There are few things more frustrating than being misunderstood! Assumptions, conclusions, and stereotypes based upon misunderstandings are hurtful to people who are just moving through life, doing the best they can.
My hope in writing this is to both encourage others to not make assumptions about, feel sorry for, or feel threatened by single women. I also would encourage other women like me to be their strong, independent selves, unashamed that we are indeed whole and healthy individuals – without a significant other in their lives!
Myth #1. We’re looking for a husband. This is so often assumed by almost everyone I talk to, in every venue I can think of, including work, parties, family events, and church. My own parents never fail to ask me, “Who are you seeing these days? We hope you find someone soon!” in the same tone as if this invisible man is a lost cell phone or wallet!
It is unfortunate that many people view being single as being half of a person. How many times have we heard people refer to spouses as their “other half”, or worse, their “better half?” I encourage my single friends to seek a whole life for themselves as an independent and complete person!
It is true that I went through a period of time after my divorce believing that I was supposed to be out there dating, looking for The One who would right all previous wrongs. That was a wasted period of time, in that I was essentially looking for someone else to make me happy! What I should have done was to learn to love myself more, work on self improvement, and find peace in my own company.
So now, IF a man comes along and he shares my faith, there is mutual attraction, and we serve a purpose together, then of course I would be open to marriage again one day. But in the meantime, I am not looking and my life is not on hold! I am single, but I am whole!
Myth #2. We’re looking at YOUR husband. This is an unspoken, but often unmistakable vibe that some married ladies send out. It happens every time you are warm and friendly to us…UNTIL your husband walks up! Then your eyes grow distant, you take your husband by the arm, and you suddenly have to go somewhere else. Or, you will go out to lunch with your single friends, but only invite your married friends over to your home. I know how all this works because I used to be in The Married Club, but was wordlessly kicked out after my divorce. The same ladies who used to regularly text or call me up and invite me over now just give me curious-yet-sympathetic looks at the grocery and ask nosy questions regarding who I’m dating.
Some women show more obvious distrust, and even though it can seem a little ridiculous, it mostly just makes me sad! Granted, there are some predatory single women out there, but most mature, unmarried women I know won’t wear a pair of secondhand shoes, and they really don’t want a secondhand man either! But, out of respect for you, I will continue to walk past your husband without eye contact. It’s cool…
Myth #3. We party every weekend. Um, no, we don’t. On most Friday nights, going out is not as appealing of an option as curling up with a good book and my cat! Like I stated earlier, I did go out a lot right after my divorce. I was somehow under the impression that this was the normal way of life for a single person. But the crowds, noise, and alcohol protocol quickly grew old, I was always yawning by 10:00, and I learned that most adults over 35 agree! Now that I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own peaceful environment, I’m quite content to stay home. “Alone” doesn’t mean “lonely” for a confident single woman who seeks to create her own weekend agenda!
Myth #4. We’re looking for someone with money to support us. I know it is a financial hardship for some people to be single – men and women – but it seems it’s the single women who get the rap for being incapable of providing for herself. I’m not speaking for the 20-something’s out there, but I wish people would realize that by the time a woman is my age she probably has it together enough to be financially self sufficient. If not, she will learn quickly that there are things she might need to give up in order to support herself successfully. Glamorous hair and makeup, manicures and pedicures, clothes and vacations sometimes have to be budgeted or postponed. But we find a way to make it all work!
Myth #5. Something must be wrong with us or we’d be married by now. Quite the contrary, in the research I studied while contemplating this subject, I came across some interesting psych statistics regarding women who reach a certain age and stay single. The older a woman is, the less likely she is to marry, but she rates her happiness higher than married women her age do. Studies also reveal that the more intelligent a woman is, the less likely she will marry.
So that single woman above 40 whom you have wondered what might be wrong with her – She is probably both smart and happy!
Myth #6. We can’t cook or keep a clean house. There are certainly some single women who struggle in this area. There are also some single women who are quite skilled in the kitchen and keep a floor clean enough that you could eat that gourmet meal right off of it, but can’t hold an intriguing conversation, speak life into her man, or be a soft place for him to land at the end of a hard day! It would be my hope that I would recognize the needs of my soulmate AND have some skills in all the above. I know I keep my house neat and clean, and have mastered a few meals quite well. Can we go ahead and bust the myth? I can say that my 20-year-marriage did NOT end because of poor cooking or lack of cleaning!
Myth #7. We sleep around, OR, if we don’t, “Aw, poor thang ain’t gettin’ any – she must be so sad!” You can take this or leave it, but I’m gonna put this right here – There are plenty of single women who CHOOSE celibacy and forego plenty of opportunities otherwise! And we are not sad about it! I will only speak for myself on this, but will also be willing to bet there are many others out there who would agree – Having morals and high standards and to desire celibacy is not the sign of a frigid woman, but of one who knows her worth and respects herself AND a potential future husband! Yet these standards are often scorned by society, and women who are not willing to “put out” are often not pursued.
One of the best relationship I’ve ever had was with a guy who shared faith and mutual respect with me. We never crossed physical boundaries. So can we also bust this myth?
For those of you who decide to hold onto any of these assumptions, I can only hope that no one ever assumes anything about you that might not be accurate. It really sucks!
We single ladies will keep trying to uphold our place in this world of married couples and families. Just know that when we form assumptions and believe myths, we might be missing out on a wonderful experience in really getting to know the good in a person!