Dr. Pam Spurr is apparently a shitty therapist, because there's no other way to explain her Daily Male, I mean, Daily Mail column "Forget This Tosh About 'Freemales' - Single Women Who Say They Are Happy Are Lying." The title alone makes me want to shake her, but reading it, oh dear God, reading it made me realize that she also needs to lose her license to treat her patients and be shaken by the shoulders until the stupid falls out. Why is it that some people — usually women — think that the only path to personal fulfillment is at the end of an aisle?
Anyway, so the "evidence" cited by Dr. Pam that all single women of a certain age (mine) are unhappy is that they come into her office and tell her they are. They're denying biology! They're denying thousands of years of civilization and 30+ years of socialization that couplehood is the only way to go! And, less obviously to the Not Good Doctor, they're sitting in the chair of a judgmental and uninsightful therapist whose goal is to help them get coupled with someone so they can be happy.
What's really going on behind that confident demeanour [of a single woman that declares herself to be happy]and fulfilled exterior is crushing loneliness and desperation.
Single women become adept at playing the isn't-life-grand game.
They have to do it around men so they don't appear desperate.
One thing that Pam misses is that by relying on her patients — who are seeing a therapist because they are unhappy, great self-selection in your unbiased sample, Pam — she's talking to women who are actually unhappy about it, but that doesn't mean the rest of us are. And, um, to a woman, they all admit that they spend a great deal of time and energy pretending not to be unhappy because to admit to their actual feelings would be too humiliating. So rather then, I don't know, talking to these women about how to openly express their actual feelings to people they care about, or counseling them that constantly feeling like "a fraud" and "putting on a facade" isn't emotionally healthy, she helps them get boyfriends. That's obviously the solution to your life's problems, and God knows, entering into a relationship when you have so much trouble acknowledging your feelings and expressing them to the people that care about you is totes a good idea.
As far as I'm concerned, there's a reason the phrase "settling down" contains the word "settling," and that reason has a hell of a lot to do with the divorce rate. There's this social drum beat to marry, marry, marry that I think many women (and men) mistake for their supposed biological clock, and so they run off and pick the most likely candidate and off to the Grown Up Races they go. You know what really sucks? What makes a woman really, really, really unhappy? A fucked up relationship. I've found that you can actually be lonelier in an unhappy relationship with someone than being single.
And I'm single, and I'm not unhappy about it. I'm single because last year I ended a 4-year relationship in which I was so deeply unhappy and so deeply unfulfilled that I'd actually sunk into a deep depression that required therapy. Did getting out of that relationship suck? Yes. I spent as much time crying in my wine after it was over as I did before it ended. Am I "happy" now? I am no longer desperately unhappy and, for someone who suffers from depression, that's a pretty decent start. I am happy to not be miserably coupled. Do I regret being single? Not at all. I'm not defensive about my status, or my age, I'm not inwardly seething at weddings except when there's no more booze to be had (or none to be found) and, in fact, I'm planning on strapping on some extremely cute shoes in September to serve as a bridesmaid in my younger sister's wedding and to flirt with the photographer my mom's told me is extremely attractive and single. And I won't have a date, and I'll be happy about it, because someone needs to flirt with cute wedding photographers and I hear boyfriends frown on that.