Nary a day goes by when I don’t see updates on Facebook of friends getting engaged, friends getting married, friends having kids, friends upgrading to a bigger home to fit their nuclear family.
As a single female expat living in a place where single western female expats have basically zero chances at a real, intimate relationship with the opposite sex, it gets to me.
Ask any of my single friends in the same boat — male or female — and our sentiment is the same: we feel this pressure to be coupled. To get hitched. To pop out the kiddos. The more people in our lives who do it, the more we feel the need to keep up with the Jones’.
Only, here that option is limited: read non-existent.
So, what happens to that pressure when it boils over? When the thought of going home to an empty house, to an empty bed, to a table for one, gets stale?
As my best friend and I recently discussed, the idea of having that other half weighs heavy. For a long time, I had these pre-set deadlines in my life. A career by 25. A husband by 30. Kids by 32.
Well, guess what?
At 30, I flushed my “career” down the toilet in favor of a more nomadic lifestyle. At 34, I am still single. And, the idea of having a kid right now? Well, that single thing only has something to do with it. I’m not ready to stay put. To settle down in one place. To work more and have less time for me and my goals and dreams.
This above realization has only come recently. When I finally let go of the idea that I had this magical map or timeline to do things by. When I finally let go of the idea I needed someone else to complete me, to give me comfort, to make me feel loved.
A lot has changed with The Comfort Zone Project, and admitting to myself that I am OK (albeit sometimes missing being loved by someone else), that I don’t need someone else, has been an incredibly freeing thing.
I don’t drown my single-ness in booze. I don’t go out with the hopes I will meet someone. I let go of the idea that every guy I do know could be the “one” because you know what? The one will happen for me … eventually. Today. Tomorrow. Who knows?
This peer pressure is only valid if I let it impact my decisions in life, if I meet someone and go through the motions while envisioning them becoming a better version of themselves and someone I know can adapt to the lifestyle I envision for me. You know what? That is called settling. I’ve done that, and I will never do it again.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I took the first guy I dated, the 10th guy I dated, and somehow convinced myself they were the right person for me. Or, took the first person I thought I loved and married them. My life is on the trajectory it needs to be on for me. Sure, I get those side glances from couples … hell, I am the single girl at the party perpetually, but I like my life. I like me, and to be in a relationship right now compromises the things I need in my life.
So, yeah, being in Chiang Mai likely means I will never meet the “one,” but for now, the only “one” I need is me.
dear diana. thank you for sharing – i am in the same situation (although i am an expat in amsterdam which is probably “easier” for meeting men than chaing mai although i find it difficult). as you said, it can be very difficult, loney and sad, but it can also be impowering and liberating and sometimes being in a relationship is just as lonely (or more) than being alone. i will try to remember your words – thank you! x
It is difficult at times, but it is also nice to know you can make it entirely solo. 🙂
Agree! I can totally relate. Ive come to this conclusion, too, and it feels GOOD! I very much want to meet my partner, but I wont settle for something that isn’t right – just to BE married. I want a baby – I want to be a mom – and I want a life that resonates me and who I am. Cheers to you for writing about this topic. xx
Thank you, Sarah!
I, too, recently had to let go of where I thought I would be in life right now. I thought i’d be married, with a career and on my way to a kid by now buuuuut things didn’t quite work out how I envisioned them. Cheers to figuring out how to be completely secure where we are 🙂
Thank you!! It wasn’t always easy to accept, but it is life! And, you have to just move forward and embrace what you’ve got and know it will all work out exactly as it should!