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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Singlutionary Situation

I have one good friend in my city who is also single. Or WAS also single. Lately she has been going to and from another city to visit a man she recently met. Of course it is all my fault that they met and I have only myself to blame for the situation.

I have the bad habit of immediately starting to push friends away once they begin to get involved with someone. It isn't so much that I push them away but that I begin to expect less of them. And in a way, its an appropriate reaction. Having someone new in their life means that they have to make room for another person and I can't expect my friend to be as available as she once was.

By the time I was 22, all my best friends were married and very much involved in their relationships. At that time, there wasn't any space for me and my friends to have a relationship outside of their marriage. If I wanted to see my friend, I had to tolerate the husband. Since then, the husbands have become more tolerable or have been replaced with less obnoxious substitutes and my friend's have become less entangled socially and are receptive to "girl time" activities.

But for most of my early 20s, I felt like I needed to have a partner in order to enjoy my friends again. I felt that if I had a partner then we could couple date my friends. My partner would take on the horror of my friend's husbands and I would get to actually have an enjoyable visit with my friends. My friends, I think saw it the same way and provided me with healthy doses of advice on what to do to find a man so that my man could play with their man.


What partner of mine is going to want to put up with THAT crap?

"Will you be my boyfriend just so that I can take you to my friend's house and you can watch videos of my friend's husband's community theatre production and then watch him try on his costume and recite Shakespeare's sonnets?"

Eventually I gave up on finding a blow-up-doll-boyfriend-who-loves-amateur-Shakespeare and became Singlutionary.

But as people couple around me, I would like to have someone to depend on. Not that my coupled friends are undependable -- they are all very loving and wonderful and if I were to call them in any state of panic or emergency, they would be very much there for me. But their daily lives are taken up with their family, their work and other obligations. Any extra time they have, they want to spend with their spouse.

I suppose that now I would like someone to depend on socially and for the long haul. And, in the way our society is set up, with coupling being the norm, it seems that in order to find this, I might have to couple. Friendships, even the strongest ones, are secondary to spouses and families especially in the way people spend their day-to-day time.

It seems that just as soon as I find myself in a solid, lasting, stable friendship -- the friendship is altered by the presence of a romantic relationship.

Part of my situation, I think, is that I am very much a one-on-one person. If I have a good friend, it is because I enjoy our interesting conversations and her unique perspective. Even if her new partner is super cool, that doesn't mean that I'd enjoy hanging out with both of them as much as I would enjoy the one-on-one. And typically each friendship has its sacred activities -- with one of my friends it is eating good food, and another it is running. Sometimes the new partner doesn't have the same appreciation for the things my friend and I share and it kinda ruins the fun.

This is not to say that I won't stay friends with my friends who couple. I have stayed friends with ALL my friends who are coupled. I made the adjustment and learned how to be friends with both of them (sometimes more gracefully than others).

But I am tired of always looking for new available friends as others become unavailable. And maybe, the easiest thing to do would be to find a new best male friend and begin that whole monogamous endeavor called "a relationship".

Or I could just cultivate a ton of male friends so that if one of them couples, there will be 10 more waiting in the wings to share an order of yam fries and help decorate my backyard with empty toilets.


Taren said...

where's the "like" button?

hebba said...

I felt totally the same way in my 20s. I'm still friends with the same people I was friends with in high school, college, etc. Now in 30s and beyond, my friends and their husbands seem almost like one entity. In some way, I'm almost happy that I can stand on my own and don't see myself as one half of a whole. In other ways, I want somebody to look at me like the most wonderful thing in the world.

The Singlutionary said...

Thanks Taren!

Hebba -- I think that now that my friend's have kids, they kinda need to be one unit instead of two individuals. I'm not sure if it is really necessary but it seems like that is the pattern people slip into. I see my married friends make a lot of sacrifices that I don't have to. I don't have to consider another person's happiness and opportunities when deciding where to live or what to do. But I would like someone to be an adult with -- if that makes any sense. I'd like to begin some history with someone who is going to be around for the long haul. I suppose that is what we all want and partly why people get married - insurance for the long haul.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate .... but with me I'm finding that my friends have young children and this is about all they are interested in talking about ... kids-related things. Sure, they work etc ....... but the kid-factor is something driving us apart.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous. All of my friends are also either coupled or have kids and when we do manage to meet up, they kill me with:

kid-related activities
we have to watch kid shows
wedding shows
talk about kids non-stop