There was a post on the My Friends are Married Tumblr the other day, entitled “When My Married Friend Tells Me She Remembers How Hard It Is To Be Single.” The punch line is a gif of a woman saying, “you obviously don’t.” Now, I normally shrug off the inconsistencies of this site and find myself amused by some of it. I know I’m not the target audience, since I am married. But I take serious umbrage with this post. Maybe it’s because a “friend” blasted that sentiment in my face earlier this summer. Maybe it’s because besides B, I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted more than six weeks. Maybe it’s because I don’t believe that being happily married erases the memory of always being the single friend.
When I was sixteen, my closest guy friend asked me to date him. We bumbled our way through a disastrous relationship for a few months, before imploding epically and dividing our friend group down the middle. Before B, that was my most successful relationship. I spent four years at a school known for handing out MRS degrees and got asked on exactly one date. All of my friends were constantly bouncing around relationships, or in steady ones, but I couldn’t even get asked out. I called home crying to my Mom at least once a month wondering what was wrong with me.
In graduate school, I had slightly more luck, going out with three different guys across two years. Two of those guys were only one-date wonders, but still, that was way more than college. My two closest friends from that time, were both in relationships pretty steadily. We even had a code for when I was out with the two of them and their significant others for if things were getting awkward for me or if I needed to leave (we carpooled a lot). While I cut back on calling home crying a bit, I still worried about what had to be wrong with me.
Then I moved to San Antonio post graduate school, where all of my friends were married. Except me. It even went so far as to them trying to set me up with a college freshman, because he had the same group of friends. I have a firm line drawn about dating people younger than my younger brother though, so that never panned out.
During all of these times, I’d like to think that I was an understanding friend. I knew there would be date nights that would result in all my friends having something to do and me being stuck at home. I knew that they all had someone in their life that ranked higher than me. But we also had codes so that if I really needed them, they would come.
And now, I’m three years married, closing in on four years since I entered the only long term relationship of my life. I have friends now, who have never known me as anything but a married woman. One of whom, earlier this summer, told me that I couldn’t possibly understand how hard it was to be single and surrounded by couples. She, like many who’ve expressed this sentiment before her, is a chronic relationship person. She’s always had a boyfriend or dates, only here, that’s hard to get. I understand feeling lonely because of not having someone special. I don’t understand thinking that because I’m married now I don’t understand or remember what it was like to be single.
I don’t deal well with people who think that just because I’m in a relationship now that it negates my past experiences. I struggle to not just assume that they are bitter and jealous. I would never dream of dictating to them how they should feel and it pains me that they think they have the right to do that to me. I understand being single, because for the greater part (65%) of my adult life, I have been single. The last three and a half years don’t erase that, because that would be erasing part of what makes me me. Like it or not, six and a half years of my life, post turning eighteen featured me as a single girl and left an indelible mark upon my soul and my psyche.