For the better part of three *cough five cough* years- I have struggled with feeling sorry for myself for the fact that I am still single. I have struggled as I watched friends and family start dating, get married and start building their families all in the same time frame. I have ranted and raved at God to get His timing moving (like that’ll work). And I have spent more time than I care to admit forcing myself to be happy when I watch friends moving from singledom to married life, while trying not to show the scarcest bit of resentment that that person is not me.
A thought came to me today while I was meditating- I shouldn’t really feel sorry for all of these emotions. It is not really acceptable to not be happy for someone, but it is understandable that some people’s happiness will cause others to feel upset. With that said- I am not sorry for being single. I am not sorry for the feelings that I have had. But what I so desperately want is for some people to understand what they can do during this period in a woman’s life- when they would really like to be moving towards a solid marriage and a family, but it appears that their knight in shining armor has gotten run over by a buggy.
1.) I have not actively chosen to be single.
Sure, there were times in my life when I did not want to date anyone. I knew that I was in no emotional place to handle it. Or I knew that I was only going to be in that particular location for a few months. However, for the vast majority of my adult life- I have not actively chosen that I want to be single. I just have been single. Whether it is because I did not realize someone was interested until it was too late or I just had no interest in someone who had interest in me- single has become my default setting. It’s not really by choice- it just is.
2.) Standards. All the standards.
I also know this- I will not compromise the standards that I need in a relationship. I may be picky, but my 100+ requirements list that made when I was 17 has drastically dropped to only about 5 things that I really need to have. But those things are absolutely, 100% never going to disappear.
3.) While I am happy for you and your relationship success- I may also be sad at the same time.
In this period of my life- it is hard to celebrate the things that I want, but feel like are so far out of my grasp. Please understand that I may not be able to come to your wedding shower or baby shower, because my heart just aches for those things to happen in my life. It is not that I am not happy for you, but it is also that those situations remind me of things that have not quite progressed the way that I like. I’ll probably still make or get you something, but please do not ask where I was. In all likelihood- I decided not to go at the last minute because of how much it hurt my heart to even think about it.
4.) Stop saying ‘it’ll happen when you least expect it’ or ‘your time will come’.
Seriously. Just be quiet. Unless you can show me that you, too, have endured this kind of pain of longing for these things while watching your friends happily couple up, please do not give me any advice. Or tell me that I should just stop looking for it because that is when it will come along. Or tell me that I should just be patient. Or tell me that God’s timing is right. I know all of this, but it does not make how I feel one iota easier. I know that you mean well, but at the end of the day, it just makes me even more irritated. If you were not knocking on 30 (or even 35 or 40) when you got married, please do not try to give me a pep talk or pretend to understand what it feels like.
5.)I have seen real love and I will not settle for anything less.
I have been so blessed to see what I call ‘real love’ between my parents and my grandparents. And I want what they have. I want the kind of love that understands that ‘old and grey’ will happen and that accepts that the days and years will not always be pretty. I want to be that obnoxious couple that still acts ‘coupley’ have 30+ years together, multiple children, workplace drama and everything else. I know that kind of love takes time to develop. And I also know that a lot of people claim to be looking for that, but would not realize what it was if it walked up to them and said ‘hello’. And having seen all of that- I refuse to settle for anything less than that.
So in this stage in my life- please understand that I am not sorry for being single, but that being single is not an easy role to accept. It is not the role that I planned to be in. However, it is the role that I have been dealt. So for better for worse- I have to make the most of it. And, sometimes, making the most of it comes down to explaining to others what I need in order to be okay.