I was at work last week, when one of the nurses turned to me out of the blue and asked, “Are you married?” “No,” I said.
“Do you want kids?” she asked. “Yes,” I said.
“You can do it on your own. You can get a sperm donor,” she told me.
"Thanks," I thought to myself. I didn't remember asking her about my fertility options, not to mention the fact that I'm an OBGYN myself. I have a full understanding of current reproductive technology.
But I simply replied, “I know. But that's not my personal path.”
I used to watch "Sex And The City" relentlessly in college and medical school, and I remember laughing throughout the countless episodes about standing out if you're a perpetually single woman in your mid-30s who has never been married.
What I didn't know was the fact that I would one day have the same experiences.
Single women in their 30s, no matter who they are, still stand out amongst their coupled-up friends, family and co-workers. What I find the most interesting is the fact that we aren't thinking about our relationship status as much as these people are. Concern for us often prompts some very awkward statements from our coupled-up loved ones.
Here are five things people in relationships need to stop saying to perpetually single people:
1. "So, are you just really picky?"
I believe this question is fully intended to be a compliment, but it comes across in a very backhanded way. It implies that it surely must be my fault that I haven't found my mate. I need to change the way I select who I am fond of.
But know this: Finding a soulmate is not like ordering a meal at a restaurant. It's about finding the right person for you. It isn't as simple as opening yourself up to a few more ingredients.
2. "Don't worry: He's out there."
First of all, I wasn't worried. But your statement has now planted the idea in my mind that maybe I should be.
Second of all, it makes zero sense. He is out there? Where else would he be?
3. "It will happen when you least expect it."
Is there ever a time when someone does expect it? Falling in love isn't like receiving a paycheck.
For the record, I have never woken up and thought to myself, “It's the second Friday of the month. I totally expect to fall in love today.”
4. "Have you tried X, Y or Z dating app?"
I'm single and you are not. Therefore, I am most likely more aware of the avenues people use to find potential dates than you are, my coupled-up friend.
That is, unless you're using them, in which case you should probably shift the focus back to yourself. Just like married friends are more aware of the latest trends when it comes to wedding catering, baby gyms and couple getaways, we are most likely to hear about the latest dating apps.
5. "Are you putting yourself out there?"
This question is usually asked by the same person who tells you, “It will happen when you least expect it” and “Don't think about it.”
So, which one is it? It's not like there's a place out there for you to put yourself. There is no town square for singles to go stand, in the hopes that they'll get picked up.
Overall, finding the right partner is dependent on many different factors. It should never be rushed. Just because it hasn't happened for me in the same way it has for you, that doesn't mean I'm doing something wrong.
Sometimes, there are certain things perpetually single people need to adjust in order to be better suited for a relationship, yes. But sometimes, there are things that even people in relationships need to adjust in order to be better suited for a relationship.
We are all individuals, so no cliched statement about singledom is going to fit every person's individual situation. So, let's just stop saying them. We singles are OK not hearing them: I promise.