Can You Find The Love In Being Single?

 

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Before I got married, I had an on-again/off-again affair with being single. When we were on and things were good, I loved it; but when we were off, I hated it.

There’s a lot to love about being single: you’ve got freedom and independence; you can come and go as you please; and you can do what you want when you want. You can go out, get laid, and not have to answer to anybody.

If you’re not actively dating, you don’t have to shave your legs or get bikini waxes on a regular basis. And if you’re a guy, you can scratch your balls and fart all you want.

Now that’s what I call freedom!

Being single can be the greatest time of your life, or it can be a living hell.

If you’ve ever been a singleton at a couples dinner party, or at a wedding without a +1, or dateless at a family function, you know the hell I’m talking about.

For years, a girlfriend of mine has been throwing dinner parties attended mostly by her married friends or fellow school parents. Even though I was single, she would invite me, and I accepted because I adore her. The evenings were glorious events, filled with incredible food and wine, beautiful settings, and fabulous people.

And it was brutally tough to get through.

My singleness made me feel like an outsider, like an alien from another planet. I was neither a member of the married club nor the mommy club, and it was made painfully clear especially if one of the wives gave me the stink-eye.

Hell is being the only single woman in a room full of married people.

When you’re single, people judge, stare, ask questions, whisper and gossip– especially if you’ve been single an eternity like I was. They make assumptions and jump to conclusions. They ask why you’re not married or have kids, and wonder what’s wrong with you.

There’s a stigma attached to being single, and a word for it too: “Singlism.” It’s the technical term for holding negative beliefs about single people or treating them unfairly because of their single status.

The good news is if you stay single long enough, eventually the questions will cease. When my mother stopped asking when I was getting married and started asking if I had received my AARP card yet, I knew things were getting better.

But some people aren’t so lucky– the questions keep coming.

Just ask Jennifer Aniston, the subject of relentless rumors about her marriage and maternal status– stuff of no one’s business. She finally told everybody to fuck off and stop speculating about her happiness in a recent Huffington Post piece, For The Record, and I will tell you the same:

You don’t need to be married and have kids to be happy, so STFU already!

 

proxy-jpgSingle gal blogger Michelle L. Torigian echoes Anniston’s sentiments in her post For the Record, I’m Fed Up Too, as does Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell in her book, Single Is The New Black.

Dr. Abrell, a fellow dating expert and late blooming bride like me, got married when she was 42 after suffering the same single girl experiences I did— both good and bad.

In her book, she emphatically contends that nothing is wrong with you if you’re still single. You just haven’t yet met “The One,” and that’s OK. Being single is not a curse or a crime or something that needs to be fixed or ashamed of. It’s just where you are in life, and the sooner you stop defining yourself by it, or beating yourself over it, the better.

This got me thinking: while you’re looking for love, can you find the love in being single?

It’s possible and here’s how:

BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF

Don’t conform or change for anyone. Stop apologizing and making excuses for who you are. If someone doesn’t appreciate you (or your choices, personality, sense of humor, smarts, values, circumstances, etc.) then they’re not for you. Period. Don’t waste one minute of your precious time trying to be something you’re not. Love who you are, whatever you are.

LOSE THE EXPECTATIONS

If you want to be a happy single person, do yourself a favor and stop pressuring yourself about dating, getting married, etc. Stop checking the time, and tapping your watch– love happens when it happens and not one minute sooner. As I’ve said before, you can have aspirations, just not expectations—they’ll set you up for disappointment and defeat.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR SINGLE STATUS ASAP

You’re single, deal with it. Own it, accept it, and stop bitching about it before you become bitter. The strongest statement you can make as a single person is to live life on your own terms, and show the world you don’t give a shit.

FIND YOUR HAPPINESS ELSEWHERE

You know when love finds you? When you’re busy with other pursuits and pleasures. Get involved, volunteer, hang with your friends, find a hobby, do the things that bring you joy. It’ll take the edge off being alone and it’ll keep your life full.

