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Friday, September 24, 2010

Singlutionary's Search for a Proper Peer

I have a utopian view of the world in which everyone is their own person and people love each other freely and there is no need for jealousy. In this world, new relationships broaden the worlds, not only of the people in them, but of their entire communities as well. This is a pretty hippie-like version of peace, love and understanding and all the crap that goes along with that -- like hemp pants, compost and organic farming.

And then I wake up. And I live in the real world where being single at almost-30 is frightening. Why? Because I'm alone. I'm not talking about being alone in a not-having-a-partner way. I'm talking about being alone in another way -- in the way where my communities have faded, my friends are tied up with their family or with their marriage and I don't seem to have any peers.

Where have all my peers gone? In my town, I have ONE uncoupled friend of my age.

And lets face it. There is a difference between being uncoupled in your early 20s and being uncoupled in your early 30s.

And I'm not talking about pressure to couple. I am talking about finding peers. It is more common for folks in their early 20s to be single and to be exploring the world and to have friends in the same place.

Of course, it was never common for me. My two best friends were both married by the time I turned 22 and had been coupled long before that. I've always been the sole single girl in my inner circle. But my outer circle has been full of intelligent, smart women in their early-mid 20s.

So why, after 10 years, is it suddenly so much more horrifying to be the only single in my Singlutionary world?

Peers. They're harder to come by. Supposedly there are tons of single women in their 30s on this earth but I never meet them. And just because I meet another single woman in her early 30s doesn't mean that we have anything in common! She might be divorced or have children or she might be a rabid racist chicken hater or an exercise nazi or plenty of other things which are totally acceptable but which I am not.

Or she might be might just want to talk about how she is so sad without a mate.

I get bored with that. I do it enough myself in secret moments of weakness and then am ashamed to have dishonored my Singlutionary costume in such a way (my Singlutionary costume is made of orange spandex).

I have plenty of ways to meet people. I meet people as part of my job. I've found that dog people are often single. So that is a start. I love dogs. I love singles. Single dog people = double rainbow of joyfulness.

Which brings me back to this blog. I've got peers here. Plenty of them: The folks who read this blog, the folks who comment and the folks who write their own wonderful blogs about being a happy single. And I have my one wonderful late 20s real-life single friend.

And I have my dates. Chronically single men vying for a chance to bone me who don't know that I'm really just looking for a peer.

Where do you find your Singlutionary peers -- no matter what your age or place in life? Life is about change -- and more often than not -- our best friend's lives don't change at the same exact moment and in the same exact way that ours do. So, while it is totally possible to maintain relationships with coupled parent friends, it is also good to seek out people who are in a more similar place in life.

Where do you find them? How do you identify them? And how to you form a real life community as strong as this one here online?


Taren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie(single;complicated) said...

I completely understand this! I am single AGAIN in my 30's! (late 30's!LOL)..and finding peers has taken time! Like you, sometimes I have found single friends but we have nothing in common! I have found that some of my closest friendships now did not start that way! But, over time our journey has begun to look more the same! The single friend who was dating when I met her..we stayed friends and now she is single (no relationship) and we have more time and have become closer! Its a cycle and a process..but not easy!!!:(

downfromtheledge said...

sometimes it is cyclical, like debbie said. i'm 30 and have a single friend in her mid-30's - we seem to lose and find each other again over the years - which emphasizes Singlutionary's point about the fluidity of life. The only thing we can count on is change. Sometimes that feels really insecure, in a "who and what do i count on?" sort of way. in a "there's no one here late at night when i'm scared and lost" sort of way. in a "don't wanna be alone on this planet they call earth" sort of way, as celine dion put it in one of her songs;) lol. so yeah, i get the lonliness and the moments of terror. the "S" on your orange spandex suit doesn't stand for Superwoman ... we all have our moments of weakness.

Jenn said...

