Singledom: It’s Normal, So Relax

Being a single woman is tiring.  Add onto that graduate school, work, bills, and an empty apartment to come home to. It’s not that others will judge our singledom, because our society has moved past the point where a woman should be married at 22 and pop out a baby by 23. It’s more that we judge ourselves…and each other. When men are single, we brush it off as playing the field, but for us, for women, it’s different. We look back on the last time we had a significant relationship (high school) and count the years it’s been since then (5). We analyze what’s happened since (random hookups in college) and if we’ve grown less attractive/sprouted unsightly blemishes/developed personality flaws since then (probably not). We contemplate our friends’ relationships in petty ways. We go out after work with our single friends when we feel slightly needy (even when you girls call it girls’ night, I’m weirdly hoping I’ll find Mr. Right even though I know I won’t—no love story starts with Lil Wayne and strobe lights). We put on tight little black dresses and the most uncomfortable stilettos we could find, all in hopes of getting attention from  Mr. Right. And if we’re not hit on that night, if guys don’t notice us, if we don’t find a fairytale romance at the bar between bass beats, if we end up dancing with our girls in a little circle in the middle of the dancefloor (if, if, if, if)—we consider that night a failure. We lose sight of the good time we were having with our friends and grow depressed for a while, in the middle of that pulsing house music, looking at the grinding couples around us and wondering what if and what’s wrong with me?

We judge our friends in relationships and grow irritated with them on particularly sensitive days. We have that friend who always talks about her boyfriend, reminding us daily of how long they’ve been together and when she thinks he’ll propose. Then there’s the girl who doesn’t talk about him very much but only because you don’t see her—she’s attached to him at the hip, and trying to contact her is like fighting through a very private, very awkward bubble. We all know that one long distance relationship that consists of Skype dates, phone sex and weekly chats about whether it’s worth it or not. Of course, there’s also the normal non-irksome relationships all around us but we tend to forget about those in the heat of the moment. Heads up, relationship girls: for us single girls, you can be exhausting. It’s not always a bother, it’s just that we’re aggravated when you put us in these situations every day. We go home afterwards and lay in bed wondering where we went wrong and why you deserve a loving guy more than we do. Occasionally we reenact a dramatic movie scene in which we sit by the windowsill at midnight and look over the glowing city lights, crying teenage tears of anguish to a depressing soundtrack playing in our heads. Sometimes we call our mothers and wail to them, because we know how pathetic we’re being and we’re too proud to wail to our single friends (relationship friends can’t listen to our wailing, because they either get uncomfortable or unknowingly condescending).

Why do we worry so much about being alone when we’re still young? The truth is that we compare our lives to those around us. In some cases our friends are in committed relationships, leaving us to analyze ourselves to death. Instead of embracing our alone time, we shun it, choosing to think that there’s something wrong with us because we don’t live romantic comedy lives containing serendipitous coffee-shop meeting after coffee-shop meeting. For a short time we lose our minds, forgetting that being single is totally normal as we cry into our Ben and Jerry’s just like stereotypical romantic comedy leading women.

I’m not bitter about my single status—in fact, just the opposite. I’ve met many wonderful men who just weren’t right for me, and I’ll probably meet a few more before I find my Mr. Right. I have simply realized that it’s much better to be confident and enjoy my life without dwelling on what I don’t have yet. I don’t need to update my Facebook statuses with desperation because, simply put, I am not desperate. Men are not everything and we shouldn’t depend on them for our happiness or self-esteem. Soon enough we’ll have our own romantic comedy moment…which is really nothing like a romantic comedy because those aren’t real. We have careers and friendships to nurture in the meantime, because personally I’d like to have my life put together before I involve someone else in it.  I get tired of reassuring my single friends along with myself that we’re fine, we’re normal, and we’re okay. So once and for all, let’s settle this argument in our heads: we’re fine, normal, and okay. So let’s just relax. TC mark

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  • JoseG

    Wow, this is great! :DDD<3

  • Sophia Margrette

    It's normal. It's nice to have a guy you can slave and make demands with but it's also okay not to have one. I'm young and I want to enjoy my life first before committing to someone whose gonna dictate what I dress, who I talk to, who I laugh with, who I stare, etcetera. :)

  • givingupthegun

    Bravo!

  • deecie

    i'm actually going to print this out and put it on my wall. FABULOUS

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=707272007 Alex Thayer

    this could have been more interesting

    love,
    probably not mr. right

    • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

      well considering this wasn't really aimed at the guys, thanks for the input anyway! just telling it like it is :)

  • Jki

    Boring.

  • Spainfest

    I'm glad to have gotten at this point too. Truest thing I've read.

  • http://twitter.com/christinekc Christine

    awesome article.

  • PERFECTCIRCLES

    So when girls are dancing together at the club, and they want to meet mr. right, what is mr. right supposed to do to talk to them?

  • Gretel2

    hmm. I needed this. just relax and enjoy zee life.

  • LDN

    girl power motherfuckers

    • LDN

      i know i shouldn't be such a loser but i'm quite proud of how many 'likes' this received.

