Should You Be “Self-Partnered” like Emma Watson?
Actress Emma Watson has been trending on Twitter and all across the internet lately after she coined a new term to describe her single status: “self-partnered.”
This “self-partnered” term is being hailed as a sophisticated-sounding new way to look at single life.
As much as we might want to scoff at the general mentality behind a phrase like “self-partnered,” Emma Watson actually said some valuable things as well.
The rest of her quote, especially what she said before she coined the “self-partnered” term, actually contains some positive insight on being single.
The insightful part of Emma Watson’s quote
No one seems to be talking about the rest of the quote from Emma Watson. Her thoughts are from an interview with British Vogue in regards to her upcoming thirtieth birthday.
“If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning thirty, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out…there’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.”
Emma is a famous actress, and she still feels anxious about not having it all figured out by the time she’s thirty.
If there were more focus on this part of her quote, people might realize the arbitrariness of placing deadlines on yourself. Just because you’re is turning thirty (or any other age) doesn’t mean that you are suddenly required to have it all together.
Many people who have found a person to marry before their thirtieth birthday don’t end up happy in the long run (though obviously some do, too!).
Age and self-imposed deadlines really are arbitrary, and they’re not a good reason to be anxious.
Sometimes you can’t force your future to fall into place, despite your best efforts.
A focus on accepting this and making the most of your singleness could be a really healthy mentality to have.
But of course instead, our society has chosen to focus on the other far less healthy thing she said.
“I call it being self-partnered”
After the insightful part of her quote, Emma Watson said, “It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered.”
What exactly did she mean by this?
Totally apart from the unhelpful sexual connotations this statement might bring to mind, it certainly implies a level of self-centeredness that doesn’t sound at all healthy.
Referring to yourself as “self-partnered” completely takes away from the single life its capacity for focusing on deep and meaningful friendships, for devoting ourselves to serving others, and for taking the opportunity to make our mark on the world in a way that becomes more complicated when we have a family.
Can we find any real measure of fulfillment by focusing inward and looking for completion from ourselves?
I have to think that the answer to that is no. We were made for other people, to share our lives, our hearts, and (in the sacrament of marriage) our bodies with others.
The need for balance
Should you be anxious if you’re still single for much longer than you anticipated? Should we try to impose deadlines on ourselves and beat ourselves up if we can’t meet them?
It’s much better to trust that God will lead us to our vocation in the proper time.
Sometimes the wait can feel grueling and it’s nearly impossible to surrender our anxiety to God’s providence. But our best bet for peace and happiness is to try our hardest to truly place our trust in him.
What should our lives look like in the meantime, while we’re waiting on God’s timing?
Hopefully not a self-partnered relationship between Me and Myself. Singleness can be an opportunity for so much more than a self-centered, inward focus.
It’s hard to say whether Emma Watson really meant any of the things that this “self-partnered” term seems to imply. She probably had no idea it would take over the internet as it did.
But we should certainly lament the lack of excitement about marriage this term seems to promote.
Whether she meant it that way or not, we as Catholics should keep in mind that marriage and family life are a beautiful end to strive for, but that God will bring it about in our lives in the time frame of his all-knowing goodness.
While we wait, we should do all we can to live the kind of faithful, generous lives that will help prepare us for our future vocation and could make the world a better place at the same time.
Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic wife, mother, screenwriter, and blogger, as well as author of the Catholic YA romance novel SYDNEY AND CALVIN HAVE A BABY. She blogs about TV and Movies from Catholic perspective at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic's Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.