I have found myself feeling a bit defensive lately.
Why do I feel like I am being judged for being open about the idea of being in a ''real'' relationship? Or for even entertaining the idea of dating?
I don't just mean ME doing these things...I speak for many singles, especially single parents, and especially women. To be honest I'm starting to get kind of irritated by it.
There seems to be a couple of different schools of thought on the process of recoupling.
The first says ''no, absolutely not, accept your singleness, focus on your life as it is. The second says, get out there and meet people, go on a date, go on several in fact! (The latter is invariable directed at others I know, never at me - I tend to get the first bit of advice).
The steadfastly single maintain that they have the right idea - being alone gives you choices and freedom. There's no risk. It's all fun fun fun and no one to be accountable to.
The happily coupled gladly offer sage advice about having to be happy being single before the right partner will come along (this bit is probably true), and point out the challenges of blended families, joining personalities, and co-habitation after living alone.
The bit that irks me is this: apparently it's okay for others to ask me if I've met ''anyone nice'' recently. It's fine for them to encourage their single friends to ''get out there and meet people''. But the second one of us start talking in terms of actually doing these things and that we just might have met someone with potential, there is lots of tooth sucking and cats bum lips, and well placed words of caution.
Ooh, not the Internet, that's not safe. Oh, not HIM, he's not your type. What!? Her!?! No, way too many issues. At a pub? Hopeless...doomed from the start:(. enjoy being single! (yes, thanks for that...)
I'd like, just occasionally for the single to be encouraged and supported in their quest to recouple. I'm fortunate enough to have a handful of friends who are my cheerleaders. But the majority of people are not. When I hear one of my friends is going on a date I'm cheering from the sidelines. (Cautiously of course...)
I stick by my previously shared theory that we are not designed to be alone. Sure sometimes its for a season, and sometimes we are going to make some dumb choices, but the long term view is surely to find someone to grow old with.
Which means dating. Which means actually admitting to each other that we want relationships not casual flings. Which means being open and vulnerable with our feelings. Scary stuff. And all the more reason that we singles need to have the support of our friends, and to support each other along the way.