“Why do you stay single?”
This is one of the most intimidating questions existing on planet earth. This kind of question piques people’s curiosity regardless whatever the answers are. And a single answer will be followed by bombarded sequential questions. Why, why, and why? People are just never tired of being curious. Being single starts to feel like social “curse” when one is in their late 20s or early 30s. Especially in Indonesia where one’s issue is everybody’s issue, and where family (and other social groups) gatherings are common and often. The question pops up too many times. Why do you stay single? You’re smart (or rich, or educated, or whatever), but why can’t you find someone to be with? As if to get into a relationship is the easiest thing to do. And if one doesn’t give straight answer why he is still single, people around him will make up the answers for him. You shouldn’t be too choosy; nobody’s perfect. You should go out and make new friends. You might find a spouse from one of those new communities you’re entering. Do you want me to introduce you to someone? What’s your criteria? One might smile at these naggings, or exit the social groups altogether to keep some inner peace.
The Concept of Having to Find THE ONE
This is one-million-dollar question that intrigues me since I was a teenager. Is spouse predestined or a result of choice? I’ve read and observed in many cultures that predestination is used for the base of marriage. Two people meet and get married because they’re predestined for each other; because they’re meant to be with each other. Confusion arises when divorce and death happen. Can there be one or more persons predestined for one person? The Greek says about man trying his whole life to find his other half, who’s separated from him due to the wrath of the gods. Other cultures say about our soulmate is engraved on the palm lines of our hand. Human ages and skin wrinkles. I can say that a soulmate claim based on palm lines is a bit invalid.
These dogmas lead human to always try to find THE ONE. The one that’s a part of him; the one who will complete him; the one who is a perfect match for him. And if that ONE hasn’t been found yet, what does it mean? Should he be looking in another place? Should he be waiting a little bit longer (until when)? Should he just give up the idea of finding that ONE?
But what if THE ONE is not predestined but chosen by the people involved in a relationship? Man chooses to be with someone despite of (or because of, or whatever) something. This will explain when break-up happens along the way. The people just choose not to be together any longer (be it in a dating or a married relationship). I’m more inclined to say that marriage is a result of choice, instead of predestination. It is a hard work that one commits to, that man will undergo until death separates him and his spouse. This means he’s completely aware of what he’s getting into, of what kind of ups and downs he’ll be experiencing, and of how to manage his expectations.
Difference and Uncertainty
I am now married and I personally believe that it is not good for someone to be alone. I believe in getting married and growing old with a spouse. But I accept that people remain single for many reasons, and for private justification. Some remain single for religious reason and emotional reason (personal trauma, unwillingness to have children, etc.), and others remain single because they are choosy. I think people are entitled to be choosy when it comes to selecting a partner for life.
Many times society judges the readiness of marriage based on one’s age, career stability, the need to continue the family line, and so on, and so forth. It is likely that a person is more stable, character and financial-wise, as he gets older. When one has been independent enough and is okay to have himself as a company, it will be harder to get into a relationship.
These two questions might stay at the back of one’s head:
- How can I handle the differences I have with my future partner? I’m good by myself. Why would I waste my time and energy trying to bridge the differences we have? If the love and commitment are not enough, there will be break-up.
- How can I be certain that I will end up marrying her? Why would I be emotionally and physically invested in that person, if at the end of the day we decide not to get married? It will feel like, again, a waste of time and energy.
Some single people I’m close with deal with these conflicting thoughts all the time. They don’t want to be alone for the rest of their lives, but they’re reluctant to take that leap of faith. Eventually they just shut off themselves and stop looking, but they never stop hoping and waiting!
I think it’s a personal choice to be single or to be married. Even in this era, marriage is not something we take lightly. We still aim for a lifetime commitment and companionship, and I can understand why my friends are cautious when getting into a relationship, that might eventually lead to marriage.
A question that always breaks my heart whenever I hear it is ‘Will I ever find someone?’. I will solemnly answer him/her, “I do not know, but I hope you will. Don’t lose your faith. Don’t listen to people who keep asking the same question. The only person you need to answer to is yourself.”