*Disclaimer: author’s identity has been concealed.
There’s nothing glamorous about being a 30-something singleton in this community.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d never want to be a part of any other faith based community but when you’re nearing 30, professionally successful and foreseeably single, assumptions are made.
The thing that irritates me more than the other things that irritate me is when people assume I’ve chosen career over a family. I love what I do. It brings me great pleasure and I’m obviously in my element when I’m working but I’ve never once actively chosen my career over a relationship or a potential relationship.
In fact I remember very clearly an instance when I made an active choice to put my career on hold to make a relationship work. Try as I might, it never worked out and Allah knows best.
Naturally as we grow older, we begin earning our own money and following our own dreams, we become more independent. I agree that this might make it harder to meet someone. Not because you try any less than you did when you were a fresh faced 19 year old, wide-eyed and rosy cheeked, ready to take on the world, but because what you need or who you need becomes far more defined. It is harder to be ‘flexible’ when you’re older. You’re less malleable, more set in your ways. But this can also be a good thing.
It means you’re less likely to entertain someone who practices Islam so very differently to you or someone whose goals in life do not match your own. You’re able to filter through the mismatches much quicker and with less emotional scarring.
But the whole process takes a toll on your own sense of worth.
The thought that women who have successful careers, earn lots of money or have generally done well for themselves, must have chosen all this over the relationship of their dreams is absolutely idiotic.
I look around at the girls in our community who are single and I’m shocked at their caliber. All vibrant personalities, obvious beauty, sound knowledge of deen and dunya and yet they’re single and sometimes I can’t help but feel that something, somewhere has failed them (us).
We’re not allowed to admit that we’d like to get married. Not out loud. When we do we’re reminded of the number of men who’ve been interested in us and accused of being too picky.
I often wonder if people know that most of us spend hours praying istikhara, begging for the answer. I eventually realized the hours of prayer are less about praying to Allah to guide us in the right direction and more a way of praying to Allah that the men we know are wrong for us, somehow become good. We’re praying out of frustration, out of concern, begging for a reason to continue hoping.
I don’t want to be single forever and I don’t know anybody who does. It doesn’t make me desperate or clingy or obsessed with marriage but it does make me human. Sometimes it feels as if people forget that as girls we have needs too. They focus on the needs of men, mostly sexual, because it has been ingrained in us that they have urges they can’t control.
We live in a highly sexualized society and those temptations are just as real for girls. But more than that, the only relationships permissible in Islam are marriages and outside of that I can never kiss a boy or experience a moment of passion. And I want to experience intimacy, passion and everything else that comes with relationships.
I want to know what it feels like to care enough about someone that you’d put their needs before your own. I want to have kids one day and I want that to be with someone I respect and admire and I know for certain he feels the same way toward me.
I don’t want to go through life on my own, reaching goals with nobody to share them with. I don’t enjoy being asked why I’m single and I’m quite over the experience of ‘looking’ for a spouse.
I want to share parts of myself with someone who’ll appreciate them. I want to enrich somebody else’s life and have them enrich mine. I do not want to come home to an empty bed every night.
But to say these things is completely taboo. It makes people think I’m loose, immoral, inappropriate and lacking modesty.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being single but nobody should be judged for wanting a relationship.
Girls shouldn’t be told to ‘get over it’ or asked to ‘stop talking about it’. Nobody has ever showed us what a life is like without marriage. For almost all of us, our parents were married (at least at some point) and everyone we know who is Muslim is married to their partner. We have never seen demonstrated a life that is without these things.
We might be the first generation who experiences this is in vast numbers and if we are, then isn’t it a community responsibility to make this transition easier for us?
We know it’s naseeb, we know it’ll happen when the time is right and when we’re venting our frustrations we don’t seek your pity or necessarily your advice, we’re just airing our concerns and our heartache and nothing about that makes us desperate.