I just finished reading Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled by Michael Cobb. It is a dense, academic treatise of the subject with an interesting thesis that a “couples culture” projects its anxieties and unhappiness unto single people. I liked this line, p. 31:
Singleness is currently not compatible with a society in western Europe, North America, and probably other locations that wants people to feel desperate, lonely, fearful of death, and ready for toxic forms of sociality.
To whatever extent this is true, it offers another explanation regarding the ridiculous amount of time and effort I put into dating in my thirties. I recall, in my late thirties, telling a friend that while I did have some life options as a single person, none of them were particularly good or appealing. The friend disapproved of what she thought of as my “whining,” preferring to project an upbeat outlook on the single life. If the above statement is true, however, is it “whining” to want to be in a couple, or was I simply intuiting that life in this society is difficult to impossible alone?
To a large extent being single still limits my options, as having someone to split the bills with would be a huge help in terms of funding my dreams. Had I been living with a partner for the last five years, for instance, I would now have approximately 25k more in my pocket. On the other hand, perhaps I would not have had the time and space to dream.
As far as a partner providing me with intimate connection and social viability, however, I am starting to balk at the idea that a partner is necessary for those things. Not that it isn’t true, I’m just tired of trying to accommodate that truth. I’ve had some intriguing developments on the romantic front lately, but they have all come with challenges, whether it be geographic distance, a big difference in age, or a racial divide that would kick up a certain amount of political dust and family drama.
I feel like I should be willing to do whatever it takes for “love,” but despite all my whining on here, I am starting to question that paradigm. Whenever I have insomnia or feel uneasy or wake up dreading the day, I now imagine feeling that way with a partner, and it helps me realize that a partner won’t solve everything, and could potentially cause even more problems.
And surely having children gives one even more reason for sleepless nights.