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If You're Not In Love With Being Single, Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Love & Relationships

Maybe it's because Disney made sure that Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog all had love interests. Maybe it's because far too many so-called singles ministries in churches seem to be more about how to get a man (or how to complain in a "godly way" about not having one) than how to buy a house or start a business. Maybe it's the daily programming of being in a relationship, period that has so many of us struggling with being single.

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I mean, even our tax forms indicate that unless we are married, we are single but even if we've only been on three dates with someone, we're quick to not want to refer to ourselves as a single woman. It's like "single" is some sort of back-handed compliment on a good day, a dirty cuss word on a bad one. What's up with that?

As someone who will be 45 in June and is currently (and peacefully) single, personally, I think a lot of us struggle with singleness because, overall, it hasn't been presented to us as the immense gift and blessing that it really and truly is.

I mean, just think about it—all of us come into the world as single human beings, so even God himself finds merit in it. Yet religion, pop culture, even our own loved ones tend to act like the single status is nothing more than a placeholder until we get ourselves together and actually start living our lives…with someone.

Me? These days, whenever someone asks me why I'm still single, my answer is simple—"When a man can love me the way I know I can love a man, I'm good." I mean that too. I got to this place by asking the following questions and then getting real with myself about what my answers were vs. what they needed to be.

Struggling With Being Single? Read This.

Question #1: Do You Think Life Begins AFTER Being with Someone?

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I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to a single woman about all of things she wants to do—after she gets married. "I want to go to Italy. Maybe I'll do it for my honeymoon," or "I've always wanted a diamond pendant. Maybe my future husband will get it for me one day."

A lot of wives have given me a front seat into their marriage. And you know what they all can agree on? A lot of the things that they thought would be easier or even better after marriage, aren't. Merging lives requires a sacrifice of time and money. It also means you are in a constant state of compromise. Suppose your husband hates to fly or getting a new house is more important to him than a piece of jewelry?

Ask any healthy married individual and they will tell you that a person should come into your life to complement it, not to fill some void. And in order to be a good fit, you have to already have some things going on so that they complement you well. Is your life so full that it's like an action movie trailer for how much BIGGER a man's life would be if he became a part of it? If not, why not?

Question #2: Have You Been Told That You Idealize Marriage Too Much?

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There's a married couple that I know who've pretty much been miserable ever since the day they said, "I do." As a single person, the husband was a mega casanova and the wife was controlling as all get out. He was a dreamer and she was an established entrepreneur. They didn't have the same views on gender roles or children. But somehow, they—especially she—thought that marriage was going to make everything better. However, the reality is marriage only magnifies whatever issues you already had (individually and in your relationship) already. To think that marriage is gonna make imperfect things perfect is an idealistic—which is typically code for unrealistic—point of view.

That's why, whenever a single person tells me that they want to get married because they want someone to love them, it makes me cringe the same way as when a teenager tells me they want to have a baby. First, it's too much pressure to expect an imperfect person or a baby to fill voids in your life. Second, relationships and kids will take a lot out of you; that's why you need to give out of surplus not lack.

If you want to get married because The Cosby Show and rom-coms are the bar for how you see marriage, praise the Lord right now for keeping you single. The reality check of what real marriage looks like would probably take you out. (It causes folks to file for divorce on a daily basis.)

Question #3: What Would Being in a Relationship Improve in Your World?

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Some of my friends laugh at me because sometimes I'll say, "Pray for me. I really want a penis right now." Some of them will think they are correcting me and say, "You mean a husband?" but no—sometimes I mean just a penis.

I'm at a place in my life where I'd prefer to be married before having sex again, yes. BUT I'll be honest and say that I'm also at a place in my life where having a best friend in the form of a sex partner is the main reason why marriage appeals to me. Meaning, I really like my life the way that it is. I don't attend weddings wondering when it will be my turn. I'm not freaking out about being 40 with no kids; my godchildren provide plenty of responsibility. I ADORE the male friends in my life; they give me a lot of the male companionship that I need.

