Isn’t single a song from an album?

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Relationships
Tags: , , ,

“So Cat, are you married? Any kids?” 

“No, I’m happily single actually”

“Oh, right.  I see…..” (Nodding head, sympathetic look)

I wasn’t always single.  From the age of 21 to 34 I was very much attached to one man (Nearly married as I like to think of it!) and always felt a strange sense of pride and, dare I say it, possession when talking to people about my partner.  “My boyfriend” is such an affirming phrase – it says to people “I am loved therefore I must be worthwhile”.   Which surely means that being single says to people “I am not loved therefore I am not worthwhile”.  It’s not true of course but it’s this sense of being defined by your relationships that is so prevalent in today’s society and so damaging to those who are struggling to cope with the aftermath of a break-up.  However successful, charming and beautiful you are if you haven’t achieved coupledom then you’re somehow incomplete.  If you’ve ever read Bridget Jones (or watched the film) then you’ll know what I mean! 

After the crying shoulder, tubs of ice cream and bottles of wine, what’s one of the first things people say to us when we split up with a partner?  “Don’t worry.  You’ll find someone else”.  What’s the first thing most of us do when we find ourselves single once again?   We start looking for someone new!  Some might say we are gluttons for punishment…. 

I often see people playing seemingly happy families  – in the supermarket, on holiday, walking down the street – and I can’t help but feel a bit jealous.  But I have to remind myself that I’m only seeing snapshots, one moment in time when for that featured family everything is good, nobody is rowing and the sun is shining!  Who knows what happens down the next aisle, or in the evening when everyone is tired and fed up or when they get home and the baby starts screaming as the gentle motion of the pram stops giving comfort!  We always think the grass is greener but I cannot truthfully say that my life is any worse now than it was when I had a partner, it’s just different – in fact if anything it’s marginally better than before!  I have more friends and more freedom although unfortunately less money! 

Yes, there are times I still miss him – I would be inhuman if after all those years I didn’t occasionally think of the times we spent together – but most of the time I don’t.  And yes, I hope I won’t be single all my life!  Because let’s face it, we are programmed to want to be with other people – this is not just a biological drive!  Most of us thrive on being around others – having friends is another way of persuading ourselves that we are worth something.  That if we were no longer around we would be missed, even if only a little bit.  And we enjoy the company of people who we share similar interests and values with.  So despite all the evidence that actually human beings should probably stay single (affairs, divorce, roving eyes of both sexes!) we still strive to find that ideal someone – the person we’re willing to share our life with if not forever then at least for a year or ten! 

But while we’re waiting to find the ideal there’s no reason not to enjoy the freedom of singledom – so all you couples out there don’t feel pity or sympathy.  It’s just another way of life.  And don’t feel envy either – enjoy what you have while you can as you may not always have it!!

  1. I love how honest you are in your posts. I’m a 23.75 y-o single woman who just graduated college and nearly had a breakdown because for just a moment I felt like such a failure that I didn’t have a marriage proposal waiting for me. Funny how singleness is associated with inadequacy in our society.

  2. CatFru says:

    Thanks for your comment. It’s only since being single that I’ve really begun to appreciate how much we judge ourselves against our relationship ‘failures’ or ‘successes’. But I think being married, a singleton, a serial dater, are all equally valid ways of living and lets face it a lot of people will find themselves visiting each category at least once during their lives! Take it from me; sometimes being in a long term relationship isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

  3. jterrill says:

    I love the advice you offered “don’t feel pity or sympathy…or envy” becuase just recently I was discussing with a newly seperated friend how I was not sharing my excitement for the joy in my life because I didn’t want to “rub my happiness” in her face. She assured me she wanted to share in my happiness and I was happy to share. Thanks for your honest blogging!

    • CatFru says:

      Thank you! I think sometimes we try to protect people because they’ve been through difficult times and we don’t want to upset them in any way but honesty is normally the best policy and generally appreciated!

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