Why I’m Not Giving Into Pressures To Settle Down

October 17, 2011  |  

It’s been well over two years since I’ve been in a steady relationship and quite honestly, I’m okay with that.

My last relationship wasn’t abusive or dysfunctional in anyway. In fact, my boyfriend was a really nice, caring and attentive guy, who accepted me for who I was and went out of his way to make me feel appreciated and loved. He was as close to perfect as it comes. And in fact, prior to our courtship, I used to stress myself – and the unfortunate men I had dated – out about why I hadn’t been able to find relationship like the one I had. I should have been happy. There was no real reason for me not to be happy. But despite finally getting what I wanted, I can honestly say that I wasn’t.

Somewhere within the mix of coupledom, I began to feel stifled and confined. And that’s when the fights started. I would routinely pick arguments with him over the most mundane things, like how loudly he chewed his food and his penchant for smiling all the time. Amazingly the characteristics that first attracted me to him suddenly became the very reasons why I couldn’t stand him any longer.

And while I enjoyed our time together, there were many days in which I had longed to be solo. Then one day, while we sat quietly on his couch watching a movie, it hit me. While I was spending so much time and energy on making the “we” work, I knew little about what made the “me” happy. Whereas I wanted to travel, see the world, meet new people and explore interest outside of the realm of what I had been accustomed to, my significant other was just content sitting on the couch and watching movies together. I realized that what I had been searching for wasn’t necessarily a significant other but a life of significance. So I dumped him, nicely of course, and went out into the world to not only do my “thang” but to find out exactly what my “thang” was.

Again, that was two years ago and at 34 years of age I realize that I am not getting any younger. But even as the anxiety and fear of being the old spinster cat lady nudges at me and almost weekly articles in the press hounding me about why I’m not married yet, I’m still not ready to be in just any relationship just to say, and to quote Sophia from the Color Purple, “I iz married now.” There are so many questions about myself, about what I want in a relationship, which I have yet to figure out. Questions like do I want children? Do I even desire marriage or would I be content with a part-time lover? Where do I see myself career-wise five years from now? And how much will I really be saving by switching my insurance to Geico – you know the important stuff in life. So until I truly figure it all out, I think that I will remain ambivalent, single and very much unattached.

And despite the Single Lady anthem swirling around me, according to the Census Bureau, I’m not really alone in my thinking. Its most recent report has suggested that the proportion of married households in America dropped to a record low of 48 percent and that nearly 50 percent – and growing – of the adult population is single. This compared with 33 percent in 1950.

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