  • sdio

    im worried about being alone even though im still young because i see a pattern of behaviour and thought growing within myself which prevents me from having any relationship and i don't know if i will ever be able to get out of it. so i worry now because im worried about being alone when im not young.

  • kharlamovaa

    I know I definitely felt like this when I was single. Now I always feel guilty when I mention my boyfriend to new single friends simply BECAUSE I don't want to be that “My relationship's the greatest” girlfriend. I only bring up the boy if it's totally and completely relevant to the topic (not just something funny he said about it one day), and only with people that know him and love him as well.

    Overall though, I think what you said is totally spot on. Being single makes you a really strong person. By yourself. That is what everyone needs before a co-dependent relationship. The time frame of that isn't important – if it's what life is working out to be, so be it!

  • http://bushwickreview.tumblr.com Kristen

    Wow, lame. C'mon editors, is this ThoughtCatalog or the blog for Elle Magazine/Cosmo/etc etc? This story pretty much hit every “it's ok to be a single gal!!!” cliche in the book, all that's missing is a Cathy cartoon reference. Please keep the usual deadpan media, movies, lifestyle, social network commentary coming, but ditch this insecure, dated, women's magazine “girl power” type of writing.

    • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

      sorry you feel that way! thanks for the feedback

    • Humblecore

      Yeah, feelings are dumb and should be hated.

    • http://georgebrostanza.tumblr.com george brostanza

      Not being a hot whore will get you nowhere in society.

  • SousChefGerard

    I'll date you.

  • rebecca

    ugh this article is written in such a lame tone. stop thinking like sex and the city and take control of your life. what is new about this article? it could have been written in 1989..

    • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

      that was the entire point of the article, to take control of your life. i have never seen sex and the city so i wouldnt know, sorry…thanks for the comment!

      • rebecca

        it's written in such a way that affirms women “need” men to think their lives have value..kind of upsetting.

      • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

        no, im affirming that women should be able to be happy without men. it's all in the last paragraph. you cant say that you dont want a significant other in your life, though. i mean, you could say that and i would doubt your words because its only human nature to want someone to grow old with. the problem lies in the women who live their lives searching out that “soulmate” and end up missing out on huge chunks of real life because of it–those are the women who need to take control and realize that they're being pathetic for running after/waiting for something and missing out on everything else. things fall into place the way they should; people who want to end up in committed relationships will eventually get there. we dont need men to think our lives have value, we (or at least I) know our lives have value. the point is we want to eventually share our journey through life with someone else; together, you build on the value your individual lives already have. (sounds cheesy, my bad, i couldnt think of a better way to say it)

        i hope that clears it up a little. im not saying that if you choose to be single for the rest of your life that there's a problem with that at all, these are my personal views on it. i know for a fact that i want to settle down eventually with someone i love; that doesn't make me pathetic or an 1860s housewife. i was just expressing my frustration at the silly things we end up doing when we try to rush the process that's going to happen naturally lol. im a believer in fate.

  • Pfft

    well you sound pathetic. not all single girls think like this.

    • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

      i sound pathetic because i advocate self esteem and independence? yes, naturally. maybe you dont think like this, and that's fine–the whole point of writing is to express one's emotions, im not attempting to define every single girl in the world.

  • Ruth

    Not only is it normal, it is also A LOT of fun!

    http://goodtobesingle.tumblr.c

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Ortiz/1279921705 Carlos Ortiz

    I don't understand the commenters who seem to think your tone or thematic is too vapidly girlish, I found the article reassuring as a single guymanbro who also feels self-conscious at times and insightful towards the same situation from a female perspective.

    Guys are supposed to act like we don't give a shit and we're happy to play the field, and I use to project that and it was true in a sense that I enjoy being free, but the reality is that I'm not even playing any field. I don't seem to be able to approach a way to exploit my singledom.
    What am I supposed to do? Hit On Girls? where? how? it's like, i'm not good at rituals involving eye contact and smiles and subtleties and stuff, should I just blurt out my intentions like a self-aware aspie?
    “Hi, do you have a second? I'm hitting on you right now, if that's ok, can I take a seat?”
    I don't even know if that is ridiculous or not, I have no understandment of that type of social guidelines. When I was younger my only insight into relationships was TV, and it didn't seem like those tropes would fly in my world, why is the world not like TV? I lamented in confusion. In my world there was no clear system to follow, but your instincts, and my instinct is always to stop and analyze. Yeah, girls don't love it when you do that.

    Sure I don't envy the situation my 21 year old friend who is stuck with a baby's momma/girlfriend is in, and he knows it, but I do envy the superficial basicness of his physical relationship (he doesn't have a meaningful relationship to envy, thank god #selfish).
    It's like I have a physical need and an emotional need and an intellectual need for companionship, and at least I'd like to fulfill the physical one because it's the most basic one even if it's trivial.
    Right now I'm young and not having sex or being personally engaged with a female makes me anxious and uneasy like any other male mammal, and I too have to deal with feelings of inadequacy.

