So you’ve read all the articles and followed all of the advice.
You learned how to spend Saturday nights alone, how to dine alone and travel alone.
You’ve purchased real estate alone and adopted the requisite pet.
Your hairdresser has given you a flattering haircut that doesn’t require major upkeep.
You own great lingerie and shoes and have found the perfect lip gloss/lipstick.
You’ve been through therapy, faced your fears and done countless yoga/meditation classes to ground yourself.
You have an army of friends who love you. Professionally, you are kicking it.
You’re adorable, smart and charming, You even like sports!
You are genuinely happy for the joys of others and celebrate every triumph.
Your girlfriends wish that they were men so they could woo you.
You are a killer package.
And yet, here you are, still single.
You’ve even learned to survive the deluge of well-meaning but frequently offensive advice from coupled people, your family, your dentist and random fellow passengers on the train.
“I don’t know how you do it – I guess I just need sex more than you do!”
“Stop looking – the minute you do, that’s when he’ll come along!”
“You have to be active in your search – let the universe know that you’re looking for the one!”
So what now? Is this it? The Internet is so eager to tell you what you need to do in order to survive being single, but most of those articles are written (and read) with the assumption that it won’t be long before you do meet someone. That you’re just killing time before someone saves you from all this. That your current singlehood is a waiting period.
But what if that time is stretching out longer than you had hoped? No one wants to write (or read) that article, because acknowledging it would be accepting that you might have more time to wait still. And that’s just uncomfortable!
At this moment in time, I could introduce you to at least four exceptional women who are accomplished and compassionate, who were looking forward to building families, who are funny and love sex… but who have also been alone for 5+, 8+ and 10+ years.
For these women, telling them to “travel alone” or “meditate more” won’t solve anything. They’ve done all that. So what’s next? I have the following five suggestions for you.
Some people met their amour when they were 18, others will only meet someone when they’re 70. Your singlehood doesn’t mean that you’re undateable or unfuckable, it just means that it’s not your time right now. It only works when it works. I say this all the time, because it’s true. I can also introduce you to any number of angry, frustrated and extremely unhappy women who are in relationships with wonderful, loving men. It’s not a question of attitude or body shape. It’s all random, so stop beating yourself up for not being pretty enough/skinny enough/etc.
2) Stop thinking about it as a waiting period
What happens when you’re at the bank and you spend every second internally screaming about how slow the line is and calculating how quickly you can get out of there? Time slows down and your cranky levels shoot way up. If you pull out a magazine or start playing whatever the game of the moment is, time passes far more agreeably. Swap out “waiting” for “process”. Changing the language you use, changes how you move and how you feel, which will change your present and your future. If it attracts someone, SUPER, but if it doesn’t, you get to feel less stressed anyway, so #win!
3) Do something different
But not because it’s a distraction tactic. New projects or travelling to new places is a way to have more fun, learn new things and meet new people. Why would you not want to have more fun in life? What’s the alternative? Stewing at home and crying over another friend who’s getting married? Fuck that! You are not BUSY-MAKING, you are busy making an amazing life.
4) Say “no” more often
Got invited to another wedding/baby shower/couple outing/high school reunion? Don’t feel like going? Then don’t go. Don’t make excuses. Send a gift if appropriate. But just say “no, thank you”. You have probably spent thousands of dollars on other people’s life choices. You’ve made your contribution, more than once. If the alternative is faking it and then feeling miserable for days afterwards, just say no.
5) Don’t let others turn your life into conversation fodder
If you have that one friend who constantly wants to talk about your singlehood, don’t give in if you don’t feel like dissecting your love life (or lack thereof). Redirect or turn it into a comedic opportunity! For example (results may vary):
You: I’ve been having a hard time lately…
Them: Is it because you’re single and it’s the holidays?
You: No… It’s because my back hurts and I’m working long hours. How are you?
Them: Fine, but a little tired.
You: Oooh, is it because you’re up late worrying about why you and your husband don’t have sex anymore?
Also, if you do feel like having a heart-to-heart, seek out the friends who listen to your experience with love and attention and who don’t try to smother you with advice. A compassionate ear will sometimes make all the difference in the world.
So, readers, any other thoughts to share?