I binged on ‘I hate Christmas’ — a series set in Venice where a nurse (Gianni) grows tired of being asked if she has a boyfriend. Desperate not to be the only single at another festive gathering, Gianni sets out on a dating spree. Spoiler alert: she commits to the wrong person.
UK statistics show 24 million people were married in 2020, compared to 28 million singles. When I had a solo spell in my twenties, I couldn’t take myself to any event or party without explanation. People needed to know what was wrong with me or why my standards were so high.
Cut to 2021 and I’m in a serious relationship. Now I’m at a stage where engagement, marriage and babies are the main conversation starters. My boyfriend showed me a TikTok video of a guy comparing the two types of friends you have in your 30s. The ones in relationships want to discuss mortgages, weddings and families while your single friends suggest ways to set-up an online t-shirt business to finance continuous holidays.
There are many things I said I would never do once in a relationship. Like spending too much time with my partner, constantly using ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ and nagging singles about their love life. I’ve failed on every expectation, especially the nagging singles part.
Each time I meet my single best friend, I can’t help but play love detective. I need to know if she’s been on any dates, met anyone with potential or embarked on a quick romantic affair.
When someone asks about your love life, it’s always a bit icky. Mostly it feels like you need to justify rather than state what’s happening. And it mostly happens when you haven’t seen someone for a moment — your life crumbles into work and love.
I could blame my work as a relationship writer or point out that asking about relationships is a routine, standard question. But I think my determination to know if she’s met anyone comes from a desire to push people forward.
You know when someone gets a job as an intern and you assume they’re desperate to jump up a level. We place singledom as an intern role — it’s where you start before receiving a promotion. The promotion is a partner, followed by marriage and at least two kids with a dog or cat.
We talk a lot about the future. A child can’t be 1 without someone predicting they’ll be really into sports or love performing. It’s ingrained that these things are supposed to happen — being single is a pitstop and not a life choice or a permanent status.
Maybe Carrie Bradshaw is right — we should have parties to celebrate our current circumstances — whether or not it involves kids and marriage. It would send a message that your worth isn’t tied to other people.
Deciding to stop my singledom curiosity, I met a single friend last week and didn’t ask about love. I realised it wasn’t necessary. If someone wants to talk about it, they’ll bring it up. No one forgets to mention a fabulous date or an exciting new partner. But there is so much more happening.
While I could happily chat away about how happy my partner makes me, I could also discuss my life coach training, books I’m reading, up-coming social events and my blog (which got completely neglected over Christmas but is slowly on a 2024 growth plan).
We shouldn’t fear or worry about the inevitable. When someone asks about your love life (which they will), how you respond determines your control. You can either explain by making up excuses or state and proudly claim your single joy. So when you’re asked, ‘Are you still single?’ or ‘Still no ring?’, you say, ‘Yep, that’s correct. Still in an awkward, unhappy marriage?’.
Okay, maybe don’t say that. Why not try Rihanna’s line, ‘Wow, how disappointing was that question?’
We’re so tied to our partners and the dream of hopeless love. We fail to realise how uncomfortable, awkward, annoying or boring it can be to keep responding to the same flat status questions. My new year resolution is to step away from routine and create more exciting and interesting conversation points. Like what do you hope to accomplish in the next three months? Some people dislike these deep questions but I’m for them — especially if they replace ‘Why are you single?’.
What’s your go-to response when someone asks about your love life?