Are you insulating your heart with fluffy kitties and comfy knitwear? Welcome to the sweatpants sorority!
One of the more humorous and memorable conversations I’ve had with a fellow divorce warrior was when my friend, Melanie, announced to me she was getting a divorce and described all the problems in her marriage that led to this decision. “I’m done!” she exclaimed “this is divorce number two for me, and I’m just done with men and relationships. I’m just going to invest in sweatpants and cats, and call it a day!”
Ah, yes! The quintessential cat lady is the mascot of so many spinsters and divorced women who find themselves living a life absent of men. Their fluffy companions take the place of human male partners, and in my friend’s case, the ultimate loungewear choice of sweatpants signifies the choice to live comfortably and effortlessly without need for the rigors and pains of trying to impress some guy.
These ladies form the membership of the sweatpants sorority!
I understand the choice to become a member. The members of this sisterhood is most likely to say: “we’ve had enough of relationship crap, we have better things to do with our lives, and we don’t need you! Why should we suffer in stilettos and push-up bras when we can just let loose, be comfortable, and not waste precious time trying to attract the very people most likely to use and abuse us?”
If you’ve spent your life serving others, being walked on, and having your heart broken time and again, why would you want to subject yourself to another round of pain and disappointment? Why would you want to forego devoted companionship from pals who will never complain about the five pounds you’ve gained, choice in a TV show, the burnt lasagna, or that you nag too much? Who would trade the soft embrace of elasticized cotton for the toilet seat always being left up, football season, and being left for some tart from the office?
I hear the message from the sweatpants sorority that it’s just not worth it to roll the dice on love again when love has been so untrustworthy.
Could there possibly be any decent partners out there?
Is there something about me that attracts the bottom feeders and allows my judgment to be clouded?
Why would I ever put myself through that indignity again?
I also hear another message whispered from the club, and I see it lived through another member and beautiful friend of mine, Ellen. Her companion of choice these days is a canine; but, she echoes my feline-loving friend’s sentiments about “no more marriage for me!” Ellen was also married twice to two disloyal dirtbags who both blindsided her with infidelity and broke her heart. She joined the ranks of the sweatpants sorority after enough relationship garbage for a lifetime; but, she also admits she’s opting out of future love out of fear.
“It’s not just that I’m sick and tired of putting myself out there to have one loser after another completely take advantage of me destroy any fragment of trust that I have,” she explained “I am terrified of letting anything like that happen to me again, and I won’t allow myself to be vulnerable again!”
Sometimes, whether we look for it or ask for it, love comes knocking again, anyways!
In Ellen’s case, she has been in a loving relationship now for over five years with a true gentleman. He cooks for her, brings her flowers, and is constructed from completely different cloth than his predecessors. He would marry her in a heartbeat. She has opened her heart to him and they share a home; but, she will never again sign a paper to legally connect herself to another.
“I’ve broken my rule to let him in as close as I have. He’s the best that I’ve ever had a relationship with, but I could never let myself go down the road to matrimony again! I’ve screwed up too many times and I don’t even trust my judgment anymore.”
How can we ever really know anyone? I don’t think any of us sought out partners who we knew would betray us or strip us of everything we have! Even the most sincere and loving person can turn out to be our worst nightmare, and there’s never a guarantee of how much time we have with anyone we care about.
Some of my friends insulate their fragile hearts with fluffy kitties and comfy knitwear, while others keep getting back up and trying again. There is validity within both perspectives so long as we choose a side that allows us to achieve the peace and happiness we deserve and remain true to ourselves. If saying “enough is enough” makes the most sense, then there’s no shame in making a conscious choice to declare “I took my chance, it didn’t work out, and I will fulfill my life’s meaning in other ways!”
Some of us will leave the sisterhood either to begin a venture to seek out the right one to share our life with or because someone finds us and convinces us to try again. I eventually left. I was scared. I remember stating something to the effect that after two failed marriages I wasn’t interested in trying to break Elizabeth Taylor’s divorce record. My fears mirrored those of my friends.
Could I trust my judgment?
Should I even try to subject myself to more pain?
Was there really such thing as a good man or true love?
My sweatpants, fuzzy slippers, and the safety of my own home were a comforting cocoon from the brutal outside world and ravages of divorce. Something or someone pretty amazing had to convince me to venture out again! And, he had to accept me sweatpants and all!
To all of my lovely sorority sisters, the most amazing person to fall in love with and live for is the lovely one staring back in the mirror! The ultimate demonstration of strength is the ability to be whole, happy, and strong no matter what we’re wearing or who we give our heart to! Choosing a life without a partner is a valid choice so long as we feel content in that decision, just as living one with a partner is a good one if we are treated with the respect and affection we deserve.
In either case, we should wear whatever we want, surround ourselves with the things that bring us joy, and be willing to forgive ourselves for the past! Some unsavory people might have shared our past, but that doesn’t mean we’re somehow tainted or undeserving of love. Going it alone (or with a furry friend) is, in no way, a sign that we’re inferior, or incapable of anything better! A life in the sweatpants sorority is a choice to do what fits us best- no explanations necessary!