The Shame of Being Unmarried

“Not Married Yet? There MUST Be Something Wrong With You …”

shame of being unmarriedYesterday a childhood friend of mine contacted me out of the blue. She expressed her sadness about the loss of our relationship from her life. It felt intriguing because I was feeling a deep sadness for an hour or two before I got her email. I wonder if I was already tuned into the energy of it, as empathic as I am …

I had not talked to this friend in many years, since about the time she told me she was pregnant and getting married. Before that, we had been very close for a long, long time. We had seen each other through zillions of relationships and life experiences. We had visited foreign countries together. And suddenly I found that I simply could not talk to her anymore. She would leave me messages, and I would hear them and do nothing. It’s not that I intentionally “cut off” our relationship. I could not bring myself to respond. It was too painful. And last night as I reflected on why it was that we had been out of touch for so long … the answer was simple. SHAME.

The shame arose out me buying in to the idea that “there must be something wrong with me” that I am not yet married with children. In response to her email last night, I shared this very authentically with my friend. This is what I wrote:

Thanks for emailing me. I did not get your last email. I feel a little speechless. It may have appeared that I intended to cut off our friendship, and that’s not really so … My life had just changed so much, and truthfully I have felt so much shame that I do not fit in at all to what everyone else is doing … that I kinda just started life over … and then started it over again … I feel sad that you are experiencing it as a loss … I guess at some level I am too … I just don’t know how at this point to reconnect to anything from high school, college, or law school … I’ve lost touch with just about everyone … though I did see my law school boyfriend a few days ago for the first time in several years.

I don’t really think the timing of her email to me is coincidental … Over the past year and especially over the past few months, I have recorded dozens and dozens of EFT tapping videos releasing shame. I would imagine that the force-field I had created around myself to protect me from the pain finally became permeable enough for her to reach out to me. Just a week before, I heard out of the blue from a man I knew from college.

broken familyThe common theme with both of them is that their “perfect appearing lives” were not so … The man is divorced and with health issues that nobody should have so young. And my friend feels hopeless about her relationship. More and more recently I have been having these experiences of getting to see “what is really going on” in other people’s “perfect seeming” lives. And what I’m discovering is that I am not alone in my shame. We are all in this boat together. For both of these friends of mine, getting on the marriage and children bandwagon only delayed the pain. It didn’t solve anything.

After my friend shared with me, she expressed her surprise that I felt shame about my life path. And so I delved deeper into what has been going on for me and why I disconnected, and wrote back:

Well, I didn’t realize then that I was on this path. I just felt like a failure in the whole “getting married and having kids” department. I felt deeply unworthy and it became unbearably painful to hear about other people’s marriages and children and relationships. So I just kinda disappeared and started over. Even now, I’m still working through the shame. I’m also starting to realize that I’m not that different from other people and that marriage and children in many ways would only have been a way of delaying the inevitable crisis that I’ve been working through for several years now …

Then more recently, when I wanted to quit my job and now that I don’t have a job, this biz is almost my entire livelihood. So as time went on, I stopped having ‘personal’ relationships altogether. That may sound weird and that is literally what happened. This made sense for a lot of reasons. One, that the financial support is essential now. And two if people were not actively committed to the coaching system that I’ve created, there just wasn’t any real basis for having a relationship. It’s like speaking two entirely different languages with no translator …

[omitted] My pain was a huge wake up call … It was out of hopelessness that I became driven to find new answers … and here I am …

It’s only recently, after I have released so much shame, that I’m starting to have a new perspective on the “shame of being unmarried.” It’s not like I didn’t have lots of chances to get married along the way. It just never felt right. As relationships went on, I usually started to feel trapped, or disgusted, or very very limited.

In the most recent situation of a guy trying to “sew me up,” I really got in touch with the emotions that have kept me single my whole life. It could have been “easy” for me. I could have done just about anything, and he would have stuck around … and that was not love. Not even close. It was so … boring. I felt like I was suffocating. I felt like I was drowning. I felt like any part of me that I actually value would DIE in a relationship with this person.

It’s not like I’m into “drama.” I can enjoy peace and quiet. I have lots of it now in my life. And most of the time being with myself in peace and quiet is not boring. I can delve deeply into my emotions and explore all the secrets there. I can be creative, and I can rest. None of that is boring to me.

“Nice” guys, on the other hand, are boring. Being with a man whose “niceness” is covering up his anger, who has no clue how to go deep emotionally, and whose anger is leaking out in all kinds of bizarre passive-aggressive ways … but will stick around and be “nice” for as long as I want … while we are essentially like ships in the night living under the same roof … that is not love. And yet I see lots of women settling for exactly that. I also see a lot of relationship coaches encouraging women to settle for that.

Dominical-ErikaCloseUpAnd no matter what any relationship coach tells me … I’m still not going to believe that I only have two choices: 1) roller coaster drama and neglect or 2) boredom and passive-aggressive separation. I know there is a third path, and I’m going to have it.

If you ask me … the whole model of relationships that society is practicing right now is fundamentally flawed. For so long, I felt the “shame of being unmarried.” And rarely did I question the premise itself … would I really be happier married? Would my life really be better married? I look at conventional relationships now, and the answer is clearly NO. The stuff that most people do together as a couple no longer appeals to me. The TV watching, going to dinner and movies, hallmark cards, lavish weddings, diamond rings, making smoothies and juicing, going to the gym, sitting around eating and doing “cute” things … none of that for me is the basis for a relationship. The Emperor has no clothes.

The core central teaching of A Course in Miracles is that the “special relationship” will never make anyone truly happy because it is a way of putting idols before God. Maybe I always knew that. Maybe that’s why I avoided marriage and children.

