I’m not going to lie: The older I get, the harder it is to be single. People want to know if I’m dating anyone, and I usually have to say, no. “Anything new?” is usually code-speak for “So, have you met any nice, single men lately?” Sometimes I want to greet people by saying, “Hi, I’m Melissa, and no, I am not dating anyone.”
The question, “Why aren’t you dating anyone? You’re so awesome!” is also hard to hear. I don’t have an answer for that and neither, I suppose, do you if you’re also single and wishing to be in a relationship that hasn’t happened yet. It’s especially hard when you happen to be in a group of friends that includes three just-married or engaged couples, and one of those engaged girls also happens to be your roommate.
Being out in the world isn’t always a constant reminder of my singleness, but being at home is. I hear a lot of wedding plans, look at dresses, color schemes, tuxes, and shoes, and see my roommate’s sparkly engagement ring on an almost daily basis. When you’re already single and have been for quite some time, it’s easy for these things to weigh heavy on your heart, even when you are happy for your friends.
There are also a lot of day-to-day interactions that married people or dating couples take for granted, that make living life as a long-time single person just a little bit harder: constantly getting wedding invites and not being offered a plus one, or being offered a plus one but not having anyone to bring. When my car has problems or something in the apartment needs to be fixed, I don’t have a go-to person to help. Sometimes I want someone who will just kill that darn spider for me, or to talk about my day with in the evening, or just to say good night to.
Sometimes, all of these things hit me at once, and I have a really bad week. You might be familiar with weeks like this, when everyone else seems to be posting selfies of themselves kissing their significant other, high school friends seem to be getting married left and right, and you walk into a social gathering and realize everyone is paired off except for you. Weeks like this make you want to crawl back into bed and never leave. Or maybe they motivate you to renew your gym membership and join a pottery class and attend free lectures on self-improvement, anything to make yourself “better.”
But there are good weeks too. I remind myself how much fun being on my own can be and to enjoy this period in my life. I love being able to go where I want, when I want. I can spontaneously cancel any plans and don’t have to consult someone else first. There are nights when I look around my little apartment and am reminded how proud I am to manage everything and live life on my own. I also rely a lot on friends who understand my situation who are there for me no matter what.
I can choose to live my life to the fullest, no matter my relationship status. When I’m invited to weddings or parties or other social gatherings, I’m not gonna mope around at home. I go with a group of friends. If they can’t come, I’ll find or make friends there. I volunteer for causes that are important to me. Even if I don’t know anyone at a charity event, I know that we have at least one thing in common (building houses, serving the homeless, etc.). Renewing that gym membership is just not realistic for me, but I recently joined a spin class.
Living life as a single person is difficult, but ultimately I trust that everything will happen the way it should. Love is all around, to borrow a line from one of my all time favorite romantic movies. I’ve learned that if I can’t find love romantically, I can search for it in my friendships, my activities, and even in simple alone time with a yummy snack or good book.
I try to focus on the good things in my life as much as possible and to remind myself daily that the ultimate goal is not simply marriage. What I’m seeking is love. Yes, you can seek love out, but love will only happen on its own terms. As a single person I know that to be true, and I try my best to accept it with positivity.
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