I was hanging out with a friend not so long ago and she had told me about how she was seeing someone off and on. I did get permission from this friend to write this post, but I am not at liberty to say who it is, or how I know her. Basically, they get together, they spend time together, they may be even sleep together on occasion, however there's the rub... he has made it clear they fall into the "Friends With Benefits" category, and not at all inclined to really move past that, for various reasons (he may be moving, he isn't really in the market for a serious relationship, etc). Not to mention, there is the fact that my friend has not had the most stellar relationship history, so this has caused her self-esteem to go down. She feels, as she puts it, "I'm good enough to sleep with/ have fun with, but not good enough to have a relationship with."
I can understand what this person is going through, and frankly, I put it a different way -- "Good enough for fun, but not good enough to keep." Unfortunately, this seems to be a growing trend, and rather than feeling like we as women can embrace this sexual freedom and this singles lifestyle we are constantly pressured into this mindset of coupledom. So... we can't just "have fun" and enjoy being single with no stings attached. The intimate moments have to mean something, or lead up to something, or have a label. The constant pressure of being a woman nearly in her 30s and the "biological imperative" to become part of a couple, get married and have babies, is as inherent and as ingrained as worrying about our hair and if our butt looks big in this or that. Personally, I feel this constant pressure not only from the media, but also culturally, and (unintentionally) from married/coupled friends. I've literally gotten the message of "Now that you've gotten your master's and you have a job and you're settled into your new apartment, your next mission is to find a man and finally join the rest of us/the world/etc in the realm of relationships and family-making."
I have to tell you that message sucks, and here's why...
I love my friends, I'm happy they are in happy, successful marriages and families, but that's not a lifestyle that may work for everyone. I am a loner by nature. Some of us are meant to be the teachers/hermits/crones in our society, providing a reflection and an outside persepctive. I joke around that I want to be the single friend my friends are all jealous of because I have no such commitments to another person, but it's hard when the message is constantly coming at you that "You are Nobody til Somebody Loves You."
What about those of us who have trouble finding someone? Maybe we're shy, or awkward, or not as attractive as others. What about those of us who are constantly bombarded with the message that we are good enough to have fun with but not good enough to keep? What then? It's a double stigma because we are convinced that we are not worth having in a relationship and we feel we are defective in some way because we can't manage to get into one.
To be honest, I wish that people would just let it be, and not make a fuss. If we could be happy with our single lives, then we could find more meaning in our work, and maybe even stop with all the heartbreak and the negativity of "Not good enough".
Just my food for thought....