I’ve been in many situations with many friendships circles where I’ve been the perpetually single person. Which in some cases baffles some of them, they’re genuinley surprised and shocked by the lack of interest I had in pursuing a relationship. Whenever we’d meet up they’d ask the same question:
“So Fatima, hows your love life?”
To which I always answer – “same old, same old”, and in some cases they find this either amusing or don’t care. But some actually get sad, and I’ve never really understood it. In my 25 years of living I’ve known many people, but the type I’ve never gotten are the ones who are scared to be single. They’ll end up in bad breakups and quickly jump into another serious relationship without giving themselves time to mourn and heal from the initial breakup.
After doing this horrific cycle for long enough they end up being scared of the idea of being single. A lot of it is to do with them entering the cycle as a teenager and not really having an adult identity outside of being in a long term relationship. So they never really took the time to be alone and ultimately learning to love yourself without that process involving a romantic partner.
Of course it’s a lot more complicated then this, there’s more thoughts, emotions and experiences that are attached to the cycle of relationship jumping, and a lot of the cases people don’t even realise that they’ve ended up in a situation where they haven’t been single for more than a month (or two) in 5+ years.
So the fear, lets talk about the fear of being single a little bit more. So I know for a fact that in my culture, and many others there’s a lot of pressure for all genders to be married and having children after a certain age. So regardless of your job, your education or even your acheivements – not being married is seen as a bad thing.
Women in particular have the whole ‘biological clock’ pressure as we have a time limit for how long we’re actually fertile enough to have children. We’re sort of seen as failiures for not being married after a certain age, and it’s sad. Of course loads of people also want to do this, and some even get arranged marriages, and that’s perfectly fine. But for the rest of us it’s a little weird, because being single is not considered a good thing. So the stigma can just lead to women just having a fear of not being good enough to be in a relationship if they’re single, especially once you’ve reached the point where all your friends and family are getting married.
For men, they have to be earning enough to support a family after a certain amount of time, so not only do they need to be married but they also have the ‘breadwinner’ pressure. So they also can experience a fear of not being good enough if they aren’t married and supporting their families, and even though they have a few more years of being an acceptable singleton in our culture, they need to acheive a lot more in a short amount of time.
I kind of wish we lived in a world where everyone could just do what they want without any pressure, but that’s not the world we live in. I also believe people do need to have at least a year of being single in their late teens – early twenties, just so they can navigate life without a partner and find an identity outside of being in a relationship. Relying on someone else for everything is really unhealthy especially if you’re then unable to navigate life on your own.