I can’t help but get defensive whenever new people meet me, and they inevitably ask – after a certain amount of time – why I never got married. It is apparent that being divorced multiple times would be a more acceptable answer. Or they would at least be able to understand it if I was gay. But just “single”? Being an unmarried woman in her 50’s always leaves me feeling like I have to explain myself, or justify how I ended up this way. Un-partnered and never married. Very dodgy!
My path has been my path. Yes, I struggle at times with feeling unlovable, despite the amazing amount of proof and validation that just the opposite is true. Why do we only look at romantic partnership as the kind of love that matters and defines us? I never wanted children – another choice that is sometimes questioned, but only signifies choosing a different way to live one’s life. Not better, not worse, just different.
I survived a crazy childhood and am estranged from both my parents. But that is not an uncommon story. What is so often overlooked is the fact that I have built a good life that I can be proud of – for myself, by myself. And have done so without the help of a husband, partner, or family. Why isn’t that something that should be celebrated rather than viewed with skepticism?
I am resilient and learned to be self-reliant at a very young age. But most importantly, I have built a family out of friendship. I am blessed with an abundance of truly emotionally intimate relationships beyond measure. I have many friends who I have known for over 30 years. And there are now relatively new people in my life that I value as much as the ones I have known for decades. They span the country and the globe. I am not lonely.
So I am blessed with an abundance of love and intimacy, yet I have failed to find a permanent romantic partner. I have tried a few times – not too many, to be honest. I have had my heart broken and made some poor choices. But who hasn’t? I just choose to be happy in the life I have built for myself. I am not the walking wounded, or closed off to love. I am open to the possibility of romantic love, but my expectations are not typical. I enjoy my independence. I love my house, my garden, my job, my life, and most of all, my dog. I don’t want to give that up to merge my life with someone else’s, so my idea of partnership is perhaps a little unconventional. Maybe I will find it in my golden years, but if I don’t – I have lived a good life. I am a warm, compassionate, giving, loyal and tender soul who does not regret the path I have not taken, but treasure the one I have created.
There is nothing wrong with me.