While growing up I always found the word single interesting, I took for granted that single could mean so many things yet when the word is used as it relates to relationship it feels so isolated, almost alone, then the question came to me while giving advice to a poster on my website, “What does it mean to be single?” I had to pause to answer, I was not even sure what single meant to me.
I found that there were three areas we could talk about,
When you are married there are some protection that comes with that and as a result marriage is encouraged. Because I belong to a denomination that believes in marriage, it became difficult after dating for a few years, the question came on a regular basis, when are you guys getting married? it doesnt matter how committed you are to your partner, you are considered legally single if you are not married by law.
You are socially single if you are not in a romantic relationship where other people regard as serious. This is a much more slippery matter than the legal definition. Whether we want to accept this or not there is a stereotyping and discrimination against singles,” A common behaviour that is observed is if two young persons decide to be friends, their platonic relationship quickly moves to intimate most times because of the pressure to be serious by those around them. Whether other people see you as part of a couple (your social status) can be even more significant to your everyday life, and how other people treat you, than your legal status.
Personally single is how you see yourself, whether you are hanging with a special friend or not, you are the only person who can decide how you feel when you feel and why you feel. The definition of single is what got me, “In legal definitions for interpersonal status, a single person is someone who is not in a relationship or is unmarried. … Loneliness can occur for some people who look for but cannot find anyone they might wish to date, especially for those suffering the loss of companionship following divorce or bereavement.” Lonely can occur and i just wondered how that got there, because whether single, in a relationship, married… loneliness can occur.
To be Single
Now I can explain what single means: You don’t have a serious partner. The simple distinction, you have a serious partner or you don’t, maps onto the golden rule of singlism, the way of thinking that has become the conventional wisdom of our time: You have a serious partner or you lose. If you are single, then, you lose by definition. No matter what you can point to on your own behalf – spectacular accomplishments, a lifelong and caring convoy of relatives and friends, extraordinary altruism – none of it redeems you if you have no soul mate. Others will forever be scratching their heads and wondering what’s wrong with you and comparing notes (he’s always been a bit strange; she’s so neurotic; I think he’s gay). It is like having a gymnastics routine lacking a key element that qualifies it for a perfect score; no matter how skillfully and gracefully you perform your routine, it will always be judged as lacking.
Serious partner or no serious partner must sound awfully simplistic. Surely, the many significant distinctions must matter somehow. Among those without a serious partner, for example, there are single men and single women (always a distinction worth pondering); people who have always been single and those who are divorced or separated or widowed; young singles and old singles, rich singles and poor singles; singles who have children and singles who do not; singles who live in the city and singles who live in the suburbs or the countryside; coastal singles and Midwestern singles; singles living alone and singles living with others; smug singles and singles pining for partners; and singles of different races, ethnicities, and religions, to name just a few, to be single can be a wonderful thing. These kinds of distinctions do matter. Some singles are stigmatized more relentlessly and unforgiving than others.
In some denomination they have a ministry called the singles ministry, that includes everyone else who falls out of the category of being married, an intimate relationship still makes you single in a church context. To date I do not think the singles are still understanding the purpose of that ministry as it is still not defined. To be single is a balancing act and unless you decide to take charge of your feelings you will stumble to find meaning to being single.
When I say that some singles are better than others, I mean better in the public eye. Better being mythological. The lives of the “better” singles seem to make more sense and seem worthy of greater respect than the lives of the “lesser” singles. With regard to how different kinds of singles are actually doing, though – now that’s a whole different story.
Never allow society to dictate who you are and what you feel and irrespective of your category, single or the others, your life can be fulfilling, magical and blissful. Start planning just the way you would if you were in a relationship, plan for yourself.