Who takes care of us when we are single?
A while ago, I read what I thought to be a ground-breaking post by my peer Caleb Luna who introduced me to the idea of the “Economy of Care”. Caleb’s post titled “Romantic Love is Killing Us: Who Takes Care of Us When We Are Single?” helped me better understand their lived experience as a “fat brown femme” (their own words). I could really feel their struggle having to live in a world entirely constructed to cater to individuals in romantic relationships. What I found interesting is that they did not argue that romantic relationships were inherently bad, but rather that their practice was influenced by capitalism, which was damageable. It would be interesting to see how romantic relationships exist in different societies and socioeconomic contexts. I suspect that little would differ however.
This construction of love actually terrifies me. While, as a subject who is both personally and culturally historically disregarded and uncared for, I have a desire to be cared for and prioritized, the expectation to do this to another horrifies me. Not in a sense of a restriction of love, but I do not want to feel obligated to reserve the love and care I have for a single person, because this not just loving and caring for one person, but doing so at the expense of loving and caring for everyone else. I do not believe that this is what love and romance has to be, but it feels apparent this is the way it is practiced–if not unintentionally or subconsciously. It feels difficult to not consider this a product of capitalist individualism that works to divide and conquer. I want to give my love and care generously, and I want it returned in kind–regardless of a romantic obligation to each other.
Supply and demand of care
That idea that care, intimacy, proximity, love etc. were commodities that could be shared, reserved for, or withheld from really resonated with me. On a daily basis, I feel like I am abandoned by people I love who choose to reserve their care for one specific individual who does the same in return. In other words, my demand for care is never met because the offer is only reserved to one individual.
So, what do you do when you are forever single? I am not sure… But I can tell you it is scary, disappointing, difficult, frustrating, and lonely! It’s not any of those things, because I wish I wish I were in a romantic relationship. On the contrary, I feel like this, because others make me feel like my existence does not matter because I am not in a romantic relationship. All I really hope for is to find people who will make time and space for me in their life despite the fact that were are not in a romantic relationship.