Growing up, I never thought much about getting married – this was not something I dreamt or wished for. In my mind I was always a career woman and though I would have someone in my life, I never thought about marriage. From my post last week, you will already know that this was not the norm and it made me a bit weird to other people who heard me vocalise this. I am from a culture that raises girls to be wives and whiles I was being raised to think and act like a wife, deep down, I never saw this as my ultimate goal. Maybe it was because of how sacrificial marriage always seemed to be for women or that I could not marry my ambitions to being being a wife. For whatever reason, I simply did not see myself in this role.
Though my sentiments on the subject are not the same as my younger self, my current stance is also not quite traditional. For most women, the race is on from 25 years to find a husband and settle down to have a family. This is by no means wrong, however, this does not happen for everyone and especially not in the time frame society has placed on us. This has left many women open to ridicule and in some instances bullying and unnecessary pressure to find a mate. There are several misconceptions out there about single women and I wanted to pick up on a few of these – it is shocking that in this day and age, we are still treating women like they are less than if they are not married. Perhaps my delving into some of these misconceptions will help change how single women are perceived and treated;
Single women are not lonely
Most ladies I spoke to, myself included, stated that though they are single -they were not lonely as most believed. Like everyone else, single ladies are very busy with life and enjoying their lives whiles building their careers, dreams, making memories amongst other things. I am not certain where the notion came from that being on ones own equates to loneliness and being incomplete.
Yes, there are times when one may want to share an experience with a partner, however, there are people in relationships who do not share certain experiences due to difference in preferences and interests. We all need friends and family in our lives whether you have a partner or not – if a person does not have a partner, it is never right to assume that they are incomplete, unhappy or lonely. So when looking out for friends and family, remember that lonliness is not only reserved for singles – look out for all your loved ones, everyone can be lonlely, even the ones with partners and big families.
Single women are not out to snatch other people’s husbands/partners (well, most of us are not)
I am not sure where and how this started, but especially where I come from, a single woman is the biggest perceived threat to most married women. When a husband strays from his marriage , the blame is always laid at the gates of another woman. In most cases, these single women had no idea the men they were dating were in fact married. I have witnessed several instances where married women have been advised to stop being friends with childhood friends who are not married because they could snatch their husband.
Is a person more loyal if they are married and less so if single? Many women have been left broken hearted when lifelong friendships have ended with them being vilified because they could potentialy break up a happy home and ‘snatch’ their friends husbands. I am not ignorant that these things do happen, however, we cannot class a certain group based on the actions of a very small minority. Perhaps it is in this notion of alienating single women based on these assumptions that make most believe that we are lonely. In my opinion friendship should be based on a person’s character and not their status or what they can provide – but rather their loyalty and consistency in different seasons of life.
Single women are not desperate to find a man
If I told you the number of times someone had a guy in mind they felt would be a great match for me, we would have to book a whole day for that rant. The sad part of this is, these people who are eager to see me marry, have never asked me what I was looking for in a man. To them, I am an old spinster and any man should be good enough for me whether we were a good match or not. In the event I decline or end communication with their suggested match, I am tagged as difficult and picky.
I believe the wish of most single women is to be happy in their lives just like everyone else – with or without a man. At the end of the day, we are human first before we become the status of our relationship. When ever you think you want to match your single friends to that great person you know, please start by talking to them to understand why they are sinlge and most importanly, what is important to them in a partner. Do not assume that your preference in a man is theirs also – perhaps when you get to underdstand that their taste in men is quite different from yours, you will not feel threatened by them potentialy snatching your man!
Single women also face economic uncertainties
A friend of mine told me how her family always expects her to loan them money and get them extravagant gifts for birthdays and holidays. However the gesture was never returned and when she finally questioned them, their answer was simple – she was not married and did not have children so she had nothing important to put her money towards. This was hurtful to her as she was on her own and any uncertainty in her income could mean falling into debt. These people that were close to her did not see things this way and expected her to splash on them when ever they asked without a thought for her financial security and future.
For many single ladies, putting money away is very important for rainy days and having family and friends treating you like your choices are not as important because you do not have a family of your own is very insulting. As previously stated, single women are human first with the same needs as partnered people and should not be treated any different when it comes to money.
Single women are not welcome in some social circles
Currently, I have noticed that churches are not very welcoming to single ladies. I am choosing to look at the church as I am a christian and have had several experiences myself where I have not been made to feel welcomed because of my marital status. Please feel free to share your experience in different social settings as I am sure this issue is not only unique to the church. In my experience in church, single women are welcome to be part of the congregation, however, we are rarely approached in leadership in any department – we are normally perceived as broken, lacking some form of spiritual discipline and incomplete. Jesus and the Apostle Paul, two leading figures in christianity were single in their time, however, these examples does not apply to us when we express interest in being part of certain departments.
We are also excluded from certain activities or told to step aside if we try to partake in them – I had a friend tell me about a time when she was approached by a married woman in her church who asked her to not take part in communion because she was not married and probably living in sin. Shocking! She was shamed in church by this person not having any insight into her life – my friend told me how incensed she was by the boldness of this person to subject her to such embarrassment. If this happened anywhere, we would be looking at making a complaint on being excluded, however, this is not the case in most religious settings. I think more dialogue is needed to understand where people are coming from as individuals and their experiences instead of making up our own minds without any facts about them and judging them without any knowledge of who they are.
