Enough already with all the debate about single, not single and relationship status. Can’t we do what works best in our situation and get on with life?
Giulio Fornasar /123RF Photo
I’ve been watching this “second wave” of single rights writers and activists popping up lately. I feel they’re late to join the party, but at the same time, I’m thinking, “Bring in the fresh horses!”
I wasn’t the first to the “it’s OK to be single” party myself. When I first started questioning the way single people were treated, thinking about Singular magazine as a way to re-brand being single in a positive light and doing some research on singles-targeted businesses, I stumbled onto Bella DePaulo’s book, “Singled Out,” published about a year earlier. Well, that lit the fire because it opened my eyes to the many ridiculous and painful ways our culture treats single people − as if there was something wrong with them – something that needed to be fixed, cured, remedied. And I also realized that although I’d been single for years, I didn’t want to identify as such because the term had such a negative connotation.
Doing more research, I found other frontrunners in the “it’s OK to be single” wilderness. Bloggers QuirkyAlone and Onely, singles rights activist Thomas Coleman and author Leslie Talbot and her book, “Singular Existence,” were among them. I realized, too, that this positive concept of “being single” had its roots in people like feminist Gloria Steinem and others who wanted people to have the right to make choices about their life beyond “get married and have children.”
Still, over the eight years I’ve written about the topic, I’ve felt that only a handful wanted to hear it was OK to be single, and others who might appreciate the idea couldn’t hear it over the din of the billion-dollar matchmaking industry. So it’s been heartening to see the popularity of the latest wave of single-minded magazine articles and books, such as “Spinster” by Kate Bolick and others that have inspired even more pro-singles writers, bloggers, books and film projects.
But as one who was ahead of the curve, well, toward the head of the curve anyway, I can tell you that I’m tired of relationship status still being an issue at all. I feel I’ve pretty much said everything I need to say about it. What I want, and what I’m beginning to see around me, is a world where people are not defined by their relationship status and other superficial markers, but rather by their character and the way they lead their lives.
Besides, being “singular” isn’t so much about relationship status as it is about attitude. Are you a person who follows your heart, who thrives on independence, who needs to live without constant compromise and concession – someone who values freedom – or longs to do so? When you deny yourself these things, do you feel diminished, frustrated and trapped? If so, maybe like me, you’re “singular” too. That kind of free spirit isn’t contained or defined by relationship status. Focusing on whether or not you have a romantic partner misses the point. The point is that some people need to have a certain level of freedom and independence – they don’t feel like half of a whole. They see a romantic relationship as something that enhances their lives, but doesn’t define it.
There are so many relationship options today. Find what works best for you and do it, free from the judgment of others and yourself − whether single, divorced, married, living together, dating, not dating. Let’s stop focusing on everyone’s relationship status and direct our attention to being our authentic self, to becoming who we have the potential to be, without diminishing ourselves and each other based on who does − or doesn’t − sleep in our bed.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2015 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.