Even though I’m only 22, I'm constantly bewildered by strangers politely inquiring if I have a husband or children or if I have a serious boyfriend. I'm not questioning the importance of having relationships; I'm just trying to figure out why people put so much focus on a woman's relationship status.
Articles for women and men are full of advice and opinions on what will help them gain and retain a mate (often assumed of the opposite sex).
With books like "Marry Smart" from the "Princeton Mom," Susan Patton, coming out and controversial articles like Phyllis Schlafly's piece in the Christian Post, arguing that women should be paid less so they can focus on finding a suitable husband, it's hard to know which piece of advice to adhere to.
There are countless discussions on women seeking, obtaining and keeping a mate, but what about the women who look for happiness outside a romantic relationship first?
The fundamental assumption still made in this day and age is that a man is single by choice and a woman single because no one wants her. This fallacy continues to uphold myths about women and what they are expected to desire from life.
For the women who are single by choice, I salute you, and ask you to remember the following:
1. Your Standards Are NOT Too High
I’m always suspicious when the only people who tell you this are either trying to get into your pants, or want grandchildren. You should always be on the lookout for ulterior motives.
When you know what you want from life, yourself and a romantic partner, there isn’t a need to date just to pass the time; you have better things to do. This isn't something to apologize for.
A stranger should not be allowed to think it is his or her right to interrogate a woman about her marital status and then make a judgment about her based on her answers.
2. You Are NOT Scarred Or Damaged
There’s a difference between knowing something is scary and not doing something because you are afraid. Others may see your refrain from serious romantic relationships as fear-based. However, I find that most women who are willing to take the backlash of being single and prefer to be alone, or wait for someone worth their time, are far from cowardly.
Once again, we are discussing a woman's personal life. Other people's lives are not your business, no matter what the tabloids say. Respect for human privacy is falling, while humiliation and judgment are on the rise. We need to do something about it.
3. You Do Not Need A Significant Other To Be Happy
This is what ultimately sparked the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s. Too often a woman who is focused on her career is either seen as frigid, or must one day choose between her career and family.
People find fulfillment in learning, hobbies, work, travel and a plethora of other activities that become restricted once you have a family. It is one thing to be a happy person who knows her happiness would increase with a family; it's another to have nothing but a family to live for.
Codependency is not healthy in any form. Women should be encouraged to explore what it is they love in life as an individual and a human, first and foremost.
4. Not Wanting Marriage Or Kids Is NOT A Defect
A bachelor is a man living the life of his dreams; a lifelong bachelorette is just sad. This is not true. Though women can have careers, friends and an active dating life, the expectation still exists that they will eventually want to settle down.
There are women who have known since childhood they will never have children -- not because they cannot, but because they don't want to. No matter how much time you spend defending your choices, people will always assume there's something wrong with you.
It seems as though a healthy, happy and single woman is inconceivable in this world.
5. Fulfillment Should Come From Within
As a single woman, you learn to be comfortable with yourself overtime. It may be selfish to worry about one's happiness within before initiating a relationship with another, but that is okay. Being a woman is the ultimate symbol of nurturing and caring for others, so don't forget to care for yourself.
This is often an underrated part of a woman's life. Don't let anything stop you from exploring the endless opportunities in this world before you decide to focus on a family.
6. A Slut Is A Woman With A Man’s Morals
A woman who isn't in a relationship doesn't suddenly stop wanting sex, and women enjoy sex just as much as men do. Remember, you aren't a less of a woman if you engage in sexual activity outside of a relationship.
As for the men who size you up after you explain you don't want kids or marriage, f*ck 'em. One day you'll find someone who sees you as more than a carrier for his genes, and that will be the one worth your time and energy.
7. You Can Change Your Mind Any Time
If you've never been in a relationship and never end up in one, that’s fine. If you've never been in a relationship, don’t intend to and end up married with four kids, that’s fine, too.
Life is about what makes you happy, not what would make your parents, friends and the general public pleased. Being content is in no way defined; each person must find his or her own happiness, which will not always align with the world's expectations.
In this frenzy of match-the-woman-to-the-man, we've forgotten about the multitude of relationships that can exist in the world. So, to those women who want to explore the intricacies of their individuality while celebrating the friends, soul mates, adventurers, comrades, mischief makers, mentors and sisters in their lives, don't ever apologize for the life you've created for yourself.
Photo via We Heart It