Missing Part of the Equation

Three single people in a shared apartment living room. They are discussing how comfortable they are in their current living situation, and how perhaps a Boston marriage is in order, and who needs to get married anyway?

“Everyone I know who is married has issues. Either it’s the spouse or it’s the kids or it’s the trying to have kids. But they’ve nearly all been messy – sometimes permanently – in some way,” says First Single.

Second Single nods in agreement. One of her good friends recently filed for a divorce after five years with a deadbeat.

Third Single looked at the first two incredulously. “Are you saying you think being married is worse than being single?”

First and Second Single look at each other. “Well, it does look that way, from the outside.”

“Look,” Third Single began. “Granted, all the married people I know have Married-People Issues of some type. But don’t we all have Single-People Issues?” Her voice trailed off as she realized the inevitable response.

“Um, aside from the fact that we’re not married?” First Single said. “Not really.”

“We’re missing something, I think…” Second Single said, perturbed.

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18 thoughts on “Missing Part of the Equation

  1. Yeah, like: apartment-mate gets married, and suddenly you either have to foot the whole bill (which you can’t afford), find a new one, or move.
    Or: You live by yourself and are depressed because you’re lonely.
    Or: Your entire family thinks that they can ask you to be their fix-it/babysitter/household help/cook/cleaner/chaffeur, because you’re not married.
    Or: You only get set up with duds because you’ve been dating for eleven years already.
    Or anything else…

    So yeah, married people have married-people issues, and single people have single-people issues.

  2. Littleduckies: All of these are mere itches compared to bankruptcy, divorce (or marriage counseling), fertility treatments, postpartum depression, babies with birth defects, and the myriad other married-people issues.

  3. But…marriage is meant to bring out issues, no?

    Clarification:

    We’e taking two people, very different from each other, and putting them together–it’s not supposed to be like hanging out with your friend from Yeshiva/Sem! It’s supposed to force you to confront yourself and remake yourself. You spend the first couple of decades of life forming yourself in one medium, and then move onto a very different one.

    If it was about just being friends and sharing an apartment, we really should just keep the boys and girls each with their own, or at least let siblings marry each other.

    So, yeah, there are unique “married-issues” but they’re kind of the reason to get married.

    (Looking this over, I realize that whether this has any relevance at all to what your friends were discussing depends on which particular issues were discussed…That being said, I’m surprised that you know so many people with such serious marital problems… :( Oy vey. )

  4. So why graduate school and why move into an apartment? If you stay in elementary school, your biggest problems are whether your friend likes you and do you like the lunch your mother packed (or the school serves). The reality of life is as you move on, the magnitudes of the problems you face increase. That’s not a reason to want to remain stagnant. Am I missing something or was this meant in jest?

  5. I agree with former blogger. Married life is much harder than single life, no debate, but it is the next level up. The same way the higher the level in a video game, the harder it is, but at the same time, the higher the score is and the more points are gained. There are a lot of benefits to married life, way more than being single – you got to recognize both sides. Appreciate what you have now and look forward to what you’ll have soon. The same goes for being married and without kids to having young kids and then to having older kids. Welcome to the game of Life. Enjoy it!

  6. Single people can’t go bankrupt?!?! This I did not know.

    And, by your own admission, single people who later decide to have a child, also go through fertility treatments – and what’s worse, often end up not knowing who their child’s father is (and when they do know, the still child usually doesn’t).

    What about waking up with a dislocated hip and not having anyone there to help?

  7. I think former blogger got it right. I was thinking a good analogy is going to college. Yea its hard work, and you have to put up with bad teachers and the such but at the end, you are better off and might I add, happier. Marriage is hard work. Raising kids is hard work. Paying off a mortgage is hard work. Life is hard work. Does that mean I stop living? Maybe I shouldn’t raise kids and just get a gold fish? Maybe I should just hang out with friends all of my life and in truth be lonely because the alternative is simply too hard. I think the conversation these gilrs had is silly. Maybe that’s why they are not married. They think the convenience of not having kids trumps the joy from having kids. Seriously?! Well if that’s the way they think, may they stay “blissfully”single there whole lives. Amain.

  8. Upset, please don’t give people you don’t know nasty “blessings” just because you’re bitter and disagree. At the end of the day, these girls are simply trying to look at the bright side of being single – while they continue dating and trying to get married. May all these girls be married within the year. Amen.

  9. Being a single girl your whole life you dont know what your missing by not being in a good relationship. And, yes, your childless life is easier, but it is also selfish. To quote Ross Douthat:
    ” The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.”

