Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why shouldn't I want what I want?

So, here's the thing. Single people really do get the short end of the stick. In no other facet of life do we tell people that they shouldn't want what they want; that that instead they should try being happy without it. Of course not! We are a society of consumers, of constant improvers, of wishers, of wanters. Have you looked at Pinterest lately? (I have not, so I actually am asking. What goes on there, anyway?) But when it comes to partnering, suddenly everyone is a Buddhist monk. Desire leads to suffering. Eliminate desire to find your peace. Ommmmmm... "Don't want it and it will come." "Stop looking and you will find it." "You have to be happy with yourself, first." But guess what: I can be happy with myself and also want to find someone to share life with. They are not mutually exclusive! It doesn't mean that without it my life is abject misery. It does mean that I may write a blog post about it once in a while. But so would anyone who's been wanting something that for years has remained tantalizingly out of reach.

I don't think about my life as it is currently as having "a hole" or as being somehow "incomplete." (Though I definitely wouldn't call it "exciting" or "fulfilling" either, but I know that the blame for that falls squarely on my shoulders, and not on a missing boyfriend puzzle piece.) See, I also want a dog, but not because I think my life is "incomplete" without one. I think maybe my life would be better in some ways with one, sure. A companion, someone to go on walks with, something to snuggle, and wait, I lost track of what we were talking about here. Dogs, right! (Though the similarities between benefits of dog vs. boyfriend are pretty uncanny.) But the difference is, if I wanted a dog, I could go out and get a dog. I could do it, tomorrow. And he would have to stay with me, goddammit, because he would have no choice. (Aaaannnnnd that's where the whole dog/bf metaphor falls apart.) 

Unlike getting a dog, finding someone to share your life with, whether for a few months, a few years, or, lord help you, longer than that, is one of the few things in life that we have absolutely no control over. Oh, sure, there are things you can do to increase (or in some cases, ahem, decrease) the odds, but when it comes down to it, you have absolutely no control over whether someone stays or goes. The only other comparison I can think of in terms of the emotions and lack of control involved is fertility. There are women out there (and thankfully I am not one of them, or I might be a real mess right about now) who want a baby so badly, but through no fault of their own are unable to become pregnant. I've heard them say things like they feel incomplete without a child, that they feel like there is a hole in their life, and they desperately want a baby to fill it. And here is where I get a bit stabby, because does anyone ever, ever tell these women that they shouldn't want what they want? To buck up and be happy with life on their own? I'm pretty sure the last person to chirpily tell a woman struggling with fertility that "it will happen when you stop trying!" ended up with at least a smack in the face. For some reason, wanting children is regarded as a legitimate desire in our society, but let a single person make a wistful remark about maybe wanting a boyfriend (or worse! a husband!), and watch how squeamish everyone becomes. I'm positing a theory right now that these people are actually terrified of the fact that some of the most important things in life are out of their control, and that rather than admit that, they are more comfortable changing their desires to match their circumstances, even going so far as to suggest that others change their desires, as well. But you know what? Fuck that.

Some things are out of my control. "Finding someone" (gag) is out of my control. That doesn't mean I will stop wanting it. If I don't get it, I will be sad. Such is the nature of wanting. (I guess the Buddhists were right after all.) It doesn't mean I won't be happy sometimes, too. (Will I be happy sometimes, too?

If we can celebrate (and even glorify) someone wanting an antique French farmhouse weathered teak wood sideboard (is that a thing?), why can't we also celebrate someone's sincere desire for something so much more important than that? When and where did we all lose sight of what really matters??? 

(And yes, this whole post was actually just a long rant against Pinterest. Gar smash consumerism and rampant materialism blarf. And yes, I am actually just pissed about being poor.)           


  1. People do tell infertile women that they should "just relax" and it will happen when they stop trying.

    I went through a lot of bad relationships in my past. In my case, I needed to seriously examine my own issues and learn about the mistakes that I made in relationships and identify what warning signs I ignored in the beginning of those relationships so I could make better choices in the future. It took 10 years of work and looking actively online, but eventually I was able to find a healthy relationship.

    1. I know they do, and it's such an irritating thing to hear, which is why I made the comment about them getting smacked.

  2. How does the song go: You don't always get what you want, but if you're lucky you just might get what you need.

  3. I think that TOTALLY makes sense. I think that strong, independent, brilliant women probably feel this the most because it's not your life's quest. You have other things going on! So it's just a nagging thing--something you want, something that crosses your mind (unlike those girls who choose a college based on their likeliness to meet a spouse there). And I could give you some Buddha-esque bite of wisdom to follow that thought, but you've covered those. HAHAHA. I know. They are so annoying.

