“Don’t you want to get married?” “Don’t you want to have children?” Those who are single and childless arrive at that status by different means. No matter how you got to that point, there is a stigma and social isolation. However, God gave you one life to live so brush of the Debbie-downers and enjoy it.
The stigma is that there is something shamefully wrong with you for being in either of those categories. If you are single, then there is a defect in your personality why a man or woman did not want to be with you. If you are childless, then you must be selfish for not wanting kids or you are having fertility issues. The Reality is there is NO SHAME in being single or childless. It is your business and no one else’s. By now, you have ran out of reasons to tell people because no matter what you say that reason is not good enough. So, here is a solution – stop providing an answer, let people think whatever they want because they always do. People choose not to understand because they feel uncomfortable with your status. Plus, they will always think their lives are better than yours no matter how screwed up things are in theirs. Quit worrying about other’s opinion and do your own thing.
The stigma that you are unfulfilled in your life and you will never be happy. The reality is some singles will feel unfulfilled and sad while other singles will go out and live – it is all a choice. You can stay cooped up at home and throw one long pity party or you can see what the world around you has to offer and get involved. The other reality is there are married with family people who are unfulfilled and unhappy. So, this is not a single problem but an individual choice problem. Singles have an advantage because they are not tied down and are free to change things with little impact on others.
The social isolation from friends and family who intentionally leave you out of family oriented activities. The reality is relationships change due to life changes. The married person has other priorities which is how things should be for them. The single person need to accept that and find like-minded people who share their status. It does not mean that the connection ends but it has to change. Find other singles or childless people your age and plan activities with them. If you do a simple internet search, you will find lots of groups or try Meetup.com
The presumption that you do not like children and feel sad or jealous around couples or families. The reality is some singles or childless do feel jealousy particularly if this is something they wanted-that’s life! However, not everyone is envious of someone who is married or a parent. Some childless people like kids and do well with them for short periods but do not want children. Some singles like being single (this does not require additional explanation). The other reality is some people’s kids are demon-children and no one wants to be around them, some people are shitty parents and no one wants to be around them either, some marriages are relationships made in hell which will make anyone want to ran further away. Solution: Get together with people who respect your choices.
The assumption that you are desperate to get out of the role of single and childless. The reality is that can be true for some. However, it never occurred to others that some people do not make good partners or parents. It takes a lot of work to be in a good relationship or be a good parent and not everyone wants to rush into that role or even want that role. Solution: Avoid people who keep bringing the pity-party to you. They are just mean-spirited people who cannot see beyond their idealized world.
The assumption that you are not allowed to or can give sensible relationship and parenting advice based off your experiences with kids, relationship or observations. The reality is most often, common sense is common sense and it does not take being married or a parent to see certain things. If all it took was a change in status to be an expert, then divorce, therapists, DV shelters and CPS would be nonexistent. Yes, there are some situations that require previous experiences to have a much clearer insight; however, those are few and far between. Often times you will need both to help – the person who has been there in order to have a shared experience and the person who sees a bigger picture because they haven’t been there.
The blatant truth: Many married and family couples live very boring, mundane and monotonous lives and events they consider to be interesting is in essence not . While Johnny’s poop story is funny and Mike ‘s mowing mishap is hair raising, it is usually the most excitement they experienced in a long time. Marriage and family comes with certain responsibilities which does not scream excitement for most couples; It’s just life. A single and childless person have the freedom to roam and do more because there are limited barriers. The single and childless who take advantage of this are the ones who are more fulfilled.
The bottom line is people will judge because you are outside the norm. Relationships will change and some people will treat you like a leper. Solution: Develop the I-don’t-give-a-**** attitude and build your life the way it suits you. When you periodically look back at your life, you will either have major regrets or a wealth of experience that were enjoyable and interesting.
Anti-Pity Party Exercise: If you still use a calendar, look over your last few months and upcoming months to track how often you made a date to do something you enjoyed. If it is blank, then get off your butt and find something to do. Not sure where to start?? E.g. My activity calendar in the past 4 weeks: 1 overnight beach trip, 1 local town street fair with a walk in the park afterwards, 1 hike with a social group, (missed event: a car show). Upcoming events: 1 Air show, a paint nite and I will add as I go. So what are you planning to do?