Stop Sin­gleSham­ing me!

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - Love, Lust & Other Stuff -

When did the worst thing about go­ing solo be­come peo­ple who make you feel

bad about it? hey, aun­tie kathy, it’s cool. and you too, Mom and Dad. you guys can’t be blamed for ask­ing me if i’m dat­ing some­one when i’m home for the hol­i­days. it’s just what you do.

But, heyyy, friend-of-afriend at the bar who dropped a ma­jor shame bomb on me the other night. not. Cool. We were chat­ting in a group when i re­vealed i was a tin­der-less sin­gle per­son. “What?” she squeed. “But how do you meet guys? you’re just not­dat­ing?” Bar­tender, pour me an­other!

usu­ally, sin­gles are left to de­fend them­selves while pass­ing the carbs at fam­ily din­ners, but my bar en­counter was more bit­ing: i was sin­gle­shamed by a peer. “even to­day, there’s truth to the idea that women get val­i­da­tion by be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship,” says Rachel hills, au­thor of the­sexmyth. “if you’re sin­gle, it’s seen as a prob­lem to be fixed.”

Cos­mopoli­tan

af­ter that, i be­gan to no­tice it ev­ery­where. My ex­clu­sion from cou­ples-only din­ners. a mar­ried-with-kids friend im­ply­ing that a se­cond glass of vino was a wild night for her but for me ev­ery night was a drink­fest. in­vites to wed­dings ar­riv­ing with­out “and Guest” next to my name. Be­cause i’m sin­gle, i’m made to feel bad about it.

But why? “Sin­gle-sham­ing comes from the think­ing that if you fol­low the pre­scribed path and get mar­ried, you’ll be hap­pier,” says Bella Depaulo, PHD, au­thor of Sin­gled­out. “But if half the pop­u­la­tion is sin­gle, how can you say the only way to be happy is to be

FE­BRU­ARY 2016 mar­ried?” She has a point. in fact, a new study from the univer­sity of auck­land found that peo­ple in re­la­tion­ships may be more sus­cep­ti­ble to hurt and con­flict, some­thing many sin­gles “of­ten avoid.”

ex­cept when we’re shamed. Be­cause here’s what the shamers are re­ally say­ing: i’m judg­ing you for be­ing friv­o­lous, for liv­ing your life out­side what so­ci­ety ex­pects. We sin­gles aren’t slack­ers with end­less free time to de­vote to binge drink­ing and bar make­outs. We’re not col­lect­ing tears in our Mansur Gavriel bucket bags. and it’s not that we’re not “try­ing hard enough.” i’ve even heard of a boss who didn’t hire an un­mar­ried can­di­date be­cause she “didn’t have a sta­ble foun­da­tion for a stress­ful job.” th­ese as­sump­tions are un­fair…and to­tal BS.

the trick is to de­flect the haters. Steer the con­ver­sa­tion to your job or your trav­els. Or say, like i do, that you sim­ply won’t date some­one dull just so you’re not alone.

and when a shamer starts in with “i just want you to be happy...,” think about how happy you al­ready are. i love my quirky friends, my fun job, my cozy apart­ment, my a.m. cy­cling class. and when i add a boyfriend to that list, he’ll share space with the rest of my happy life. there’s no shame in that. ■

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