Poignant Jezebel article "When Can I Say I'll Be Alone Forever?"

Article here “When Can I Say I’ll Be Alone Forever?”. It’s quite a sad article by a young women who has (it appears) more or less given up on the possibility of love and a relationship.

I’m a man and a good bit older than the author but since being divorced about 20 years ago now I’ve had a few relationships and while some were quite nice none said to me “Wow! I’ve got to get married again… to this person!”

I can sympathize with the author but if you are non-trollish in appearance (and she’s not) at a certain point being single is really kind of a decision, possibly a passive decision, but still a decision. Which is fine but if it’s a decision we really should not moan about it.

This woman’s advice, though controversial, is (IMO) the most concise statement of the operational attitude you need to have if you want a relationship and more specifically if you to get married.

While I might take issue with a few particulars, I think she’s pretty much correct. I have several friends I have known for years who never married despite desperately wanting to, and I think they all made at least a few of those mistakes. (Tweak the specifics a little, and the advice works for men, too.)

However, the author’s claim to having expertise because she has been married three times is a bit illogical. Most people who want to get married are hoping for a permanent relationship, not one that ends in divorce.

I’m not sure I agree with that. If all you care about is being in a relationship, any relationship, then you can look for a mail-order bride[sup]*[/sup] or someone who needs a green card. But a fulfilling relationship, one with some emotional support and closeness (which seems to be what the author is looking for) is not something that can be forced. I think some people never find it, or don’t have the skills to know where and how to look. For them it’s not a decision.

For what it’s worth, I know how the author feels, except for having to answer questions about it from her friends.

  • A solution which may not be applicable for the woman who wrote the article linked in the OP.

I don’t know how old Aimée Lutkin is, but most of the (formerly) gawker writers are naive early 20-somethings who haven’t grown up yet, and haven’t learned that every little thing isn’t the end of the world. And Univision wasn’t smart enough to pink slip those who actually wrote for gawker.com, instead letting them infest and ruin the other sites.

I don’t think the point of the Jezebel article is ‘OMG how can I get a maaaaan??!’ I think it’s ‘Why do we feel like life doesn’t really begin, or count, till we’re in relationships? Why does singlehood count as a holding pattern rather than a life in itself?’

Which is, IMO, a much more interesting question.

I can remember the pain of being in my late 20s and thinking that it was unlikely that I’d ever find someone, so some of that article resonated with me (even though I’m a man).

This is a topic on which I think society’s well-meaning denial, when it comes to long-time singles, is often far more hurtful than helpful.
“There’s someone for everyone” *- no, there isn’t necessarily.
“You’ll get married some day, for sure” *- no, not necessarily.
“People less attractive than you get married” *- this may be true, but it is hardly encouraging, if anything it twists the knife even more.

“Everyone is guaranteed to get married sooner or later, and everyone is meant to be married sooner or later” - now I haven’t heard people use those exact words, but that really is the gist or underlying assumption of some people.

There is also a distorted view of society whereby 99% of people are happily in relationships, or attractive and just not in relationships yet, and it’s only the 1% that are both unattractive and not in relationships. In reality if society were to be honest, it would admit that a lot of people are not in relationships, and not because they don’t want to or don’t try, but because they simply are not considered attractive by others.

This is another one of those “Should be” vs. “Is” things. I think society wants to believe that life is fair, and so if people aren’t in relationships, it’s either 1) their fault or 2) they just haven’t happened yet because some day it will happen magically out of the blue because that’s how the movies and books are. In reality, life is ***not ***fair. Trying to tell people that life is fair, when it is not fair, simply adds salt on an open wound.

Dang that was funny. The mother nature/Charlies Sheen comment probably made my week. But for many people that probably went over about as well as Hitler impersonator at a Barmitzpha (sp?)

I seem to recall one relationships/marriage thread not too long ago. Some poster mentioned some study where they asked what women wanted in a marriage partner. Then they had a list of what women wanted in someone they would date.

Apparently there was very little, if not almost no overlap in those two lists…:smack:

This comment just put into words something I hadn’t figured out yet.

For many men, oftentimes, the list of attributes in a woman they’d want to date, often isn’t far off, or even overlaps pretty closely, with what they’d want in a women to marry.
For many women, there can be a very wide gap between what is “date-able” and what is “marry-able.”

And that is okay if you are just dating to date… if you are dating AND complaining that you can’t imagine marrying the people you are dating…and where are all the marriable people (when you are using different selection criteria)…

Well, that is the kind of social paradox you find yourself in when you are all strung out on sexual oxycotin :slight_smile:

It’s my impression that promiscuity is a big exception to this.

[Bolding mine]

What you wrote about the woman’s trollish/non-trollish appearance was confusing to me.

You say:

“If you’re non-trollish in appearance (and she’s not)…”

To me that says you think she is “trollish”. But the photo you link to shows a woman who not many people would say looks “trollish”. I’m guessing you meant she is NOT “trollish” ???

