It always surprises me that, when I run into old friends (and even new friends) over the years of my singlehood, the question I'm asked most often is, “Why don't you have someone ‘special’ in your life?” (Maybe I do, and it's a secret-love but that's beside the point here - fodder for another post) The point here is: What they’re really asking is, "Why aren't you married?"
The implication is, if you're not married or in a relationship than you're alone in this world.I always remind them that I'm in many relationships, and have many people and men who are important to me. I get a lot of attention and it works for me.
“But isn’t that lonely?” they ask with a long look of concern and pity. And my answer is: "Not at all". I don’t feel lonely and I certainly don’t feel alone in the world. In my years as a single woman, it’s never occurred to me that I need to find a mate or create a child in order to be fulfilled as a person or to stave off loneliness.
I have so many amazing people in my life that I love. And beyond that, I have many relationships with those who are truly there for me; many that support me in all my dreams and hopes. I have those that stand by me as I go through the trials of life’s lessons and those who challenge me to learn. They are like my family – in fact, some actual are my family (siblings, parents, cousins).
Interestingly, some people don’t consider that you “have a family” if you don’t have a spouse or children. But I’m not that traditional in my views and I don’t think that because you don’t have what is considered the American Dream, it means that you’re missing something essential in life.
The questions I get from others (many of whom are married with children) make me wonder: Why do they assume that I'm lonely because what I have, I have by myself? Would they be lonely without their American Dream lives? And do they enjoy what I have? - Do they have the freedom that comes with not having to account to anyone for what they do or the choices they make? Or the trill of never knowing what’s next in the adventure of life? Or the prospect of always meeting new people and being exposed to new ideas? Not that you can’t have these within the confines of a marriage, but – let’s face it – these are not qualities that are typically associated with the marriage experience.
At any rate, I know that being "in it together" with someone significant is an experience that brings benefits that are valuable, just as being independent does. So, I don't fret for those in marriage; nor should they worry for me because I am unattached.
I am on my own, not alone.