I’m a single woman in my thirties. With no desire for marriage, children, or co-habitation, I aim to remain that way. “What’s the rub, SBG?” you ask? “We already know this,” you say?
Well, I like male companionship. I’m not invested in what that companionship is called; I am firm in what it looks like: mutual physical attraction, good conversation, shared interests, friendship (as in genuine care for my well-being), dates, and the occasional “we barely left the hotel room” vacation.
Popular wisdom says “it sounds like you want a relationship.” If by “relationship,” you mean “exclusivity with the intention of building a life together,” you are wrong. I would like to share time and experiences with someone. I prefer life as a solitary pursuit.
Lately, we’ve heard a common refrain about lifelong commitment: it’s HARD. It combines opposing desires: passion and security. Passion requires tension, spontaneity, and a degree of mystery. Building a life, however, is sustained effort. It requires comfort, structure, and transparency. Maintaining that life while juggling the emotional, mental, physical, sexual, professional, and material needs of two separate human beings (not mention kids if you have them) ain’t no hoe. Ask The Carters.
I respect that work. I even find beauty in it. But me? I like what comes naturally. Simmering chemistry. Easy laughter. Engaging rapport. Exchanging ideas and philosophies. “I haven’t seen you in awhile, be naked when I get there” sex. When it comes to structural stuff–domestic life, career and financial decisions, and emotional support–I’m a one-woman show. The sole arbiter. The lone sovereign. I am Communist Cuba. If you can get through customs please enjoy the warm beaches, lively culture, and fancy cigars. Then go home. This regime isn’t interested in democracy.
Conflating romance and marriage is one of the least logical decisions society ever made. What we want on the front end–passion and easy vibes–aren’t solid enough foundations for lifelong commitment. Or for life period, which is why we increasingly build support systems outside the confines of romantic relationships.** Romance is A thing. A valid thing. But, it can’t be THE thing. In your married life nor your single one.
At some point, adults have to initiate honest conversations about what we’re capable of giving and what we’d like to receive. About the thrilling spectrum of possibilities between “you are a sex robot whose feelings I don’t have to consider” and “you are my entire world.” About finding the sweetness in transience instead of framing endings as failures.
At some point, we have to figure out how to actually enjoy each other. That’s a chat I look forward to having.
[*] Shouts to @_ItsMarisWorld_ for the blog title
[**] According to all those “millennials prefer their platonic relationships to romantic ones” articles.