My Life Journey

The Single Girl Life: Going Against Social Expectations

We live in a society in which coupledom is not only the norm but the expectation.  However, there are a lot of us that don’t fit into the neat and tidy boxes that the world expects.  Just because someone isn’t your standard cis-gendered heterosexual monogamist vanilla-sex married with kids kind of person doesn’t mean they’re any less valid. Unfortunately, though, it seems like there are far too many people who do see it as problematic.

As a cis-gendered heterosexual white single girl I acknowledge that I have a lot of privilege in this world, but it astonishes me how many people have difficulty grasping the fact that I’m single, and deem me as somehow less-than as a result.  Sometimes it feels like I’m being judged, while other times people seem to be truly confused.  When I travel internationally, it seems particularly hard for people to understand why I’d be travelling as a solo female.  During my recent beach vacation, staff would sometimes look at me like I’d grown an extra head when I asked for a table for one, and then I’d get crappy service while the serving staff fawned over the various couples around me.  There is a clear judgement inherent in these kinds of reactions.  Why was I some sort of circus freak just because I didn’t have a man standing at my side?

I’ve spent a lot of my life single.  I’ve only had 2 long-ish term boyfriends, the first for 4 years, the second for 3 years.  There were a number of brief flings/hookups tossed in there while I was younger, but they’re unimportant.  My circle of friends always included strong, independent women, and being unattached was considered to be just fine.  We might wish to find the perfect guy, but until he came along, there was no need to settle.

I broke up with my last boyfriend in 2010.  Since then, I haven’t been on a single date.  I briefly signed up on an online dating site, mostly because various people in my life were telling me that I “should“.  However, I wasn’t impressed on many levels and never did end up going on a date.  At this point in my life, I think I would only be willing to get into a relationship if it was something that just developed organically rather than starting with an awkward first date meeting with some random sketchy dude from the internet.  The very idea of going on a first date with a stranger gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I’m okay with being single.  I have always been fiercely independent, which drove my parents crazy when I was younger.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more comfortable doing things alone, even when it’s not necessarily socially acceptable.  Going out for lunch solo seems to be ok, but dinner feels like I stick out like a sore thumb.  As I’ve grown into more of a hermit, it’s become less of an issue because I don’t go out in social settings very often, and having pushed my friends away I don’t find myself in a social group setting where I’m the only single one.

I don’t feel like I’m less of a person because I’m romantically unattached.  Not everyone seems to see it that way, though.  Some people have suggested that my depression has been related to my lack of romantic partner, which is a complete load of crap.  Yet in the social hierarchy, as a 39-year-old single girl, I’m somehow lesser than my coupled-up counterpart. This has improved, to some degree, since back in my parents’ day for example, but there’s still a ways to go.

Unless I find someone who’s willing to accept me, illness and all, I’m going to remain single.  And if people don’t like it they can kiss my privileged white cis-gendered heterosexual mentally ill single girl ass.  Just try saying that ten times fast.

Embrace Acceptance guided journal cover

Embrace Acceptance: A Guided Journal draws on concepts from acceptance and commitment therapy to help you move towards a place of greater acceptance. It’s available from the MH@H Download Centre.

35 thoughts on “The Single Girl Life: Going Against Social Expectations”

  1. Society is filled with expectations. To be married, have children, have a job, buy your own house, etc etc… But really does any of that matter? We move through life in our own way and society cannot dictate the who, why, how, what, where of life. That is down to us.

  2. Better to be alone than to be unhappy with someone else! Many people would probably be better off alone! I’m sorry you often feel the sting of judgment over this.

  3. I would probably be miserable in a relationship right now if I tried. I did the online dating thing twice, and that’s how I met my ex-fiance that kicked me out to be homeless. Not looking for romance in the near future or ever. LOL! 🙂 Great read!

  4. “there are a lot of us that don’t fit into the neat and tidy boxes that the world expects” I’ve been talking (not necessarily blogging but talking to others) a lot recently about how much people like to label and define others…. Categorize them into little boxes. We don’t need to meet anyone elses expectations…As long as we’re comfortable with who we are.

  5. Then there are the judgements if you do end up getting married and it doesn’t work out for some reason. The questions are always “would you ever get married again?” “why don’t you think about dating” “there must be someone better out there”

    Right now I’m in the “been there, done that, not even considering it again” stage of life. :/

    It doesn’t seem like men get the same treatment. “Oh, he’s a bachelor. Oh, he has loads of time to settle and get married. Oh, he’s just having fun.”

    If I could have a do-over I would just stay single. I love my kids, but I don’t know if I could go through all of what I’ve gone through again.

      1. right!!

        I’m more along the lines of……”you’re happy with the way things are, that’s awesome. I’ll support what you do, even if I don’t agree with it”. “Something is making you unhappy, what can I do to help. I’ll support whatever you need to do”.

        It’s not that difficult not being a judgmental a-hole! But some people have a really hard time with it.

  6. “your standard cis-gendered heterosexual monogamist vanilla-sex married with kids kind of person”…lol the only thing I fit on that list is cisgender. I can do monogamy, but it’s not my preference. I went three years without dating, it was good for me for sure! Single, and loving it. But I do like my FWB now, lol

  7. I can definitely relate! I go to the movies alone all the time and people give me the weirdest looks. I also prefer to eat by myself, but apparently, that’s frowned upon in our society. Oh well. I’m typically much happier by myself when out in a social setting. I’m definitely not opposed to a serious relationship, but I’ve never actually experienced one, so I’m totally fine with being alone.

  8. Oh my god this is me!!! My mum once made a comment about a younger cousin who has had about 5 kids with at least 4 different guys all by the age of 25. And my mum sees this as a success!! I on the other hand am 35, never married, no sprogs, don’t own a house, I have a first class honours degree and have a career (am pretty senior) and about to emigrate to Australia off the back of all my own hard work. And I’m not seen as a successful person!! And why- because I’m female. If I was a guy I’d be seen as a great role model. But because I’m a woman I’m seen as a failure.
    I hate the way everyone looks at you when they discover you’re single; cocking their head to one side and looking at you with pity like you’ve just said you’re suffering from a terminal illness! Drives me insane, it’s so unfair.
    I totally hear you! Great piece x

  9. This is a great post and resonates so much with me. I’ve recently travelled solo for the first time and found the beach resort the hardest… the pitying looks from other couples and yes staff also looked at me like I had two heads 😂who cares what their expectations are! It’s an amazing feeling to own your own story. Thanks for your post! 👍😊

Leave a Reply