Singleton downplayed in family celebrations
Dear Amy: I’m a woman in my 30s, and happily single. I live in my own apartment with my dog. I have a great career, a great family and wonderful friends. I’m on the younger side in my family, so by the time my milestones hit (turning 21 and 30, college graduations, etc.) they were not big “new” events.
I find myself constantly celebrating members of my family and spending money on weddings and children’s birthday gifts, but when it is something that is important to me, it gets overlooked or downplayed. I’m starting to become resentful.
I have invited members of my family well in advance to personal events important to me (getting rebaptized, for instance) and they all said they’d attend, but as it got closer they backed out for things like brunch with the grandkids — or they just don’t show up. It’s like they don’t take things having to do with me seriously.
When do singles get celebrated and supported for life choices outside of weddings and procreating?
If I spend time, energy and money on their (and their kids’) life events, when will they reciprocate? If I never get married or have children, am I just out of luck? Don’t these life celebrations just seem like they’re stacked against single, childless people? Dear Here: I completely agree with you that more “traditional” life-celebrations such as showers, weddings and birth celebrations leave out singletons. That does not explain your own family’s lack of attention toward your graduation and baptism, however. I wonder if you have a family member (a parent, perhaps), who could advocate for you, in order for you to receive the attention you deserve. If your own parents are the root of this problem, then you should deal with them and assertively make your expectations clear — and express your disappointment with clarity when they let you down.
I like the idea of singletons finding big and celebratory ways to mark important life events — such as landmark birthdays, starting a new job or moving to a new home. Perhaps you have a group of friends who can support you in throwing a “singleton shower,” where you send out “save the date” cards and come together in a spirit of celebration to play games, trade stories and in general celebrate your own lives and life choices.