Singles sound off on stigma

December 6, 2005 — Leave a comment

Salt Lake Tribune

Many readers responded to last week’s inquiry regarding singles’ social stigma. It seems the only attachment many of us have is to the feeling of not fitting in.

D. Olson of Salt Lake City writes, “I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with the invitation to bring that unclassified ‘guest.’ When you know I’m unmarried and not dating anyone, just exactly who do you expect me to bring? You might as well address the invitation to ‘Ms. Jones and The Easter Bunny’ because whether you party-throwers realize it or not, bringing a friend, a first date, your little brother or grandma, just does not feel kosher no matter how much you try to reassure us singletons that it is. So sorry, I’m a no-show this year. My guest and I have other plans!”

Peter Iccabazzi of Salt Lake City has this perspective: “I’ve been single and it’s the only way of life I know so I cannot speak for those who are divorced. From the time we’re young, it seems we’re taught to find that ‘special someone’ and have a family like everyone else. When we don’t do that, people assume that we’re not ‘getting out there’ wherever ‘there’ may be, or we’ve had bad experiences, or we’re scared, gay, have low self-esteem, or whatever thought comes to mind. Finding a significant other seems such a societal norm that when those of us who choose not to follow what society does, it’s deviant, anti-social, and so on. Being single is like being married . . . in that a choice is made to do so. Which, is more acceptable with my generation that that of my parents. Don’t worry, mom and dad, you’re not a failure; I’ve turned out OK.”

Leo Jenkins of Salt Lake City writes, “Some people . . . believe [they can] motivate someone who is single to get unsingle. Some people feel that they have tried to help and that [their efforts] should count for something. In my opinion, they aren’t taking enough time to understand the plight of the single person in order to offer advice that shows understanding. I’ve learned from my divorce that life can be cruel to that which isn’t understood. Divorce is not understood by many and is feared by some, or it’s just too taboo to talk much about it. I found in dealing with divorce that you can gain an understanding of anything if you are patient. When someone tells me I’m a ‘menace to the neighborhood’ because I’m over 21 and single, I now know that they haven’t taken their . . . time to understand before opening their mouths. It’s tragic that some people can age so gracefully and yet be so ignorant of life around them. Can you trust them? I can’t. With time, I overcame what scared the hell out of me, initially. Why can’t they? They have a better place from which to learn about divorce that is to say, learn before it hits home!”

Maybe we all need to detach our worth from our social status.

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Dr. Liz Hale

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