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Is singleton really happy, or fearful?

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By Carolyn Hax
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn:
I have been single for a long time. I havenít even been on a date in a long time. Recently, I was talking with an old friend who suggested I get out more. I replied that Iím perfectly happy with the way things are ... and I feel thatís true. My friend looked skeptical and suggested that Iím so afraid of getting hurt, Iím just fooling myself into believing Iím happy.
I shot my friend a look that said, ďYouíve crossed a line here,Ē and the topic was dropped. But thinking about it after, I realize thereís really no defense to that accusation. No matter how much I feel Iím fulfilled just the way I am, I could turn it around and say Iím that un-self-aware or that good at fooling myself.
I really donít think Iím afraid of getting into a new relationship, just ... not terribly interested, but is there a way I can prove to myself that my so-called contentment isnít rooted in fear?
ó Happiness or Fear?
ďSingleĒ is not an affliction! Agh!
Old friend: ďYouíre just fooling yourself into believing youíre happy.Ē
You: ďAs long as Iím succeeding at it, I donít see the problem.Ē
Not to get all rainy Tuesday on you, but, isnít there an element of self-deceit to all contentment?
If you continue to be nagged by doubts about this, then put on your pretties and ďget out moreĒ ó not because your friend said to, but as a challenge to yourself.
Either youíll enjoy it, in which case you keep at it, or youíll confirm the wisdom of staying in more, in which case you snuggle back into your happy status quo.

Re: Fooling oneself:
ďIsnít there an element of self-deceit to all contentment?Ē: Thank you. I find myself thinking this very thing sometimes and then wondering if Iím just [erfing] crazy, so I appreciate someone of your stature shining a light on that hard little kernel of existential fun.
ó Anonymous
THATíS IT! Thatís what goes on my promotional material:
ďShining a light on hard little kernels of existential fun since 1997.Ē
Beats admitting my sole claim to ďstatureĒ is that Iím [erfing] crazy.

Re: Fooling oneself:
When I find myself disagreeing with a friendís assessment about me, I like to reply, ďHmmm, why do you say that?Ē This helps me dismiss something as poppycock or realize they have point. Sometimes the poppycock morphs into the person having a point, of course! I find a bit of something concrete in this situation goes a long way ó but only with people you trust.
ó Anonymous 2
An eye-opening plug for eye-opening, thanks.

Re: Fooling oneself:
I recently encountered the same exact situation ó except I was openly bragging about how terrible the dating scene is and how much smarter it felt to just opt out. Isnít the big question, Carolyn, whether you can work on deepening that contentment without a mate while also ditching the fear and still ďgetting out thereĒ?
ó Anonymous 3
While also spinning plates, like this:
Where thereís fear, yes, but not everyone who opts out is scared. Not to mention that ďout thereĒ isnít the only place to meet people, but thatís a whole other column.
Washington Post Writers Group
Story tags » Advice

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