    And also. Pinterest? Not on it either. I just can't do it. I keep deleting the invitations my friends send me...

  4. You should totally get a dog! Then you could take it to the dog park and suddenly your life will become a rom-com...

    [Cute, single girl and her boisterous puppy go to dog park. Single girl throws frisbee for boisterous puppy except the puppy runs too far and jumps on unsuspecting cute, single guy and his lovely old dog. Cute, single girl goes over to apologize for boisterous puppy's antics, and cute, single guy gets all bashful and suggests they go to coffee...]

    We all know what happens after ;)

  5. I'm a bit lost but you know drugs and shit... but dogs are fucking annoying and dependent and horribly self-centered, much like certain boyfriends but if you're lucky the boyfriend will one day learn to piss in the toilet and take himself for walks, that said being single and shit means you can travel (if you get some loot) or stay out all night or do whatever but if you have a dog all that shit stops unless you want to come home and find your shoes chewed up and dogshit everywhere, hence why i'll never get a dog... hell at least children even learn to wipe their own asses and at some point want nothing to do with you, with dogs that never happens...

  6. It's so true that some of the most important things are out of one's control.

    I was single, with a few pathetic go-nowhere relationships, until I was 50. I had completely given up hope. When I met my husband, we were married within months. I know how lucky I am that way, and I know it was purely luck, nothing more and nothing less.

    It's different to tell the story once there's a happy ending, however, than when the last chapter is still unwritten.

    I am sorry, and I am rooting for you.

  7. Well, dogs and boyfriends do have an amazing number of traits in common. Both enjoy sitting on a couch, eating randomly, and snuggling at odd moments. About the only differences are, boyfriends can be less faithful and less likely to pee on a telephone pole (unless unable to run fast enough to reach a men's room at the next bar). Tough call all around, I'd say.


  8. It is ok to want what you want - and I really hope you get it soon.

  9. This. Exactly this.

    I want a boyfriend. Sue me. It doesn't mean I feel incomplete without one or I'm going to mope about until I get one, it just means that I WANT one.


  10. Dogs are expensive.

  11. I think you are not some dumb young 20-year-old and you should totally get a dog if you want one. Hell, I got a dog as a dumb young 20-year-old, and while maybe it wasn't the best decision at the time, I definitely don't regret it. It's nice to have control over your adult life. Get a mini dachshund - you can take him anywhere. Dogs are more reliable than husbands even, at least some of the time.

    As Jaclyn said, people totally do tell infertile women to "relax" and "stop worrying" and they deserve to be punched in the throat.

  12. Once upon a time ( 5 years ago) I was the college girl that majored in husband- to- be 101 and now I am single , my relationship never worked out. At first I did the crying, chocolate binge and hating on couples, but I improved ...slowly. I took a trip than another trip to the point I love travel and my freedom, yet I still want the hubby plus family package.
    I hate when coupled people meet me and do that "O" face because I am single without children ( poor girl , she can't get a boyfriend)it hurts so I try to do things I truly want to do. I get asked all the time don't you want children, why don't you have a boyfriend then the "O" face again. I hate it.
    I hear the same " keep your chin up " speeches. I wonder if I was like this when I was attached, maybe this is my karma. Anyway, I enjoyed your rant.

    PS. a dog is an eternal baby,I have one; she's very latch-key, she never cleans up after herself , smells like cheese at times but she likes to lick my toes so were even.

    And what is pinterst? I am never up to date on this stuff.

  13. You know what? I am convinced. I thought - didn't say but thought - that you should just ease off and be yourself and find things you like and some guy would turn up. You know, be a strong woman who knows her own mind and the guys would sort of self select...if they like you they accept that and that's good.

    Well, I now agree with you. You have a point. Why should you not have the wish to have a relationship and why should you not be open about that? I can't think of a good reason not to. I hope your life won't be bad without that because it isn't something you can control. But you are right to hope and to realize that is what you want and to actively pursue it.

    The dog? Well, I have a couple of dogs and they are sweet but they don't fill the place of a husband or a "significant other". Do I really need to explain that? Come on.

    As right as you are, you don't have a corner on the market of wanting. I am married and have been for a good long while. But as it turns out we are pretty compatible roommates. Being married makes it really hard to change your mind. There is property in common and family and all sorts of complications. I'd rather just have the relationship improve; I don't really want to end it. In spite of all the problems I do like the guy. But what I'm saying is that it is SO not perfect. And I still want.

    I wish you luck. I hope you are successful and get what you want. I am anxious to read our posts about that. Look for a guy. Look for a husband. But if you look for perfect you are very likely to be disappointed.