The Outdated Stigma Of Being A Single Woman

The Outdated Stigma Of Being A Single Woman

A note to all girls feeling the loneliness that comes with being alone, and how to love yourself regardless of your relationship status.
982
views

With societal hype on having a significant other still extremely prevalent and emphasized in modern media, many women often have the notion that it is necessary to have a boyfriend during key moments of their lives: dances, weddings (as a date), dinners, group outings, and so on. These same women also feel "incomplete" or like they're missing out on life if they don't have someone to share it with. But that notion is garbage. Here's why.

Ever since I was 11, talk of boyfriends and dating invaded the classroom during passing periods, lunch breaks, and after school. In sixth grade, many of my friends were "dating" each other. I had a crush on my then-best friend's brother and I wanted him to be my boyfriend (even though I didn't really understand the concept of having a boyfriend or what it entailed). All I knew was that it meant I was important if a guy liked me. And for some reason, the level of coolness increased if a girl had a boyfriend. Having a man was cool and significant. Even at 11 years old.

When I began high school, at least three of my friends got into relationships within the first two months of the year. So at 14, I felt like something was wrong with me for not being asked out. Everyone had a date for homecoming except for me. But I went to the dance anyway and had a great time with my friends.

In senior year, talk of prom was afoot in early September - months before the dance. I had friends complaining about not having someone to go with, which made me feel like it was something I should worry about, too. I brushed off the concern because I knew I'd likely be asked by my male best friend.

A classmate of mine posted her dramatic prom date woes on Facebook, stating she was "so sad" she "didn't have a date for prom" and that she felt "embarrassed" by the fact that she'd have to go alone. (I guess not embarrassed enough that she posted about it in a status though, am I right?) Regardless, the fact that she felt overcome with such emotion that she put her feelings in public for everyone to see meant that not having a prom date was SUCH a big deal to her that it made her question her own worth.

April rolled around and I stayed confident in the fact that I had a backup plan: my best friend would ask me. But then he asked the girl who made her dramatic Facebook plea. In that moment, I was hurt. Not because he asked someone else, but because I hadn't been asked at all. I was going to have to go stag - the biggest fear of many high school senior girls. It was shameful to not have a male escort you to prom. And it still is - for no good reason.

Despite being dateless, I went.

I asked a female friend to join me on a friend-date. She helped the night be memorable and fun. After prom, a group of my friends came over and camped out in my backyard. I didn't miss out by not having a boyfriend or date for the evening. I looked good, felt good, and had a memorable night being "alone".

In college, the cycle of single-boyfriend-single began again. Everyone who was someone had somebody to call their own. But not me. By the time I was 19, I felt like something was missing from my life - a boyfriend. I had never had one and wondered if something was wrong with me for not ever having had a boyfriend especially when so many of my other friends did. Was it because I was too mean? Too nice? Too big? Not pretty? These kinds of thoughts filled my head with serious self-doubt.

Back then, I didn't consider that 19 was still young and I had a wealth of time on my hands.

Later that year, I got into my first real relationship with someone I had known since I was 11. Though things started off well, our partnership soon became toxic. I was no longer excited to say I had a boyfriend or flaunt our relationship as a symbol of my status in society. Instead, I thought about the times I was single and had the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. Doomed from the start, I finally broke it off a year and a half later.

But oh no, now I was single again.

Though the relationship turned sour, I've seen friends in similar situations "stick it out" because they'd rather not be alone.

They say they stay because they love each other.

And because "verbal abuse isn't actually abuse." (Yeah, okay.)

I have heard women tell me that they can't come out for dinner or drinks with their friends because their boyfriend won't let them. I have known women whose boyfriends won't allow them to do something because other men will be there. I have been told by friends that they can't go out tonight because their boyfriend wants to stay home. I have seen the tension between two supposed lovers in person when she wants to stay, but he wants to leave.

Yet they all stay in their respective relationships. Why?

Women are still fed the idea that it is better to have a man want to be with us (in spite of being in a potentially abusive situation) rather than being alone. The stigma of being single, especially as a person ages, gets bigger and uglier with every year that passes. We are told that something is wrong with us if a man doesn't want us, or told that we need to change our bodies, behavior, or outlook on life in order to convince a man we are ~worthy~ of his acknowledgment.

