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Simply Solo Spotlight: Single vs. Married – The Battle Wages On

January 25, 2011

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by the awesome woman behind the Butter & Honey blog. She writes about her [very funny] dating adventures, and I absolutely love her drawings. This post really resonated with me, not only because we both called off our weddings, but also because so much of what she’s said in this guest post kind of haunts me. I really look forward to whatever advice/comments you are able to share with her!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: simplysoloblog@gmail.com.

Single Vs. Married: The Battle Wages On

I, too, was once a smug non-singleton in a seemingly loving, committed relationship. I even went so far as saying “Yes, I will marry you!” Then, in a blink of an eye, it all went downhill from there. I listened to my gut and followed a hunch that unearthed the truth; he was cheating before we even made it to the altar.

It’s been, oh … a few years since the monumental breakup. The first year was a wash. I was in no condition to be back on the market. I didn’t even know who I was or what I wanted from my life, let alone a new partner. Plus, truth be told, I was a slobbering mess most of that year. The second and third year I didn’t really care about finding true love. Stella got her groove back and I just wanted to have fun. I casually dated but I wasn’t actively seeking anyone special. If it happened, it happened. I was in no hurry. But in the fourth [and fifth] year after my life altering split, I realized it was probably time to really put myself out there again. I thought it would be easy since during years one through three, I met a lot of fun, great, eligible guys. I thought for sure when I got serious they’d still be out there waiting for me. I was wrong. So terribly wrong …

While I was spending my time having fun, rebuilding my life, working on my career and living [relationship] drama-free, all the [supposedly] good, quality men got married. The dating scene suddenly looked bleak and that’s putting it mildly. And now it seems the institution of marriage looks pretty unpromising as well. What’s a girl to do?

Stick drawing of woman searching for the Holy Grail

Courtesy of Butter & Honey. Don't you just love her drawings?!!

Am I looking for a guy that doesn’t exist? Does the marriage I want even exist? Quite honestly, I’m becoming pretty skeptical. I’m trying not to be cynical. I really don’t want to become one of those jaded bitches that can’t even lighten up to have a decent conversation with a man. But I’m teetering on the cusp of wanting and believing that I can find a good man and giving up altogether because perhaps there isn’t one out there. It’s like trying to find the Holy Grail of men. They say it’s out there, but no one has yet to find it. Okay, okay. Perhaps it’s not that bad. Or is it?

I found out a really close friend is getting a divorce. I thought her husband was one of the good ones but as it turns out, he might actually be king of the lying, cheating, douche bags and apparently, she’s been unhappy for years. YEARS! What the hell? I know it’s not about me, but I feel kind of jipped. I’ve secretly been envious of their marriage and the life they had built.  They certainly acted happy, but I’m slowly learning that many couples put on this fake, happy façade. I’m not sure why, but they do. Are they trying to fool us or themselves? I suspect it’s a little of both.

Is what I’m looking for worth this much effort? Is it even attainable? Seriously, what’s the point of trying to find a good man to marry when, more often than not, it seems to end in divorce? I’m currently in the midst of four friends divorcing their husbands [three of those four are because their husbands are cheating] and two friends who just got engaged, blissfully ready to walk down the aisle all aglow with hopeful, wedded expectation. They are just as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as the soon-to-be-divorced ones once were.

My thoughts are completely bipolar. One part of me wants to keep looking for the Holy Grail. The other part of me wonders if there’s even a point … Once I meet and marry him, will I one day find my future husband trolling for discreet sex online or in the arms of some other woman?

How many of you out there feel the same way? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and points of view. It would be great to get some male perspective as well, so please feel free to add to the conversation.


38 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 8:36 am

    I think you can’t go into marriage, or any relationship really, worrying about it ending! Maybe their marriages did end in cheating, but they must have had some happy times and such to get married, yes? Plus, you know my grandma has been married 5 times and enjoyed all of them 😉

  2. January 25, 2011 9:16 am

    Always listen to your gut. It’s amazing how right on it usually is when we suspect cheating. I wish I had listened to my gut earlier with my exfiance.

    • January 25, 2011 9:30 am

      It’s so true and scary how intuitive we are. We just have to pay attention. I’ve ignored my gut in the past and like you, wished I hadn’t. But you live and you learn. Unfortunately, we need to go through these experiences to grow from them and become better equipped to deal if they should ever arise in the future. Plus, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… 🙂

  3. January 25, 2011 9:25 am

    At some point, we’re told we’re too young to get married. Then, before we know it, we’re doomed to be this spinster, a woman incapable of meeting Mr. Right. All the good ones are taken and all the ones left have baggage.

