“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude” ~ Warsan Shire
I’ll admit the title of this article is controversial. And it’s not really cats women are choosing, but it has become the catch-cry of disenchanted men everywhere.
For every woman who chooses to be single, there will be half a dozen men telling them they will be alone with their cats. They will be shrivelled and lonely with nobody to love them. That they really aren’t happy or choosing to be single, because apparently these men know our deepest, darkest wants, needs, and desires.
It’s such a weird flex that this narrative continues to grow. My article “Middle-Aged, Single & Cat Owner—It’s Not the Burn You Think It Is” caused quite the stir when it was published. There were hundreds of comments on social media in support and agreement, but of course, there were those comments telling me I was wrong and didn’t really feel happy. Because how could I be happy…alone.
It seems to be a trigger for some men that some women are simply not choosing to be with them or choosing to remain single. And from the therapist point of view, it’s men who are projecting their own insecurities. It’s men who cannot accept that women are autonomous beings who can make their own choices. It’s men who simply cannot be alone so think we cannot be either. It’s men with abandonment and rejection issues.
How many women do you hear devaluing men for choosing to be single? I’ve not heard any because as women, we don’t care about whether a man chooses to be single or not. I’ve heard men devaluing other men, and sadly some women devaluing other women (women fearing other women for living a life outside the conditioning), but I’ve not heard one woman on a podcast or in a social media comment argue that a man doesn’t really feel the way he says he does. I’ve not heard one woman tell a man he’s used up. Run through. That he’ll regret not having kids. That he’ll die alone. Or, our personal favourite, just go and get another cat.
Why don’t we hear women speaking of men like this? Because we’re busy with our own lives. We’re not bothered what some stranger has chosen to do with their life. I personally give no f*cks if a man chooses to live alone. Or how many cats, dogs, birds, goats, or any other pets he chooses to own. I’m busy working on myself. Working on my business. Connecting with family and friends. Travelling. Enjoying life. Having fun. And, of course, playing with my cat.
These men who take issue with women choosing to stay single are angry. It’s as simple as that. And they aren’t happy because happy people don’t go around behaving this way. These are sad and bitter men. And their cognitive dissonance is glaringly obvious. They want to be happy but have no idea how to achieve that happiness. They want to be in a relationship but are unprepared to do the work on themselves to become better partners.
I’d like to let the cat out of the bag, figuratively speaking. It’s not really a secret but something some men cannot fathom. It’s not actually cats we are choosing. The cat is a metaphor for our peace. We are choosing our peace. And we will choose our peace. Every. Single. Time.
You see, we’ve moved to a stage in our lives where we are done with the drama. Many of us have raised children and we don’t need to raise a man-child. We’ve experienced pain, heartbreak, loss, and we’ve dug deep to heal and grow. We don’t want someone who is going to cause us pain and heartbreak. And I want to make it perfectly clear, for me, I’m not saying I won’t ever be interested in partnering, I am saying they need to add to my life, not take away from it. That’s the whole crux of this: we will no longer settle. Why should we?
So here’s my list of why some women are choosing “cats” over men:
1. There’s a lack of self-aware men. We want a man who understands himself and does the work on himself. We want a man with the courage to see his faults and triggers and go to therapy. We want a man who knows his happiness comes from within.
2. We hate misogyny. We want a man who sees us as equal. Who respects our differences and acknowledges our strengths. We want to pursue our own dreams and passions with a supportive partner.
3. We need nurturing too. There’s so much drivel on social media about feminine energy and women being the nurturers. And yes, instinctively we are caring and compassionate. But here’s a newsflash: we want that in a partner as well. Both people need to be nurtured and nourished. It’s not about the woman constantly giving.
4. Most of us earn our own money. We don’t need a man to pay our way. We want an equal partnership where we both contribute and share the load. And sharing the load means in all aspects of our lives, including household chores, cooking, raising kids. 1950 is history, so let’s move with the times. If you’re trying to reopen that door, I suggest you walk straight through it and don’t let it hit you on the way out.
5. Listening and communication. Time and time again, I see the excuses that men were just not raised to hear, see, and do as women. Yet these same men can manage to run businesses and even corporations, but they can’t see the dishes that need washing, or the child who needs attention. We are adults and it’s our responsibility to be better and do better. If I have to make a man a “to do list” for simple adulting like household chores and looking after kids, I may as well be alone. Women are not their grown-ass partners’, mothers. If you don’t have these skills, learn them.
6. We enjoy pleasure also. Contrary to the popular belief of some men, we women enjoy being pleasured. For me, I need emotional connection and am not interested in anything casual, but whatever your choices, I think we are all hoping sex will be enjoyable. For the men only interested in their own pleasure, I suggest you pleasure yourself…alone. Pleasing your partner is actually part of a good intimate connection. And fulfilling needs goes both ways.
7. Our friends are important to us. We respect friendship, our own and that of our partners. We don’t need to be in each other’s pocket 24/7 and as individuals we respect our individuality and independence. We respect the need for some solitude and space and understand that our friendships and connections nourish us.
8. Passions and dreams. We all have them. Men are not the only ones with ambition, ideas, and strong views. Supporting each other with pursuing those dreams and passions is integral, and sadly, I see far too many women who have lost themselves because their focus is on their partners and kids. We women need to pursue what sets our soul on fire as well.
9. Being alone does not equate to loneliness. Some people end up in all sorts of toxic relationships because they are choosing someone, anyone, so they are not alone. They are disconnected from themselves, so feel lonely, and rather than address that, they bounce from one relationship to another. Those of us connected to ourselves aren’t lonely. Nor do we need the validation. We are therefore content to be alone rather than settling for something to fill a void.
We are choosing our peace because so many of us have been selfless and we’ve realised that road doesn’t lead to inner happiness. Nor does it lead to self-love or peace. Now that we’ve arrived here in this space we don’t want to leave. We are happy to invite more love, joy, and peace in, but we are unprepared to lose what we’ve worked so hard for.
Because we are not afraid to be alone, we have a clear vision of what we will and will not accept. We don’t need a man, so any man we let in is because we want him. Desire him. Enjoy him. And there’s something incredibly powerful and empowering in that.
Unless you’re sweeter than our peace, we’ll continue to choose our “cats.”