How to Reframe Your Sad Singleness As Empowered Self-Partnership

Photo: Getty Images / Toni Anne Barson

Emma Watson is happy being single. In fact, she's self-partnered, she says. My mother sent Watson's interview with British Vogue to me in an attempt to make me feel better (?) about being single. Later, a personalized astrology app sent me the following notification: "Instead of looking for validation from romantic interests, try to give that to yourself." So apparently I have a brand, and it is Deeply Single—or, self-partnered.

“Cut to 29, and I’m like, Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious. And I realize it’s because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around," Watson said. "If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.” Wow, Emma Watson is out here reciting my daily existential crisis like she's telling someone how to properly pronounce leviosa and I needed to hear this. 

Being single can be empowering and awesome (you get the bed all to yourself! No one is there to witness you eating leftovers while standing in front of the fridge, because you're too lazy to do dishes!), but it can also feel really lonely and sad, as Watson articulated. While I've cultivated a healthy amount of self-deprecation about it, I also feel the pressure to hit all the typical milestones she was talking about. I vacillate between embodying the wisdom of my patron saint, Lizzo, to texting my mom asking her if I'm going to die alone. I can't say definitively that Emma has sent her mother a similar text, but it sure sounds like she has experienced many of the same anxieties my single friends and I have. 

I found out the other day that my cousin and his wife, who are just a few months older than I am, just bought a house. A house! Meanwhile, I can't even keep a succulent alive and my most recent romantic endeavor was with an emotionally unavailable bartender. It's easy to feel like you're behind when you compare yourself to others, and we should all stop doing it. But like saying "I'm only going to eat one spoonful of peanut butter from the jar," this is easier said than done. Watson's way of reframing singleness, something she had negative emotions about, into a more positive view is a welcome reminder to be kinder to ourselves and stop comparing our lives to others. 

That said, I'll probably keep the term self-partnered for internal use because I'd rather not explain it to my grandfather at Thanksgiving dinner.

My relationship advice: don't. This 107-year-old woman is also my new life coach.

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