  10. Those are three wise women. They are largely correct. Married life can be every bit as lonely or disappointing as the single life — often even more so. Throw kids into the equation, and whoo boy — all bets are off. Satisfying, sure, but it’s the most challenging job anyone will take on in their lifetime, bar none. That’s why singles should take their time before committing to the married life. It won’t completely prevent the relationship and offspring headaches when they succumb to societal pressures, but it will give them an advantage over younger singles with unrealistic expectations, etc. The perspective of time will enable them to not follow the herd when it comes to what to look for in a spouse, family size, career, and personal goals.

  11. Wow at some of the comments. I don’t know where to start.

    My 2 cents (or 10 cents, considering the length of my post): I went on a date at 19 and freaked out afterwards. The guy was quite nice but the whole dating/relationship/marriage parsha was just plain scary to me. So I told the guy as much and we parted ways. A few years later, I was in university and living with perfectly nice roommates and while I loved some moments, a lot of the time I was lonely. I wanted companionship, partnership, a life-long relationship. Then I realized that what I wanted sounded a lot like marriage. So I (re)started dating.

    My point is that if you don’t have any particular desire to get married, then don’t. Ideally, it’s the deep-down desire for partnership (and, after you’re married, the love for your spouse) that makes it all worthwhile. If you don’t feel that – then it probably *would* be just a bunch of drudgery and issues and washing someone else’s socks. I think some of the comments calling these single women “clueless” or implying that married people are somehow “higher beings” are incredibly condescending. Ultimately, these women are self-aware enough to articulate their feelings and intellectually honest enough to follow them through to the most logical conclusion.
    Now, if you come to the intellectual conclusion that you want to get married but still aren’t really “feeling it,” I would recommend looking for some positive role models (people you respect and who have the kind of relationship you would like to have, as far as you can tell) and asking them for their perspective.

    It is really sad that so many of your friends have (or, at least, you perceive that they have) serious issues in their marriages, although in my opinion “trying to have kids” does not belong in the same category as “having issues” with your spouse. If you genuinely want to have children, then not being able to have them is (I would imagine) distressing and can put strain on a person and a marriage. If someone wants kids just to keep up with the Steins (People are going to think we’re having problems! Or chas veshalom that we’re using birth control! She got married *two months* after me and she’s due in January!! etc.) then, well, that leads me to my next point. I can’t help but wonder if the fact that so many of your friends seem to be having marital problems is because of some broader societal issue re: expectations (both of society and of the people themselves getting married), how people perceive/portray marriage, how men and women relate to one another, etc. (I know, nothing earth-shattering, but just an outsider’s perspective.) Again, it’s really sad that so many people have these issues, but in my opinion it’s even sadder that these issues are common knowledge in their social circles. It usually makes it harder for the couple to work constructively on the issues when they’re involving a bunch of other people and inviting others’ opinions, not to mention that it gives people a skewed picture of relationships and marriage.

    Anyway, if all this was meant to be was a lighthearted, subversive post, sorry for the megilla :-)

  12. Single friends who sit there and spew the nonsense that they are better off not married or have just as much stress as married people is such bs that I’m sick of hearing. Why do you people feel the need to lie about so many things in life because society has trained them to be insecure about everything?

    I wish I was married, and yes, being single does not even come close to the stress of being married. Why? Because 99% of the stress you have when you are married comes from your own problems. It’s kind of like when my friend told me he’s stressed over passing his actuary exam because if he fails he may get fired. That is stressing! He has two kids and a wife to worry about! Me, if I get fired, yeah, it really really sucks, but it doesn’t really matter because it only affects me. And at the end of the day we all know we have enough friends, family, community whatever to keep us fine (emotionally, financially…). And even if we don’t, we’ll find a way to earn a few bucks to keep going. And even other stresses single people have like health only affect you. But when something affects someone you love, that is much more stressful, because lack of faith keeps of us from realizing they will be fine too in the end. But as I said 99% of single people problems only affect themselves, so who really cares?

  13. badforshidduchim, being single can turn quite ugly – not just as a “itchy” manner; Imagine someone who hasn’t found a mate for many many years. There’s the possibility of no children, and that of always being alone. As for your comfort in at least haven’t a roomate, that in itself, can be disastrous because your “company” steals valuable time from you so you can preoccupy yourself with the search.

    Finding your mate is, after all, as our sages tell us, as difficult as the trial in splitting the sea,
    (see here:

    http://hezbos.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-trial-at-sea-and-of-matrimony.html

    )
    and something else our sages told us:
    יגעת ומצאת
    that is, only by hard work will you succeed – so hard work to get married is an obligation.

    Anyhow – lots of luck to all you hard workers for this ultimately sacred union.

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