    From my experience (not sure if you and Catherine feel the same) , when you’re so close to getting married to someone, you’ve devoted years to a relationship, only for it to fall apart, you begin to really wonder who is still out there. You’ve spent so much time in the previous relationship that all the eligible bachelors are now in committed relationships. Are we destined to be single ladies forever, and is that such a bad thing?

    I think my biggest fear now, after a failed engagement, is even if I become that sunshine and rainbows bride, will my future husband be a creep? Will our marriage suck?

    BTW,I totally love the ‘Stella got her groove back’ line. That’s where I am at now 🙂

    • January 25, 2011 9:36 am

      Word sister!! I hear ya loud and clear. Those are my exact sentiments and I am so happy to hear that I’m not alone in my thinking. After all this, I’d like to think our happy ending is still out there. I also happen to believe that our near-marriage experience may have given us the tools to be a little more aware of what we’re getting into so that when we do finally get married, it’s because we know what we want and what we don’t want. Amen.

  4. January 25, 2011 10:50 am

    Most of my friends haven’t been married, or close to it, including myself. But I’ve gone through divorced parents, aunts, uncles etc… and of course it makes me wonder if there is that perfect person out there that will make you happy forever. But then I see the few relationships that have worked, who have been married for 25 years+ and no matter what statistics say, or what I’ve witnessed with my parents, it’s those few, very few, marriages that work that keep my hopes high. I would rather live life hoping for the best, then dreading the worst.

    And I can honestly say from experience that when you stop looking for someone, that’s when you’ll most likely find someone. Even if it means waiting another 10 years. Being single is fun! Why not spend some time single and then in your later years have someone to share the rest of your life with?

    • January 25, 2011 11:11 am

      As far as finding someone when you stop looking, lately it’s not as easy as it sounds. Specifically when your 35, time is not your friend anymore and it’s pretty difficult to stop thinking about the fact that your ovaries might shrivel up and dry out. It’s also pretty discouraging to watch all of your friends get married and have kids while you’re continually the 3rd or 5th wheel. I’ve been single for longer than I’d like to admit so I’m very ready for the next phase of my life. That includes a husband and children. Being single used to be fun…in my 20′s. Don’t get me wrong, I do love certain aspects of being single, but I certainly don’t find it fun anymore. Dating is sucking the life out of me and I’m not sure how many more bad dates I can endure.

      On the other side of the spectrum, the marriages that have lasted 25+ years sure do give me something to be hopeful for! And that’s why I will continue trucking along. I’m certainly not giving up but sometimes the outlook just seems a little bleak…

      In any case, thanks for the positive vibes!

  5. January 25, 2011 11:02 am

    i absolutely get where you’re coming from– i, too, struggle with the whole optimism/pessimism dichotomy– i’m trying really really hard to let optimism win for 2011 🙂

    • January 25, 2011 11:12 am

      Seriously. It’s pretty tough but I guess the moral of the story is to not give up. We just need to be smart about our choices. Good luck 🙂

  6. January 25, 2011 11:30 am

    I’m lucky enough to have found a good one…but I was 35 when I found him. For years and years, I dated a lot of duds, broke others hearts, got my heart broken a few times. I really count my lucky stars that I actually found someone…at 35.
    When my last relationship blew up, I dreaded thinking about how exhausting it would be to have to date again. And it seemed like such a daunting task to take on in my mid-30’s. I had many breakdowns and crying fits thinking about it, because I was so ready to be married and start a family. Being newly single, that dream seemed eons away.
    Most of my friends also were in their 30’s when they found their husbands/wives. It might be more difficult, but not impossible.
    I want to get married. Even though the divorce rate is so high (and my parents divorced after 40 years of marriage!), most of my friends now are still in the early years of their marriages and all is or at least seems good.
    All us single people (I’m in a serious relationship, but not married yet) have to stay optimistic that marriage with the right person will come when the time is right. For some people, that time is a bit later in life and it’s just something that we have to accept and embrace when it comes our way.
    Good luck to you all… I always say “if it happened to me, then it can happen to you”

    • January 25, 2011 11:37 am

      Thanks! I’m also 35 so you’ve given me a ray of hope. Obviously, I’d like to meet someone sooner rather than later but I know I can’t control it. I guess I just have to be patient, which, unfortunately is not one of my strong suits…

  7. January 25, 2011 11:37 am

    Once upon a time I was the ex-fiancee. After almost 5 years together my ex broke it off with me (2 months before the wedding…i had just mailed out the invitations that very week). I was heartbroken…went through all the stages of grief and had the the 1st year events (Catherine, that first year is the hardest and it’s almost over!). Now my ex is/was an excellent person. there was no cheating involved, we were just weren’t on the same page about a few things. What i did learn from him is what I wanted in a partner. The type of person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. What i could and couldn’t compromise on. Armed with this information about a year later i started dating my husband (we worked together & were work friends for several years). He is what I wanted. He keeps me grounded when i need to be, i get him to be silly when he needs to be. he is a fantastic father to our son.
    The point of all this…keep your heart and eyes open, the person you may not of thought of romantically before, could be just who you are looking for.

    • January 25, 2011 11:41 am

      Thanks! That’s great advice and I’m so happy you found someone so wonderful to share your life with 🙂

  8. 2blu2btru permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:45 am

    I say go ahead and tip over into “jaded (swear word)” territory…that’s how all the women in Harlequin’s find the good ones. 😉

    Seriously, I have no real advice. I kinda stumble over my boyfriend while I was busy being content with being single and comfortable in my skin. It was like my positive vibes attracted him. I don’t know how it will all play out, but even if it doesn’t work out, I plan on staying sunny and optimistic–positivity and contentment radiates from you, and intrigues men, in my limited experience. Never give up hope–or your joy! 🙂

    • 2blu2btru permalink
      January 25, 2011 11:46 am

      Oh, and have hobbies that you can pursue in the company of others. That always helps, to actually meet people.

    • January 25, 2011 11:49 am

      Awesome! Thanks 😉 I love every word of what you had to say specifically “contentment radiates from you and intrigues men…” Love, love, love it!

      And yes, hobbies. I need more hobbies. Maybe I can take up some manly hobbies? I could learn how to build a shed. Ha ha! I kid.

  9. January 25, 2011 12:25 pm

    Ah. A guy’s perspective. I must be a bit daft to even attempt such a thing 😉 But, here goes…
    There are plenty of good guys out there. We are often frustrated as hell that we don’t even get a second glance, much less a phone number. That being said, I don’t think the issue is finding the good guy, but rather finding the one that fits. And trusting that you know what that is. Is there a Holy Grail? Certainly. It is when you find the one that you can look at, be with, and actively love despite everything that is right or wrong. I should have given up hope a long time ago, and still have moments, but THE moment is worth every bit of it. Keep looking. He is out there. And he is missing you as much as you are missing him. Warm wishes to all who are still searching.

    • January 25, 2011 12:32 pm

      Um…hello? Will you marry me? Ha ha! But seriously, I’m thrilled you shared your perspective with us. It wasn’t as scary as you thought, was it? Not to mention, I love what you had to say about not necessarily finding a good guy, but the guy that fits and TRUSTING that you know what it is. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for such a refreshing male point of view! Good luck in your search for your personal Holy Grail 😉

      • January 25, 2011 12:35 pm

        You know…you really shouldn’t make me laugh hard enough to turn it into a coughing fit 🙂

        • January 25, 2011 12:40 pm

          SCORE! It wouldn’t be a success unless either some form of liquid spews out of one’s nostrils or a coughing fit ensues. Not to mention, this post was a bit more serious than my usual blog material so I had to get the funny in there somehow. Glad you enjoyed it!!!

  10. January 25, 2011 3:42 pm

    What’s interesting to me is how all my married friends – the ones whose lives I envy – want to swap their comfy, cozy lives with mine and profess to be jealous of me! It’s enough to boggle the mind and brings up all sorts of questions (mostly about grass and the color green). If single people want to get married…and married people wish they were single…who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who’s nuts?

    Maybe we should all just focus on sex and leave the relationship stuff to the penguins.

    • January 25, 2011 3:55 pm

      You bring up a really good point! I can’t tell you how many times my married friends wish they were single and are always telling me to ‘live it up!’ It’s so true. You always want what you can’t have. Ah well, maybe we really should just focus on the sex part… Thanks for your comment!

  11. 2blu2btru permalink
    January 25, 2011 3:50 pm

    This reminds me of a good Chris Rock joke–you’re either married and bored or single and lonely–“ain’t no happiness for you nowhere.” LOL…I don’t know how true it is, but it is apropo (sp?) at the moment.

