When I was a young teenager, I was obsessed with the idea of romance. I constantly wondered what it would feel like when I fell in love. Would it be amazing? Would it be life-changing? All I knew was that I couldn’t wait for my turn. I spent years dreaming of how exciting it would be when I finally got my first boyfriend. I spent countless hours envisioning what my life would look like when I got married. But now that I am married, I wonder what it would be like if my life had played out differently.
What if I didn’t end up meeting my perfect match on Dec. 2, 2011? What if I was a single woman bar hopping on the streets of NYC every night trying to pick up a guy? What if I had never experienced real love? You can call me crazy but I have a wild imagination and nothing is off limits in this big ol’ brain of mine. And I know I’m not the only woman who runs scenarios in her mind like a movie. For me, it’s a playful curiosity. A joke I have with my friends about what I’d be like if I was single. But for other women, it can be a lot more serious.
Each day, countless women ponder what life would be like if they weren’t single. Or if they weren’t taken. Or if they weren’t married. They think about what’s going to happen when they find love. Or they wonder what would be different had they never found love to begin with. Would they be happier or would they be incomplete? The list goes on and on. Females are naturally curious and that’s okay.
But every single day, many women take this curiosity to a new level and risk falling into the mindset that everyone else’s life is better. Many women believe that since they’re not where they want to be at this exact moment, they never will be. As women, we can be as curious as we want, but the moment we begin to believe that our perfect fairytale and happy ending looks a certain way is the moment we find ourselves in a trap. It’s in that trap that we begin to feel jealousy, envy and doubt of other women. And it’s when we find ourselves saying, “Her life’s perfect” or “I wish I could be someone else.”
Life took us in the direction it did for a reason. I believe that reason has a lot to do with growth, maturity, and learning from the process. Many of us like to compare ourselves. We let our wild imaginations take us to places that complicate the beauty of what’s in front of us. The reality is, we’re all on different journeys and just because each journey is different, that doesn’t make one better than the other.
No matter your relationship status, the most important thing to remember is that every stage of life will bring trials, tribulations, and blessings. But it’s about the realization that you are where you are for a reason. Maybe that reason is that you are exactly where you need to at this exact moment.
I had the chance to interview three women. These women come from completely different backgrounds and they are at very different places in their lives. I’m not here to tell you which relationship status is the best one. But I am here to show you three women that have found beauty, strength, and knowledge from where they are at in their respective relationships – I wish nothing more than for you to find the same thing.
1. What’s the hardest part about your current relationship status?
- Married: The hardest part about my relationship status is the stigma that comes with getting married at a young age. There have been countless times where I have heard, “but you’re so young” or “really, don’t you think you have your whole life for that?” from people of all ages. Yes, I was the second one out of my friends to choose to get married, but no I didn’t need my whole life to figure out he was the one.
- In a relationship: The hardest part of my current relationship status is not necessarily “hard” but just the fact that I have another person to be concerned about and I can’t always think about myself only.
- Single: Most of my friends are in relationships so I can feel lonely at times/missing out.
2. If you could change your relationship status would you? Why?
- Married: Absolutely not! I have loved being married; it was by far the best choice I ever made!
- In a relationship: I wouldn’t change my relationship status.
- Single: Yes. I feel like I’ve had my fun in college and now it’s time to meet someone and have new experiences with them. Got to a new point in my life where I’m ready to be loyal to one person and see what the future holds.
3. What’s the best part of your current relationship status?
- Married: I love knowing that no matter what I have someone to support me through the good times and the bad. As cliche as that sounds, he is my everything.
- In a relationship: The best part is always having someone to go to. Never feeling like I’m alone. I love having that one person I can count on.
- Single: Not having to worry about what my other half is doing. It’s tough being in a college setting as you’re surrounded by “f*** boys” so I think it’s harder to trust someone here. So I guess it’s nice not having to have that in the back of my mind. Plus I get to graduate in May so that makes it easier for me to move back home without having to worry about doing long distance, etc.
4. How has your current relationship status affected you?
- Married: We both believe that marriage is forever. Transitioning from girlfriend to wife created a stronger sense of commitment at each step. Finding someone who wanted that commitment forever changed stability in my life (as far as relationship status goes).
- In a relationship: It has affected me because now I have another person to be thinking about and I can’t just think about myself and what’s good for me anymore.
- Single: I’ve been single for awhile so I guess it scares me a little that I may never find someone. I’m known to be kinda picky and trying to improve on that.
5. How do you feel your current relationship status has changed you?
- Married: It has made me more confident in areas where I was self-conscious because he pushes me to be the best I can be, more courageous to try new things knowing he’s right there with me, and more selfless knowing I am not just making decisions for myself anymore.
- In a relationship: My current relationship status has affected me in a few ways. First of all, I do think I have become a better/nicer person since dating my S/O. I think I’m a happier person.
- Single: Being single has made me more independent and I know I don’t need a man to be happy.
6. Is there something you wish you had in the relationship your relationship now whether it’s with another person or yourself?
- Married: We both joke and say we wish we had known each other as children to see what one another was like!
- In a relationship: There’s always things to improve on in a relationship. I always want better communication in my relationship.
- Single: I guess it would be nice to have someone to talk to on a daily basis…make you feel wanted and special.
7. How has this relationship status benefitted you?
- Married: Being a “wife” has created a new group of women and men to bond with and laugh over the adjustments that come with marriage (like who did the dishes last and who left the laundry in the wash).
- In a relationship: It has benefitted me in a lot of ways. I really enjoy being in a relationship. Like I said before, I am a happier person and it’s nice to know I found the one.
- Single: Honestly, it’s made me realize what I’m worth and how I shouldn’t waste my time on guys that don’t put everything into the relationship. I have experienced as well as watched it happen to my friends too many times where they can get away with talking to multiple girls at once. It’s not okay and if a guy isn’t ready for the commitment that I know I deserve then I now know that it’s his loss, not mine.
8. How has this relationship status hindered you?
- Married: I don’t think that I have been directly hindered from the “wife” status, but I think that we have grown closer to couples who are more serious about their relationships and farther from the “singles ready to mingle.”
- In a relationship: I wouldn’t use the words hindered but there have been challenges, obstacles and heartbreaks within my relationship.
- Single: Only hindered me by not experiencing the full cycle of a true relationship but we shall see what the future holds.