Shh! Do you hear that?
If you listen closely, you can hear the undercurrent of backwards logic, turbulently deluging our society, in which coupledom is blindly equated with happiness and singledom with sadness.
“Oh my god! You’re glowing!”
“You must be so happy!”
These are the phrases that spewed out of my friends’ mouths when they found out I was in a relationship. I, on the other hand, was looking at them like they had five heads.
What the hell were they talking about? At the time, I was neither glowing nor happy; I was miserable and crestfallen. I didn’t even tell them anything to make them think I was in some “picture-perfect” relationship, but apparently, “She’s got a man” was enough to make them see me in a completely different light.
Suddenly my skin was more radiant, all my problems evaporated into thin air, and I was just sh*tting rainbows and unicorns.
And yet, behind closed doors, I was a complete mess. I just hated being in that relationship. It was extremely taxing mentally, physically, and spiritually. But the only equation that made any sense to them was “relationship = happiness.” That’s it.
While they were gushing about my how “happy” I must be, they had no clue I was fantasizing about how to break it off so I could be single again.
What further solidified this false impression was a social media photo where my then-boyfriend and I were all smiles. Little did they know about the friction that ravaged the relationship beneath the surface.
“Really? I’m ‘glowing’?” I would respond quizzically to their remarks. Bless their hearts. How a photo is even a remotely good indicator of how “fulfilled” one is in a relationship is beyond me! Once that camera is put away and the cheesy smiles fade, who knows what’s going on when no one’s looking? Bickering, fighting, yelling, shoving, crying – unless you’re a fly on the wall, you’ll never know.
But here’s the funny part. Now that I’m single, and truly at the happiest in my life, I don’t think anyone believes me.
My friends ask, “So, you dating anyone?”
With a sigh of relief, I say “Nope.”
They shake their heads sadly and say, “Aw, I was in your position once,” as if I was going in for a root canal and they could empathize with the pain I was about to endure.
It’s interesting isn’t it? In the same way that they erroneously thought I was “happy” because I was coupled up, they also very wrongly assume that I’m “down in the dumps” because I’m single.
Suddenly I’m dull-skinned, swamped with onerous problems, and moping in some corner bawling my eyes out. But they couldn’t be more mistaken! Because my soul is happiest in a solitary state, I often find boyfriends to be more “leech-like” than convivial – that’s just who I am.
But alas, the “I am miserable when I am single, so you must be” mentality pervades our society. Many cannot fathom the thought of someone possibly being satisfied in their singledom. But hey, we’re not a monolith – some people crave the company of others, others very much enjoy their own. And at the same time, not everyone who is paired up is – er – “glowing.”
What do you think? Is it just me or have you noticed people developing a false perception of you due to your relationship status?
Kimberly Gedeon is a creative content connoisseur with nearly 2,000 professional articles published online about everything from beauty and business to politics and pop culture. You can converse with her on Twitter or Instagram – she doesn’t bite!