Magazine In 1889 Asked Women Why They Are Single, And The Answers Couldn’t Be More Relevant Today
It’s funny how as time fleets it feels like everything is changing yet nothing is changing at the same time. Women today are quite different from Victorian women. For instance, in the 19th century, men and women’s roles became really separated. Men started to travel to their place of work while their wives, daughters, and sisters stayed behind at home to take care of domestic duties. The upper-class women had the help of servants as the famous crinoline, a huge bell-shaped skirt that was a fashion staple of the time, made it basically impossible to move in any sort of productive way.
As a result, men and women in the Victorian era became thought ofas ‘separate spheres’, that only saw each other twice a day: at breakfast and at dinner (not too much unlike today.) It’s then no surprise that some of these women stayed single, and had quite a funny way of explaining it!
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There Was A Prize
Basically, women in the victorian era had one purpose in life and it was to marry and then spend the rest of their lives being a housewife and serving their husband’s needs. It should be no surprise why that would seem unappealing to some women who had much bigger needs for fulfillment and happiness.
The topic is of fascination to historians like Dr. Bob Nicholson, author of the The Digital Victorianist. While going through an 1889 edition of Tit-Bits Magazine, he came across a whole article dedicated to giving a prize to the woman with the best answer on why she was still single. And to our surprise, their answers are so relatable, they are still applicable today! These women were ahead of their time.
Because Men Are Deceitful
There’s more to a good match than a pretty face! While we live today in the age of Tinder, and literally match with potential soulmates solely based on the way they look in a picture, it seems like we haven’t evolved much from the age of marrying for status. Luckily for as long as women have lived, some were able able to see outside of society’s norms and reach the conclusion that a happy marriage is based on a lot more than attraction and lust.
To build a lasting foundation, a woman needs to know that she can trust and depend on her partner as well as be with someone who stimulates her on emotional and intellectual life. This kind of connection is much harder to find.
It is true that when we’re in the wrong relationship, it can feel completely draining. But there was a time when a divorce wasn’t really an option so women had to be really careful before making a lifetime commitment. Keep in mind that even today some women stay in unhappy marriages for various reasons, such as if there are kids involved.
However, they feel stuck and lose their entire sense of freedom. While a happy relationship shouldn’t feel restricting, it’s easy to lose ourselves when so intertwined with another person.
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It shouldn’t be a surprise that there are women out there who aren’t living just to be married. They are quite happy being single and have no need to fill a void with a relationship. Some women have earned success in their own right and carved their own path to happiness without the presence of a man.
To them, if and when they chose to include a man in their lifestyle, they need someone who will add to their life and not take away, someone who can contribute their own success and continue to support them along their journey, never holding them back.
Because Better To Wait Than Settle
If we’re going to commit to giving at least half of our time, energy, even finances, physical space, and family to someone else then we better make sure it’s someone who is worth it and with whom this would feel like a privilege rather than a chore. Unfortunately some rush into marriage because of the idea of it rather than the person only to find out that it wasn’t the right person after all.
This victorian woman felt like it was better to wait, for as long as it took to find someone she truly fancied than to settle for the next best thing and possibly eventually encounter regret.
Because There Is A Standard
Is there anything more attractive than a person who knows their worth? Clearly, there is a difference between arrogance and self-confidence, but confident people tend to be happier because they don’t look for validation in others. Rather, they look inwards and find it within. This gives them the power to go after what they truly want without constantly worrying about how they may appear. The same thing applies to looking for a partner.
It shouldn’t be based on what works on paper, or what others think is best for us. It should be about finding someone we truly believe is someone who matches us on a spiritual, physical, and intellectual level and that makes us happy. After all, we’re the only person who would be affected by the relationship, and no one else. Plus it’s better to set the standard from the get-go as usually teach others how to treat us.
Sometimes finding love is about timing and opportunity and has nothing to do with the single person. We may not choose to be single or even want to be but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to sit and cry in a corner until it happens. Both singlehood and being in a relationship have their pros and cons. What matters at the end of the day is our happiness. In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
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Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives