Singles Shaming Mother: Her Sons are in their 30s, Great Guys, But She’s Freaking Because They’re Not Married (letter to Hax columnist)
Letter to advice columnist Hax from some woman, April 2016.
This letter made me cringe for the singles-shaming attitudes in it.
I feel sad and worry about my sons, who are around 30. Both have college degrees, promising careers and a decent network of friends, and both have had past relationships.
But each lives alone and neither is in a committed relationship.
I know it’s better than being in an unhealthy relationship, but I worry that the older they get, the more difficult it will be to find a lasting relationship.
They may miss not having a family, etc., and will become sad, too!
Each says they are doing okay (but not an enthusiastic “I’m doing great”), but can you give me a new perspective?
signed, Sad Mom
Dear Sad Mom:
I can try, but I’m up against your finish-line mentality — the notion of set positions in life that define success. You implied your race results:
First place: healthy relationship.
Second place: no relationship.
Third place: unhealthy relationship.
For a new perspective to stick, you need to be open to believing that people can want and choose to be (alternative to happy commitment here), and be better for it.
Or be better for it even when preferring to be paired. Maybe living alone makes your boys stronger and more self-aware. Maybe their options later will be better suited. Maybe they’d achieve X at work if coupled, but are achieving X+Y because they have the flexibility to. There’s no end of maybes.
Unimpressed? How about this: Would you want your Ma to see your life as fundamentally lacking — or as inherently whole, no matter what it contains?
Isn’t the fullness of a person’s life in the eye of the person filling it?
If preempting sadness is your concern, please consider that an enthusiastic “You’re doing great” from a proud parent can go a really long way.