So last week I had dinner with my darling friend, who is also single.
The thing I love about my single friends is that we can commiserate about our shared experience in being single women of a certain age and the shit we get from people who just don't *get* it.
How can it be possible to choose to be single? Who knew that was even an option? There must be something *wrong*.....
[insert shifty eyed, suspicious look]
During this particular dinner we talked about what we say to people when they ask "Why don't you want to get married?"
These people are looking for an answer. They want us to explain ourselves. And they make it clear that our answers will be evaluated.
My friend and I both laughed about the things we throw out to these people who want us to explain the (it seems for women) unexplainable.
When I came home, I started to download the new Apple software into my iPhone and as I did, I found myself thinking about my dinner conversation.
I realized that I have an answer for those who say "Why aren't you married?"
Here it is:
I'm not married because I believe in marriage. I believe in it fervently. And I believe that when you stand up in front of God and that company and make those vows, you should mean them.
Let me say that again. I think you should mean them. And not just today. Today and forever. Til death do you part.
And I've never been willing to do it.
Not ever. Not once.
I've never felt, in my heart, the love and commitment to another person that would allow me, in good conscience, to take those vows.
In all honesty, the night I got engaged - he asked me to marry him, gave me a big ring and as we hugged each other I thought to myself "This will never happen".
Because as soon as he asked me, I realized that I couldn't do it.
Or maybe the better answer is that I realized that I didn't want to do it.
Now, I tried to talk myself into it (while simultaneously sabotaging it) for the next 18 months or so. And frankly, I think he was doing the same thing. And when we chose to end our relationship and not be married to each other it killed me.
I don't want anybody to think that that decision was easy. And it was much more complicated than needs to be blogged about for both my sake and his. It was a terrible and soul shattering experience. In many ways it was the most awful experience of my life. It was a divorce in the truest sense. A cutting off. A sundering.
I praise God all the time that I didn't marry him. But I knew it was the right thing. It was the only thing. As awful as the aftermath was, I remember being so blissfully happy to *not* be with him anymore.
It was really hard for me to understand it - then and for a long time after that. I thought it was because we weren't 'right' for each other.
But then I started to understand that it was me. It's always been me. I've always been willing to walk away. I've never wanted to be somebody's wife *more* than I wanted to be free.
See? There's actually a reason this blog is subtitled "Surprisingly Single". Really. And nobody is more surprised about it than I am.
But it's what I want.
Have I been lonely? Yes.
Am I still lonely sometimes? Yes.
Is my life an empty shell because there is no man in it? No.
I realize as I'm writing this that I still have few answers to most of the big questions. I still hope to meet the guy who I will want to invite into my life and that he will want to invite me into his.
But until or unless that ever happens, just take my word for it.... There are worse things than being single.
Image: To Have and To Hold by Stacey Winters.