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I am single, but as I go about my day, it is not a fact I think about. Until someone questions it. I can read a love story, watch a cheesy romantic comedy, even listen to a stranger share his or her personal tale of romantic love found. Cue all the mushy gushy reactions, that feeling of your insides melting into a puddle of goo.
I marvel at this beautiful form of companionship. For the goodness and comfort, these couples have found in each other. And though I am mostly unbothered by my unmarried status, I cannot deny that the reminders are constant. From strangers, acquaintances, friends, and relatives.
Most of the time, I am able to detach myself from the comments and unsolicited advice. Maybe it is because, for various reasons, I have often run in the opposite direction of commitment. But sometimes these words hit a nerve and then a feeling like a weight creeps into my body. It is a sadness that rests on my heart.
This sadness does not have anything to do with being alone, but everything to do with why it is a cause for concern. For someone who has never been in love, but scarred by the pursuit, I can articulate why my current single status is a healthy choice and eventually, why I would not mind getting married. But for my unmarried, female friends, the words escape me.
The thing is, I do not know if I will ever find the one, and I certainly do not want to tell people that it will happen for them. Unfortunately, marriage is posited as this thing that people have to do. It exists in some big life to do list. How should you feel when that thing you are supposed to do does not happen or is not happening. And it is not because you are not trying, or because you don’t want it. Or you don’t know when it will happen, so you think it won’t happen.
Screw this mental labyrinth. Its tunnels hold too many mantras turned false promises. I have to get married. I will find someone to marry. These phrases are barriers to a more important relationship. The one you should have with yourself.
I have quite a few single, female friends in their late 20s and early 30s. In the eyes of many members of the South Asian and Muslim community, we are wasting time. These women are special. That’s all I will say to describe them because they do not need a defense. The fact is, I can name too many women who are just too much woman for most men.
From these women, I have received a kind of love that has surpassed many of my familial relationships. It is a quiet, tender love that does not exist as a result of being single. There is no correlation. We accept each other. Sometimes I ponder over this love I feel. Is it lesser than romantic love? Equal? Better?
I feel understood. Does that mean I’m looking for validation elsewhere? Should I be searching for it inside myself? Do I need to find that validation in a spouse for it to matter? Is the connection a result of rejection or because we truly care about each other? What am I trying to get out of these friendships I have forged? These relationships that are 5, 10, 20 plus years strong.
Too often I am told to have faith that I will meet someone, but I am rarely told to have faith in myself. When I look at my friends, I don’t see single women. I see women I couldn’t live without. I wish I could remove the pain that any woman feels over being single. Instead of casting all that desire into the world, pull it inward. Turn it into something positive for yourself. Society will be better for it.