God will find the right boyfriend.

Photo of girl with sign: "Don't Worry iF you're SINGLE. God's looking @ you right now, saying, "I'M SAVING THIS GIRL FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL"..

(Christina here…)

I saw this picture the other day. It made me pause and think.

This idea [that god will save you for someone special] will lead people to define themselves based on their relationship(s) and could lead them to believe the next guy who comes along is “god given” even if he ends up being an abusive jerk.

God does not exist. God doesn’t look at you. God doesn’t save you for someone special. Relationships are much harder and more complex than that.

I don’t want to minimize the pain people feel when lonely and unattached. Being single sucks when you have an aversion to being single. I’ve been there. I know we like to believe that there is someone out there for everyone. For the non-monogamous, there are maybe even “someones” out there. We like to believe while we are single that the right person will come along and fix it all for us.

Yet, there isn’t someone out there for everyone. Some people, owing to certain personality or other factors, are incompatible with relationships. I wish and wish that this weren’t so. But it is so, and pretending otherwise can lead to people feeling broken, as if their relationship – or lack therof – speaks to their value as a human being.

You are valuable all by yourself.

People define themselves by their relationship status(es) so much of the time. That’s obvious and natural; “This person values me enough to want a relationship with me, therefore I must have value”.

That’s okay if it works for you. But sometimes that idea hurts more than it helps.

You have more value than as a mere albedo. You have value in your own right.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

p.s. yes, I know I used albedo in an unusual way. I’m hoping that catches. on.

About christinastephens
  • Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach

    Speaking as someone who is single, and is happy with being single, and has no intention to not be single anytime soon, I am really sick of hearing from my family that “God will bring the perfect person into my life for me”. They are telling me that I’m flawed for liking to be by myself, and that I need god to fix me.

    I get where you are coming from and I mostly agree with your message, but this “Some people, owing to certain personality or other factors, are incompatible with relationships. I wish and wish that this weren’t so.” kinda bugs me. Some of us incompatible people don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t need you to wish that wasn’t so.

    Sorry, minor gripe. I’m over it, carry on.

    “You have value in your own right.” R’amen!

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      I get where you are coming from and I mostly agree with your message, but this “Some people, owing to certain personality or other factors, are incompatible with relationships. I wish and wish that this weren’t so.” kinda bugs me. Some of us incompatible people don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t need you to wish that wasn’t so.

      Sorry, minor gripe. I’m over it, carry on.

      I should have clarified that I don’t wish this weren’t so for people who are happy being single – only for people who are single and unhappy, or who are incompatible with relationships and wish they were, etc. Mostly because I don’t like to see people unhappy.

      I actually left out a part about a friend of mine who is single and happy, and how much it infuriates me when people tell her she should go find a boyfriend so she’ll be more complete and satisfied.

      If you’re incompatible with relationships and are happy then.. yay! Screw those people who say you’re wrong for being happy like that.

  • julian

    lead them to believe the next guy who comes along is “god given” even if he ends up being an abusive jerk.

    Probably my biggest issue with ‘destined to be together.’

    It sets up a convincing (for the person stuck in the relationship) naarative that everything that’s happening is justified. You see it in the stories of wives who managed to escape the Quiverfull movement. Not only did they suddenly find themselves trying to find fault with themselves (obviously G-d wouldn’t give you someone who’d intentionally hurt you) those they should have been able to depend on did the same thing.

    You have value in your own right.

    QFT

  • rikitiki

    Yeah, like after my older sister became ‘born again’ and married her 2nd husband: a Christian TM who abused her kids and treated her like shit — God sure found her the right one.

  • Ana

    Actually took me a couple seconds to understand the albedo thing…love it. Nerds gotta stick together, right? xD.
    Religion has this message that you have no worth and can only be happy because God makes you happy, so you’re always in relationship mode, you never make yourself the priority. “alone” gets this negative connotation, and then there’s the idea of ‘saving yourself’ for the ‘perfect person’ that is a whole other level of screwed up…
    I was with my first boyfriend from 12 to 18 y.old., and it was really hard to be alone after that. Finally, after a line of failed relationships, I made a personal vow to stay single for a whole year, and it was the best decision I ever made. The way I see it, if you can’t deal with your own problems and make yourself happy, how will you help someone else dealing with problems and being happy?

  • blorgle

    I have two problems with this idea:

    1. It’s a rejection of the “God helps those who help themselves” model. If you are single because you’re a jerk, this relieves you of responsibility of your own bad behavior.

    2. It wasn’t explicitly stated in the sign, but this falls under the trope of “God makes bad things happen because bad things have silver linings.” Single when you don’t want to be? God knows best and is saving you for a greater purpose. A family member get cancer? God you teaching you a lesson. Fail an exam? God did that so you could learn humility.

  • HP

    I dunno about “albedo.” People tell me I’m bright, but I don’t think it always reflects well on me.

    • http://Www.ziztur.com Christina

      *smack*

      Actually, that was pretty good.

  • Mark F

    I am another person who is happily sinlge. For the longest time I thought that being in a relationship was the thing to do. I was even married for five years. Now, however, I am not looking. It might be a combination of being jaded, having been there done that, or trust issues. It doesn’t matter though, I am happy.

    That said, don’t even get me started on the bogus research done by bigWedding on how married people are happier, healthier and live longer. I’m skeptical on that.

  • Tynk

    I am one of the lonely single people who wishes she wasn’t. I do not see myself as less of anything for being single, but I do miss being with someone.

    But meh… It sucks and I am incompatible but at least I enjoy the rest of my life.

  • Godless Heathen

    @Mark F
    Bella DePaulo is a research psychologist who does a lot of writing on being single and posts some of it at her blog: Living Single . (I can’t remember if she does primary research herself or just reports on the findings of others.) She talks about the myth that marriage makes you happier.

    She also talks a lot about the concept of single at heart, which is people who aren’t in romantic relationships and don’t want to be, ever. I’m not sure I fit that description, but for most of my life, until the past 6 months or so, I’ve been much happier being single than being in a relationship. Which is why most of my relationships have been short.

    The other thing that annoys me about this idea that everyone should be in or should want to be in a monogamous romantic relationship is that, at least in the U.S., it comes along with the idea that your SO is and should be everything to you. It not only implies that single people are less worthy, it also implies that other types of relationships (i.e. friendships) are less valuable. Which they aren’t.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    If this God person can’t find the right boyfriend, maybe he should relieve the pressure with a rent-a-boy luggage-lifting service.

    Many of his good buddies can steer him to where he wants to go.

  • LadyDreamgirl

    Please tell me I’m not the only one who gagged at how much that little note objectifies women? It saying that to God a single woman is something that he can use to reward other people (presumably men). And that’s not even getting into the use of the word “girl” to refer to a non age specified female individual.

  • Kate from Iowa

    Another unhappy single here, with the added problems of being socially akward and asexual. Basically means I’m fucked into a cocked hat for having any sort of companion at all. The notion that beliving in sky fairies can fix something like my situation is incredibly insulting. Don’t people who spread this kind of ignorant bullshit ever think aout people who don’t fit thier view of a world where every man wants a girl and every girl wants a man and the whole point of everything is to breed ourselves out of resources? And as for the less visible message that’s always there, that of “everything will be alright if you just believe in (my version of) god” that’s even worse! Do they imagine that people like me and other not-suited to thier view of a “proper” fucking relationship didn’t ever want to be fucking “fixed”? There is not alfuckingright for some of us, god or not!

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      Ohai! Are you aware that there exists a network for people who identify as asexual?

      Here, I got u dis: http://www.asexuality.org/home/

  • Mr.Kosta

    Well, I’m in a long term (more than 5 years now) relationship and I’m happier than I ever was being single, but if someone is OK being single, nobody should be telling them that’s wrong and that they have a problem that needs fixing. I would take that as an insult, personally.

  • tarian

    @Kate: Asexual people have relationships too! Here is one blog I like: voxcorvegis. (Actually, I got there by way of reading Quixotic Autistic from some while back.) Not that this is a guarantee of anything, but if you were thinking asexuality meant you were doomed, ’tis not so.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

    This. Hell yes, this.