  12. January 25, 2011 7:17 pm

    I know I commented on Twitter, but I wanted to say again that I thought this post was great. It is really strange to see things as an adult, and realistic, rather than the way that I saw them as a kid. You don’t really think about what is involved in a marriage until you are getting ready to have one of your own. Thanks for the post!

    • January 25, 2011 8:07 pm

      So happy you liked it!! I know what you mean about seeing things as an adult and realistically. Sometimes I wish I could bury my head in the sand but that’s not really an option for me. We just have to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and move forward. Every experience we have makes us wiser and more equipped to deal!

  13. Claudia permalink
    January 25, 2011 7:53 pm

    Most of the problem is that you are looking for the end game. Marriage. Too focused on it. There is a reason why there is a saying of you find something when you are looking for it, but it’s not just some cosmic law. It changes how you come across to potential partners that puts them off.

    Every single person is lonely. And each one wants to share their life with someone. However the more desperate you are to find that special someone, the less likely that person who may have fit will want to be around you. Who knows if it’s a fear of dependency or a fear of the pressure it puts on the other person.

    All relationships don’t work out until the one that does. We just never know which one that will be. So enjoy the ride no matter if it lasts 6 months, 1 year, 10 years, or until death.

    • Claudia permalink
      January 25, 2011 7:54 pm

      ^ Find something when you are NOT looking for it.

    • January 26, 2011 9:50 am

      Thanks Claudia! I really love that you said “All relationships don’t work out until the one that does.” Honestly, I love hearing that! 🙂

  14. Keep Your Woman permalink
    January 25, 2011 8:29 pm

    The GREAT men ARE out there, but unfortunately it’s up to the man himself to BE great. It’s all too common for guys to fall short in this arena when a little time and effort can REALLY go a long way… I’d also like to add that your skepticism is also working against you.

    You have to really open up and believe, and know what YOU want – before you can know what you want in someone else.

    • January 26, 2011 9:54 am

      Thank you for your comment. I actually do believe GREAT men are out there! I happen to know a few. But I guess when you hear of 4 friends getting divorced in such a short time-span, you start to question things & wonder if it’s worth it in the end.

      Also, I’d like to thank you for your last sentence…really well-said. THANKS!!!

  15. January 25, 2011 8:32 pm

    Please remember that a person within a marriage can commit suicide. I know of 2 (possibly a 3rd one) marriages where this happened.

    My point: Even an attentive spouse cannot give you total happiness/completeness.

    The happiness needs to come from within oneself.

    For woman with financial means, the brutal reality is: is the guy truly after my account/finance/purse. This maybe true especially for older women who are single or widowed. I belong to another a forum for boomer women…. where there are sufficient stories.

    But I also disagree with women after…wealthy men or men with alot of money. This too is not helpful.

  16. January 31, 2011 8:43 pm

    I need these posts right now! I do appreciate the alterior view of seemingly happy relationships. I spend way too much time obsessing over other’s relationships and it’s made me more bitter than I care to admit.

    I am currently at the very very beginning stages of a breakup of a 6 1/2 year relationship. I wish I could say he was cheating, or abusive or something like that, but he’s not. He’s a decent guy and I like to think I’m a decent girl. We just can’t seem to get it right, and as I’m approaching 30 this year, I feel like I have to set my sights on the bigger picture. With no engagement in sight, (and other issues as well) there seems to be no choice but to move on with my life.

    Thanks for the post and I will be back.

  17. canali permalink
    March 16, 2011 8:40 am

    Sounds like some victim-like whining a bit here. Esp when saying how marriages end and some posters lament on wondering about no good men out there. Would love to hear the goods from these so called bad men and their ops on what went down. Always two sides to a story remember. Maybe they’d say there are no good women out there.

    My op: too often people rush into a relationship out of lust n loneliness. While these are two powerful drivers they’re not the most reliable long term success predictors. Plus most of us could do with taking more couples problem relationship skills courses given we are not taught this soft stuff in school. And I’m a guy btw.

  18. cheating medina permalink
    July 27, 2014 9:42 pm

    Mostly alllllll men cheat I believe. married or not. I was involved with a married man once, mind you I never know he was married. I was so love with him. I’m still dealing with the break up. But no. there is no Holy Grail. all people have some kind of defect. Maybe we just have to find the one that has a defect we can live with.

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  1. Simply Solo Spotlight: Single vs. Married – The Battle Wages On (via Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey) « Aggiegrl's Workout Blog

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