Have you noticed how many TV shows and films are “success stories” about a lonely, sad single woman finally finding the love that completes her? How her life is basically an empty shell until she magically finds a partner who’ll agree to be with her? Far too many shows like that exist, and it’s more than likely that being exposed to such drivel makes a lot of women feel that there’s something wrong with them, and that something is missing from their lives unless they’re cozily coupled up. What a load of twaddle.
This is far from a pitying post, full of condolences for singledom and reassurances that poor, single ladies will find their handsome princes one day. Hell no.
This is an ode to the single woman who knows her worth and won’t settle for anything less than an equal partner… and if that partner hasn’t been found yet, she’d rather stay single, thank you.
She Knows Who She Is (Or Has A Fair Idea, At Least)
A woman who chooses to be single in a world that seems obsessed with people pairing up is an incredibly strong, confident being. If she doesn’t already have a firmly established sense of self, chances are that she’s taking strides to get there, and at least has a solid idea of who she isn’t. This includes awareness of what she does and doesn’t want, and that she won’t accept mediocrity in a potential mate.
Single people who aren’t desperately trying to find mates tend to cultivate rich friendships with others, and often have a low threshold for drama. They take time for introspection, and may partake in mind-body-soul connective pursuits like yoga or tai chi. Not being wholly wrapped up in another person allows someone to really dig into themselves and find out who they are, and that helps them to determine which qualities they are most drawn to in a partner.
Did you know that single women travel a lot more often than single men do? A single woman who is confident and has developed a sense of adventure is much more likely to pack a bag and head off to explore a new place than her male counterpart. There are wonderful places to discover around the world, and she knows that she’ll enjoy the experience without having to compromise her adventures for another person’s whims.
Being single also means that she has supported herself and likely relied solely upon herself for years. She’s financially independent, can likely do a fair number of home repairs on her own, and can even sort out spider crises without calling for help.
She’s Compassionate, But Has No Patience For Drama
Being in a relationship with another person inevitably means that you’re also in a relationship with other people in their life: difficult family members, abrasive friends, an ex that just won’t sod off, etc. Single people have a lot less drama to contend with in this regard, and so they generally have a lot less patience for it when it arises.
She’s likely to be very understanding and compassionate, because she has undoubtedly had to contend with her fair share of hardship over the years, but she also knows when to draw the line. If she feels that people are taking advantage of her or using her in any way, she’ll either call them out for doing so, or put an end to it very quickly. There is no room in her life for leeches or emotional vampires.
She Knows Her Worth
A woman who has spent a significant amount of time alone generally has a pretty solid idea of her value, both as an individual, and as a romantic partner. She’s aware of her strengths, her abilities, her grace. She may be patient and kind, or fierce and driven, or a beautiful combination of both. She may speak several languages, or be able to cook in a way that would put Nigella to shame, or perhaps she’s able to own just about anyone in Warcraft.
Regardless of the flavor of her own unique skills and abilities, she knows damn well how awesome she is, and demands that she is recognized for said fabulousness. This is a woman who won’t be taken for granted, because she has absolutely no problem walking away from someone who doesn’t appreciate her. She’s just fine being on her own, and would prefer solitude to being treated poorly.
Fuck the quotes about princes, soul mates, and how the reason you’re single is because the universe is “still writing your love story”. Hell no.
Let’s take a quote from one of Anais Nin’s books instead:
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
(Let’s consider her use of “man” changed to the gender-neutral “partner” here, and we’re golden.)
In previous eras, a perennially single woman would likely be depicted as someone fairly dumpy and unattractive, with an abrasive personality and total lack of social graces. Basically, a woman whom no man would want, hence the reason for her singledom. That stigma still stands to a great extent, and it’s not uncommon for people to wonder what’s wrong with a woman if she’s still single by a certain age. Take a look at the synopses for Bridget Jones’ Diary that can be found on many websites, and you’ll find that in addition to her (apparently numerous) physical flaws, “…worst of all, she’s single”. As though that’s a fate worse than death.
How many people do you know who are in unfulfilling relationships just because they don’t want to be alone? Or because they’ve found someone that they get along with “pretty well”, and as such feel that they can muddle through and deal with the metric arseload of negative traits they despise in their partner because sometimes they get along fairly okay? Enough of that. Far too many people set aside their own needs to make the other person in their life the priority, and said partner rarely reciprocates. It’s one thing if people really live to make the other’s life wonderful, but if one partner takes far more than they give in turn, that’s fifty shades of unacceptable, right there.
So let’s raise our glasses (or coffee mugs) in a toast to the perennially single woman. Thank you for reminding us to honor and respect ourselves, so that others may honor us in turn. You lead by example, walking a path of autonomy, grace, dignity, and hopefully a hell of a lot of fun, without compromising your values or accepting less than what you’re worth.
If finding a true soul mate is what you seek, then that is undoubtedly what you shall find. Best of luck to you: you bloody well deserve the best.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.