Fuck. That. Noise.

After women reach the age of 20, the fear of being alone becomes more intimidating. It's a never-ending, anxiety-filled thought process.

If I don't get into a relationship soon, then I won't get engaged, and if I don't get engaged, I won't get married, and if I don't get married, I can't have children, and if I don't have children, then my entire existence as a woman has been for nothing!!!

How about no?

There's no proper timeline for when someone should be in a serious relationship or when they should be on track to get married. You can be single through your 20s and 30s; nothing is wrong with that. Hell, you can choose to be single for the rest of your life and still have a successful, fulfilling existence without thinking there's something wrong with you.

Whether you're in a relationship, freshly out of one, or perpetually single, you can choose to live your life according to yourself - free from the judgment of everybody else. Being single allows you a wonderful opportunity to re-learn how to become an independent person separate from the binds of a relationship. Your validity doesn't lie within the binds of relationships used only to keep up appearances. If and when you choose to be in a relationship with someone, you can re-prioritize and decide what'll make both you AND your partner happy - individually and together.

You can be happy on your own, and you can be happy with someone else. But until you find the person who makes you feel as if both things are possible without changing who you are, stay single and keep on truckin'.

Cover Image Credit: longhollowwomen.com

Popular Right Now

Things To Know Before Dating A Firefighter

You'll learn how to tell the difference between different kinds of sirens.
112969
views

There are just certain things you are going to want to know before dating a fireman. In my experience, I had to learn along the way. But at the end of all the calls, constantly smelling his gear in the car and sometimes even cancelled plans, I sure do love my firefighter!

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons To Date A Country Boy

You were promised a list, so here it is:

1. If they are even within 20 minutes of the station, they will always leave you to go on a call.

No matter the circumstances, if you have a fireman on your hands, he will jet to the car and be on his way.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Date A Police Officer

2. Meeting nights are not something you try and fight with them about. They are going to leave and you do not have to like it because it wasn't up to you anyway.

I have learned that these nights are not optional. Yes, other people miss them, but not my firefighter.

3. No matter where you are or what you're doing the minute they hear a firetrucks horn, they're looking for it and hoping they're not missing anything good.

You will learn the lingo. Structures, fully involved (the good stuff) smoke alarms, cat in a tree (ehh I mean they are fireman...soooo still good stuff).

4. They know the exact difference between an ambulance, cop, and, of course, a fire truck siren.

Which means that you will have to learn, too.

5. You’ll have to accept that when he has to do hall rental cleanup, you're going with to help.

You fold the chairs and he stacks them. And Im talking at like 12 a.m.,1 a.m.

6. When you come around the firehouse, there will be jokes made and they'll mess with him about you or even you about him.

Honestly it's a giant bromance going on and they prey on this kinda stuff.

7. At first, you won't really have a name to the fire guys. Until you're around long enough.

You'll just be Boyfriend's name's girlfriend.

8. The fire pager goes where he goes.

Next to the bed, in the car, next to your bed, your living room, EVERYWHERE. And even if it's not the real pager, it's the dog app that I can never remember the name of so dog app it is. (Say that really fast to get the full effect).

9. They will probably wear their station shirt/apparel at least 4-5 days a week.

AT LEAST.

10. If you've got a good one, you're always put first. The list will always go "You, the firehouse, me, everyone else."

But secretly they always want to put the firehouse first.

11. You will learn and know more stations, trucks, members, and chiefs than you will ever want to admit.

Unbelievably true.

12. When you're driving and you see a fire station, you'll have to look at it.

If its an amazing building, you'll have to remember the name. And then you'll have to tell him about it. And then you've just proved number 11 correct. Add it to your list.

13. Never make plans while he's on a call. You can never know when he'll be back.

Even if the calls are short, they could stay at least another hour washing the trucks and being boys, of course.

14. In case you didn't understand the severity of the first one, if you are on the phone and you hear the pager go off in the background, just tell him you love him and hang up.

Because if you don't, he will. "Got a call, Love you, bye." Mid-sentence is always what you want to hear.

15. You'll never want to watch "Ladder 49" again.

You will cry like a baby and then want to make him quit.

16. Outside of the stations, fireman tend to forget that fire isn't a toy and it's pretty damn hot.

*Playing with the lighter fluid or burning things on the stove*
"No it's alright, I'm a firefighter."

17. You will start your own station shirt collection.

From NYFD memorial shirts, a station from where you're vacationing even acquired old shirts of his, you will have started your own pile of station shirts.

18. You can't get angry or upset when he is unavailable because he's going to go to the firehouse for the fifth time that week, or if there's another fire prevention thing to do.

You can't be mad because he's doing what he loves and also because a man in a uniform isn't too shabby.

There are a lot more things to know before dating a fireman, but the rest you'll just have to learn along the way.

SEE ALSO: 5 Things To Know Before Dating Someone With Anxiety

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Our Sexuality Is A Moving Spectrum, So Moving Around On It Is Totally Normal

Understanding that labels aren't one size fits all

81
views

Human sexuality is a large topic that is often never completely discussed. Human sexuality is divided into four parts: Sex, Attraction, Identity, and Expression. Each four of those categories are all on a spectrum, there's no simple clear-cut definition of gender identity, gender expression, biological sex and who you are sexually and or romantically attracted to. Labels have become a huge thing in society but what's so problematic about labels is they are never one size fits all.

When I came out I thought it was easiest, at that time, to label myself as bisexual…I wasn't sure everything that I felt, I didn't want to "shock" anyone, and didn't feel that the label lesbian fit. There have been growing pains since then and I settled into the label of gay. I didn't find myself being attracted to men or actively pursuing relationships with men but I hated the label lesbian, so I choose gay. As I've been becoming more and more self-aware and self-confident though, I find myself transitioning into the label of queer.

Queer could be seen as derogatory by some, but I personally believe it's the most empowering label. I find it the most inclusive word. Wikipedia defines queer as "an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender". To me, that means I am most definitely falling under the vast category of LGBTQ, and I am open to love within that community. I do not actively pursue relationships with men and do not consider myself as bisexual, but in the same breath, I wouldn't say that I'd completely rule out a relationship with a man. Does this make me pansexual? Honestly, I don't personally identify with any label right now besides Queer.

I think we all need to realize that sexuality is a spectrum. Everyone seems to completely grasp and understand that other things have spectrums, such as autism. Yet when it comes to sexuality: sex, attraction, identity and expression, everyone's much more comfortable if we have clear label markers. Well, society, wake up. It's the end of 2018, and we've come a long way, we've fought for tolerance and acceptance, and it's time to start opening our minds a little more. Why do we all need clear definers for things? Why can't we just…..be? I was having a great conversation with someone the other day and we agreed that if two people are happy and partners understand the ins and outs of their personal relationship, why does anyone else need to question how it works?

I took a human sexuality class in college and it was the most interesting and best class I've taken to date. One day we had a speaker come in who was a transgender straight man and was married to a woman who identified as a lesbian. They both have their own identities, stand by them, and they love each other for exactly who they are. Many of you might be scratching your heads and think how does that happen… and honestly, why do we need to question it? I think it's absolutely incredible and beautiful when two people find pure joy and love in one another.

Do not ever feel pressured to put a label on yourself for ANY reason in your life. And if you choose to, don't at all feel obligated to stick to that label. People grow, and learn more about themselves, their wants and needs. Nothing is more attractive then someone who's able to say you know what…that fit me then, but right now that doesn't feel right and I've found what better fits me. Coming out isn't always a one-time thing, its okay to change your identifier. There was a beautiful piece, written by a friend, about this topic that you can check out here.

Educating yourself about things you don't fully understand is honestly the most LGBTQ friendly thing you could do. Don't ever be afraid to ask appropriate questions and say things like "hey I think that's super awesome, I support you, would you mind sharing more with me so I can better understand you?" Learn about yourself, don't be afraid to question anything, don't feel the need to label yourself, or scared to take off a label that no longer suits you. Be confident and trust your heart and your intuition, they're never wrong.

Related Content

Facebook Comments