At any given moment, I can scroll down my social media timeline and see a status or seven from someone criticizing single people:
NEVER take advice from a single person.
Single people know nothing about relationships, except for how not to be in one.
If you’re 35 and still single with no children, something is wrong with you.
See that’s why you’re single now! #Damagedgoods
People are funny.
As someone in my early thirties, I expect to see a certain level of progression in terms of love and relationships for not just my life, but the life of my peers. And for the most part, I do see that progression. I see people getting engaged, getting married, having babies and buying homes. I see people taking trips with their partners and families, and making future plans for their offspring. And you know what else I see? I see these same people, who appear to be seemingly happy, criticizing and downplaying the insight and choices of a single person when it comes to relationships.
Confession. I’m single and have been for awhile now. And yes, I write about love and relationships. You know why? Because there are people out there who are wise enough to know that one’s relationship status does not determine their level of insight, just like wealth and education doesn’t automatically make someone more intelligent. Wisdom is wisdom, and not every one is single because they are “defective.” But you know, despite me being wise enough to know when to take advice from someone regardless of their relationship status, at times, the pressure to commit still gets to me.
I can’t really say that I’ve daydreamed about walking down the aisle since I was 10. I cannot say that I’ve always imagined myself with a fat diamond on my left ring finger with a bunch of rugrats running around. While I wouldn’t mind lifelong love and companionship—and would get married if that was what my mate truly wanted, changing my marital status and having a permanent roomie in the form of a spouse is optional for me.
Despite being happily single, sometimes I feel damn near obligated to get into a relationship to make myself “appear” to be more credible in my profession (although I know better)—and honestly, that’s pretty sad. And as much as I love love and companionship, I am so content with being alone to the point where I can honestly look 50 years down the line and probably still be happy. And that also scares me for reasons I haven’t quite figured out yet.
Granted, there is a certain level of experience that a single person cannot heavily offer advice on, but for the most part, relationships are pretty standard in terms of what it takes to make one joyous and successful, single or married. No, everyone’s relationship isn’t the same, but I know married people who live in separate households that are completely independent of each other. I know single people (meaning unmarried couples) who have been living together for at least 20 years, and I know single people who have been completely single for years by choice. And you know what? No one status makes them any less wiser than the other. If we’re being honest, I think we all can point to some folks who may struggle with wisdom who are locked down.
What I do know is that being in a relationship or married does not automatically qualify you to be a relationship “expert.” I know several people who should have never gotten married. Hell, my dog would be more committed to the “for better, for worse” vows they took and/or continue to defame. Just sayin.’
There are those that are single, those that are married and those that are wise. Bad advice is bad advice regardless of who it is coming from. Just because someone was bold enough to say, “I do,” doesn’t qualify them to be your love coach any more than that well-versed single friend who tends to make sense more often than not. So how about this: instead of checking for people’s relationships status, just don’t take bad advice from ANYONE.
Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY.com and JETMAG.com. Her book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction” is available on Amazon. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @Shantell_em and Instagram @Shantell_em.