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Society's Stigma of Single Women

Author: Eden Estabrook

We haven’t formally met yet.

I’m Eden. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen my other articles. What I normally don’t advertise is my self-imposed title of expert on singleness. My credentials? Well, I am single. And, I have been my entire adult life (let’s just say I’m closer to 30 than 20). I could count on one hand the number of dates I’ve gone on.

At this point, people ask “are you even trying?” to which I say YES. I’ve been on every dating app under the sun, bought multiple subscriptions to sites, and proactively found as many social outlets to meet people as possible (which is NOT easy for an introvert), and here we are.

But my life’s story is not the point of this article. Surviving society’s stigma of singleness is.

When it comes to being single past 22, people fall into two camps:

  1. “YOU GO GIRL. So independent. You don’t need men. GIRL BOSS.”

  2. “You’re going to die alone”

Ok. They don’t say those words exactly. But if you read between the lines, that’s the underlying message. You’re either assumed to be a hardcore liberal feminist or an unwanted old maid. There is no in between. And around this time of year? Yeah, it can suck. But it takes two to tango and if you’re just an uno, waiting is the only option. So, here’s some of the most common stigmas and my unadulterated opinions on not just surviving, but thriving, through it.

“Being Alone Must Be Hard”

In both camps, there’s an unmentioned theme. You’re alone. In camp one, they celebrate the aloneness as a sign of strength and knock to the patriarchy. In the other camp, it’s an unwanted alone. Either way, it’s a lie. Being single just means you find your togetherness differently. Instead of forcing a spouse to help you change your tires or build a shelf, you leverage friendships.

In my adult life, I’ve moved three times, changed jobs 4 times, kept cars alive, furnished living spaces, and more – all with friends. And yes, I’ve built the occasional table and made friends with my mechanic. But, that’s just part of being an adult. Just because you’re single, doesn’t mean you’re alone. Surround yourself with people that support that statement.

“It Must Suck to Do ______ Alone”

One thing that I personally hate about being single is going places alone. As an individual in my late 20s, it became a necessity if I wanted to do anything, so I got used to it. What I learned is that most people in the latter season of life (I.e. married) are actually jealous. Which blows my mind. Grass is greener on the other side, eh?

Word on the street is, marriage is a gift, kids are a gift, but it does come with the lack of privacy. So, while you’re single, soak it in and enjoy it. Because if a spouse is in the future, you’ll likely spend longer married and with kids than you will single. So, enjoy those late nights, the last-minute trips, the over-priced workshop to build a jellyfish terrarium. They might not be as easy to get once you’re attached. As I scroll through local events, I often find myself thinking “Man, I wish I had a husband or boyfriend to go this with,” but I do take solace in enjoying the moment and embracing new solo experiences that I could enhance later with a special someone.

"Are You Sure You’re Not Too Picky?”

Yeah. I’m sure.

I desire to be married. But it’s now and settling for less than what I’m worth or need is not the answer. And no, that doesn’t make me a feminist. Just because someone is single, does not always mean they’re looking for someone with Einstein’s brain and Chris Hemsworth’s body. But, based on the divorce rate in modern day America, it might not hurt if people were a little pickier than throwing themselves at the first breathing person who expresses interest.

Just my opinion.

"If You’re Still Single, You Must Not Want to Be Married”

Not true. I’m successful in my career, financially stable, and from a societal perspective, got a lot going from me. It’s not a far reach for people to assume I’m just focusing on me and a man isn’t in the plan. I’ve wanted a Valentine since I turned 18 and nearly a decade later, it hasn’t come to fruition. So, yeah, I focused on me and my accomplishments. And I did a GREAT job, if I do say so myself. But that shouldn’t indicate I'm shunning all men.

I was advised not to put my life on hold just because I wanted to have experiences with a spouse. That was advice I wished I listened to a little earlier, but I did hold off on doing certain things because I had the idea in my head it would be more fun with someone. Earlier in my career, I finally said enough waiting and started doing.

One day, I hope to relive some of those experiences with someone else. But I have no regrets.

Breaking the Stigma

Just ask.

And you know what, it’s also OK to struggle with contentment in the single life. We’re human. We’re meant to be with other people. And when you’re not, it’s not abnormal to feel like you’re missing something.

For those who aren’t single, there is a medium between the two aforementioned camps that encourages singles, supports them, and hopes with them that the desires of their heart will be met.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of Resident Skeptics.

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