This blog post comes from an extremely vulnerable place, and I give this topic a lot of thought – unintentionally mostly and some days intentionally. Perhaps, with wedding season in full effect or the fact I will be turning 30 this year, everyone has one burning question for me, “so when are you getting married?” And although, MOST of the time I think it comes from a good place, lets talk about WHY this question is heartless and others like it.
First off, why things aren’t happening in someone’s life, such as, “you’ve been married for one year, now it’s time for children,” is NOT your concern. Then after one has their first child, it instantly becomes about having your second… “what are you waiting for?” Basically the questions never end. People have already jumped onto the next hurdle and you’re still trying to relish in the first one.
Is there a race I am unaware of? What do we get if we cross the finish line the fastest? And it’s not just annoying aunties anymore, in fact it seems to me EVERYONE is extremely curious. Married friends and family members who just can’t seem to understand why you aren’t leaping to the finish line. I’m not even going to talk about the turtle and the hare, because we all know the cliche story, but in this case, is anyone really winning if they cross the finish line the quickest?
Listen, getting married isn’t the issue, or you reminding me that I am single. Yes, I am single and despite my disposition on marriage, when you bring up such topics with people, it can feed some undesired emotion that you didn’t even know existed. Especially with bearing children, or anything really. You have NO idea how bad this person might want the exact thing you are suggesting, and to brutally remind them of their struggles is not okay.
I’m a secure person. Certain comments always throw me off such as, “but you’re so pretty how are you single?” This is NOT a compliment by any means. We are ALL well aware (I hope) that finding a partner has nothing to do with your looks, and to normalize this in any way, speaks volumes about our society.
Let’s take this thought a little deeper. I often have really close friends or family members say, “you’re so amazing, how is that you haven’t found someone?” This is a nice claim, but let me tell what’s wrong with it. You hear it so much you truthfully start to think, “damn I am amazing why am I single? Essentially, what the world is telling you is, “you have to be doing something wrong.” But that’s just it, relationships are not that black and white, nor is the process that simple. We’re so used to delivering cliche remarks, I honestly think people don’t even comprehend how these statements can resonate.
My mother always says, “tume apne bare mein, badi galth famiyan hain,” a famous urdu saying which translates to, “you have A LOT of misconceptions about yourself.” Basically, I ain’t shit (thank you Ruby for always keeping me humble, it is SO NEEDED.) And that’s my problem with those sorts of compliments, it cultivates this idea that we DESERVE a significant other. Look, we don’t deserve anything, you have to work hard at anything and everything you want or need in this life, and that is especially true with people. Also, because I know some really horrible people married, so personality does not dictate whether or not you get married, it’s determined by MANY other factors, clearly.
Additionally, there are those who give their unwarranted advice. Now advice can be fundamental, but to start off with accusatory remarks such as, ‘don’t be so picky, be open minded’ or ‘just be straight-forward and approach the guy yourself’ are not intelligent ways to grab my attention. In my mind I’m thinking, have you met me?? Do I need to spell it out for the guy… but that is an entirely different topic altogether.
My favorite remark thus far has been, “you’re too strong willed.” (insert eye roll emoji.) To blame the very person of why something isn’t happening, is telling the person – ‘its your own fault.’ Don’t get me wrong, I am self aware of all my faults and I am all for constructive criticism but for all one knows, that person has tried everything in their power, and you think you’re being helpful by offering unsolicited opinions? It’s cruel to be honest. In order to be an effective communicator you must embody empathy, and as a human race, we seem to be losing that daily.
I love those who advocate for marriage. They get all cliche on me and say, oh it’ll happen when you least expect it. I’m sorry, are you telling me you didn’t know you were going decide a huge life factor and it *gasps* just happened? You’re trying to tell me that you put no effort or time into something SO monumental, as society teaches us… and it just happened? That entire proposal you elaborated on instagram just happened? Please, stop with this carefree facade. Its demeaning. Relationships are meaningful and they don’t JUST HAPPEN. They take time and patience and sure, for some it is through family and the time is put in differently, but it doesn’t JUST HAPPEN. This a very careful thought out act. I for one, put thought into EVERYTHING I do, and even if meeting someone is the unexpected part, everything that follows is CAREFULLY THOUGHT OUT. So please stop telling single folk, it just happened – I know what you mean, I do, but it is not the same thing, and we have stop perpetuating these false concepts.
If you are not ready to have an in depth conversation about the PROCESS, then don’t proceed with unnecessary suggestions or comments. It is not small talk, it is literally stupid talk. No, I am not bitter, nor am I sad that my timeline hasn’t aligned with your expectations. I have no desire to constantly indulge in the reality that is MY LIFE, I do that enough with my mother, thanks. I am already quite aware what is and isn’t my life.
SO PLEASE STOP:
Asking my married friends why they aren’t having children. (Or why they aren’t as eager as YOU are for their second.)
Telling people what they MIGHT be doing wrong in finding a significant other.
Inquiring about why someone didn’t finish or start med school (God forbid someone doesn’t want to be a doctor.)
Reminding people (or in this case specifically, me) that they are single.
Maybe, just maybe we prefer it that way and if they don’t maybe they have blind faith, that when it supposed to happen, it will. I’ll leave you with my favorite hadith because it is reminder to us all to be sensitive to others and their personal lives:
“Know that if the whole community were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”