while they go get their spiritual fix is intense.

I don't think that most married people recognize the special needs and internal struggle of single people (looking or not), or the way we get excluded from the common experience of home life and children. I'm reading a book about singleness and how we get unhappy with being single because of our marriage script. From youth we mark off an age at which we would like to be married. For me, I passed that marker on my last birthday, nearly four years since the end of my last relationship. My mother was 28 when she got married, and I feel like if I get there, it's all over. I watched my four older cousins marry at increasingly younger ages, so now I feel like it's my turn. We get an idea of the kind of person we want to marry. I wanted (and it's really common for people who are shy and insecure to get this idea) someone that other people thought was just the coolest, so they would be jealous and wonder how someone like me could land someone so great. I want children more than I want to be a wife, and with every new year, I feel like that chance is being taken farther from me. I wish there was a way that married or engaged people could learn to be more...considerate? That's not the word I'm looking for...just more aware of all that we go through.


Erin said...

I have felt similarly, my dear. Very similarly indeed.

Samsara said...

I am very adult, I have been living with my ... boyfriend ... man-friend ...other half ... for fifteen years, no ring and no plans to, no kids and no plans to...if you're single, you're looked at with pity, if you're attached and STILL don't conform to social expectations, well, you must be some kind of weird subversive...
by the way, hope you enjoy living here in England! :)