The only reason the article is sad is that the woman is lying to herself.

For starters, she wants to insist that single is not just a holding pattern, that she’s satisfied with her life, etc, etc. For example, she says " I am quite excellent at being by myself. I have learned to enjoy my own company…" and then later contradicts it by saying “I have no simple way to describe the slow, dull ache of separation from physical and emotional intimacy after years without it.”

Yeah, that’s being excellent at being by yourself and being happily single, right? A slow, dull ache of separation? Come on. If a person says “My job is a slow dull ache” then you respond with “Find another job! Here’s monster.com!” The comments she gets about finding a date are not based on an expectation of relationship-ness… it’s a comment on the fact that she’s clearly not happy with her own situation and needs to get off her ass to solve it. But first, stop lying to herself.

Secondly, she’s lying about lifetime mileposts. Yes, we acknowledge relationships and weddings in a particular way. But we also throw housewarming parties when you buy a house. We throw graduation parties when you get a degree. We throw parties to celebrate 10 years of service, and retirement parties when you retire. She isn’t seeing any of that because she’s lying to herself about how happy she is and fixating on what she says she doesn’t want or need.

And maybe I’m pissed off because of the moping sad sack at the Christmas party who spent the day complaining about three different imaginary physical ailments, who played games on her phone all day and only talked with people to assume they were judging her about her divorce. Nope, never even occurred to us until you made an ass of yourself by shoving it in our faces.

I don’t know if I agree with everything, but I do agree with her that people who are single are rarely given space to talk about their feeings about singlehood without being dished up a whole bunch of unsolicited assurances or advice.

If someone asks if I’m seeing someone and I tell them no, they usually follow-up by asking if I’m looking. And if I say no, they often times want to know why. The default assumption is that of course I’m looking. If I’m not looking, I must be giving up or something, and of course that’s unacceptable.

I’d really like if people just stopped talking about it. I already feel self-conscious enough–and I fully concede that this is my responsibility to deal with. But if someone is going to be bold enough to ask me about something so personal, I’d really love if it they accepted my responses at face value and drop the psychiatrist act. It really makes being open with people harder than it has to be.

I totally relate to the awkwardness of being the only single person in the room and the alienation that sets in when everyone around you is talking about engagements and weddings and children. But I don’t know what the solution is other than either embracing your singletonness or seeking out folks who are in a similar situation. I know I try to do both of these as best as I can, but it’s tough and sometimes I feel sad against my will. However, I have long stopped trying to look for sympathy from others. Either people get it because they have firsthand experience with it or they don’t because they don’t.

So pieces like the one linked in OP don’t really teach anyone anything, IMHO. They just confirm whatever the reader already believes to be true.

I don’t read it that way. You see contradiction. I see nuance.

I imagine that I could learn to embrace life without, say, junk food in my diet. A ton of people live such a lifestyle, and I have no doubt that I could adopt the same mindset they have.

But I’d miss junk food and have occasional cravings for it. Especially since we’re constantly bombarded with temptations, and I have spent my whole life eating it.

A person can totally feel like their current situation is healthy and right for them, while also acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect fit 100% of time. The writer is no different than most people. I’m betting that almost every married person has a urge to be alone and independent that surfaces from time to time. Thus doesn’t mean they are lying to themselves whenever they express happiness about being married.

I’m alone.
Gonna stay that way.
I wish I wasn’t…but…

How often do people actually ask that? I often feel so perpetually single that no one even wonders if I’m seeing someone, or would want to.

It’s one thing to make the best of the situation you’re in, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like the situation itself to change. I go out to eat sometimes and take along something to read, or even a crossword puzzle. And I can enjoy myself, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather have someone else with me.

Also, it has become the trend among some in society today to attack people who express a need for a mate - “Why do you need a mate? You need to be self-sufficient and have no emotional need for a mate or partner. To express this need means you feel, or are, incomplete, without a mate.”

But many, if not most, people, ***do ***have an innate need for a mate. That’s just the facts. This need or desire shouldn’t be ridiculed. To do so is to pretend that we are different from what we really are.

This bookmakes a convincing case for the many advantages of living single.

I don’t know why you don’t get asked about it, but it happens fairly often to me. Since I’m not that remarkable and I’ve heard similar things happening to other people (especially women), I have to assume it happens fairly often.

I take it from your username that you have nerdy inclinations. Not to lean too much on stereotypes, but I would not expect someone who travels in nerdy circles to be grilled about their sex life too much. When I was academia, the only people who’d ask were relatives I didn’t see very often. But once I left the ivory tower and started rubbing shoulders with hipper people, I was suddenly made aware that I was some kind of weirdo.

Of course. But I thought we were talking about the writer’s feelings. The writer says she has embraced life as a single person and says she is fine with the way things are. I don’t think this means she can never have occasional moments when she is NOT fine with the way things are. Nothing is ever 100% wonderful 100% of the time. There should be room for a person to have nuanced feelings without them being accused of self-delusion.