real life

'I'm 39 and single by choice. I'm seen by women as both menacing and perplexing.'

I write this piece as a single 39-year-old woman who is single by choice. 

This choice of sheer free-will seems to be baffling to the majority of people in my life. 

People who know and love me can’t comprehend why a successful, well-adjusted, social and vibrant person would choose to live a life un-partnered and alone. 

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For years I’ve had those close to me, those I work with, I socialise with, I share romantic connections with, query my choice with the inevitable question, "What is wrong with you?"

Whilst some have asked directly, others dance around the topic, intrigued, or concerned or saddened by my single status. 

Some doubt my explanation and with pity in their eyes deduce I have just not met my "person," or I’ve created walls and boundaries that keep people at arm’s length. 

Others equate my decision to deep-seated relationship issues, or a secret kink or alternative life kept hidden from view. 

The honest answer is I am simply happier when unattached and single. As an introvert I am someone who recharges when alone. I can be charismatic and engaging in both my professional and private lives. I enjoy a cocktail or delicious meal with friends and thrive on sharing laughs and adventures with others, but I also crave the sanctuary of home. 

I love kicking back in the solitude and pursuing things that make me happy. 

I have lovers and romantic connections that may not fall into the traditional box, but they bring passion and excitement, support and friendship. 

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Just because my goal is not marriage and stability, this shouldn’t devalue the passion and intimacy we’ve shared. 

I am frustrated by the constant line of questioning and empty reassurances that insinuate my life is less-than because I choose to be single. 

Single does not mean celibate or alone, I surround myself with people that make me shine and bring fun and happiness to my life. 

I appreciate we gravitate towards those that share our choices and are in a similar situation in life and have been accepting when excluded from social occasions. I’ve graciously stepped aside as close male friends have fallen in love with women who did not see value in our friendship. 

I have accepted I am a threatening figure to some wives and partners who can’t understand how a married man could maintain a platonic friendship with a single woman, particularly one in her mid-late 30s.

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I have dated men who assume I am desperate to lock them down and start having babies. I am always upfront in explaining I’m not searching for a husband and have no preconceived expectations, I simply want to find a genuine connection with someone I share a mutual attraction with, someone kind, self-assured and interesting. 

Some believe this is merely a strategy designed to lure them in. 

My free-spirited approach to dating is doubted by many of my female friends who continuously push me to put myself out there, to lower my expectations and enjoy the security, both financial and emotional, a committed relationship can offer. 

My experiences have made me see how menacing and perplexing a single 39-year-old woman can be. 

I have been approached by various married men who say they are attracted to my openness, I’m not sure whether my single status plays a part in this. 

Some men assume I harbour sexual fetishes or kinks because I am not in a traditional monogamous relationship at my age. People continuously make assumptions.

I believe love comes in various forms, as do relationships. 

You can love fleetingly; love can fade and love inevitably changes as you grow and your relationship settles into a more comfortable and familiar place. 

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I have been in love and I will undoubtedly fall in love again, but at this stage in my life I am happily single, unattached and free to do as I please. 

Some may think I’m selfish or emotionally stunted, but I am comfortable in my choice. 

I don’t speak for all single women; everyone has their own goals and desires, but we do need to be respectful and accepting of how others choose to live their lives. 

Whilst the concern may come from a place of love it is unfair to place undue pressure on someone and devalue their life and their happiness simply because of their relationship status. 

I have noticed as I’m inching closer to 40 that people are vocal in expressing their pity and paint me as the sad spinster figure rather than the independent, vibrant, and free-spirited professional woman I believe I am. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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