As I’ve gotten older I’ve had to consistently navigate around questions about my marital status. I am frequented more and more by first line enquiries to do with whether or not I am ‘attached’ as opposed to the condition of any other area of my life such as career, academia or even my health. To be honest I’ve come to understand that is a part of a life condition that is associated with someone, well more likely someone who is female and of my age range. What has surprised me in recent times though has been my answer to this question which has continued to be ‘I’m single but….’
My motivation behind needing to justify this is one that has been quite mystifying of late. Why have I, and others like me felt the overwhelming need to provide some sort of excuse or reason behind why we are single. Even in typing this I was tempted to write ‘behind why we are single at this time’. I mean I’ve never asked a person who is in a relationship or married about their status and then peppered them with questions about why they are in relationship. I suppose it represents an element of choice, why does one choose to be single, or be in a relationship or be married. However, why is it that no one states ‘oh I’m married because…’ Is there only a need for justification of those who are unattached?
In a world that expects women of a certain age to naturally be of the persuasion of actively seeking a relationship on a consistent basis, it’s difficult to be comfortable in one’s status of being single… just single. Not single and looking, or single because I’m focusing on my career. It seems to me that one of the greatest injustices that we place on young women today is forcing them at every turn to justify their existence of just being; of not being with another which for some reason doesn’t appease everyone else’s discomfort toward the alternative of them being ‘all alone’. Almost as if the idea of their being is not enough unless someone else is around.
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter if I’m single by choice, if I’m looking or not. I am enough. My existence is enough and does not need to be justified by whether or not someone is standing next to me. I don’t feel the need to vindicate my unattached state or consistently weigh how I choose to live my life against someone else’s subjectively biased standards of what my existence should look like or the path that I should take towards what they deem an acceptable standard of life.
So the next time someone asks me if I’m in a relationship or what my marital status is, my reply will be ‘I’m single’ (full stop).