I am single.
I've said it. Can we move on now?
Being single around the holidays, well, sucks. Add to it commercials full of families and couples spending the holidays together, smiling and laughing, and looking oh-so-joyful. Do you see any commercials advertising spending New Year's alone? Not on this planet. Common questions and comments at holiday gatherings not only include inquiries about my dating life, but also about desperately wanting to understand why I'm still single. The best (said with heavy sarcasm) comment is, "I just don't get it. You're so [insert a positive word to describe my looks and/or personality]!" The person says this comment as if she's trying to solve some complicated mathematical equation and just can't seem to get the answer. It's difficult to know how to respond to such a comment; as if something is wrong with me that someone can't figure out my singledom or that it needs to be figured out in the first place. (People: there are other pressing issues happening in this world that should be given attention to besides my relationship status.) So I tend to reply with a shrug or feel as if I have to go into the reasons why (i.e., my history of relationships and of trying online dating, which leads to sharing way too much information, which then leads me to feel like a rambling buffoon). Thus, I've learned to use my professional skills to shift the conversation because in the end, it's none of that person's business. Ladies, am I right?!
I recently had a conversation with a woman venting my frustrations about being single at these holiday events. She's dating and told me it doesn't stop, meaning once you're in a relationship, the next question is, "When are you getting married?" Once you're married it's, "When are you having kids?" It appears that the interrogations don't stop. Awesome.
Let's just put it out there that as an adult, it's challenging to meet people. Unless you know someone who knows someone single, your options are online dating or joining some clubs or community events in hopes of meeting someone. (And if you do find out that someone is single, the question is, "Well, what's wrong with him that he's still single?" Don't pretend you haven't heard it or thought it.) Or, if you're like me, you'll ask everyone you know about who they know who's single. I feel as though I'm marketing myself, and I guess I'm not doing a good enough job. I've even thought about getting business cards to hand out. How crazy is that?! Don't worry, I haven't done it... yet.
Even though I've tried and am currently trying online dating, I still find it quite awkward. You email back and forth sharing different things about yourself and asking various questions. Or the emails will suddenly stop and you're not sure whether you should email again or the guy just lost interest. I find "liking" or "winking" really silly; we're adults, not 12-years-old! The emails lead to a possible get together, which from my experience can be quite hilarious. I've had experiences in which the person didn't look at all like his photo and I'm left scratching my head as to when that photo was actually taken and whether it was someone else entirely. If the date goes well, you agree to meet again, and hopefully by that point, it feels more comfortable. If the date doesn't go well, you go back to the drawing board and try again. It's exhausting!
Societal norms teach us to grow up, go to college or get a job, meet someone, get married and have kids. Well guess what? I must be an alien because I don't follow societal norms. I have a wonderful job that provides me great satisfaction, and not to toot my own horn, I've also written a book on female friendship (which is another topic for another day), so I'm happily busy with my professional careers. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. It's interesting because I see married couples who have kids and their looks of fatigue. I'm not saying my life is perfect, but at times I secretly smile to myself that I get to have a full night's sleep without being woken up by crying or needing to drive someone to school. I get to do the things I want when I want. It's quite nice.
Do I want to be in a relationship? Yes. I'm at the point in my life where I'm ready to settle down. I do want a family of my own when I'll be the one waking up to crying babies, and that's okay with me. But I believe it will happen when the time is right. So am I going to enjoy my singledom? Even through the holiday season? Heck yes. So please, let's stop the inquisition, and enjoy the celebrations that the season has to offer.
Nicole Zangara is a LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) and author of "Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." For more information, check out her blog at: http://survivingfemalefriendships.blogspot.com/
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