A few months back I found myself listening in on a conversation with a married woman and a single woman. The single woman was talking about how she is doing everything right, loves God and is ready for her husband, actively looking for him. Relatable, right? Definitely.
The married person responded with something that made me cringe more than everything that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. She said, “You’re a woman. You shouldn’t be looking. As soon as you stop looking, he’ll come!”
I wanted to die. I literally wanted to dig a hole in the frozen earth, crawl in it and cover myself with the dirt, never having to have another conversation about singleness with a married person again.
There’s a few reasons that I despise this. For some reason, women are made to feel shame about actively looking for a man. I don’t get what’s so wrong with that. YOU BETTER BELIEVE that if I spot a fly homie at Target I am going to make up an excuse to go into the automotive aisle. “Do you know where the oil is? Could you help me?” Classic move. You’re welcome.
The second reason why I hate this response is simple: It makes no sense. For me, this response is exactly the same as when you lose something and somebody asks you where you left it. Uhhhh, if I knew that, it wouldn’t be lost. It’s so dumb.
Third, I feel like this is a lazy response. When I hear people say this, I always have one thought: You suck at advice giving. You look for the easy answer. You aren’t interested in giving honest, real advice. What would I have said to this woman? I would have said what I wish people would say to me:
You know what, sometimes it sucks being single. It’s hard when people around you who aren’t as cool and wonderful as you are pulling hot, smart, successful guys. It makes you feel like poop. Actual poop. But you have to change your thinking.
The reason that you didn’t snag that guy is because he wasn’t your guy. Do you want to be with a guy that is all wrong for you? Probz not. So go live your life, because the right guy- the guy that you want- will see you doing that and will love that about you.
Unfortunately, nobody asked me and this girl was left feeling like she was doing something wrong. So yeah, random stranger, if you’re reading this, that’s my answer.
So what is my beef with married people? Am I jealous? No, not really. I mean I wish having sex whenever I wanted was on my menu, but some days I’d also be like, “Not tonight. Downton Abbey is on.”
Is it that I find that they’re eternally happy and I want that happiness in my life? Not exactly. I mean, I want a husband, yeah, but I would say that I make myself pretty happy. I really enjoy being all that is Leah Barterian.
So what is it? In a paragraph, it’s that many people take their experiences and make them facts. It’s that they create these steps to success, success being marriage, and make singles feel like we have to follow their guide. It’s that when we follow their guide and don’t get the same results, we feel like failures.
Why is it, when people get married, they forget the struggle of being single?
In my experiences, I’ve had a ton of married people give me a step-by-step process on how to get married. I’ve had countless “marrieds” allude to the fact that I am not doing life correctly. Because, well, if I were, I’d be married.
Can we step outside of ourselves and see how degrading this is? I mean even if they didn’t mean it like that, do you see how depressed this can make someone? There’s no easy fix for this feeling, so I’m going to address both sides right now.
If you’re married:
We are happy that you’re happy, but there is no book or article or rule that states that we might not also be happy unmarried. Just because you’ve reached a level of happiness with marriage, doesn’t mean that we haven’t reached that same level with something else, like, I don’t know, nachos.
Happiness is available through so many different avenues. We want to celebrate your marriage with you, be excited with you as you hit new milestones, and rejoice with you in those over-the-moon moments that you experience while married, but we don’t want you to follow up the celebration with, “One day this will happen for you, too. Don’t worry.” The only thing that that’s telling us is, “One day you’ll be as happy as I am.”
Overall, married people, remember that just because we’re in a different place in life than you are doesn’t mean that we’re not in a good place. It just means that we’re not in your place.
If you’re single:
If you are single and constantly are being approached about a “happier life,” you might wanna take a hard look at yourself. Does your latest Facebook status come accompanied with Bon Iver and rain sounds in the background? In the past week have you said something like, “I’ll be alone forever” and it wasn’t PMS induced? Do you find yourself with more than 4 cats? If so, you might be giving off what I call the SSV.
What is SSV? SSV is short for Sad Single Vibe, and some of you have it…bad. You wonder why people keep trying to give you steps on how to be happy? Maybe it’s because you look like you’re 12 seconds away from an untimely death. Maybe it’s because you’re 50 shades of crabby all the time and people are desperate to get you a good makeup session. Whatever the reason, sometimes we need to look at the vibe that we’re giving off to get a good reason of why people are reacting to us the way that they are.
Want to be happy? Go find something that you love. Want people to leave you alone and stop butting into your life? Become active. Surround yourself with the life that you love…the life that you want to live. Get off the couch and get a hobby (Netflix and chill isn’t a hobby).
Take some responsibility for your singleness- be a person that you would want to date! Wondering why you never get dates? Maybe you’re acting super lame. Fix that.
For all of you:
Wherever you fall in life, there’s one important thing to remember: There’s no cut and dry definition of happiness. You decide how happy and content you are. Every emotion, every feeling, and every response is up to you.
While you’re searching for the elusive happiness that comes with marriage, you are missing things that could enrich your life. You’re missing out on your best life by trying to live somebody else’s life. You were not made to imitate.
Create the life that you want. And use that pickup line in the automotive aisle. Works every time.
Leah Barterian works as the Youth Program Director at Grace Christian Church in Metro Detroit, Michigan. She is extremely passionate about singleness, Red Wings hockey, social equality, and late-night snacking. She loves baked cheetos, puppies, and laughing at videos where people slip on the ice. She inexplicably hates black beans and humidity. Follow Leah on Twitter and Instagram @Leahbarterian. Explore Leah’s blog HERE.
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