Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What it feels like for ME to be single

Over at Segullah today the "Single Ladies" topic has been raised. Considering my emotions and issues of yesterday, (which continue on today), I thought I'd take a few minutes to share my own feelings more in-depth. These are my feelings about what MY life has been like, post age 30, single, in the LDS Church. I feel it is important to point out the age 30 part, because my experiences have been night and day in this regard.

Being single to me means always feeling like the outsider. Even when I am with families I am very close to, or with my own family, I still don't quite fit in.
When my friends who are moms talk about their family holiday traditions, I think of the traditions I knew as a child. I wonder if I will ever get to start traditions of my own?
It means answering awkward "why are you still single" questions. And it means even more awkwardly noticing when people have stopped asking. Does everyone but me finally see the answer?
It means hoping someone else will invite me over for a family dinner, because I know your kids get bored at my house with its lack of toys and children's things.
It means that at the end of a bad day, that there is no one there to put their arm around me. No one to share the burden with. No one to offer to clean the kitchen or make dinner for me. My bad days don't end when someone else walks in the door. They just keep going.
It can also mean getting to do what I want, when I want to do it- if I don't mind my own company.
Being single so often means not being able to escape myself. "Just getting out of the house" for a few minutes, doesn't solve the problem. My thoughts are still with me, and will still be there no matter where it is I go.
It means knowing that no one really cares to hear my problems when I call. Why should they? They can't relate. And my problems are just silly, single girl problems, lacking the gravity of raising a child, or caring for a husband. But to me they are problems, and it is my life. But I get that it isn't yours.
I love my family, but I only  have so much to contribute to a conversation about babies, diapers, and husbands. I'd rather just "borrow" your baby for a while so you can sit and talk to the other women about the things I don't have in common with you.
My job will always be viewed as something temporary by the married women around me. It isn't really a career, they think. It's just what she's doing until she gets married. To me, my job is a delicate thing that may be the only thing I do for the rest of my life.
Being single means getting to buy someone else a gift that I would never buy for myself. It never ceases to amuse me how many times I have been asked, "You don't have an XYZ in your kitchen?" I always want to reply, "No, no one ever gave me a bridal shower."
It can also mean knowing that your good hair days people wonder why you never got married. It also means on your bloated days, they are thinking they know why you are still single.
It means that I have needed someone to scratch a certain spot on my back for nearly three months now. And no matter how hard I try, my cat cannot be trained to do it for me.
It means not having a dedicated person to troubleshoot my problems with. No one to help me figure out the budget, or make the hard decisions (windshield or tires this week?).
One of the more personal, harder, aspects is just not fitting in at church anymore. The place I go to feel peace, is the place I frequently feel even more uncomfortable, or at times ostracized.
It means in moments of total self-doubt there is no one else around to tell you what you are worth.

I could keep going on. But I think this wraps it up for now. Maybe later this week I'll be more in the mood to share the more positive aspects of being single, if and when I can remember what they are.


  1. I am glad you wrote this post. It actually makes me cry, but that is ok. You shared the same pains that I have felt at times, or have heard so many of my single over 30 friends share with me through tears.

    Very few words offer the needed comfort, but it at least helps to know that some understand through experience...hopefully.

  2. Sing it sister!

    I relate to so much of what you wrote. In fact I'm going to link to you from my bloggy home.

    I am very lucky to have a few married friends who still relate to me - or at least try very hard to do so. But mostly, I feel like the oddball - apparantly I don't have anything to talk about with my cousins because I'm the lone spinster.

    Especially after things didn't work out with Mr. Burns - I suppose they think I'm just going through men! Ha. If they only knew.

    You mention people telling stories about family traditions - or childhood experiences - same for me, I only have my own experiences to share - and some people look at me like; "Why are you talking about yourself? We're talking about our kids!"
    Um - sorry, I thought we were talking about traditions - and I mistakenly thought that mine counted, but now I see this conversation is only for breeders.

    New guy - Mr. Dad - asked me about being a lifelong single (he having been married for 12 years) and I told him about the empty house, the lack of physical touch - something he still doesn't have with three boys around!!!

    Later he told me that when I mentioned the lack of touch - his heart just broke for me.
    For the record, he gives great backrubs. I'd be happy to send him to your house to get that spot on your back!!

  3. What a fabulous post. I find myself in the very same situation. I felt like I could have wrote it myself - LOL. I feel your pain. I will add you to my blog list. Thanks for writing this.