The ONLY relationship I can be in is one with a man who shares my life purpose and where we are actively fulfilling that life purpose together. That means he is passionate about websites, about getting in touch with emotions, teaching self-development, public speaking, product development, sales pages, community outreach, affiliate marketing … and everything else that goes along with creating a successful grass-roots movement of self-empowerment that will ultimately transform the entire planet. If he is not passionate about what I am passionate about … there is NO basis for an enduring relationship. End of story.

So … I’m finally starting to feel a lessening of the shame and a new perspective on the whole “still unmarried?” thing … I’m starting to think that my avoidance of marriage and children thus far is a success and not a failure after all … We’ll see as it all unfolds. Right now it feels like a relief to realize that maybe … just maybe … I was wrong about how unworthy I am …


Erika Awakening, High Priestess of Miracles at TAPsmarter

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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  1. Michele Bodenheimer says:

    Shame about never having married? Not me! If I had ever found someone who valued me-maybe-but I am actually quite happy being single with no children. I happen to be a firm believer that children need a Mom and a Dad who hopefully will stay together happily for the rest of their natural lives.

  2. Shame about never having married? Not me! If I had ever found someone who valued me-maybe-but I am actually quite happy being single with no children. I happen to be a firm believer that children need a Mom and a Dad who hopefully will stay together happily for the rest of their natural lives.

    • Hi Michele, yea at this point I’m pretty happy with no kids and single also. I’ve really learned to appreciate the freedom. And I have such strong values that living together has to be a really good fit. Like my brother was here for a month recently and he has adapted well to the kitchen needs to be cleaned, no meat in the house, and so forth. I haven’t always found other people to adapt well to basic guidelines lol :)

  3. Affiliate marketing? Sales pages?…how fascinating…

  4. Wowzies…you came a long way… People practice things like certain relationships because of…god societys listened to to much!

    And thats cool u can sense things to! My intuition tells me about peoples past or it gives me directions. Like I guessed this chicks last name, and it was her former last name. Its crazy cause I can predict stuff amd feel peoples intentions. Before I got scared because I felt I wasnt grasping somthing or I was missing out. But llately now im just like watev more chill about it, like im trusting somthing will come into my life to teach me how to utilize psychic energy. I wanna stay positive so I wont go into detail, but a while ago I saved this chick by seating by her, my intuition told me not to move and I thought it was funny that therw were empty seats around, but my intuition gave me a nasty feeling when I thought of moving, so I stayed put and everyone was fine. And we had some surprising things in common as well, like heart stoping things. So Ive been aable to tell about peoples jobs, names of people they know, future things n other things

    • Erika Awakening says:

      Well yea .. time/space is an illusion … so those who are tuned in can sense things and can have psychic experiences … cool stuff :)

  5. Elaine Enlightening says:

    Thank you, Erika for sharing your deepest thoughts on this sensitive issue.

    Living authentically is where peace is found. Whatever your marital status, if one does not know how to be true to oneself, then the temptation to fall in to societies traps of idealism is inevitable. It’s no coincidence that you never married and coming to see the gift in this choice, even though it may have been more unconscious than conscious, is a beautiful thing to see. We will all be better off when we can shake off the fetters of this worlds ego-based thinking and embrace our true self. How wonderful that you no longer choose “shame” as your identity, because it never was your truth. What great awareness to know what emotion needed to be faced directly. This is why you are such an effective coach, from my perspective, because you are really intuitive about tuning in to the specific fear.

    You taught me that, “There are no mistakes, only learnings.” I am grateful for this understanding every day..

    • Erika Awakening says:

      Thanks Elaine. Yes, exactly … I think unconsciously I always knew what was best for me … yet I felt shame because I had not yet shed society’s expectations. I could not see that I was actually choosing – albeit unconsciously – to maintain my freedom. And right now I’m feeling pretty grateful for my freedom … thanks for commenting :)

  6. Is there no basis to a relationship in which two people with different beliefs, goals and interests come together to serve a common purpose?

    • Erika Awakening says:

      Hi Kat, I’m not sure I understand your question …

      • You wrote “If he is not passionate about what I am passionate about … there is NO basis for an enduring relationship. End of story”

        I don’t think that’s true at all. People can have very different passions and interests and still have a beautiful relationship together. Moreover, I believe there is power and room for growth where there are differences between people..

      • Erika Awakening says:

        In a conventional relationship, yes, people do it all the time. We could have a long conversation about whether they are ever really successful with it … and yet I’m not here to tell others what to do.

        I’m expressing what’s right for me. The way I know what my life purpose is – is by my passions. I do not want to be with any man who does not share my purpose. Therefore, by extension, he will share my passions. Is it likely he will have areas where he is stronger, and areas where I am stronger, and complement each other. Yes, synergy is great. Without shared passion, there is nothing I actually want in a relationship. I’d rather be single.

        Thanks for commenting :)

  7. Richard says:

    Hi Erika, Haven’t written in a while, but this topic is appropriate. We are now living (IMO) in the biblical “age to come,” and I agree that your awareness about the “special relationship” is a guiding awareness in your experience. Those of apical spiritual awareness likely will remain unmarried, or face the frustrations you describe in relationships. Not that relationships are not wonderful, or that releasing shame is not appropriate, but your personal expression is more important than just being “linked.” You know all this, but part of your frustration may be the awareness that not all people understand this. It is the price of being a maverick. But some people do understand, so I reflect that understanding to you. While I don’t tap, I do release a lot, and the releasing does eventually transform all that self-criticism.

    Blessings to you,

    Light and Love… ;)

    • Erika Awakening says:

      “You know all this, but part of your frustration may be the awareness that not all people understand this”

      Yes that has been frustrating. The frustration is easing now with the shame releasing. There was a lot of shame wrapped up in not feeling understood.

      Thanks for stopping by … :)

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