alone · aspirations · labels · single · spinster

Happily Ever After?

I think one of the falsehoods that single people torture themselves with is the notion of happily ever after. I don’t mean the most dominant aspect of this notion; about finding a soulmate to complete you and shower you with perfect romance. What I mean is the idea that once you are with your partner that this will be the case for the evermore – that you will live happily ever after. There are no divorces or separations in fairy tales, unless someone is abducted or becomes evil. This implies that, if you are a good person and you find your perfect partner, once you are mated you are so for the rest of your life. What a lovely, secure, comforting concept this is, a lifetime full of all that companionship and love. Who wouldn’t pity the poor, lonely, single spinster who is missing out on that?

But that’s only true if the relationship, aside from some ebbs and flows, is a predominantly happy one. What if you grow apart? Or what if one of you does something that the other cannot condone, however much they might try? What if you realise that the spark, the romance, was the thing and underneath you have nothing in common? What if years of bickering and family pressures have left you isolated from each other? What if one of you cheats?

We all know objectively that relationships don’t succeed all the time. You are statistically as likely to break up as you are to get cancer and the odds for both are a terrifying one in two. There is a 50% chance that your happy end won’t last.

Now, I am not saying for one moment that I am gleeful or happy about this prospect. But here’s the thing; as a single person I know that I have been guilty of romanticising the idea of a perfect relationship that ends in marriage or some sort of similar lifetime commitment and then is just that. I guess my family spoiled me – my parents and grandparents all stuck together until death parted them. But this isn’t how life is lived anymore. So there is no point in craving the so-called certainty of having one person to support and be with you for the rest of your life, because even if you find that person, and they like you, and you don’t mess it up initially, the odds are only 50% that you will stay together. And even if you were to stay together, it may not, unfortunately, be happily ever after behind closed doors.

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