Follow up to “something more”

OK, I did not expect that at all. Since I posted “Something more on being single” on Tuesday, almost 2000 people have read it. I’ve had messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years, comments from people I have never met, and generally an overwhelming response to the things expressed in that post. Clearly it is not a minority experience. I’ve been incredibly touched by the people who wrote to me about their own hidden struggles (not exclusively with being single), and by the warmth and compassion of those who wrote to say, “I didn’t realise that was how it was. Thank you for explaining.” Either I only know an exceptionally nice subsection of the population, or most people genuinely are kind and don’t want to hurt each other. I find that really encouraging.

A few people have told me that the post has opened up new conversations among their families and friends, and one messaged to say that her church leaders have all read it and are going to discuss the issue at their next meeting (!) Nobody has told me to stop whingeing or seemed offended by what I wrote (for which I am grateful – been a wreck all week just from writing this stuff down, so that might not have gone well). What this says to me is that it might be more OK to talk about the hard stuff than we seem to think. I think a lot of people would love an excuse not to have to keep acting so bloody perfect.

I’m a little puzzled by the absence of response from single men. It seems unlikely that there aren’t any (although certainly feels that way sometimes), and I’d be curious to know what their experience is. Where are you guys? Talk to us! (I know that’s not What Guys Do, but I managed to persuade a man to bring a salad to a braai the other day, so anything is possible).

Thanks everyone who has read, shared, commented, messaged, discussed, ranted or otherwise responded, whether to me or to someone else. It’s a privilege to share “this beautiful mess” with you all.

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2 thoughts on “Follow up to “something more”

  1. Single man about to leave his 20s checking in…

    Your article stirred up a lot of internal stuff for me. Unfortunately, this isn’t really something I can admit to many people.

    The humiliation that I feel (which, I concede, is mostly self-inflicted) when trying to spend time with friends and it suddenly becomes a couples party absolutely crushes my worth.

    Being the 3rd/5th/7th/9th etc wheel in any group just gets to be too much in the end. The amount of times I have had to leave a party or gathering to just smoke outside by myself because the conversation turned exclusively to co-habitation concerns and setting up couples getaways is well into double digits now.

    I am really at that point in my life where I fear spending time with friends and family because there is this underlying pity/confusion as to why I am not “shacking up with a nice girl” (which is something I have heard far too many times in my relatively short life).

    It’s not that I hate my friends for getting into relationships with other interesting and cool people. I am happy for them. But at the same time, I am upset because it means that I will inevitably lose a person I have a strong connection to, which is quite a rare occurrence in my life.

    At the end of the day, I am just sad because of the insensitivity of ‘default’ couples discussion. I am really tired of having to feign interest in idyllic lives that I will increasingly have less and less connection to as a result of not pursuing a “traditional” adult life.

    Perhaps it is just the bitterness taking over (which I hope I can stop in time). Truth be told, I often hate myself for feeling this resentment. Smash this together with an undefined modern ‘masculinism’ and eventually, the resulting existential black hole starts to swallow you up

    So, I guess what I am trying to say, kind author, is that I thank you for writing something that made me feel slightly more normal in spite of my insecurity.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I think it may be even harder for guys to talk about this than for us women. Completely relate to your smoke breaks – I take them often, and I don’t even smoke! And the conflict of emotions – being happy for friends but simultaneously wounded by the same cause. If it’s any comfort, I’ve had a load of responses from married/partnered people saying they had never thought about a single person’s experience in this way, and will now think/speak/act differently… I really hope it’s that simple to change things – obviously not entirely but at least for the better!

      You are definitely not alone. I hope you can find ways to educate your friends and family a little (feel free to print my post in flyer form and drop it anonymously in their letter-boxes with a list of helpful hints!), and also give yourself some grace for how you feel. Hang in there…

      Like

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