Last week, the media was buzzing about Ryan Lochte’s mom remarking that her son prefers one night stands. It was later smoothed over that he simply prefers dating to having a steady girlfriend. The first thought I had about this was why does a 28-year old man’s mom know that much about her kid’s sex life? (And why do I now know so much about her kid’s sex life?) Then I read this and thought, “Hmm, sure it’s fine to be young and single, but is it ok to be over 50 and single?” The article ruminates about Millennials being single, but more broadly, that coupledom still seems to be the goal in our culture. The golden ring, if you will.
I got married in small part because it was the next logical step. I’d graduated from college, started my career, and turned 25. I met my now estranged spouse at a friend’s wedding. My younger brother was engaged. I was surrounded by weddings and happy couples. Everyone gets married, right?
I was uncomfortable with having children outside of marriage. So for my kids, I’m glad I was married. But now? Why would I get married again?
My mammogram technician this year was a 56-year old divorcee. She’s open to remarriage for the companionship and stability. Bless her optimism. My marriage was not very companionable and the stability was an illusion. Those vows won’t stop a spouse from making selfish choices, or leaving if they want to go.
Is being half of a couple the only or best way to have companionship, or (gasp) even sex? Especially for a person beyond childbearing and childrearing? It seems almost taboo to be middle-aged or more, single, and happily dating without looking for a serious, monogamous relationship. Why do we expect everyone to be (still) searching for The One?
If I need to be happy in myself to be in a happy relationship, can’t I also be happy in myself and choose not to be in a relationship? I’ll let Pollyanna’s Divorce be the final word: “Single and filled with possibility is a million times better than married and small.”