I want to start this conversation with a bit of a disclaimer. Please, for the love of donuts, do not feel sorry for me. Believe me when I say, I’ve heard many encouraging stories about someone meeting their significant other when they were least expecting it. Or they fell in love with their best friend. Or they just knew. This is to bring attention to the rest of the world that’s single. Maybe we’re hopeful. Maybe we’re bitter. Maybe we’re just fine with our relationship status. But I want each and every one of you that reads this to hear what I’m saying. My life, as a single woman, is wonderful. Though, I desire to find someone to share my life with, it is not my sole focus of my life. There is more living to do. My relationship status isn’t my identity, it’s just part of the story of my life right now.
Hi I’m Lauren, I’m 28 and single.
This is no way my identity, yet too often, I find myself having conversations about being single that start off with “We need to find you a man!” or “I can’t believe you’re still single, why aren’t guys trying to wife you?” I begin to wonder if I’m the delusional one or if I’ve simply been left behind.
The majority of my friends from college and even post college are either engaged, married, or having children. I couldn’t be more happy for these life events that I’ve gotten to celebrate with these friends. I don’t mind being single, I actually like the freedom of it. I’ve learned to grow into it, accept where I am and enjoy this time learning all I can about myself. Since I was 13 years old–I kid you not–I’ve been told I would be an “awesome girlfriend, just not for me” or “you’re the kind of girl I want to marry, I’m just not ready for that now.” It began to condition me in thinking there was something wrong with me.
News flash: there isn’t.
To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of healthy examples of dating. Thanks to growing up in a small, midwest town, the teenagers in my life that “dated” were full of drama and those that didn’t date, appeared to be shoved off to the side. Then there were those of us that were somewhere in the middle. To feel something (what’s missing from being in a relationship–dopamine) we fill our minds with romantic comedies and fantasies of being told one day we’ll be swept off our feet and he or she will come into your life when you least expect it. I dated a couple guys in college, nothing really worked out, but I hoped that after college things would turn around.
Fast forward through a couple bad dates, falling for guys that were not interested in an actual relationship, and me being put in the friend zone a time too many and you’ll find me at present day. I can look back and see that I might have been expecting too much from these dates or guys I really liked. Or that I didn’t clearly communicate what I wanted. You know, because that’s a thing. I was stuck with the fantasy that some guy is going to sweep me off my feet. But there’s actually a lot that happens in between that.
The mindset of any guy before maybe 25 isn’t let’s hang out with each other until one of us dies–or as Aziz Ansari calls it, a proposal. Here’s a shameless plug for the book, Modern Love. If you haven’t read the book, take this summer to do so. It’s full of research and Ansari’s comedy about relationships–it’s gold.
A year ago, I was candidly talking with a friend I made here in Ohio. We’re around the same age, went to the same college and both, still single. At the time, we were discussing a mutual friend’s recent engagement and how the brain can be so cruel in telling us “she’s where you should be…”
This is a straight up lie, and yet it is so easy to believe. I say this because I’ve fallen into that trap many times.
But as I look back at that conversation from a year ago and I realize my feelings about it haven’t really changed. No matter how happy I am for my friend’s commitment to a lifelong partner, I still feel a twinge of jealousy that they get their happily ever after and I’m still waiting on the bench.
I’ve always said the best place for me to meet someone would be in church. I’m not a fan of online dating (before you ask, yes I’ve tried it). The number one thing I’m looking for in a relationship is for the guy I’m dating to have a strong relationship with God. There are other pieces to that, but as someone who is part of the Seventh-day Adventist tribe, this is important to me and I won’t budge on it.
A few months ago, my friend Ryan Becker came out with this podcast episode that had me yelling “AMEN” over and over again. In this episode he said,
“There’s no space in the church to just be, single–and [they] are constantly being reminded of a reality that isn’t theirs.”
He went on to highlighted 4 ways for us to approach singlehood in the church, differently than what’s currently happening, but I’m only going to mention two of them:
1. We need to stop emphasizing marriage the way we do.
2. As church members, we need to create intentional infrastructure to celebrate single people, and embrace the idea of BEING single.
This episode also highlights a lot about how we, in the church, treat people who identify as LGBTQ+. I don’t want to diminish the importance of that conversation, because it is so important, but that’s for another post.
This podcast episode was a bit inspired by a conversation Ryan and I had a few months ago. If you’ve ever been around me long enough, you know I have this conversation, often, with people. One of their automatic response is to point me in the direction of someone I could date, instead of just letting me be. I appreciated Ryan’s approach to this because it’s so simple!
Take a listen to this podcast and let me know your thoughts.
This time of my life, being single is my time of waiting. It’s frustrating most of the time, but there are moments of peace and clarity. What I’m confident of is that I’ve done the (heart) work, which has transformed my life, and yet I will continue to do the work because let’s be real, it’s never done. In the meantime, I will focus on myself and those people in my life I really care about. Out of this time of me waiting, has given me the opportunity to learn to love me, with all my flaws. To really love, appreciate, care, fight for and be proud of who I am.