HAVE A GREAT FRIEND OF THE OPPOSITE SEX

Having a good guy or girl buddy for companionship while you’re single is crucial. With opposite sex friends, there’s no competition, pressure, jealousy, or weirdness, just unconditional love and support for each other. They make great confidantes, dates, and wingmen. Keep one handy and you’ll never be lonely.

DO THE WORK

Along with finding your happiness elsewhere, it’s important to find your healing too. If you’re single, that means you’ve got time to work on yourself. So go inside, tie up loose ends, resolve old issues, and bring closure to things that might be impeding your progress. Being single is a job, so take care of business.

BE OK WITH BEING SINGLE FOREVER

Single friends, this is a tough one to swallow, but I’m here to tell you that your “Happily Ever After” could be happily right now. You might be single for longer than you want, or even forever, so you better get on with it.

When I turned 50 and still wasn’t married, I did something bold: I blew off marriage altogether.

On my 50th birthday, I made a life-changing decision. If I was going to be single, then I was going to be happiest singleton I could be. I would live my life unashamed and proud; I would refuse to be stigmatized; and I would never allow myself to feel incomplete just because I didn’t have a husband or kids.

I decided to find the love in being single, and it freed me.

Then something weird happened. After my come to Jesus moment about being single, I found “The One” and suddenly gained membership to the married club.

Those wonderful days of not shaving my legs and letting my pubes grow out are a thing of the past, and no one’s happier about it than my waxer, Esther. I’ll see you soon!

NOTE TO THE GUYS READING THIS: As I’ve learned, you can still scratch your balls and fart all you want—it’s called marriage.

25 thoughts on “Can You Find The Love In Being Single?

  1. I like you no-nonsense approach! And your last point on acceptance of being single forever is absolutely key and it comes as no surprise that you got married shortly after you came arrive at that place. It seems like a crucial piece yet largely not discussed by other dating experts. (Perhaps it seems counter-productive to dating? Or Too confrontational?). The book you referenced actually left me wondering if the author had ever reached a place of being comfortably single. Everyone has a different path, but, I tend to agree with you; the faster you get to the place of “who gives a fuck?” and stop defending/apologizing/explaining, the happier you are. And truthfully there many things that suck about aging as a woman. But one thing that is highly underrated, and hugely beneficial, as your article supports; with age-comes wisdom. Like a fine wine…

    • Oh yes Elise, the wisdom is the best part of getting older! Thank you for your sweet words, so glad my article resonated with you. I’ve said this before in many of my blog posts: you’ve got detach from the outcome. And when you do, you’ll be free.

  2. Love this, great writing Treva!!!
    I’m truly learning how to be single again and finally loving it – after 25 years of being in the institution of marriage…. Hard to imagine sharing a bed EVERY nite- I already have 2 dogs there!!!
    And what you are talking about is self compassion – which is nothing we are ever encouraged to have. Its always about others. Well we can’t be compassionate with others till we learn to take care of ourselves- I’m thankful for my therapist telling me about Kirsten Neff’s writing.
    I personally see no reason to have another marriage, I’m too old to bear fruit : )
    Thanks Treva!!!

  3. One again, as my motha would say, you hit the nail on the head! I love your truth, honesty and wisdom. I was engaged for a long time before getting married and that wasn’t good enough for people! The questions and looks stills kept coming! “So,when are you going to get married already??? “Don’t you want to have any of your own children???”‘ My husband has two kids that we we raised together. I did the shleping to school, after school sports, doctors appointments, lost sleep at night over their adelasent heartbreaks and stayed up all night working on school projects, that “they forgot about”! All that and more, but it still wasn’t enough to be a member of “the club”! I still got the pitty looks. Looks that are shame provoking, whether they were meant to be or not! Until one day I realized that this is my authentic life and not theirs! What might be necessary for them to feel fulfilled and whole is beautiful because it’s their truth. THEIR truth, not mine! The people that love me, don’t judge me! I love my life, my friends and family and that’s truly enough for me!! Treva, maybe your next article can be on ” engagedism”!!! I was just going to say great article Treva, please keep those articles coming, but all this came out instead!! 😳

    • Dear Treva,

      I absolutely love and adore this article!

