It’s a perfectly natural state. In fact, statistics show that the majority of American adults live with this condition. It’s important to remember that this condition is not fatal, not contagious, and is not to be pitied. It’s also worth noting that each and every one of you was born this way. It’s time to stand up for our rights and stop hiding in the shadows, stop our treatment as second class citizens.
Hello. My name is Stephanie, and I’m single.
More often than not, when people find out that I’m not in a romantic relationship, I hear something along these lines: “Oh, you’ll find someone!” “God has a plan for you!” “You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs…” “Have you tried online dating?” “Can I set you up with someone?”
As though this were a terminal disease, but Take heart! The cure is right around the corner! It’ll be over before you know it!
And when I mention that, in fact, I enjoy being independent for now and I have great friends and nothing is missing from my life, as though on cue (do coupled people get a manual or something that has a script for this situation?), they all say, “That’s the spirit. You’ll find someone when you’re not looking!” Often followed up by, “That’s exactly when I met my partner/wife/husband/etc…”
Did I not make myself clear? I’m not Not Looking so that I find someone. Again, that response reinforces the Singleness As a Fatal Disease mentality. So let’s rewind back to Plato, and maybe you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.
Plato believed that before we were born, we were in little orbs, and when we came into the world, that orb was split in half, and therefore, as half a little globe, you spent your life awkwardly rolling and tumbling about looking for the other half of that sphere so that you could be round and whole again. (By the way, these ‘orbs’ could be male/female, male/male, or female/female… I’m just saying, he didn’t get everything wrong.) But this sounds familiar, right? Looking for your Other Half. You Complete Me. I Was Nothing Until I Met You.
This is the mentality that so many of us carry around, consciously or not. I want to suggest something else. Because for as many great ideas Plato had during his life, I think he needs a little revision here.
It’s damaging to individuals when we treat them as incomplete until they’ve found a romantic partner. It sends the message – You are not enough. You cannot be happy on your own. You are incomplete. You are missing out. You should be unhappy. Your life doesn’t begin until you’re coupled.
And of course that’s not what you’re saying, but it’s what you’re saying.
I want to say one other thing here: I’m not against romantic relationships. I think partnership with another person is a significant opportunity for growth and understanding, and a great way to experience love and joy. I’m just saying that it’s not everything.
There are lots of meaningful and enriching ways to be in community with others. Single people, just like coupled people, have friendships and families and neighbors and communities – we all have relationships that nourish us. Just because I don’t have a ring on my finger or another toothbrush next to mine by the sink doesn’t mean that I don’t have deep connections that inspire and encourage me.
Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean that I’m lonely.
I will admit to having moments of loneliness, but I think that’s an element of being human, not a result of being single. Our individuality is so complex and delightful that of course we will have moments feeling like we aren’t truly seen or known or supported.
I’m not single because I haven’t found anyone to love me. I’m not single because I need to do some ‘work on myself right now’ to make myself lovable. I’m not single because there are no good men out there. I’m not single because I haven’t kissed enough frogs or found The One yet.
I’m just single.
And so are a lot of people.
And we need to start respecting that as a legitimate way of being in the world. Not to be pitied, not to be cured. It’s just my current relationship status, not leprosy.
 I’d also like to acknowledge my heterosexual privilege here that spares me from the all too common, “Oh! I have a gay friend! You should totally go out!”
Trust me, that is not my problem.