Jumping on the Bandwagon…Sort Of

It seems to me that there has been a glut of articles and opinion pieces lately looking for reasons why women in their late 20’s and early 30’s are still single.

Some blame the guys. The argument goes that men in their late 20’s have created a sort of new adolescence period where they are not focused on “growing up,” as it were, and only on extending their college years. Women, being the super advanced and mature creatures that we are, don’t want this new man-boy type of guy and refuse to settle for them.

Some blame the women. This argument goes that women are now being too picky. That the abundance of choices we are now faced with thanks to more doors being opened to us than ever before has fooled us into thinking there is such a thing as a “perfect man” and that what we would view as “settling” isn’t really settling; it’s being realistic.

I have seen more articles and reactions to articles on this topic than I have ever before. And, as someone who until very recently fell into the category of believing I would never find someone for whatever reason, I am a little bothered by these articles.

Leaving aside the merits of each argument, and I believe there are very few merits to either, why do we care? Who are these authors to make these broad stroke generalizations about what could very well be just a natural demographic shift? There are more women in the workforce now than at any other time in history; Gen Y is currently rewriting the rules of the workplace; we are in the middle of the worst economic recession in decades; and, last but not least, 50% of marriages still end in divorce. Who’s to say that these are not all factors in the choice people are making to stay single longer?

I will not deny that being single in my late 20’s and watching many of those around me get married is a very hard thing to do. It’s easy to think that there’s something wrong with me or there’s something wrong with the guys I’ve dated. (And look! I wrote that paragraph without a single generalization to a group larger than myself.)

But then I realized something. I realized that the friends of mine whose careers looked like mine were 2-3 years older than me and that the friends of mine who are my age have careers that look completely different than mine or who are stay at home moms, which is, personally, not a choice I could see myself making (although they are excellent at it).

This is not a phenomenon where there is blame to be laid. It’s ridiculous to think you could! And, really, what does blaming one sex get you in this situation? Absolutely nothing other than something else to either a) feel bitter about (as in “Ha! I knew it all along! All {guys/girls} are really {immature/super picky}.” or b) beat yourself up over (as in “Oh man. Am I really too {immature/picky}? Do I need to reasses my {life outlook/standards for the person I want to spend the rest of my life with}?).

So please, let’s put away the blame and realize we are all where we are in life…because that’s where we’re supposed to be.


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