Answering an Age-Old Question
Back in undergrad, it was not unusual for me to return home for break and get asked about my dating life. In fact, it was almost always the question posed by some church ladies who seemed to know something I didn’t. Well, it turns out they really did! Apparently, college was (and probably still is) the best time to try and land yourself a man.
While my previous comment is made in jest, I’ve found that there might be some truth to it. I mean, think about it. During your undergrad years, you’re typically away from home and allowed to reinvent yourself into the person you want to be. You can experiment with your sexuality, explore new interests, and see how you function while not under the watchful eye of mom and dad. Honestly, it’s during your college years that you find out who you are and what you’re made of.
If it’s true that you discover who you are during undergrad, then it makes total sense that a relationship formed at this time could potentially last forever. Right? I mean, you’re both being your true selves and figuring life out as you go. There’s no need for pretenses because you have nothing to hide since all the cards are on the proverbial table.
After thinking long and hard about this, I wondered why I hadn’t maximized my college years to meet my Mr. Right. For all I know, he could’ve been the guy in my English lit class or a panelist at one of the business conferences I attended. We could’ve gone to the same embassy networking events or been at the National Mall at the same time. Why hadn’t I put in the energy required to stick my head out of my books to take notice of the tall, beautiful, educated Black men around me?
Well, fellow navigator, I didn’t do any of those things because I was, you know, getting an education. Although I had a pretty decent social life during undergrad, the majority of my time was spent focused on my studies. I mean, I wasn’t going to college to catch a man. I was going to college to learn and set myself up for a bright future filled with endless possibilities.
Knowing what I know about myself now, I think getting into a serious relationship during undergrad would’ve been detrimental because I would have lost focus. My life would have centered around that man and his happiness; I would not have put much thought into pursuing my own goals. Why do I say that? Because that tends to be what happens. While this is not the case for everyone, I find that women often make more compromises in relationships when it comes to careers. We’re the ones who get pregnant and carry a baby in our stomachs for months at a time. We’re expected to go on maturity leave to raise that child. We tend to earn less, so we end up taking a back seat as our spouses climb the professional career ladders. If this is not true for you, then more power to you.
During my single years, I have been afforded opportunities to do things I never thought I could or would. There have been no compromises made on my end, except for the things that I, and I alone, have chosen not to do or involve myself in. I have come into my own as a woman who knows what she wants, who she is, and where she desires to be in life. Why am I still single? Because I want to be.
If I’m completely honest, while it’s been difficult at times returning to an empty home, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for marriage. Meaning, if I knew it would take 30+ years without a spouse for me to become who I am now, I’d willingly tell God to let me live my life solo. I know that the man I end up with will see value and beauty in all I have gone through and have to contribute to our relationship. I know he will appreciate my strong sense of self-awareness. I’m confident he will realize that the woman he sees and loves would not be who she is without all she has gone through.
I have come into my own as a woman who knows what she wants, who she is, and where she desires to be in life.— Ethleen Sawyerr
So, to answer the age-old question, I’m still single because I’m living my life as I should. When the right man comes into the picture, that could all change. But, until then, I will continue to do what makes me happy and feel fulfilled. My spouse is meant to complement, not complete, me. What about you, fellow navigator? How do you respond when people ask you why you’re still single? Tell me about it!