Ask any single woman what’s missing from her life, and she’ll invariably say “a husband.” Why is it that we all believe we must be married to be whole?
Sure, marriage is a fine idea – I’m not advocating for any misandry. But here’s another fine idea: being a fully-formed, deeply fulfilled woman even without a man.
It can be done. In fact, it should be done. Just think about how much more success you might find in your career, hobbies, and relationships – yes, marriage too – if you entered into each situation with the self-assuredness that the average man tends to possess. That kind of confidence sounds downright delicious, doesn’t it?
Here’s some real talk about single life.
Your Single Life Isn’t Inferior to Any Other Kind of Life
Newsflash: your single life is not a prologue for marriage. It is your life. And treating it like anything less is a disservice to yourself.
Stop shortchanging the here and now because you’re hoping something better will come along.
The absence of a man in no way dictates the fullness of your life. If anything, that absence gives you more space to be yourself and love yourself. If there was ever a time to be selfish, your single time is it.
You’re Not Anyone’s Better Half – You Are a Whole
Women are often taught to view ourselves in the contexts of our relationships: we are daughters, sisters, wives, mothers. For many of us, our relationships are our identities. This leaves us with an unerring sense of instability when we are on our own. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with viewing ourselves as individuals.
You are not somehow lesser because you don’t have a partner. Being single isn’t an inadequacy; it’s simply a state of being, like Employed or Dog Owner or Renting a Condo. You get to choose what Single means for you, so why not replace your negative narrative with a healthier one?
The solution here is gratitude. Rather than focusing on the husband you don’t have, focus on feeling gratitude for the many blessings you do have – and make a concerted effort to cultivate even more blessings.
A life filled with friends, pets, hobbies, adventures, volunteer work, and career goals isn’t likely to feel empty. In fact, you might be so busy living that you don’t feel like much is missing at all.
Are You Building a Life You Love, or Just Waiting Around?
You, as a Whole Person, are fully entitled to live the biggest, boldest life you possibly can. There’s no need to wait for your other half to show up to do the big stuff like buy a house or travel through Europe.
Whatever your dream is, do it while you have the time, money, and gumption to do so. That sweet spot may never show up again.
The same goes for smaller stuff. Take up watercolor painting, learn to speak Portuguese, hike the Grand Canyon. Do it now, because it will be harder to do it later when you’re devoting much of your time and energy to the intricacies of marriage – and substantially harder after you have kids.
There’s another reason you shouldn’t be waiting around for a man to start your life: what if he never arrives? No, you don’t even want to consider this idea but it could happen. And then you will have spent your entire life waiting instead of living – which would be even more tragic than being single, wouldn’t it?
Taking Care of Yourself Is Empowering
Being alone is scary. Will you be able to make the rent every month? What happens if your apartment floods? How will you open stubborn jars? Will you become a cat lady? These are valid concerns. But they can be overcome.
Few things are more fulfilling than realizing that you are 100% capable of taking care of yourself, and doing a damn good job of it.
The perks of financial autonomy are no-brainer. When you are financially stable enough to take care of yourself, you have the freedom to leave any situation that doesn’t make you happy – whether that’s a job, apartment, or boyfriend.
There’s also a sense of empowerment that comes from realizing you are capable of all the little things you thought required a man’s help. You can hook up the cable box, hang shelves, program your Echo Dot, and replace that old doorknob. And each time you do, you’ll gain a little more confidence in your own capability – and you’ll realize you don’t need a man, even if you still want one. That’s a powerful distinction.
Here’s one more reason to learn how to take care of yourself: because when you treat yourself well, you expect others to do the same. Setting the bar high means you’re less likely to tolerate anyone who doesn’t respect and appreciate you.
A final thought on single life: it’s hard on all of us at some point. So let’s remind the women we know how complete and capable they are all on their own. And if we can, help them open those stubborn jars too.
- Read Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own – a book in which Kate Bolick explores her misgivings toward both singledom and marriage by delving into the common themes that lead women to believe that marriage should be an overarching goal, and how these themes shape our thoughts and behavior throughout our lives.