Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Different degrees of longing explained
First Published Mar 28 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 28 2014 01:01 am

Dear Carolyn • I get you are a strong believer of the be-content-with-yourself theory of singlehood. What I am not getting is when someone is longing for a baby, we "get" this and understand if they skip other people’s baby showers, etc. We can understand their pain. When someone is single and longing for a partner, we assume something is wrong with them for craving something outside themselves. Your advice has really followed these lines and I don’t see the longing as all that different. Please explain.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Dear Anonymous • Thank you for the opportunity to. Before I do, though, I’ll note that I don’t "assume something is wrong with" anyone who has such a fundamental longing; suggesting I do misrepresents my long-standing position on this. Which is indeed to seek contentment with oneself — not because only defective people do otherwise, but instead because doing otherwise is flat-out self-defeating. What else is there but self-contentment? No life goes exactly as planned, and so our happiness with the one we have will depend largely on how productively we respond when it takes an unwanted turn. Infertility is indeed a similar, unwanted turn, but with significant differences. For one thing, you can know you’re infertile; you can’t know you’ll remain single in perpetuity. Plus, infertility is a physical condition for which there are treatments, and, when those fail, alternatives. By contrast, an adult who wants to be someone’s spouse cannot turn to medical intervention, surrogacy, fostering or adoption. Instead, that adult controls only him- or herself. Thus the long-range, make-the-best-of-what-you-have advice to someone single versus the short-range, manage-your-emotions-as-you-make-your-choices advice to someone facing infertility. Both of these situations have the power to derail someone emotionally for a time; in that, they are terribly alike. Eventually, all advice flows here: Do the hard work to be content with yourself. Maybe you’ll like it better as a tenet of Buddhism: Learn to want what you have. It’s not theory; it’s peace.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.