  4. :( I know just how you feel, and your post from yesterday... guys are confusing, very, very confusing. They have no idea how much reassurance we girls need.

    Hang in there. We all have crappy single moments. There may not be many of us, but you are not alone.

  5. Anonymous2:18 AM

    for that spot that you cant quite reach I give you my secret I scratch my back on a door frame like a bear uses trees to scratch.

    it seems like your the bitter one at this moment

  6. Anonymous7:04 AM

    I don't think you sound bitter. To me it sounds like you are recording a part of the single experience that can be so hard.

    I found it very hard being single. It was so hard to have nobody on my side, that was there for me. Everyone else had somebody in their corner.

    Also when I would go do things/be social, that was it. that was the extent of my social contact. For the others it was just a little spice in their day, it wasn't the main event.

    I found it to be very hard and very misunderstood. And even with other single people, everyone just wants to get partnered up so it didn't feel like there was any reliable community or feeling of continuity.

    I keep wondering what the time taught me. One thing is that men often die before women so most women go through a singlehood again late in life. I have been trying to think about how I will make the best of that time.

    As for yesterday's post....I used to do that all the time, get jealous and freak out about other women. What worked for me was to assume the best and imagine myself being the woman I wanted to be, which is one who is secure enough to be happy about my then boyfriend's friends, who is secure enough to know that he loves me and I have nothing to worry about. And if it turns out I do have something to worry about then I will deal with it when it happens rather than making my life miserable in the meantime. Obviously don't be a doormat but that wasn't my issue. I was constantly seeing threats where there were none. he sounds like he really likes you and I agree with everyone else that woman must be a friend or he wouldn't have talked about your date. She is probably pysched to have met you and happy for him that he met you.

    Also overall your blog gives the impression that you are working really hard to do the best with the life you have. with your home, your little, your friends and family, your work and your working towards foster parenting. and now possibly dating this man. You sound far from bitter to me. In fact you are a wonderful role model of what singlehood can be.

    Best wishes,
    happy woman
    (married at 38, twins at 39)

  7. (came to you via TRS)

    thanks for this post....again, it does help to hear someone in my situation express all the things I keep bottled up inside due to a desire to not be the constant whiner......thanks

  8. Thank you for this post. I think it neatly sums up some of the very same feelings I have. Physical touch is one of the biggest things that I miss, because I came from a very physically affectionate family. To not have that on a regular basis just about kills me sometimes. And on the days when grad school, work, and everything else is coming to a head, it would be just lovely to have someone else to make dinner once in awhile. Among all the other things companionship brings.

    It often feels like we're alone in this plight of singlehood, but with posts like this, and the comments on Segullah, we really aren't. It's nice to know.

  9. I agree with every. single. word. I feel all of that, even though I have now dated the same man for 3.5 years, there is no ring on my finger, I will be 40 in two months, and there will never be a child in my womb. I am going to read yesterday's post now.

    Thank you for your beautiful words.

    P.S. The statement about the spot on your back needing to be scratched and training your cat to do it made me laugh out loud! Only 'cause I can totally relate!

  10. Oh, to go back to the halcyon days in my early 20s when I was full of hope and dreams that have since become unrealistic! I'm 34, graduated with my BS at 31, live at home with my parents and younger sister, and go to a family ward.

    I didn't find your post bitter at all--I think it's just coming from that place inside you get good at ignoring because you're determined to focus on what's GOOD about your life instead of what's missing. But it's still there, and things are still missing. Sometimes the discouragement and disappointment and dissatisfaction have to come out.

    But isn't it good to know that we're not navigating these waters alone?


    PS: Have you read "A Single Voice" yet? It's very inspiring. More so to me now than it would have been 10 years ago. Also, I'm adding you to my Reader. :)

  11. TRS sent me over. Though not all singles experience the same thing, there's definitely some of the same struggles that are fairly universal. I've been blessed with a wonderful church that though it has many families has a place for me as a single, not in a seperate class or table, but alongside them, as a part of the family. It certainly makes the possibility of being single the rest of my life less depressing.

  12. What a great blog. What you wrote is what I think about every night before I go to bed. I guess us single gals need to start our own support group, that is if we can find the time.

    Loves & Hugs!

  13. This was beautifully written, from the heart. I think you are of great worth and I am glad that I have known you for many years.


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