We both have been single for years now. Really, quite a few already. And we experience it very differently. For Anneloes it’s mostly a choice. Living alone makes her feel free and she likes that feeling a lot. And Janet, well, that’s a different story. She would like to meet a man someday, but as it turns out that’s quite a challenge. Meeting somebody and have a real love connection isn’t something that happens daily, right? Besides, due to her chronic disease, she often doesn’t feel healthy enough to date at all.
There are not many single people in our inner circles. So, amongst our friends we are a bit of the odd one out in their midst sometimes. The funny thing is people seem to have all kinds of thoughts or assumptions about why you are single. Not only friends make up all kinds of reasons for people being single, but other people too. People in your professional network, or acquaintances, family and other people you meet during a chance encounter. Everybody seems to know why we are single. Let me tell you, that presents us with lots of funny and weird stories and talks.
“You must feel lonely very often, being single”
This is a regularly heard quote, about single people feeling lonely. We just don’t recognize that feeling. And in former love affairs though, Anneloes has felt lonely indeed.
“Oh boy, you are too picky!”
Supposedly being picky is one Janet hears lots of times. And she hase to admit: “Yes, I am picky indeed.” But not unreasonable so she thinks. She just wants to feel a real connection. What we wonder about is whether the person who says she’s picky wasn’t picky at all and just choose his or her lover out of despair?
“That old already and still single? Then you must like women right?”
Really, how does the mind of some people work? Why would anybody think you prefer somebody of your own gender if you are single for a long(er) period of time? With the risk of disappointing people: “We both are attracted to men.”
“If you live alone, you probably go to the movies alone, have dinner alone and go on holiday alone…”
Seriously? Janet read about this assumption in a book: “The art of single living”. In this book living alone is represented as living as a hermit. The writer presumes you don’t have family or friends to do fun things with. Or the other way around: if you are in a relationship you never go out alone or with friends? Weird, right?
“Single at your age? Then you must have lots of cats”
Back in the days 2 cats were living with Anneloes: she loved it, 2 sweet creatures bringing joy. But, did it have anything to do with her being single? Well, we don’t think so. She got her 1st cat at a very young age while living with her parents. After moving to Groningen and living with her boyfriend at that time, they cared for 2 cats together. When she grow up (that will probably take years…) She hopes to live somewhere with a lot of great people, caring all together for a fruit and veggies garden and some cute cats, dogs and chickens.
“You probably sleep in everyday”
This assumption is about more than being single I guess. It’s what we hear because we don’t have kids for example. Or Janet hears it because of her chronic disease. Even Anneloes hears it lots of times related to her partime job. It turns out people have lots of reasons to believe single/ sick/ partime working/ no kids people sleep in a lot. Well, that most certainly is not my dream. Anneloes actually lives quite a steady life, getting up early, which apparently according to other people is not what single people do.
“You’ll probably eat ready-made meals all the time”
Ready-made meals? Well no, on the contrary. Anneloes often prepared meals already when she was young (and still living with her parents). Later on, when she was living in Groningen, she loved making a home cooked dinner. We both just love food made of fresh ingredients and lots of veggies. We really don’t like ready-made meals.
“Still single? Then there must be something wrong with you”
Doesn’t this assumption contradict the expression: there’s someone out there for everyone? But, it’s probably true. Just like there’s something wrong with everybody. Doesn’t everybody have some kind of manual?
“People just can’t live without a romantic relationship, they can’t live alone”
Listening to friends and other people, we can imagine for lots of people this is true. For Anneloes however, she doesn’t think she’s all alone. She doesn’t feel lonely either. She just feels blessed with all the people in her inner circle, her (close) friends. They are all important to her and in her life, each and every one of them in their own special way. For the both of us a romantic relationship would be an addition, not the foundation. How we both feel: my foundation is me, and just me.
And the latest and most bizarre assumption of all we recently heard: “Aren’t the two of you in romantic relationship together? That’s what I assumed!”
One of Anneloes’ acquaintances told her that he really thought we are romantically involved. You want to know why? Because we go on holidays together. And because we go out for dinner or to the movies together sometimes. We also do those things with other (not single) friends, but he doesn’t seem to think we are romantically involved with them too. Weird, right? To be honest, we were quite shocked by this assumption…
Bonus: if you are married to (or in a romantic relationship with) a person of the other gender, you can’t be gay.
This one is not about being single but it’s quite an assumption about romantic relationships. Being in a relationship with someone of the other gender does not say anything about your sexual orientation. Just like not being in a relationship doesn’t say anything about that either. Stop putting people into boxes all the time!