All in all, having a husband would be a blessing and should God bring me to one (Genesis 2:22), I'm sure it will serve a great purpose. For now, though, as far as improving the quality of my life goes? Aside from some earth-shattering orgasms (le sigh), he'd have some pretty big shoes to fill. Life, as a single woman, is pretty golden right about now. Just as the single life should be.

Question #4: Have You Thought About All of the Benefits That Come with Being Single?

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Something else that I notice with a lot of the couples I work with is they didn't really want to get married; they wanted to have sex and not be alone. Marriage is A LOT more than that, though.

Sometimes, when I'm listening to the complaints that they have, what I really hear is, "I wish I was still single"—He doesn't keep the house as clean as I would like; She's always expecting me to want to go to her work events; He is too stingy with money; She's always mad that I don't turn in at the same time she does. What a lot of this boils down to is one person sees life one way while their partner sees it another. Oftentimes, there are no right or wrongs, just different. But if you don't want to find some common ground and compromise, you can always stay single.

Every time a wife calls me about having to wake up early to help her husband do something around the house or wishing they could do something that isn't currently in the budget, I hear her out, get off of the phone and do a little jig. Right now, my money is mine—ALL MINE. My time is mine—ALL MINE.

Marriage has its perks. It also has its sacrifices. Ones that don't have to be made while I'm a single woman.

Question #5: Where’s Your Single Living Bucket List?

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Speaking of compromise, I share something my mother often says because it's a very profound pearl of wisdom—"Do everything you can't compromise before you get married." No matter how much you desire long-term companionship, there are going to be things that are so much easier to do while you are a single woman. (I'm not the only one who feels that way either. Check out what one of my married friends had to say to us single women about the benefits of our relational status here.)

So, instead of thinking about (or obsessing over) all of the things that you don't have because you're not married (yet), reflect instead on all of the things you can accomplish because you're single. Wanna start a business? The sacrifice of your time alone makes it easier to do while you're single. Want to take a trip around the world? There is no one you need to run that by first (or try and convince to get on board) while you're single. Wanna take a road trip with your best guy friend? There's no time like the present (plus, it's far more appropriate to do right now too!).

When you start thinking about all of the things being single frees you up to do, the list of possibilities become so long that it honestly has you too busy to pine over when you'll get hemmed up—I'm sorry, I mean get married (LOL).

Question #6: Do You Feel Like You NEED a Mate?

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This right here is an article all on its own and maybe one day I'll expound on it. For now, I'll just say that the quality of my life got so much better when I got to a point and place where I WANTED a man to love me, not NEEDED him to. It wasn't a man or relationship that brought me to this conclusion, it was actually the practice of minimalism.

When you start to adapt the mindset of a minimalist, you start to learn that wants and needs are very different. A want is something I wish for or desire, which is fine, but a need? A need is something that my life requires. I need water. I need money to pay my bills. I want another car. I want to get paid more for some of the work that I do. See the difference? What I want would make life more comfortable but I'm not gonna die (or even struggle really) without it.

If you read all of that and is still looking at your screen like, "OK…but I will die without a husband," this is one more reason why it's a good thing that you are still single. Thinking that you can't live without someone is giving them (or that kind of relationship) far too much power. It's setting them up to be an idol and no human being should hold that kind of place and position in your life.

You NEED to feel loved? You've got God, your family, and friends, and you to do that.

A woman who finds peace in that is a woman who is in a healthy single state of mind.

Ironically, it's also that kind of woman who is far more equipped for marriage too. You will not die without a man. But you can't start really living your life until you realize and accept that. Love yourself and your status too much to hate being single. Then watch how much bigger and better your world becomes because of it. I'm living proof. Singleness filled with all kinds of underrated dopeness. It really is.

Love yourself and your status too much to hate being single. Then watch how much bigger and better your world becomes because of it. I'm living proof. Singleness filled with all kinds of underrated dopeness. It really is.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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