      You really did hit the nail on the head.

      This is a subject near and dear to my heart and one that I’m exploring and focusing on myself and in my business. There are so many women (and men) who are suffering and in pain because of this concept of singledom and singlism. And, they need not. Loving ourselves, and finding joy and happiness within, is such a key.

      Thanks for sharing this inspirational post!

  4. This is a great post, Treva! A new and witty take on how we have to love ourselves first, and good advice in terms of being proactive to find dating partners but to not let it stop you from living your own wonderful life. But I will add one thing, having just made two trips to Europe recently. American men see women over a certain age as, well, kind of invisible. I don’t even mean in an active dating sense. But Italian men, just as an example, will flirt with a woman in her eighties. Their attitude is, you are a woman, I am a man, I am going to enjoy this exchange and I am going to charm you, even if you don’t look like a model. This is not exclusive to Italians, I have found it in most places in Europe, even in the UK. American men need an attitude adjustment, and I am suggesting to my single friends to travel to the Continent, if for no other reason to get a different perspective.

    • Great advice Laurie. I would recommend travel to anyone because it broadens your horizons as a person, and yes, it widens the net for romance too. This country is so lame in its expectations and requirements of women– especially in L.A.! But with that said, I also believe there are good men out there who want good, age-appropriate, substantial women– you know, like you Laurie!

  5. This was brilliantly written and said ~ and funny! And so so so true! After being in a long term relationship (early on) followed by a couple of not so great ones, I gave up! And lost interest (or stopped trying). The Here’s How are so on point! I did (and embraced) them all! And then, just as it did you, love found me! Just like that! (I wasn’t even looking or trying). Now, just like you, I am back to making day trips to Brazil!

  6. I love this article! It articulates many experiences I relate to. I love being single and it is a choice not a sentence. We all call could have married the wrong man and been divorced. When you are younger, you want a man who is a good father, provider and to take care of you. Now, the only reason I would be with man is for pure LOVE, to compliment and enhance my life.

    Thank you Treva, for making me realize , I am living my “Happily Ever After”, I am so grateful to have my dream beach condo, a career I love,,hobbies great male companionship & wonderfull friends,family & puppies….. But…..if I met a very special man ….I am all in.

  7. Pingback: Can You Find the Love in Being Single? - Hollywood Progressive

  8. Great advice for singles, Treva! We all should live as if this moment is our Happily Ever After, no matter what. Having been married twice, and single at vastly different ages and stages in my life, (and doing the mother thing, too), I have to say, as I look back, my life has definitely been richer for all of that…but now as a senior single who loves men and still has the energy for a possible relationship, I mostly harbor aspirations of finding a fun playmate, not necessarily a husband. I’m having a lot of fun with my girlfriends, some single like me, some married. Our only differences at this time of our lives is that the married ones seem to be required to “take care” of husbands who expect a lot of them, and us single senior ladies are free from pretty much all obligations, except our dogs (ha)….. So…that would be a lot of freedom to give up if, per chance, I might happen to meet someone who’d “want to put a ring on it”. I have faith I will know what’s best for myself if and when that moment happens…but in the meantime….we’re fortunate that there are all sorts of surprising and unexpected fairy tale options for us happy singles. It happened for you! xxoo

  9. I’m struggling with this right now. I recently turned 53, have never been married and have no kids. I have no single friends and am struggling with understanding why I’ve neglected myself and my social life for so many years. I wish I could say this made me feel better, but in my current frame of mind, it didn’t. I’m working on it, though.

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