"Why are you single?"
Hand up all you singletons who have become face-to-face with this question at least once this year. How did it make you feel? Degraded, lonely, like there’s something wrong with you, or like the asking party was offering you a compliment the hard way?
Of course, the way this question makes you feel depends a lot on how it is asked: in an accusing tone of voice or just out of pure curiosity because the questioner is actually interested in your views on living a life. Regardless of the motives of the people who pop this question at regular basis, I find it a funny question to be asked in Western societies in 2017.
Aren’t we far enough culture-wise in the Western world already that each and every single (pun intended) one of us could live exactly the kind of life they want to? Why do you consider it your business to inquire about their love life, when will they have their first child or why they don’t want to have kids?
Even if you know the people you want to ask these questions from, be bloody careful: there are as many different life situations as there are individuals on this planet and most of us cannot control whether we can have children or not, or whether we find a partner for life or not. And for some of us these issues are a really sore spot, which you do not actually have the right to touch.
I am usually asked this question by friends’ friends who know about me but we’ve never hung out before. The fact that I hear this question quite often actually sounds to me more like a compliment than a degrading notion. People seem genuinely surprised.
But I understand that for people who are not exactly sure about themselves and might struggle with some self-esteem issues, this question can bring them to the verge of tears. And that is why this question should not be thrown around casually. We can put this question to the same box with the ”When are you due to give birth”-question: if you are not 120% sure that this person will not flip in case you get it wrong, go ahead and ask but otherwise, please do keep your trap shut.
So, why am I still single? By weird coincidences and also because of the fact that I want total equality; I will compromise for you if you compromise for me. I pay attention to you and what you like if you pay attention to me and to what I like. In most human relationships the scales are never even; one of the two will always end up investing more of themselves in the relationship than the other. And in a lot of cases it’s fine. But in my case, when it comes to a relationship where you share most your life with someone every day, my interest will ebb fast if I feel we are not at the same level.
Sounds harsh perhaps, but I’ve been through relationships and followed friends go through relationships that were not worth the time and effort invested. I do not want to waste any more of time or effort on anyone who doesn’t deserve me. And there are very few people who do deserve me.
I think it should by now be a stable, established fact that a relationship is no more the point of a human life worth living than having a 9 to 5 job is. We all go though a different journey, some of us struggle more than others and some are more interested in making the most of their life rather than spending time and effort on being something that society would like them to be instead of themselves. The fact that somebody is single doesn't really tell anything about their personality or abilities. But unfortunately there are still a lot of people (mostly among the older generations) who have difficulties grasping this life-affirming fact.