I just returned home from a shopping trip to Whole Foods. Even though I’m happily single, the essentials were needed: beer, cheese puffs, and, caramel gelato. This trip was spurred because I was on the phone with one of my best friends who gave me the good news that he is going to propose soon. Yesterday, I got a text message that my littlest sister is getting married. A few weeks ago, I got a similar text from LL that she, too, was engaged. I’m excited by the news of all three, but also this concentrated injection of bliss reminded that I’m still single…no wedding bells in earshot for me. In addition to all of this good news, I had a conversation with my new roommate about the social imperative to get married—she is recently single, and feels that urge to “get back out there” and is disappointed in her recent dating outcomes.
As a single person, it feels like we’re only getting older, and time and opportunity are slipping through our fingers as each day pass. WHY is this?!? Yes, my biological clock is ticking. Yes, I only have a certain number of years that I’m able to have children. But, there is still time for my roommate, for me, and for any other single person out there to find someone and achieve “wedded bliss.” There is no timeline that says: by the 28th day of the 32nd year of life, a person needs to be married. So what is the rush and the big deal over being married/in a relationship/single by a certain point in time, ESPECIALLY if you haven’t found the right person?
In this day and age, we value love and compatibility above most things/aspects in relationships. We like the superficial stuff: money, good looks, proximity, etc. But when it comes down to it, we look for someone who has similar interests that will make us laugh, and that we can live with for many years to come.
We are lucky, because it was only a few generations ago that love was not an option. Marriage was a business transaction. And in some cultures and religions, it still is. Some people don’t get the choice or opportunity to choose who they date and who they fall in love with. Well, most of us don’t get to choose who we fall in love with—love just happens. We are only get the choice to follow through; to say yes to the opportunity.
I am single. Most days I’m happily single. Other days, I’ll admit, I would love to have someone around to wake up to, or to open the jar that is stuck, or to see on the sofa when I walk in from work. I have lots of friends and two roommates, and although I love them, they just don’t quite fill the need I have. And this need seems to grow a little more when I hear that one of my friends (or relatives) has found a match. Please know I don’t begrudge my loved ones their happiness. I love that they have gone out and caught the illusive love bug. I’m so excited for my little sister, I can’t wait to celebrate with the bestie, and I’m daily watching for flight prices to dip down to buy my ticket to California to see LL get hitched! But I can’t help but sit here and wonder: why not me? Why hasn’t it happened to me yet? What is wrong with me?
I know I’m not the only one to have these thoughts—I’ve had several conversations with friends over the years about the same issue. I also dodge the questions of: when are you getting married? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? Do you like being single? Bridget Jones answered this question so well: “perhaps its because our bodies are covered in scales…” My answer isn’t as brilliant, its simply, “I don’t know.” I no more have answers to these questions than I have to the mysteries of the universe. The only concrete answer is: I don’t know, because it’s not my time yet.
It’s a weird feeling, because I feel like there is something that isn’t working, but I don’t know how to do anything differently than I already have. I’ve tried dating apps. I’ve tried going out to bars and clubs. I’ve tried having friends set me up. Ive tried being single and focusing on me. And I’ve done a whole lot of “when I’m not looking for it…” And hey—I’ll be going to at least two weddings in the next year, although that has failed me in the past, too. Its actually ok. I’m not blissful being single, but I’m not tragic about it either. Someday I’ll reach the married chapters of my life. Just not now.
So, how do I survive it?
- I’m happy knowing that my friends are happy. Depressed and angry people rarely start new relationships… so share in your loved one’s happiness.
- Date so you learn about yourself. Stop dating when you obsess about it. Yup. Simple. Dating is a hobby. When it stops being fun, don’t do it anymore. There are ways to meet people without dating. If you need more tips go to Duty Dating, Changing Your Dating Game, or Straightforward Dating.
- If you build it, they will come. Dating is great and its needed to figure out who you are, but don’t make it EVERYTHING. Focus on your own life. Find activities, groups, clubs, outings. Make your life full.
- Don’t make your life about one thing. As in: don’t spend all your spare time trying to bag a significant other. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, especially from RomComs—manipulation of their life or yours, never makes a good match.
- Mix up your company. I LOVE my gay men, but I can’t always hang out with them because I’m not going to find many straight men hanging out in gay bars. I love my single gals, but again, a gaggle of gals absorbs a lot of men. Go out with different groups to different places. Don’t be afraid to go out on your own!
- Read a book in a bar. Ok, well you don’t have to do that if you’re not a fan of books, bars, or both… but if you do something out of the ordinary, by yourself, you’re bound to attract a different populous—its not foolproof. You might attract unwanteds. But why not try something different?
- Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration. No matter what you want out of a relationship (companionship/wearing the wedding attire before you retire/having a baby) ANY OF THAT is possible. I know it feels like it’s a handful of bullshit, but really when you are ready for it, your match will appear.
- Know that NOTHING is absolute. Tomorrow is a different day. Tomorrow is a fresh start. (And a scoop of ice cream, a bite of chocolate, or a bottle of beer might get you through til then.)
I know that wedding announcements aren’t always easy, but remember what they are about: a celebration of love and family. If you’re being told about it, you’re considered part of the family and you are loved. Put on your brave face to answer the questions about being single, and then go have fun. You never know what is around the next corner!
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