I remember that feeling that would come over me when, as a single girl, I would get an invitation to a party or a wedding or another event where I knew there would be mostly couples in attendance. As much as I would look on the positive side and think I might meet Mr. Right there (because that was always in the back of my mind), the reality was my married friends would all have each other and I would once again feel like the fifth wheel I always seemed to be.
It always seemed to be little old single me amongst all the happy, smiling couples who seemed to have everything I was looking for. No matter how much I tried to feel ok by myself, that deep longing to be part of a couple never went away. Nor did the feeling that there was something wrong with me that made me wonder if I would ever figure out what it was I was supposed to do to be on the other side. On that elusive couples side that always seemed to escape me.
No matter how much we may believe we are living in a different world today where it's more common than ever to be single or at least to marry much later in life, the reality is that it's almost impossible to forget that we are living in a couple's world. From the numerous times you're asked if you're dating anyone, or why you're not married yet (or something else along those lines), to the special rates offered to couples everywhere from gyms to resorts to big box stores, the implied message is always the same – if you're not part of a couple, there's something wrong with you!
Or at least that was how I always felt. For those of you who are able to ignore those messages and live your single lives to the fullest without feeling that way somewhere deep down inside, I admire you for being able to authentically be in that space amid such external pressure. But for the rest of us, I've got a few things to share with you that I wish I had understood back when I was feeling so discontented being single when everyone else seemed to be with someone.
So what's a single gal to do in this couples world? Plenty:
1. Focus on YOU!
That's right – you. That beautiful person who looks back at you when you look in the mirror. Take an inventory of everything you have in your life right now. Look at the things you want to do, the places you want to visit, the experiences you want to have, and start making those things happen now; don't wait to start living until you've found someone to share your life with. Live your life like you've never lived it before.
2. Remember that this is only temporary.
There are so many seasons in life. This is only one of them. Don't get so caught up in looking forward to the next seasons that you forget to enjoy the season that you're currently living in. There will be positive and negative aspects to each period of your life; instead of looking at the future as being better than here, focus on what is great about right now.
3. Give yourself a reality check about being part of a couple.
Spend some time with a married couple or a friend who's in a long term relationship to see the realities first hand for yourself. Being a part of a couple is wonderful, but maintaining a healthy relationship is not without its challenges. A reality check while being around them can give you a fresh perspective on some of the benefits of being single that you may not have realized in your quest to being part of a couple. This perspective can help to inspire you to enjoy your singlehood to the fullest.
4. Ignore the cultural messages.
Remember that most of it is just programming and marketing, and the culture doesn't reflect what is going on in your life. Hard to do, I know, but if you remind yourself of just how many single people there are out there, and especially how much money is made off of advertising that targets getting married, having a family and living happily ever after, it will help you see just how much of these cultural messages are actually part of big business, and not about your love life (or lack of one).
5. Remember to breathe!
Go easy on yourself. Stop being so hard on yourself. Just because you've been where you've been and gone through your experiences doesn't mean you're set up to repeat the same patterns over and over again. You can make changes; you can do things differently; you can stop repeating old patterns and you can (and will) attract someone different into your life as you begin to realize those baby steps towards changing those old patterns.
Remember, this is your time, your space, your season, your life. Don't let someone else's idea of what it means to be happy take away from the joy of being you.
Radiant, beautiful, confident, currently single YOU!