Why we need to change the narrative around female singlehood

Being single creates space to live authentically

Silver has arrived at a place where she celebrates her singledom, relishing the freedom to do as she pleases with her time, energy and finances.

Being untethered has helped her create a life that is truly, uniquely hers. Rather than seeing coupledom as the ‘happily ever after’ that evades single women, Silver highlights the very real sacrifices that come with cohabitating with another person.

“Single has become a precious time in my life, full of unique experiences, exploration, and … a lot of selfish indulgence,” she said.

“If I’m going to give this kind of freedom up, whoever he is, he’s going to have to be goddamn amazing.”

Silver’s idea that singledom is something to celebrate, admire, or even envy, should not be such a controversial one.

Yet, in a world designed largely by and for men, painting a picture of single women as pitiful or strange remains incredibly pervasive.

It upholds other antiquated ideals of femininity, such as the expectation to look a certain way, be nurturing and caring to the point of martyrdom, and to care more about finding love and having children than about the many serious world issues taking place around us.

“Overall, I have no idea why society has always been so motivated to pressure women to partner up,” said Silver.

“Maybe they’re worried if we’re single, we’ll have too much time on our hands and we’ll be able to craft that world domination plan we keep in the back of the drawer.”

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There are many things worse in this world than being alone

Being single is not always an exciting whirlwind of spontaneity and joy.

Silver also speaks openly about the difficulties of flying solo in a society obsessed with ‘settling down’ and bravely shares the raw emotions she experienced in her journey to embracing her single status.

Sadness, frustration and even anger are perfectly natural emotional responses to what it means to be single.

However, Silver rejects the idea that this anger should be directed at herself and refuses to internalise her singledom as a sign that she is lacking some magic personality trait that will land her a husband.

“You won’t find me internalising my own terribleness,” she said.

“I’m not going to blame my singlehood on some long-pondered list of personal faults. Not with the traits of these married people I see. You can’t lie to me and tell me I’m in need of ‘fixing’ before I can be ‘ready for love’, because all the partnered people in the world who haven’t seen a day of therapy could fill an ocean to the brim.”

The narrative that there is something ‘wrong’ with single women invites unwarranted judgement and pity from others, creating serious flow-on consequences.

Instilling the notion that being alone is the worst fate a woman can experience serves to keep many women stuck in unhappy relationships, paralysed by the fear that they will never find another partner.

Telling women that any partner is better than being alone is ludicrous, and yet many of us perpetuate this notion without even realising it.

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We do it every time we look at a single friend with pity, or plan a social event assuming everyone will bring a partner, or ask someone who finally leaves a bad relationship if there’s a chance of them getting back together.

Silver does not want women to shun the concept or love or companionship altogether. She is simply encouraging them to drop the self-shaming that comes with attaching one’s worth to their relationship status.

“It’s never about curing ourselves of the desire for love. It’s about decentering the pursuit of it,” she said.