Enjoying the Single Life (aka The Urban Family)

Patricia Steffy as "Kate McAlister" in "Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths."

Patricia Steffy as “Kate McAlister” in “Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths.”

A little over a year ago, I had someone look over the pitch for the web series. I wanted a male perspective, and he had many wonderful and useful comments about the approach to the series. However, one of his comments really stopped me in my tracks. He said, “No one will ever believe she hasn’t been on a date in five years.” And I laughed because not only had I not been on a real date in five years, but most of my friends had gone years between actual dates, too. Interesting disconnect, I think.

Is it an age thing? Though quite accomplished, he is a good deal younger, and I suppose to someone considerably younger, it must seem strange not to be looking for someone to date.

Is it a male vs female thing? I do know men who get back into online dating the second their previous situation ends, whereas the women I know tend to mourn the end of their relationships longer (or swear off men for at least a little while). I know I didn’t even want to think about getting involved with anyone else after The Ex and I split. And if there is any hint of possible reconciliation, the women I know would rather pour their energies into getting the old relationship back instead of trying to build a new one.

Is it a married vs single thing? The person doing the critique has been married for a while. He hasn’t had to actually date in this city for years (and has never had to do it as a female over a certain age), so maybe he doesn’t recall the endless pitfalls of trying to make something happen here. And, thankfully, he might not remember how disposable things appear to be, or how easy it is to let things like distance, jobs and traffic dissuade you from finding the energy to put on the “me on a date” show.

Honestly, I think there is an ease to being single, and the old notion of a spinster pining for a man to take her out has long since died. Even before meeting the BF, I went out. I had a perfectly full and functioning life as a singleton. My friends and I built an urban family that still exists. And I think that support networks like that make people less frantic about having to find someone. There’s much less concern about being alone in your late 30s and early 40s because you aren’t alone—you are enjoying life with like-minded people. We were traveling. We were exploring new things. We didn’t need to rely on a romantic relationship to provide us with those things.

I’m not suggesting that romantic relationships aren’t desirable. I’m happy to be in one now. I just think that real companionship and enjoyment of the world exists without them, too, so it’s entirely possible that people don’t feel the need to rush out and urgently pursue a romantic partnership just to have those things. The people around me seem much more willing to wait until they find something that is right and worth the energy of pursuing (in this city of social challenge).

And, yes, sometimes that meant years went by in the process.  But I wasn’t mourning those years, I was enjoying them.

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