When others make you feel bad about being single
There is no doubt that being single is not the preferred lifestyle for most of us. It’s nice to have that special someone to give you a hug when you need one, share your every day thoughts and feelings with, have a reliable plus one option for outings… not to mention the benefits and perks of regular sex.
But apart from the natural feelings that come to all of us when we’re missing the romantic part of life – singleness often creates a totally unnecessary, but very heavy emotional burden. It comes from a common perception that being single somehow by default implies being less happy or even less “worthy” than being in a couple.
Well, that is absolute and complete rubbish. And you know it too.
But if you believe in this misconception, and let it have a power over you, it can create a lot of anxiety, frustration and insecurity. Even make you believe something is wrong with you as a person because you seemingly can’t find a partner. Once you are in that vicious circle, it’s hard to get out of it, because you get reminded of your supposed “inadequacy” every single day.
This can happen in two ways.
1 – PEOPLE FEEL SORRY FOR YOU
You go to social gatherings and always get asked the same, dreadful questions about your love life by random people (super-nosy remote aunts, your friends’ spouses who hardly know you, well-meaning but annoying acquaintances etc.) – only to then have to endure their pitiful looks once you confirm you are “still single”. Your immediate family (mothers especially) are the ones who rub it in whenever they get a chance, as they wonder “when will you finally find someone”, or try to send you to blind dates with some friend-of-a-friend’s son/daughter – naturally thinking that they are doing you both a favour.
Friends can be annoying as well – they tend to “casually” match-make you with people you’d never pick yourself, and this can be particularly embarrassing if both you and the other person know you are being matched. Oh-oh. Talk about feeling awkward and not knowing where to look. (Happened to me once. I had a serious conversation with the friend afterwards to tell her to NEVER do that again. Ever.)
While you can’t stop them everyone around you poking around your life, you can choose not to be bothered. But how? Well, think about it this way. In many cases, people who know you well poke around your life because they actually care for you, not because they would like you to stay alone forever. Of course that doesn’t mean it helps you in any way – but try to see it in a positive way – as their poor attempts to help you find a partner, rather than to make you feel even worse for not having one.
If you’re in a particularly good mood, you might even be thankful to them. OK, that may be pushing it too far – but if you know they simply don’t know any better, you can feel much better about their misplaced comments. As for the people who hardly know you – they should be even easier to disregard. Since they really don’t know anything about you, whatever they say can’t possibly be of any relevance to your life. So just ignore. Respond with a polite version of “None of your business”. Or – if you prefer – simply lie about your status.
Whatever anybody says, being single is not a crime, nor a shame, nor a disease, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. You are a person of many qualities and a few faults, just like everybody else. And you’re worthy of love even though you currently don’t have a romantic partner to prove it. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people in your life who love you to bits.
Besides, next time you see someone, the tables could be totally turned, so just don’t take it to heart much. Many people who were married when I was single during the better part of my 30s have already gone through bitter divorces. So don’t ever wish what other people have – you never know what’s their life really like.
Which brings me to the second part of the problem…
2 – YOU THINK EVERYONE HAS SOMEONE EXCEPT YOU
When you look around you and see you’re surrounded with people in couples, I understand you can’t exactly be happy about your single status. This happens a lot around people’s 30th birthday, plus minus a few years. But what you don’t see is what really goes on in their relationships. And you just – naturally, but without any logic applied to it – assume they are blissfully happy.
Another huge misconception about single vs couple life. Relationship equals happiness? Marriage equals bliss? Just look at divorce statistics. Or observe some of those people’s relationships more closely if you get a chance. Yes, most start off happy and full of hope, but for many that doesn’t last. Which means relationships don’t create this special/exclusive type of happiness that can’t be found elsewhere. People in couples are only human, just like you. And like you, they’ve been sold this story that all their problems will be gone once they enter a serious relationship.
Which never happens.
What actually happens is you just swap one package of problems with another. And if you don’t feel good in your own skin when you’re single, you won’t be feeling any better in a couple either. Maybe for a short while, when you first fall in love, but that doesn’t last. People in relationships are not in the same boat with you – but their boat can be sailing in equally stormy weather. So try not to envy them. What you see is always just a tip of an iceberg. And that’s why those “perfect” marriages suddenly crumble to pieces – they only looked so perfect on the outside.
So why in the world should you feel bad about being single? Only one legitimate reason: you genuinely miss sharing love and intimacy with another. Nothing else is worth it – people in relationships are not happier than you (despite some of those statistics that say they live longer, that’s not a measure of happiness), and nobody has the right to tell you what’s right or wrong for you.
Single life can be as fulfilled, fun and amazing as any – and it has its obvious advantages. I bet if you think hard enough you can come up with at least 5, right now, just off the top of your head.
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
Did you recognise yourself in situations like the above? How do you deal with them? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below. Thank you!