    So yeah, singledom is hardly a female-only preocupation, and even if you feel good about yourself and your work and your friends and your life there is still the biological need to feel someone and fuck them. And when you don't feel good about any of those things you think “I wish I had someone to fuck at least”.

    • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

      im glad this doesn't affect only girls, and im also glad you noticed that i am indeed not going for a vapid cosmo magazine vibe in this article at all. we all have feelings of inadequacy in this area from time to time, i just threw it all together, doesn't mean we feel like this on a daily or even monthly basis, from time to time the thoughts come to mind.
      and, im telling you, you're not the only guy who feels like this either, a couple of my guy friends read this and gave me their insight as well. thank you for your comment, it really made me happy to know that someone understood what i was saying! have a great day

  • maria

    Oh. My. God. Was this really written in 2011? Are you seriously looking for “Mr.Right”????? How so, so sad and naive.
    How you can you base your self-worth so much on having a guy hit on you? Do you only have fun when there are guys around to adore you?
    You're the type of woman who can only function in a relationship and in fact you're the one who makes single gals look pathetic.
    “we sit by the windowsill at midnight and look over the glowing city lights, crying teenage tears of anguish to a depressing soundtrack playing in our heads”. What are you, 15?
    And then you write “I’m not bitter about my single status” – is that a joke?
    Give me a break.

    • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

      oh dear. i see you didn't understand the sarcasm over the “dramatic movie scene reenactment” crying teenager tears of anguish.
      can you please read the comment before your own? looking for Mr. Right doesn't mean that's my only quest in life, but every woman thinks about that whether she wants to admit it or not. i absolutely do not base my self worth on having guys hit on me or pay attention to me, that was the entire point of the last paragraph. did you read the last paragraph at all? im functioning just fine without being in a relationship as i have for the past several years, in fact im almost done with med school so id say im doing well on my own.
      this is a silly, silly argument and im officially going to stop responding to comments after this one. id like to clarify this entire article. THIS IS HOW I FEEL ON OCCASION, AND THIS IS HOW THE SINGLE GIRLS I HAVE TALKED TO FEEL ON OCCASION. we are not moping around the city in slutty dresses waiting for guys to talk to us, we have careers and lives that do not revolve around men (see last paragraph). on occasion, it gets depressing to be alone, and that's what i wrote about. this is NOT a 12 year old girl's diary, this is how real women feel every day, they just won't talk about it for fear of seeming “anti-feminist”. i literally do not give a shit about that, because im secure enough in myself and my independence to admit that i have insecurities. do these insecurities own me? absolutely not. as i stated, single women need to be confident IN their singledom before they can be happy with someone else. we all want somebody to love whether we talk about it or not, im just bringing that out into the open. sheesh this has really stirred some feathers apparently.

      • http://profiles.google.com/nrath08 Niharika Rath

        one more thing: i need no validation from anyone saying this article is great, they understand etc etc i love seeing people's comments saying that they relate to this situation but im not asking for them. i wrote this for the single girls i know who sometimes have issues understanding that being single is not a PROBLEM. the friends that i wrote this for have already read this and talked to me about it, and it's been amazing. im glad i could share it with other people but i despise comments that analyze what i said without understanding it at all. notice i said “we know how pathetic we're being” when we're crying to our mothers about being alone; it sure doesn't feel good when you attend your best friend's wedding and you're the only one there that is not in a committed relationship. i do not cry every day. usually, when i cry, it's over something like stubbing my toe because that shit hurts. im just admitting that we (maybe not YOU) have these thoughts sometimes, and we can't let them rule us.

        FINISHED. i am stepping down from my soapbox and i am done commenting on my own article lol. have at it, haters.

      • dsfshdf

        speak for yourself

  • karinag2517

    Loved this. So true.

  • Aechjay

    this was an interesting read. but the thing i find so counterintuitive about this article is that it reads exactly like a romantic comedy while trying to debunk it.

  • http://twitter.com/cream_dreamz Stephanie Jones

    I hope to never see anything similar to this again.

  • Richa B2010

    If there's mediocrity in a written piece it barely elicits a whimper from the readers…this one's a well written article no doubt about it & that's why it manages to arouse strong views..both positive & negative. You can love it or you can hate it but you cant ignore it…

    Its an opinion based piece…the readers got to be more mature & take it with a pinch of salt than go ballistic on the writer(who by the way, has done a great job)…My high five to Niharika for expressing certain emotions the way they are & being so unabashedly honest about it…no pretension, no preachy ways…just a straight-from-heart frank write up.
    I am sharing this article via fb to all my single friends to give them a reason to smile:)

    PS- why do readers always have to always label a writing as feministic or anti-feministic? why not enjoy a write-up for its sheer worth…it needn't be one to sway towards feministic or anti-feministic shades…

  • Ewan Kelly

    I’m trying to get some of this across on my own singles blog, from a gay Irish male perspective (specific I know, but also … vaguely funny!).
    Check me out at singledomtown.blogspot.com
    Cheers!
    Ewan

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