I have never dated and I used to think this meant there was something wrong with me. As I’ve grown up and watched friends fall into and out of relationships, I have always played the role of a “sideline friend”, waiting in the wings to listen and talk and do whatever else fell under my list of responsibilities. I think, at some earlier point, I felt left out and lonely as I would listen to their relationship drama, but there was always a large part of me (no matter how much I ignored it) that was okay with it; not just okay, but thankful. I was thankful that I could focus on things that were important to me and not worry about some loser who wouldn’t text back or some poorly executed apology. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more aware that my forever singledom was less the doing of others, and more the outcome of my personal feelings. I like feeling free and I do not want to feel obligated to check in and worry about someone else’s feelings and opinions. While I know this sounds incredibly selfish, it would be even more selfish to be with someone and dismiss the way I truly feel. I would be ignoring the other person’s wants and likely end up causing them even more pain when I, eventually, couldn’t mimic their love and affection.
When I think about my future, I think about classes and school and eventually graduating. I think about trips and traveling and what I want to eventually do with my life. I do not, however, think about having a counterpart to share all of that with. I do not think about marriage vows and children. Call it an extension of my youth, but I do not have a family in mind when I think about future plans.
The reason this has been so heavy on my mind stems from constant conversations with my parents and family members regarding dating and marriage. I have grown so tired of questions and inquiries into my personal life, knowing that my feelings do not match the expectations my parents have. With this being said, why should I be made to feel guilty and different if I do not feel that marriage is an integral and important piece of my personal puzzle? Marriage and commitment are not the sole contributors to a person’s happiness, and I believe there are other events and decisions that can make someone feel just as purposeful and fulfilled as someone in a relationship. This should not be as trivial of an issue and it should be okay to break from the norm that dominated our parent’s and grandparent’s generations without having to deal with the guilt trip that usually follows the declaration of an opposition to marriage. At the end of the day, most people will get married and spend their life happy; however, I should not be made to feel any less than for choosing a different path to happiness.