“If I’m so fabulous, then why am I single?”
This question came to me and I realized I have to write about it. I often ask it of myself. I see my friends with their various backstories, neuroses and impossibilities, in relationships. High maintenance types, neurotics, just plain crazies, you name it, they have a partner.
And here I am accomplished, attractive, a lovely home, financially solvent, a dynamic home chef and baker. I travel, I have hobbies. I write a popular blog. I go to yoga and Pilates. I have two cats and a dog. I am capable, well read, sensitive, fun loving, intellectual. And single.
Then starts the useless self-examination. Am I too demanding? Am I a loner? Is there something wrong with me? This is society’s way of making us feel there’s something wrong with us. There is nothing “wrong.”
Even at 70, after an abusive marriage, apparently I am supposed to want to find a companion. Why is there this constant pressure to couple? There are questions to be asked, issues to be considered.
First of all, society is obsessed with coupledom. Obsessed! Remember Noah’s Ark? We singletons don’t stand a chance, with Noah’s command of “animals two by two” coming down to us through the millennia as the only way to get on the boat.
Do you ever ask yourself why society tends to view you as successful and fulfilled only if you are in a couple? Look at the marriage industry created around coupling, the must-have diamond, and if it’s not big and super white you’re led to feel a little less. The big wedding. The glorious honeymoon. The quiet divorce. Or, not so quiet. 50% of marriages end there.
Society continues to not help single people feel like “enough.” Singles are punished in solo travel by paying a 200% extra for a single room on a cruise. The phrase “2 for 1” is in the vernacular cosmos. Yet, Google “solo travel” and see what a huge industry it is. There’s a reason why the Bridget Jones movies were such blockbusters. We are obsessed with treating single life as a condition to be overcome.
Okay, one of the reasons I’m single is: Dating, finding someone to date, cultivating a social life is work! A lot of work. And I don’t feel like working so hard at it.
When I was young, my Mother used to say, “You won’t meet anyone sitting in your apartment.” Well, a 65-year-old friend met a grand passion by answering the door of her apartment to the tenant upstairs, thank you very much.
I’m a believer that if it’s meant to be, it will happen. That, if you follow the course of your life, invest in your interests and passions, you will come across like-minded souls and maybe a soul mate.
If you’re going to try online dating, it’s work. You’ve got to choose a dating website, write up a profile, upload a photograph, think about your answers to questions like: “What are five things you don’t like about you?” and “If you were an article of clothing, what would it be?” You might have to pay some money too. Then you get to spend hours combing through profiles and pictures looking for Mr. or Ms. Right.
If you’re going to skip the virtual dating world and go out, well that’s work too. You don’t need me to tell you that. Deciding what event to go to, buying tickets, getting dressed, driving, paying parking and then striking up conversations.
If you’re single, it doesn’t mean you’re alone. You can be single but have lots of friends. Redefine the word “intimacy” and you’ll realize you have lots of it in your life. Work friends, old friends, new friends, gym friends, class friends, walking friends, church friends.
I am a solitaire. A diamond white, shining bright, huge. I am a queen. As Beyoncé says, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” I dine out alone and feel like the most interesting woman in the room. I never let being single stop me from going to an event, theatre or museum.
And here’s the thing: I can score a ticket to almost any show at the last minute (except for, maybe, Hamilton) because there is always a single ticket available, somewhere.
The same thing with restaurants. I was in Paris and wanted to eat at Le Comptoir, a bistro that Anthony Bourdain featured on his show, No Reservations. There is a waiting list of three months to get in. I walked in and got a table for that same evening, because there is always one space where they can’t fit two, but room plenty for one person.
In fact, my table for one was in prime café street watching position in the front row. I ordered a bottle of rose and took home half the bottle. I had a splendid time being the most catered to person by the wait staff.
I know we all seek connection. When you’re sick, it’s nice to have someone make you a cup of tea, or dash to the drugstore for some Pepto. Yes, there are times that being single sucks. But I refuse to feel less than because time or circumstances have not worked out in the favor of having a partner.
In the end, we are all alone. One partner will die before the other, and you will be single. In fact, you will spend more time single than you ever were married. So get used to it. And be nice to your single friends.
How do you feel about being single? Can you cherish it, or do you feel the pressure to couple? Or, do you genuinely want to couple? All answers are good! As they said in Bridget Jones, “You are perfect, just the way you are.” Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Tags Marriage After 60
Good afternoon Elizabeth I have read your article with interest. I am single at 70 and although I am happy most of the time , I would like to meet a nice gentleman and believe I will someday. I live in rural Ireland, retired here 6 years ago from U.K. I was born in Ireland and always knew I would return home , I like to holiday at least 3 or 4 times a year in Portugal Italy or Greece I also visit family/friends many times throughout the year in the U.K. I have some terrific friends but still I would like to find a partner whether that will happen or not I am always hopeful without letting it consume my everyday life. You are right in the end we are all alone but it’s not the end for me not by a long shot so thankfully I still have the luxury of not having to think about that now. Thank you for a most interesting read
Wow, thank you so much for your article. I have been pondering this dilemma for a while now and you hit the nail on the head in both the positives and negatives of dating. Yes tea sounds nice but giving up my remote is still a challenge..
There is something to be said living a life single BUT, there is nothing like happiness WITH a companion!
I don’t mind being single. I’m actually having the most fun in my life at 65. I was married for 34 years when my husband died. I kayak, tube, swim, hike, and still work. I have lots of friends both male and female plus young and old. My son and his friends help me do the things around the house I cant. My Grandkids think I’m the bomb because I still ride roller coasters and do other things that even younger Nanna’s don’t do. Why do I really like being single, I avoid DRAMA and have lots of fun. Can not wait to retire next year and develop more of my interest, travel, and spend time with my family. Plus I don’t have to ask anybody except grandkids, what do you want to do.
I loved this – and yes also identified in some ways. I was recently quite ill, alone and having difficulty breathing, and thought it would have been nice for someone to have been there with me at the time. But, in essence I do value my being single most of the time. In my country (Israel) we often sit at the cafe and I have no problem sitting there on my own enjoying my coffee. Very often I do find an interesting someone for a chat, and if not I do my wordle or just sit and glance at the people passing by. Once I thought I was indeed odd that I was not coupled (I had been married for 22 years and divorced), but now I realize that although I have those moments of loneliness, they do not occur as often as my moments of joy… satisfaction in what I am doing in life. Thank you again for this ‘reminder’. It is so good to hear it said by someone else. All the best, martie