Divorcist is excited to celebrate the launch of Sex and the Single Woman this week. We spoke with Evette Dionne, the author of one of our favorite pieces in the book, about being single, making plans for motherhood, and managing family expectations.
Divorcist: You left a relationship that sounds “fine.” It sounds like the kind my friends are in and feel like they have to stay in just because. How did you determine that it was the right time to go?
Evette: A large part of it for me was realizing that my ex never changed, which was good in some ways, but at the same time: he never changed. He’s still the exact same person that he is today that he was when he was 22
I knew it was time to go because for him, the perfect life was us together. We had two dogs, we lived in a nice but small apartment, scraping by, living a life of scarcity. And that was enough for him. He didn’t want me to pursue anything else and he didn’t want to pursue anything else.
Once I moved across the country for work, my life really blossomed. I got all of these awesome opportunities and was able to forge the life I wanted for myself. That’s when I knew that we weren’t meant to be together.
D: In your piece, you talk about freezing your eggs and potentially parenting single. Where are you now in the motherhood journey?
E: Oh yeah! So I froze my eggs a year ago. Now the next step in the process is surrogacy. I haven’t yet made the decision to do it, so I’m not currently moving forward. I think it will be in the next year and a half to two years.
D: What was it like to have control over when and how you become a parent?
E: I did give me a sense of having control over my destiny. It made me feel less like it was something I had to do and more like something that was an option if I wanted it. It’s helped me become more intentional about the whole thing.
D: Would you recommend the choices you made to others? Breaking up with “fine” and starting the parenting journey unpartnered?
E: Yes and no: I would recommend it for people who want to figure out who they are, for those who are interested in discovering who they are on their own.
I will also say that I am incredibly grateful to have a village of people who show up for me. They’ve been supportive and present and show up for me all the time. This includes my friends and family and people in my life in general. For those who don’t have that, I could see it being scary to say, “I’m going to go out on my own and see how it pans out.” If you don’t have a safety net or village the way in which I have a village, yeah, that’s terrifying. And I understand not wanting to do that. But do I recommend it at least once in your life? Yeah, do it!
D: Many of us fear making big, non-traditional choices because of how we think our families will react. How has your family responded?
E: For the most part, my family is incredibly supportive. I’m really close to my nuclear family, incredibly close to my brother, his family, and my two nieces.
My grandmother did not understand it. She came up in a time where she’d had a child at 18. By the time she was my age, she’d been married, had children, and her whole life was set. So on one hand, she’s very proud of me. She said to me, “There’s no rush for you. I wish I could have had the life you have.”
On the flip side, she’s like, “Some people are not meant to be parents” and doesn’t understand why I might spend the money to become a parent myself. But overall, she supports me choosing a life for myself.
D: We get where your grandmother’s coming from about the expense of surrogacy. Any advice for someone interested in this who may not have the financial resources?
E: I’m very fortunate to have a robust savings account, and also be able to sell books. Up to this point, I’ve had good paying jobs with good benefits. I’ve had very supportive employers. I would say that people interested in egg freezing and surrogacy should check with their employers. Where I am in the entertainment industry, I’ve been very fortunate to have good benefits that help cover this.
Sex and the Single Woman comes out this week.
Evette Dionne is a journalist, pop culture critic, and magazine editor. She’s the National Book Award-nominated and Coretta Scott King Honor author of Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box, and she was formerly the editor-in-chief of Bitch Media. Her next book, Weightless, is being released by Ecco in December 2022. You can find her across the web at @freeblackgirl.