I have to assume that you are not defining 'peer' as only someone who is single and OK with it, but it kind of sounds like it in this post. As my friends have gotten married, we have had to work a little harder to make time for each other but real friends will do the work. My best friend six years ago is still one of my closest friends but his wife is ALSO now one of my closest friends, since the only way I was going to get to spend as much time with him was if I spent time with the two of them (fortunately, she's awesome, but I'd expect him to choose someone awesome). The same thing has happened with a few other friends as well. There are some people who might look at us and see me as a 'third wheel' but my friends are my friends because I never get that feeling from THEM.

OTOH, I'm in my late 30's and even without being coupled, my social life has mellowed so that it doesn't really matter whether my friends are single or not (since I'm not going clubbing or anything else that married people might not want to do). So maybe it's also about what you are looking for from your friends...

The Singlutionary said...

Jenn -- I do still have a best friend who is married with children. However, she lives in another city and although she is still available to talk, she isn't available for more day-to-day things. I am in no way advocating unfriending coupled people. However, I have found that there is a distinct lifestyle difference between folks with a partner and a family and single folks. And I, like you, don't have a need for typical singles activities. I too, spend a lot of time at home being mellow. However, I've found that my dear coupled friends, especially those with children, aren't available or aren't interested in the same activities that I am. They simply have less free time because so much of their time is committed to their families. So yes, I would like to find a peer community of singles at a similar place in life.

The Singlutionary said...

Debbie -- I've had a similar experience. When coupled friends become single again -- our friendship doesn't really change -- but I do find an upsurge in the time that we spend together. Of course, I am always prepared for that time to taper off once that friend gets involved with someone again. But I suppose that is just the nature of being coupled.

hebba said...

Right there in the same boat with you. I do think I had more single friend when I lived in the city; now I'm in suburbia surrounded by married couples. And yeah, I have lots of friends who are married. Its not like I have defriended them. But sometimes, its nice to have friends who are at the same point in life as you are.

Special K said...

Yes. But just this week one of my married friends here told me she had no friends outside of me and we run once a week, at 6 am and my schedule is around her. Really, it takes a lot of energy for me to connect wih people physically around me versus all me lifelong friends scattered around the globe
But here is a truth
Ask for help
And then share
When we show others they contribute to our life, it creates a sharing and develops connection
I need two close "you'll be there if I am stranded friends" in my home and about 5 or 6 others
And connect with friends back home 2 times per week

I'd be your pal anytime
Want to go on a trip together?

The Singlutionary said...

K -- YES. It is one thing to maintain friendships with folks around the globe and it is another to find people who's physical lives align.

I realized this week that I don't really have time for more friends -- although I would like to. So maybe getting myself out of debt and clearing my schedule can go hand in hand with seeking this supportive peer community.

And YES -- lets go on a trip together -- just as soon as I pay off my credit cards!

onely.org said...

YAY! I see the Singlutionary in her orange spandex fighting chicken-hating exercise nazis!

Re. "Chronically single men. . . really I'm just looking for a peer."

I have found that not only CSM refuse to acknowledge that single women can want a simple peer. Even my female friends sometimes don't validate that desire. One of them asked me, "Why can't you just admit you want to be loved?" (meaning in a sex-and-everything-else-exclusive-romantic-relationship way), when I said I wished that guys would primarily relate to me in a friendly, respectful, interested-in-my-personality way without having some kind of romance intentions in the end. Sigh.

God forbid anyone should want anything slightly outside the norm.

The Singlutionary said...

Oh Christina! I love the way you write. I do want to be loved -- and not JUST in a sex-and-everything-esle-exclusive-romantic-realtionship-way.

I think that the key thing that sets me apart from most couplers is that I see all love as equally important whereas many folks see romantic love as a "higher" love after which comes family love and finally friendship love. Somewhere in there, we might also have love for god and love for the planet. Not sure where they rank.

I want male friends and female friends and people who enjoy me and whom I enjoy. YAY for that. Its pretty simple, right?