Why married people saying, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll find someone’ is the the WORST

dont worry find someone


I know this scene, and so do you:

You're chatting with a friend, maybe new, maybe old. Or your sister, cousin, mother or aunt. They are married. You are not. They ask if you're seeing someone?

Oh! you say.  I went out with someone last week. Let me tell you about him! 

Or maybe you indulge them in a recent hot fling you had while on a business trip to Portland, or hash out some hesitations about someone you've been seeing, casually, for a few months. Maybe you tell them about a recent heartbreak, or the fact you haven't had a date in months and months.

“Don't worry,” that married person will say, giving you a smile so sad it looks like she just watched Steel Magnolias. “You'll find someone.”

Maybe, that pat promise of hope is just what you want to hear.

Or maybe you want to scream: EFF YOU, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!

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By a married person responding to your dating experience — whether it be full of fun, love, heartbreak, or a mix of the above — translates into:

If you are lucky and stop being such a slut, maybe you will find the good fortune of having what I have.

Your life is incomplete, while my life is complete because I have a spouse.

Marriage is the answer, obviously.

Look, lots of single people want to get married. They have ideas of ‘the one,' and/or and sanctified, traditional unions being superior to not having a sanctified traditional union. Or whatever. Everyone has their jam, and for some people, that is marriage.

But not everyone feels like that, and in fact, increasingly fewer people do. To wit:

  • One-in-five adults ages 25 and older have never married, up from 9 percent in 1960, while just 51 percent of adults ages 18 and older are married — marking record lows
  • A Pew / Time magazine survey of 2,691 Americans in association found that nearly four in 10 Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete.
  • That's an 11 percent spike since 1978
  • Forty-four percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 saw marriage as obsolete, compared to 32 percent of those 65 and older
  • 57 percent of Millennial moms are unmarried
  • Divorce rates have hovered around the 50 percent mark for four decades

Per the divorce stat, assuring a divorced person that marriage is right around the corner is absurd. That person has been married, and at least that marriage wasn't so great for them.

And chances are, marriage wasn't so great for the condescending married person, either.

I know. Because by nature of my public work around family and romance, and the fact that I'm simply a single, divorced mom, unabashedly out in the world, I am perhaps especially likely to hear, via clandestine emails, murmurs by the booze table when the husband is on the other side of the the party, soccer game sideline chitchat, about how so many married people really feel about their sanctimonious union.

“He does absolutely nothing around the house  — and I make all the money!”

“He hasn't showed interest in sex in years.”

“I am living vicariously through your dating life.”

“I hate him and have been trying to divorce him for years.”

“I really, really want to get back to work. But he won't let me.”

“She has zero sex drive, and we haven't had an night without one of the fucking kids in our bed in eight years.”

“We fight all the time.”

“She shops and goes to yoga every day, and acts like she is so exhausted after I get home from 12 hours at the office.”

“We're miserable. Have been for years. We're waiting for the kids to go to college.”

“That tank top is so pretty on you. Really. No, really. What's your number?”

And any number of other confessions about the dissatisfaction and/or horrors of marriage.

All of which highlights the hypocrisy and self-denial that is inherent in so many married people — an institution, along with the nuclear family, that is still upheld as an gleaming ideal, despite the fact that both models are waning in practice or sustainability. In fact, the majority of families today are NOT nuclear families, thanks to the increases in single-parent households, gay partnership and marriage, multi-generational families and any number of configurations in which people define “family” — whether by choice, circumstance, desperation or because, well, stuff happens, both beautiful and ugly.

All of which is really beside the point.

The point is: My experience as a single person, whether I'm happy or not, whether I'm looking for a spouse, partner, date, lay, adult conversation, to work out my daddy issues, to not be lonely when my kids are with their dad, for professional gain or find someone to pay my bills, is zero commentary on your life, spouse or marriage. 