Single women are not envious when others get married
Last year, a very close friend got married and from the moment she announced her engagement, I was involved in helping with several aspect of her planning the wedding. She had no sisters who were going to be coordinating her traditional marriage – so a group of her friends decided to coordinate her wedding and help out at the ceremony. It was a labour of love that was never appreciated, if I may add. To add insults to injury, a few weeks after the ceremony, she started spreading the rumour that the single women in the group of friends that helped at her wedding, were acting funny towards her after she got married – alluding to the fact that they were jealous.
Being one of the single friends, I was hurt and like stated above, the friendship has now eneded with said married friend. I am very keen to understand why certain women act this way and why they believe that their choice of a husband is the choice of every single woman around them. The years of friendship had been washed down the drain due to careless talk with no regard for the people at the receiving end of such accusations. Whatever changes she thinks she noticed after her wedding could have easily been resolved by having respectful and factual dialogue without making grand statements about how others may be acting or feeling. Though it is always good to talk, one must always be respectful in how they bring up anything for discussion without throwing accusations out there or vilifying the other party.
Single women are mostly exploited by married men
When I was researching this topic, I did a search on google of single women being exploited by married men and I kid you not – majority of articles out there saw single women as the ones pursuing married men! Because single women are perceived as desperate and looking for husbands at all costs, we are mostly preyed on by married men. I had someone reach out to me about a well respected married man in her social circle who started texting her at very odd hours to let her know he was thinking of her and wished he could be with her. This lady talked about how disgusted she was that whiles his wife slept in the same house, he could have been lying next to her or hiding in another room in the house, he was sending these messages to her.
When she confronted him and asked him to stop sending these messages, he proceeded to ask her if his attention was making her uncomfortable and that she shouldn’t be – he simply did not see how awkward his actions were, especially when this lady knew his wife very well! He showed no remorse and when she started asking around, it was common knowledge that this was something he did often and his poor wife was constantly confronting other women to leave her husband alone – lol! She resorted to ignore his messages and finally to block his number to discourage him from pursuing her further.
There are several stories out there of men who have approached and dated only for the women to find out later in the relationship that the men were married all along. In my younger years I had the same thing happen to me and he went to great lengths to hide his child’s car seat when he ever he came to see me – when I finally found out and confronted him, he said he was unhappy in his marriage. He was mad at me for not seeing how unhappy his wife made him and for being upset for his deception – well I’ll be damned! So never blame a woman in these situations – somtimes we need to hear their stories because for all you know, they were simply decived into the relationship.
Life is hard whether you are in a loving relationship with someone or with yourself – and while I know most people think they mean well when they exclude single people or point out their singleness as if it is some disease, we need to exercise simple human decency and treat people like we would like to be treated. If the tables were turned, would you like interactions with you to be based on your realtionship status? Would you not rather you were treated as a person and with respect? Sometimes all we can simply do is take people as they are and allow them into our lives without any preconceived ideas on who we think they are based on their marital status.
I would rather people that come into my life have good character and similar values to mine instead of anything else. If you have been at the receiving end of any form of exclusion or bullying because you are single, I am truly sorry you were made to feel less than – it should not have happened. You are not the problem and there is nothing wrong with you. Concentrate on loving and working on your self – go to places you are accepted for your authentic true self. I read this wonderful quote that truly spoke to me and came to mind while writing this post – “Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Fall in love with the path of deep healing. Fall in love with becoming the best version of yourself, but with patience, with compassion and respect to your own journey.” S. McNutt
Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Fall in love with the path of deep healing. Fall in love with becoming the best version of yourself, but with patience, with compassion and respect to your own journey.S. McNutt
I would really love to hear from you and your experiences in this area – perhaps you can share how you have overcome these challenges many women face. Please get in touch so we can effect the change we all need.
Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Fall in love with the path of deep healing. Fall in love with becoming the best version of yourself, but with patience, with compassion and respect to your own journey. S. McNuttTweet
13 thoughts on “The challenges of being a single woman!”
I agree with everything I have read, thanks for sharing, I also believe single women are not loose, at least not all of them are , they are not sleeping around because they are not married. Again what is the definition of a single woman? You can be in a relationship and still be referred to as being single by society: do you not need to date/court before you venture into marriage. It’s about time young women who are not married for one reason or another allow their voices to be heard, let’s change the narratives together and most importantly self love all day everyday
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Very good point AJ – the loose bit! I do hope these posts encourages the discussions that are so needed for the change that’s long overdue!
Nice article! Hope this article changes people’s perspective towards single women… you have written so accurately the problems faced by single women. Shocked to know this is happening outside my country also!!
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I hope writing about my experiences will help start conversations that will bring about the change we need.
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I’ve really learnt a lot reading this article. And I’ve been in a same situation where I dated a married man without knowing. At the end when I found out I felt disgusted and it took me months to overcome this. I was broken I wanted to talk to someone about this but I couldn’t with fear of being judged.
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It was not your fault Adwoa, please reach out via email if you still want to talk to someone.