There’s one particular question which has dominated many of my close female friends’ worlds for the past couple of years. Those four infamous words.
“Will You Marry Me?”
So exciting, and yet often so dwelled up in advance, that the result is relief rather than excitement. I can’t count the number of conversations I’ve had with different female friends, stressing over when their longterm boyfriend might finally propose. Before my brother and sister-in-law were engaged, she went on about it so often that the entire family knew her ring-size! And a close female friend of mine (who is also now married) used to come back from every holiday or weekend away disappointed that her other half hadn’t used the opportunity to pop the question.
One of my best friends is six months pregnant, and last week we met for dinner, with one of our closest male friends. She has been married a year, he is engaged, and set to be married next year, and I’m (of course) completely single. We laughed over the different life stages we’re all at, and marvelled over the fact only 6 months separates all three of us in age. But then that’s the reality of your late twenties and early thirties. Everyone’s lives take such different courses.
Intrigued, I asked her if being married felt any different. She and her husband will soon celebrate 12 years together, 12 months of that time married. She shrugged and shook her head. “Not really.” The moment she pinpointed as feeling different was when her now-husband had proposed. Because in her words, from that moment on, she knew she’d be spending her life with him. It’s interesting, because they already had a mortgage, and had already discussed marriage and children several times before. They’d travelled the world together, and lived for a year in Australia. And yet it was only once the question had been asked, that she genuinely felt at ease.
It’s a moment, which for her passed by over two years ago. And since then she’s been married, and fallen pregnant. And yet, for me, that ‘pop the question’ moment seems a lifetime away. For my close friends, its absence had almost become an irritation, and yet for me, it’s not something that’s even on my radar.
I’m sure many of you reading this feel bad about that. Like I’m missing the boat … or as if I should be sprinting to catch up. Because you see – I love weddings, and I really believe in marriage. I also want a big family, and would prefer things to happen in that order. And yet, as I sat there, chatting to two of my closest friends in the world, and knowing they’ve found the people they will spend the rest of their lives with, I wasn’t depressed, or jealous … I was excited!
Because right now, I’m on the very exciting side of a question. Or two questions to be more precise.
I’m years away from ‘Will You Marry Me?”. But there’s another question that needs to be answered before that important one.
Who will be the man who says those words?
Right now, I have absolutely no clue who the man who will ask that important question will be. And do know what, that’s really exciting! It could literally be anyone! Do you remember that feeling, whenever you watched How I Met Your Mother, in the early days? Trying to work out which of the women in Ted’s world he might end up with? Willing it at first to be Robyn, until he started referring to her as ‘your Aunt Robyn’, and then sizing up any girl who came his way.
That … my friends … is what it feels like to be completely single and never married.
I know I’m not going to be single forever. And I know my surname won’t be Lester forever. But I have no clue what it might end up being!
They say most people will have met their spouse by the time they’re 22. I still don’t know if that ends up being true. Maybe someone from school or uni will reappear in my life? Maybe he won’t. Maybe I’ll catch eyes with someone on the Tube tomorrow, and that will be my future settled? Who knows!
A while back I met someone who I genuinely thought might be ‘my One’. A real eureka moment, within hours, where we just seemed to click together like jigsaw pieces. And to be honest, every now and again I’m still rather gutted it didn’t work out. But whenever I get remotely down, remembering how well we got on, I remind myself that I am still in the amazing, exciting unknown. No, my relationship with him didn’t turn into what I’d hoped or expected … but there are thousands more fish in the sea. You only have to get on a Tube in rush hour each day, to realise just how many options there are out there.
So yes, I’m single. But I’m not stressing about those 4 famous words.
I’m just excited about the other, more important, question. Who will be the guy who says them to me? And when will I meet him? 😉
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx