Lately, my dear friend, Debra, has been thinking a lot about the many single women she knows, the ways they are single (e.g., never married, divorced, single moms) and what it all means. Here, let her tell you…
In her own words:
Last week two very similar things happened virtually simultaneously. While talking on the phone to a woman who was recently singled-by-divorce, I was reading Eleanore’s Facebook post. Yes, that’s right, the Eleanore, queen of I’ve-got-this-single-thing-on-a-leash. Her post referenced spending time and chumming it up with two distinct groups of her friends: happily married women and [by inference] very-comfortable-in-my-skin single women.
Based on the painful conversation I was having, I was struck by the notion that there are many states of singlehood. As a never-been-married, single parent of an adult daughter, I embrace my life as my life. Yes, over the years I have pondered the reality of why my road forked onto the path of perpetual singleness. Yes, over the years I have, and occasionally still do, long for that ever-evolving storybook marriage.
However, the truth is most marriages that I have witnessed, well, let’s just say they have left me far less interested in a marriage than a very healthy relationship. Yes, I do on occasion happen upon one of those magical marriages that give true substance and validation to: “happily ever after”. Given an option, yes, I would take such a marriage. At any rate, I said all of that to say that I fall into the category of Eleanore’s very-comfortable-in-my-skin single friends.
Interestingly, the general twist with being a long-term single woman is often less than flattering. That is most unfortunate, as it negates substantive reality. Run the numbers, i.e., how many happy, healthy marriages does one personally encounter in life? (And for those marriages, I simply desire to grab popcorn and something to drink while gazing with stars in my eyes and heart at a man being a man/gentleman and a woman being a woman/lady unto each other. Humph, that just lights up my heart. It is akin to living art, a masterpiece. It is spiritually enriching. It boasts of beauty without even trying. I become in love with love.
Just thinking about it reminds me of an inquiry from friend a number of years ago. We were at a concert sitting next to a couple who were so loving and comfortable with their love for each other that they enfolded us into their evening with an incredible lovingkindness that left my friend asking: “Debbie, is it possible to be in love with a couple?” If so, then we were ready to commit that relationship. In reality, it simply spoke to the loving relationship that we would gladly have welcomed into our own lives.
Okay, that’s enough about me, as mine is the common vanilla single lifestyle: life is what is and mine is to play the hand I have by valuing the trump cards I possess. Ironically, this is the general posture of single women who wake up every day walking it out in flats or stilettos. What I have come to realize is that this group of single women, unknowingly, model being single to a group of women who are literally locked in a prison of time and space that was intended to be a loving marriage. Looking through the bars of their lives, they see women (married and single) going about their business making things happen, being happy, being fulfilled and fulfilling others.
This is where my phone call with the singled-by-divorce woman and Eleanore’s prepping for fun with friends weekend come into play. The woman on the other end of the phone gave me an immediate realization that healthy singlehood is a process. Transitioning from being in a “prisonous” marriage into an emotionally healthy single person takes time, support, growth, and yes, some spiritual maturity. After all, it is not possible for one to be the same woman pre-marriage as post-marriage. It will take time to get to “know” oneself unto oneself, and others per this newly evolving self.
My conversations with the recently singled-by-divorce woman are always awkward for me. Her frame of reference to relationships is unmoored to anything beyond her seeming random imaginings of singlehood. I listen with the challenging awareness being singled-by-divorce is just one step. There are so, so many more along the road to getting to know oneself anew so that one can learn to love oneself. Being Single 101.
So…do you think the way you became single impacts the way you experience single-dom?