This Is What Therapists Tell People Who Are Sick Of Being Single
I’m going to link to this page (farther below in this blog post) with a caveat.
The following page I am linking to is aimed primarily at adult singles who are around ages 20 to 39. As I write this post, I am over the age of 45, and I have never married.
This is the sort of article that doles out the standard, cliched advice that tells marriage-desiring adults who are still single and worried about being single that “when you least expect it, that’s when you will meet Mr. (or Ms.) Right.”
It’s similar to the stereotyped and un-true Christian advice on this topic, which tells Christian singles that the moment they become “content in their singleness,” that is supposedly when God will send them their spouse.
- As a now over- age- 45 adult who had wanted to be married,
and as an adult who had expected and hoped to be married by age 35,
- who once was a very devout Christian who believed the Christians who told me if I just prayed and trusted in God that God would send me a spouse,
- and as an adult who has been content with her singleness on and off over the years,
I can tell you this:
None of this advice works, certainly not for everyone.
That is, you can be content being single and still not meet “Mr. Right.”
You can become happy and feel okay about being single (while still desiring marriage) and still not meet “Mr. Right.”
You can run out as a single adult and join social groups and live life, and learn to live life on your own while pursuing a career or hobbies, and still not bump into your future spouse.
Therapists say clients in their late-20s and 30s often worry they’ll be alone forever.
Before I paste in excerpts from this page by B. Wong, I will say, to remind you:
If you are currently age 20 to age 39, and you deeply fear still being single by the time you are age 40 (or 45, or 50, or whatever milestone age), your deepest fear may come to pass, despite what this article (and ones similar to it) declare.
I sure as hey did not expect to still be single past my mid-30s myself, but here I am, and I’ve not been married. I am still single. I didn’t get married at my milestone age (for me that was age 35 at the latest).
And yes, I was content on and off over the course of my life with being single – there were times I was not stressed out or depressed about being single. There were times I was not actively looking for “Mr. Right” but just living my life.
I had a full time job. I have had hobbies.
I got my mind off singleness and got out there and lived life.
I also got pro-active at times and went to church singles groups. I tried dating sites.
But I am still single.
So take the advice from this page with a huge grain of salt – even if you learn to embrace your singleness and go out and socialize and pursue dreams and goals you have, none of that is a magical guarantee that you will soon (or eventually) run into your life partner (future spouse).
You may or you may not get married, whether you follow other people’s advice on how to get married or not.
Some of the other advice on the page is solid, though, such as, don’t look to, or count on, a romantic relationship to get your emotional and companionship needs met: you should definitely consider making more platonic friends.
Excerpts from the page by B. Wong:
The first time Lauren Jarvis-Gibson started to freak out over being alone was when she was in her mid-20s. While all her friends were getting serious with partners, she’d hit her third consecutive year of being single.
“At some point, you think to yourself that it’s your fault, especially if you’re a woman,” she said. “Society tells women that we can’t be complete without a partner, which is so, so wrong and sexist.”
Still, even recognizing the social pressure at play, the thought weighed on her: Will I never find someone right for me?
“I ended up spending so much of my 20s fretting that I would never find the perfect partner,” Jarvis-Gibson told HuffPost.
She’s not isolated in this experience.
We hear a lot about millennials who are relationship-wary ― they’re waiting later and later to get married and only passingly interested in sex ― but that’s only half of the story: Many are eager for committed, fulfilling long-term partnerships, but struggle to find the right person.
In therapy, that worry plays out in late 20-somethings and 30-somethings, often with them wondering if there’s something inherently wrong with them, said Deborah Duley, a psychotherapist and founder of Empowered Connections in Maryland.
“There is a deep-rooted belief in our culture that being single is the result of something negative the person is doing that reflects their value and worth,” Duley said. “I hear so many self-deprecating statements like, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m not girlfriend material.’”
Duley cautioned against falling into that self-loathing trap.
“The reality is, being single should be celebrated and praised, as it’s during our aloneness that we oftentimes find ourselves, our purpose and our passions,” she said. “And that’s what raises our attractiveness to others and fills our own self-love tank.”
How do you convince yourself of that when your anxiety around being single is at its peak? Below, Duley and other therapists share advice they give singles who worry they’ll never find someone.
Invest in your friendships.
We’re hard-wired for connection. If you crave companionship, ask yourself: Are there other ways to meet my social needs?
For instance, if you’re sick of having nothing to do on a Friday night, ask your sister to get dinner with you bimonthly. If you miss physical touch, a hug from a good friend does wonders.
….Stay clear of reading your future.
At the height of your worry, it’s easy to take a long view and imagine yourself still single at 35 or 40 ― whatever the particular age benchmark you fear is.
Stay focused in the present, saidRachel Kazez, a Chicago-based therapist and founder of All Along, a program that helps people understand mental health and find therapy.
“Take it one day at a time. There’s no way to know what the future holds,” Kazez said. “You can feel how you feel now, but don’t add distress about an expectation that’s 20 years from now.”
Don’t stop dating.
If you’re completely over dating at this point, this might be the hardest advice to swallow. But don’t stop going on those first dates with promising people, said Kristin Zeising, a psychologist who works in Hong Kong.
(No, it doesn’t count if you’re swiping on dozens of people on Bumble with no intention of actually meeting them.)
“You have to continue to put yourself out there, even if it feels uncomfortable,” Zeising said. “Go out with people, even those who seem like they are not the perfect fit. Be open to the experience; refining what you like and what you don’t will help you decide who is a good fit when you meet them.”
Join social groups specific to your interests.
Outside of dating, cast a wider net by joining a group or taking a class that interests you. You might not meet your future S.O. there, but who knows? Someone you befriend might know someone who’s just your type.“There are myriad ways you can increase the odds of finding someone,” said Duley. “I always suggest clients look on Meetup for events and groups of people that share their interest.”
Don’t buy into cultural expectations that you have to be in a relationship.
If you’re a woman, your sense of urgency is very likely linked to the cultural expectation that you should be coupled up by now.
Society encourages women to build goals ― even futures ― around the prospect of marriage.
Don’t fall prey to that backward thinking. Instead, focus on all you can do on your own, said Duley.
“So many women I work with achieve so much personal growth in the years on their own,” she said. “As a result, their confidence soars. Their appreciation for who they are expands, and their awareness of what they want and deserve in a partner increases.”
Funnily enough, it’s often when dating isn’t your life’s focus that you meet someone worthwhile.
“It’s when you’re comfortable in your own skin and don’t feel a panicked need to pair up that you often find love,” Duley said. “I see it happen time and time again in my practice.”
—- end excerpts —
Yes, see that last bit of that article, where the therapist is telling readers, “and when you’re content being on your own and you’re comfortable with who you are and you are not actively looking is ironically when you will meet your spouse” – that’s pretty much a cliche’. Yes, it may be true for SOME adults, but there are adults such as myself for whom that is definitely not true.
So, definitely take that advice about “when you’re not looking is when you will find Mr. Right” with a huge grain of salt.
Same for dating sites – everyone you meet will tell you that their cousin Sally or niece Mary met their “Mr. Right” on e-Harmony or Match (or some other dating site), but for most of us, we can join 8,234 dating sites and still end up being single years later.
(Link): Women: Stop Asking Pat Robertson For Romantic Relationship Advice – Whether You Are Divorced or Single – Pat Robertson Replies to Letter from Four Time Divorced Woman Who Wants to Know If God Will Send Her a Non-Abusive Husband