The Reality of Single Life

I know I’m supposed to say that being single is great.  I even have several inspirational quotes, a couple you may find on this post, for being single.  However, I want to address the reality of being single.  It isn’t always great, but it isn’t always a suck fest either.

The reality is that being single is hard.  For a lot of you, it may not be the place you want to end up in life.   Many of you, if you’re honest with yourselves may even say you are very afraid of being single.  I don’t blame you.  It isn’t easy to be alone at times.  I think it is unrealistic to expect that you will be happy all the time while being single.  I also think it is unrealistic to expect to be happy all the time in a relationship as well.  Life just isn’t meant to be happy all the time.

The truth is, LIFE IS HARD.  In general, life tends to be up and down.  Sometimes you can feel like it is more down than up.  Being single is kind of like that.  Which is why it is good to learn how to live the single life.  Life is full of hard moments.  If you can deal with it on your own, then you will begin to build confidence in yourself and your abilities.  It just may be scary because you’ve never had to be on your own before, especially without your parents supporting you.    I also want to remind you that there are happy times while being single, I’m just saying don’t expect to always feel happy.  You will have times of the day when you don’t mind not having a boyfriend or girlfriend to talk to.  You will learn how to fill your time with other things that make you feel good even being on your own.  You may learn to repeat positive affirmations about being single and be able to believe it for a few minutes or even a few days if you practice!

However, be prepared to sometimes wake up and feel very alone.  Some days you will just feel like crying.  It is also normal to still dream about finding the one who just “gets you” and wants to be with you forever even though you’re choosing to be single at the moment.  You may still walk into Wal-Mart and wonder if you’re going to pass the person of your dreams as you’re walking through the cereal aisle.    It is normal to feel that longing to be with someone.  However, that longing is why people are afraid of being single.  It would be so nice if we didn’t have an urge to be in a relationship until we found someone, but life doesn’t work that way.

It’s hard because you don’t always know what to expect.  Although I’m here to tell you that relationships can be very unpredictable too at times.   It still can be scary to be single and never know what is coming around the next corner.  Sometimes you may have a date and end up spending the night with that person.  It is almost like being in a relationship, except there isn’t a guarantee that will happen again in the future.  Sometimes you may go out on a date or go out with your friends and still come home alone.  You may feel lonely, or you may feel fine.  Depends on how the night went.  Sometimes you may be home all alone or have no one to hang out with, but you find things to do and the loneliness isn’t so bad.  Sometimes you spend the whole night crying because you’ve been texting your ex who continues to ignore you.  Like I said, its up and down, and not knowing when you are going to meet someone right can be very frustrating for a lot of people.  Remember, this will prepare you for those up and down moments of being in a relationship and not having things always go your way either.

I try to encourage students not to be too hard on themselves when they have those down moments, hours, days or weeks.  They happen.  Just remember that they do pass.  Not every moment of every hour of every day will you feel so sad and alone.  Some days you will have to push yourself to be more positive, other days it may be a little easier.  Some days you just have to let yourself have a pity party because no amount of positive thinking is going to work.

I do tell students that the best way to deal with being single is to expect those down times, but try to focus on other things when possible.  Do try to reconnect with your friends.  If you don’t have a lot of close friends, it is never too late to try to make some.  Start a new hobby or find a place to become a volunteer.  It is a great way to get outside of yourself and meet new people.  I also suggest focusing on making someone else happy that day.  It could be a friend or family member or a complete stranger.  A student here at Aurora University is doing just that.  Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December she is going to downtown Chicago to spread a little encouragement to complete strangers.  It has made a huge impact not only on the lives of others, but in her life as well.  Click here to read about her experience.  Those kinds of things can help you get through those lonely moments.

No, being single isn’t always this great happy experience some people want to make it out to be.  However, it doesn’t have to be the worst thing that has ever happened to you either.  Take it in stride, because if you can learn to be on your own even in the rough times, you will find you will be less afraid of losing people.  Which in turn can reduce jealousy and other negative emotions that harm, not help relationships.

