singled OUT

ELLE Australia|June/July 2020

singled OUT
WE’VE ENTERED AN ERA OF MYRIAD RELATIONSHIP STATUSES – COUPLED, FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, OPEN, POLYGAMOUS, THREE-DIGITALDATES-IN-BUT UNSURE-WHERE-THIS-IS-GOING. But is flying solo the last taboo?
ALEXANDRA ENGLISH

for my last birthday, I bought myself the gold diamond ring of my dreams. More than a birthday present, it was a gift to myself for making the incredibly tough decision to end a six-year relationship the week prior. In my excitement to own the ring, I didn’t check the sizing before I bought it online, and so it only fits my wedding ring finger – not the finger next to my pinky on my right hand, specifically the ring finger on my left hand. The first time I wore it – before news of the break-up had spread – a friend saw it and rushed over to ask if I was engaged. She was so excited that I couldn’t bring myself to tell her it symbolised the exact opposite.

Being single this time around – now I’m in my thirties – feels different from the last time. Back then, I never wondered if being single meant being alone forever; I never searched for another uncoupled soul for reassurance that being alone was okay; I never wondered if I should have stayed in a relationship that wasn’t working just for the comfort of familiarity. Other people are different, too. Before, no-one rushed to reassure me that I’d find someone soon; no-one suggested getting back together; no-one felt they had to try to fix me up, or fix me. “There are, unfortunately, still negative connotations that come with the word ‘single’,” says psychotherapist Melissa Ferrari.

For women, life is marked with signposts: career, marriage, children. Divert from the path and you’re made to feel guilty, judged or like a failure. Take Emma Watson, who, let’s not forget, is an acclaimed actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. She sent the internet into a tailspin when she declared that she’s perfectly fine as a single woman. “It took me a long time, but I’m very happy. I call it being self-partnered,” she said.

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June/July 2020