You are on your own path, and I am, too — and maybe there is a shimmering pot of ever-after matrimony at the end of your trip, or maybe you just enjoy the ride, and understand that everyone's journey — married, single, partnered, dating, celibate, open relationship, serial monogamous, whatever — is full of heartbreak and joy, fun and misery, and ultimately, thankfully for those of us who live in a free and western world, one of your own making.



About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Melissa on August 8, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Can I be your friend? haha :)

    I’ve read a few of your posts (after taking a long hiatus from combing through divorce and sinlge mom articles), and I relate so much! I’m a single working Mom in a world of “happily” married people. My divorce has challenged and expanded everything I ever thought I knew about love, marriage, the definition of family, sex, friendship, self respect, etc. Most importantly it made me realize that every sinlge last one of us is just trying to figure it out and get through the effin day! Some days I need a mimosa, a cry, or a $35 blowout, or an hour on the treadmill to do so, but I make the most of it, and have so much more empathy as a resulf of my experiences. Kind of went off track there…..but I look forward to reading more of your work!

    • Emma on August 9, 2016 at 6:26 am

      Great insight! Welcome to the club!

  2. Paige on July 20, 2016 at 12:13 am

    I don’t mind when the married people in my life say that to me. In my experience it is the ones who enjoy being married who tell me that or it is elderly marrieds who appreciate their companion in their quieter years. Maybe it doesn’t bother me because after years of being infatuated with being single I truly desire a long term committed partnership again and hope for that. I take those statements as a compliment: my friends & acquaintances think I’m a good catch! It’s nice to know they think of me that way.

    • Emma on July 20, 2016 at 8:21 am

      I appreciate that perspective! Good for you :)

  3. Rachel on July 18, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Oh man, this was the post I needed to read on my birthday!

    Holy crap, I’m tired of the sancti-marrieds. To be brutally honest I lately I have been feeling like I’m missing out after I hit a show where I saw that virtually everyone in my social circle is partnered but me. Some of them for several years and happy, a couple for several years and miserable, a few yet to be determined. But whenever I hear that “Don’t worry, he’s out there! You’re a catch!” schpiel I just wanna barf.

    I think the genuinely happy married people might make like one comment or say nothing. It’s the ones who are REALLY miserable that feel the need to get you to join the club. Misery loves company! Methinks those are the types who just wanted to be partnered for the sake of it and that’s why they’re unhappy…?

    My philosophy is that if another blueberry poptart with teeth comes along, he comes along. If not…I can die happy knowing I had a lot of really good sex and adventures.

    • Emma on July 18, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Rachel you always crack me up: “Sancti-marrieds” and ” blueberry poptart with teeth” lol!!!

    • Mea on March 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Your comment is brilliant. As a very happily married woman who has also been all of these at one point:
      1.single and miserable
      2.married and miserable
      3.single and very happy
      4.now married and very happy

      I would agree with the blogger only if the “don’t worry…blah blah blah” advice was unsolicited. Unsolicited, that line comes off as a passive aggressive attempt to somehow insinuate the single person is lower in social status. How pompous!
      However, being happily married to my best friend for over 5 years, I do sometimes get imploring questions or comments from single friends to the tune of: “it looks like you got the last good one,” or “I wonder when I’ll find the right one.” In these cases, the “keep your chin up” or “he’ll come along when you’re not looking” type comments are meant to be uplifting. To be honest though, as a single person, I never once believed that there was a man out there who would meet or even exceed all of my expectations, but the words are meant to be kind, and it is the kind words of supportive friends that can lift us up sometimes.

  4. Char on July 18, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I love this! I actually mention the very same thing on my blog today (great minds, they say…). So many people look at us as if we’re missing out because we don’t have a partner, forgetting that being a single parent is in fact a choice we made. Thanks for sharing!

    • Emma on July 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks :) Though not all single moms chose that role – that is for sure!

      • Char on July 19, 2016 at 11:20 am

        Oh, we always have a choice ;)

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