There are a million websites out there to help you find a significant other, timeshare, car rental, dog walker, or DVD box set of some obscure TNBC show (don’t judge me) but I have yet to find a website to help singles seek out friends who are married, dating, or divorced.
The Internet is great. Not all of the content, but its existence being awesome is pretty much agreed on. At best, it has helped us connect. At worst, it has helped us segregate into our own little tribes. We gravitate toward those who like the things we like or hate the things we hate and are only challenged to grow and expand when we have no choice.
Years ago, if you wanted a book you had to go out and get it at bookstore, library, or yard sale and sure, there were publications that told you which books were good to read, but they weren’t nearly as vast or searchable as they are now. So you had to risk. You had to spend time and energy to buy something you might not even like and then read it without looking up that user intesereader1979 gave it four and a half stars and their profile says they also own an organic farm and two miniature donkeys in Indiana so clearly it’s a worthwhile read. But sometimes you would risk, you would judge a book by its cover, or the person behind the counter would recommend a novel you hadn’t heard of and it would become your new favourite. Maybe even change your life.
Back to my brilliant website idea.
There is nothing worse you can do than spend all your time hanging out with other singles. Yes, they are your tribe and when things are hard, it’s great to have them. They’ll pass you a beer and commiserate about how hard it is but they might not have insights into experiences outside of your own. Insights you don’t even know you need, that might even change your life.
We are constantly being shown what statusdom (single, dating, married, or divorced) should look like. Hot, sexy, good feelings, always with satisfying resolutions — almost as if someone actually wrote this stuff. (Spoiler, someone did.) When are shown what it does look like it’s rarely in a positive light. The same writers tell us that hard things are bad and there is no value in sacrifice, risk, trust. We are told to be in love or be single and free is exciting. We should be lead solely by our feelings all the time! Yet to have children, be content alone, or get older is tiresome and lame. Whatever you marital status it’s clear, the unhealthy reality of fantasy is either too bitter or too sweet.
So I ask you — where do your ideas of statusdom come from?
Many of us have not had parents who stayed together or were adept at teaching us what love looked like because they didn’t have it in their own relationship. We come from broken families and are dragging their baggage with us. We are empty and looking for love. “I have a hole in my heart, someone, please love me. Surely, statusdom can make me feel whole!”
Nope. Sorry. Only God can do that. Statusdom is not a fantasy island where all your needs are met. You don’t disembark the jetliner and enter this state of bliss where all your baggage gets lost on the carousel and you merrily skip off into the sunset. Any point on the spectrum of statusdom is NOT in and of itself fulfillment.
The only way I know to combat this is to step away from media and invite real people into your life, listen to their struggles and thank God for yours.
Find friends who will be real with you. If you’re dating, spend time with your single friends. If you’re divorced, spend time with married friends. Remember, you’re not their counselor and they shouldn’t ask you to be, but when you spend time with married, dating, or divorced people (those in a status other than your own) you can stop seeing the goals and start seeing the complex realities. You realize none of these in and of themselves are the answer but merely conditions in which any given person must decide how to act.
I don’t know if I’m going to get this new idea for a website up any time soon so you might have to do this work on your own. Don’t worry, it’s worth it. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the troubling situation of idolizing a condition you have no control over.
Mind blowing? Yeah, we’re just getting started.