4 comments on “The Reality of Single Life

  1. I realize that this is simply your opinion, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. You may not believe this, but there are a lot of people (yes, even women) out there who really truly enjoy being single (myself included). What is hard about being single in this culture of “paired-upness” is not the loneliness and sadness but the stigma, discrimination, and disadvantages we face. Financially, it is very hard to make it on one’s own (particularly for women who still make less than men). Your assumption is that having a spouse or partner makes life easier? Maybe, maybe not. Are you saying that single people can’t possibly feel emotionally secure? Most happy singles have a wide network of friends and family who provide all sorts of support (our human instinct is to connect not necessarily to find and marry our soul-mate, this is a cultural expectation). You definitely need to read Bella Depaulo’s research on singles. She is a psychologist (has a blog on PsychologyToday website) who has spent her life and career researching and studying singles (as well as fighting for their rights). She challenges the myths, assumptions, and stereotypes we have all internalized about being single. What makes people scared of being single is not because we are “meant” to pair-off in any particular way, but because we are told by society that being single is difficult,unnatural and pathetic.

    There are many ways to deal with the feeling of loneliness, including learning how to really enjoy one’s relationship with one’s self (if you have a strong friendship with yourself and lots of meaningful connections, loneliness is rare). I feel sorry for people who don’t know how to do this. And furthermore, being in a relationship does not always “cure” the problem of loneliness.

    And to suggest that most people don’t want to end up there (single), I can’t tell you how insulted I am by this! And the greatest irony of all is that we all end up single in the end. Even if you spend most of your life happily married, someone has to die first.

    • Terri, thanks so much for your comment. I totally understand your point of view. I also believe you can be single and happy. I wrote a post about it last March titled “Single and…Happy?”. However, I have many students I see who are feeling down about being single and think there is something wrong with them for wanting to be in a relationship. I feel LIFE isn’t always happy, whether you are single or in a relationship. I’m trying to encourage those who are feeling depressed or down, that it is okay to feel that way. Some people have a dream of being married and having a family, and I’ve told them that yes, being single will be hard for them at times. I realize this isn’t everyone’s dream. It isn’t even my dream. I don’t want to have kids and get crazy looks when I tell people that. I also thought I may be single for my whole life as well, and was actually quite content with that for a long time. Although, I still did have down days or moments of the day where I missed being in a relationship or longed to find someone. I know my aunt, who was single until she died, also told me that she liked being on her own most days, but some days she did feel lonely. I know my mom feels the same way about being married to my dad for forty years. Nothing is perfect in life.

      I was simply trying to point out that just because you accept yourself as a single person doesn’t mean you won’t still struggle at times. I also wrote a post, “The Grass is Always Greener…” last February about the down side of being in a relationship compared to being single. I’ve written 22 posts on being single and most of them I encourage people to accept it and see the positive side. I feel life is difficult at times no matter what road you’re on. I try to encourage people through the down times and help them accept it instead of trying to run from it. I don’t want to make the single life out to be this fabulous existence all the time. I also feel I haven’t made relationships seem fabulous either. I am sorry if I insulted you and maybe I worded parts of my post wrong to make it seem like no one wants to be single. If I hadn’t met my husband I would still have been a successful, intelligent, independent, mostly happy person. Which is the same person I am being married. It is nice to have him around, I won’t lie, but if he left me or died tomorrow I would be very sad, but I would survive and be okay. Being single taught me that and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

      Thanks again for your comment, because I do think you are totally right, and I may edit parts of this post that may be misinterpreted.

  2. There were things that were difficult for me when I was single–yes, I had some times when I felt very lonely. BUT that was a time when I was truly able to discover who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I had to do that before I could meet my husband, the love of my life. And if I hadn’t met my husband–someone who is as perfect for me as humanly possible–I made up my mind that I would have STAYED single. I’ve learned from past experiences that it’s much better to be single than be with the wrong person–besides–when you are single you also have so much more time for other wonderful people (nieces and nephews, children, parents, friends) and things that you are passionate about!!

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