Single women are sad, lonely creatures desperate to find love, forever destined for spinsterhood?
Er, no, actually.
As much as books and films condition us from a young age that wife-dom should be the ultimate goal, more and more women are embracing the single life and are perfectly happy to do so.
In fact, for every sad, single friend you can show me who you think is desperately searching for her soul mate, I can easily show you a miserable woman who might be happy with her man and her kids, but is struggling with her life and what lies ahead of her.
For example, I know a woman who gave birth less than 3 months ago and is already battling to show she is wonder-woman by paddleboarding and hiking on a holiday with her husband, the new baby and their friends, going back to work full time and juggling all the responsibilities of the home and childcare. She is trying to show the world how perfect her life is on social media and how in control she is … she truly is ‘having it all’.
The same woman is exhausted, wastes precious moments as she takes 50 photos to get the Instagram-perfect shot, is too scared to eat because she needs a flat stomach and cries when she thinks nobody is watching.
Well bollocks to having it all. The tide is turning. Women are now saying don’t bother ‘putting a ring on it’ thank you very much. Us ladies are quite happy to enjoy and embrace our solo status, enjoying the freedom this lifestyle can offer.
Women are able to enjoy careers, travel alone, live alone, eat out, in fact many single women are more sociably active and have a wider friend network than their coupled-up counterparts.
“Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”
Single women should not be pitied and we should not try and fix them up with our dodgy single friends. While many of us revel in sharing our lives with someone special, others are perfectly happy to embrace the mentally uncluttered freedom to be who we truly are.
Instead of our lives absorbing that of our partners, single ladies can roll with the punches, take risks and create their own adventures. A happily single friend of mine took up sailing in her 50s. She totally threw herself into her new hobby, studying for various maritime qualifications. She once told me that this was a great perk of being single and would never have the time to devote to her beloved sailing otherwise.
She loves feeling the independence her single lifestyle brings her. Looking back to when she was in a relationship, she told me she felt she had lost herself and her ability to think and act independently outside of ‘us’. Sailing has also opened up a whole new group of people for her to soclialise with and enjoy life with. She goes for ‘no strings’ dates and enjoys spending time with her fellow ‘yachties’ just as much as her landlubbing ladies.
I have another single lady in my life who is in her 70s. She has a male friend whose company she enjoys, but spends the majority of her time on cruise ships sailing around the world. She reminds me of Joan Collins, incredibly dressed and is such a social butterfly. She is a mother and a grandmother, and 3-times divorced. “I’ve done all that, my love. Right now, I’m having a ball.” she told me. And do you know what, I truly believe she is.
Both my single ladies have demonstrated something very clearly to me – they have learnt to enjoy their own company and their levels of self-confidence are amongst the highest of anyone in my social circle. I am in constant awe of them both, and if I’m honest, sometimes a little envious.
On the flipside, sadly, both these ladies sometimes feel as though they need to justify their lifestyle choices. They have both been married and in long term relationships which ‘failed’, so why does society make them feel like failures for being single? Should they stay in unhappy relationships, living unsatisfactory lives just to keep the rest of us happy? Of course not!
The promise of long term love and romance is certainly attractive, but is never the fairytale. Sharing your life with ‘the one’ means sharing all the ups and downs that come with it. We no longer live in an age where survival relies upon our ability to couple-up. The problem we actually face now is society itself and those pesky books and films that show us the fairytales.
We need to let go of this notion that couple-dom is the ultimate goal and instead just grab life by the horns and enjoy it. Only recently, I was consoling my teenage niece who is convinced that COVID-19 restrictions will ensure she is destined for spinsterhood. She’s young and has a lot to learn.
From our first kiss in the school playground, we feel compelled to find our true love. Being in a relationship is not the answer. Being single is the greatest opportunity we have to truly be ourselves. Bloom. Harness the power of friendship. Face your fears and stare down the shadows. Learn to enjoy being you.
As you enjoy yourself, you might even attract a like-minded person who admires and loves you for being you, too. But until then, embrace being single … we dare you!