    Well said, Christina.

  • http://thekatiejones.net Katie

    I would even go as far as to say sometimes having a relationship with God does the same thing. When I lost my faith in God, I realized how worthless I thought I was outside of God. This was a terrifying realization, and I actually did have to take the steps to understand my value as a person, as a lone entity. Having this mindset that we find value in ourselves through others is damaging and does make it more difficult to separate from these relationships even when we might really need to leave them.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with deeply investing in relationships with others, but the distinction needs to be made that you are not your relationship. You are a part of it, but you are valuable with or without it. The relationship is valuable, yes, but your value is not equivalent to the relationship’s value.

    Thanks for posting this. These ideas have been on my mind a lot lately.

  • Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    The expression in her eyes certainly doesn’t read like she believes what the sign says at all, to me.

  • Malimar

    I recently encountered, for the first time, a ’40s-era song called “You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You”. It immediately became a serious contender for the title of my least favorite song ever.

  • hopeevey

    I love the albedo metaphor :)

    A truly healthy, happy, and strong person is happier single than in a relationship that isn’t itself, healthy, happy, and strong. Hence I’m staying single until I’ve grown into an emotionally healthier person, and I find someone who wants to develop the same kind of relationship.

  • anthonyallen

    I’m single and unhappy, but I’m not unhappy about being single. The last relationship I was in was so horrible and emotionally abusive that when I had finally had enough, I had to move more than half a Mm to escape her.

    There is a lot that I have to overcome before I can go forward with a relationship of any kind. Social anxiety, fear of success and change, and if you told me that my self-esteem was in the toilet, I would consider that a compliment, as that would mean that I was improving. Suffice it to say that as I currently am, I wouldn’t inflict myself on a potential mate.

    But at the same time, I crave intamacy. Not necessarily the physical kind, although it has been a while. Reconciling the two is beoming more and more difficult.

    -A-

    PS: I’m too dumb to get the albedo reference. I looked up the word, but I have no bloody clue how to apply it in this context.

    • hopeevey

      In astronomy, albedo referes to the amount of sunlight the earth reflect back into space. To say that you are more than your albedo means that you are more than just the reflection of your relationship(s). It’s not dumb to not get the reference – it’s only obvious to the very-science-nerdy.

      Besides, any time you don’t know something can be an opportunity for you to learn, and for someone else to teach. Everyone wins :)

      • anthonyallen

        Thank you, hopeevey, that makes sense, but it’s not really true.

        Here’s the thing with me. I am a reflection of my relationships, the person I am seems to depend upon the audience. I don’t seem to have an identity of my own. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. Those few in my life that tell me that they like me as I am, it is because I have tailored certain aspects of my personality specifically for them.

        But what about those that I don’t know, or would like to meet? What aspect am I going to focus on in order to make them like me “as I am”? For me, it’s a big guessing game. I never thought this was true for me, but having people dislike me is a really huge deal for me. Bigger than I thought possible. That’s why I don’t make too many comments here, and when I do, it’s usually the self-depreciating kind, such as this one. I know that kinda contradicts what I just said, but there it is, just the same.

        I find it exremely hard to talk people about myself. I can talk to you, because you are semi-anonymous, you don’t know where I am, and you can’t hurt me by taking what I said here and using it against me later. (if you haven’t guessed, that’s a common theme in my relationships)

        When people ask me how I am doing, my generic response is “Meh, I’m OK, I guess.” Thats not the truth, though. Im not OK, and if I can’t break this fear of what people think, if I can’t find out who I actually am, I never will be.

        • hopeevey

          AnthonyAllen, I do hope you’re able to find out who you are underneath all the reflections. I’ve heard it described as wearing layers and layers of mirrored masks, and not being sure what, if anything, is holding them up.

  • Crommunist

    Desperate ladies of the world – God has been saving you for me. I just haven’t gotten around to you yet. Sit tight (wording intentional).

  • Anonymous

    Go to hell

  • Anonymous

    Go to hell Cristina


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