Given up on men? That is allowed. But, if you’re planning on staying single for life, then here are some tips on being free and independent forever.
So, what is a single woman to do? “I have three friends – we’re all very close, and have sworn to stay single,” says Priscilla Nkosi*, 35. “We’ve become very important to each other recently, because all our siblings are getting married. I guess we’ve figured out that all we’ll have for company in our golden years is each other – we need us.”
Friends will be your pillars of support when you get lonely, confidantes in times of trouble and celebrants in success. Without a husband or children to do all these things with, you’ll find yourself leading a solitary existence indeed. Make sure you make like-minded friends who are intent on staying single for life, too. Also, try to hook up with at least one like-minded man to keep you sane.
Don't forget to have sex
This is the conundrum, isn’t it? If you really intend on staying single your whole life, who will go down on you when you’re up, and pick you up when you’re down?
Robert DeMoss, author of Sex and the Single Person: Dealing Honestly with the Need for Intimacy, theorises that Mother Nature designed the world for procreation, not singlehood. As such, staying single is often easier said than done. “Being unattached in a world made for couples presents some real challenges – especially when it comes to dealing with our sexuality,” DeMoss says. Everything, from societal values to civil law, is generally geared toward people having a partner of some sort. But, that does not have to mean marriage nor needing multiple partners.
Dana Crawford*, 43, has had a sexual relationship with the same man for nearly 20 years – he, too, is committed to remaining single for life. “We’re not a couple, see? We just hook up every now and then. Otherwise, he leads his own life and I lead mine. It is a convenient, but necessary, partnership,” she says.
Jump into your passions
We all have passions of some sort – dancing, singing, painting or gardening. Getting married and settling down often means giving up one (or several!) passionate pursuit because of your new-found commitments. Many women have a hard time discovering what their passions are. But Judy Ford, author of Single: The Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled and Independent, reckons that there is plenty for single women to do. The trouble is that most women wait for the right moment to do something, and so wind up waiting their whole lives doing nothing.
“To make anything happen, we have to make the effort, whether it’s planting a garden or meeting a new person,” Ford says. “We have to smile and look interested. We have to get off the couch and get moving. We can make a choice to stay in or go out. We can wait for the right moment or seize the moment and get started.” So, jump into your passions today. They will feed your emotional being and keep you occupied; as you get better at them, they may even prove to be reliable second sources of income as you grow older and approach retirement.
Beware the gaps
“Gaps” are those awkward moments of inactivity that come upon you out of the blue. You can go for months keeping busy
with all kinds of functions, deadlines and travelling. And then, suddenly, nothing. Friends are busy and work slows down. Inevitably, you start feeling horrible about being single, and wonder why God never sent you the right man. “We’ve all faced empty spaces – perhaps even craved for them – yet when they arrive, which they always do, they’re so unexpected and jarring. It’s in those gaps that we come face to face with our little fears and demons,” Ford says.
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The gaps are always plenty to remind you that you’re single and alone. It’s how you handle them that makes the difference. Ford recommends using them for spiritual soul searching, either in meditation or prayer.
Adopt a child
Well, not really. But as you grow older, you will feel the need to nurture and care for young kids. It will be very hard to ignore this need, and you will despair for a man to make you pregnant. In order to satisfy these primordial urges to mother, you may need to get close to your siblings’ or friends’ kids. “I decided that my sister’s first born would be the object of my motherly affections years ago,” says Tanya Love*, another sworn single- for-life 37-year-old. “It works perfectly well: I need to mother, and my sister needs a babysitter. So, I get to spend time with the boy and fuss over him every now and then while she goes shopping – it’s a win-win situation.”
Of course, you could be among the small minority of women who have not and will probably never hear their biological clock tick. But even so, you should have at least one child in your life who knows and loves you. Children are the voices of the future, and a surprisingly sobering mirror of our past – get to know one child, and they will teach you more about yourself and life than you expect. Besides, you need to put someone’s name in your will, right?
Watch your looks
It may sound shallow, but if you look good, you feel good. In the back of your mind you already know that as you grow older, time will wear down your good looks. What are you going to do about the way you feel, then?
There are two kinds of single women – those who look good and those who don’t. If you’ve paid attention to the people you’ve met, you will notice that the pleasant ones always seem to look better without make-up, whereas the crabby ones always have more scowl lines and mascara.
Looking and feeling good go hand in hand. “Looking good does not mean being a supermodel...although I’m sure that would help!” jokes Chloe Cole*, a 42-year-old self-image expert. “Otherwise, maintaining a good skincare regime, having a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise all contribute to healthier skin, hair and muscle tone. And, if you’ve got those three covered, you cannot help but look – and feel – good.”
There is something to be said about wardrobes, too. Society talks about ageing gracefully and dressing your age. But, if you’re 45 and look 35, then why throw that little black dress away? “If you look good in it, wear it. If people don’t know your true age, they’ll have nothing to say; and if they do, they’ll be too envious to say anything anyway!” she says.
*Not their real names
This article was first published in the September 2020 issue of TRUELOVE Magazine.