Every time I talk to my Dad he asks when I’m going to settle down.
I am his youngest child (my younger brothers are from my Mother’s next marriage), and the only one of his kids who is not married with kids of my own. Not only am I unmarried and childless, but I have been completely single and unattached for nearly 4 years. With each holiday passing without a partner in sight, my father’s concern grows. “When are you going to settle down?”
But I am settled down.
I graduated University Magna Cum Laude, with a full-time job in a fast-growing field, and no debt. I have a beautiful apartment, a wonderful support system of family and friends, an adorable cat, and my own business. I have goals, dreams, ambitions, and hobbies. I have friends, family, co-workers, and pets. I have everything I want and need, but because I am single I am considered rootless, drifting, “unsettled”.
I don’t want to settle.
The older I get, the more I realize that I would rather be alone than be with the wrong person. I have watched countless friends and family members make the mistake of choosing bad partners, and I have made that mistake myself. Despite what rom-coms and fairy tales would have you believe, love alone is not enough to build a life on. You have to have compatible goals, values, lifestyles, and more. I’ve witnessed first hand how tragic life can be when you pick the wrong partner, and I’ve also seen how beautiful life can be when you wait for a good match. I’ve learned long ago that I’d rather fill my life with joy and meaning on my own, than settle for someone who doesn’t fit.
I am complete on my own.
My father is convinced that my life is missing something without romantic love. The terms “demiromantic” and “demisexual” fly right over his head, and only lead him to ask if it’s his fault I am this way. I do understand his concern; he found happiness in love and marriage and wishes the same for his children. What he is failing to understand is that I am happy. I don’t feel like there’s anything missing in my life, and I don’t feel incomplete without a partner. So, if I do decide to add romantic love to my life it will be because that person is adding to my joy, not creating it.
To me, love is a bonus not a requirement.
I want to want my partner, I don’t want to need them. I want for us to choose to love, care, and support each other because we choose to do so. I want to be a complete person on my own, who is partnering with another complete person. I want us to willingly share our strengths and weaknesses so we can become a great team- not a single entity. I want someone whose personality, abilities, values, lifestyle, and goals compliment my own- not an exact match. We will have differences, and we may grow and develop as we age, but I’d hope that we continue to grow and develop our communication and negotiation skills together. If we reach a point that we are no longer compatible, I’d hope we choose to do what’s best for ourselves and each other, whatever that choice may be.
There’s no need to settle to settle down.
The life I have created for myself is comfortable and complete. I am single, but not alone. I am settled in, but not settling. If or when I do add romance back into my life, it will be because I found someone who brings their own unique dishes to our shared table. It will be with someone I choose to be with because I want them in my life, and someone who is also choosing me, because they want to be with me. Then, if we are both ready, maybe we can settle down to a shared life together, without settling.