Last week we asked you about the three best things about being single. This week, our question is this: what are the three most difficult things about being single? For this episode of Single Sunday, my friend and future roommate Belinda joined me for a conversation about our own thoughts as well as our responses to what was shared on Facebook and Twitter. For Steven, Belinda’s friend, what is difficult about being single are all the things he misses about being in a relationship: always having something to do, conversation, and physical contact. I personally find this response difficult to relate to completely, because I have never been in a relationship. I’ve never had a boyfriend, I’ve never been on a date; I went to prom with friends. I don’t know first-hand what there is to miss. One thing that I find difficult about being single, though, is feeling like I am missing out on something. Relationships, especially marriage, has been a great source of happiness for friends and others in my life. Seeing the joy they have in sharing their lives with one another sometimes makes me wonder if I am missing out on the same joy because I am not married or in a relationship. But Amber Riley, one of the stars of Glee, had this to say on Twitter:
Just as money doesn’t buy happiness, being in a relationship is not the key, either. Happiness depends on your attitude and approach to life, not your relationship status.
I most closely relate to what Carolyn had to say on Facebook. In my response to the original survey, I answered that I found singleness to be lonely, and I also have wondered if I am single because something is wrong with me. Especially for singles who relocated for work after college graduation, this time of transition can be particularly lonely. While others of a similar age may be going out on dates in the evenings or on weekends, the single person may not have even started making local friends to spend time with. I know when I relocated, I felt rather socially isolated until I plugged myself into a local dance studio with other 20-something-year-old students. Now that I have connected with a group of young adults at my church, I am building a network of friends and like-minded people. Actually, I have more friends where I live now than in my hometown. When I moved back in with my parents right after graduation, I felt completely isolated because the only people I knew in the area were my parents. And maybe being in a relationship wouldn’t actually help the social isolation, especially if it were a long-distance relationship, but in theory it seems like it would help. It somewhat suggests that you’re not alone rather than feeling like you completely are. But as Belinda and I discussed in the video, loneliness is not synonymous with singleness. Someone can feel just as lonely while in a relationship as when single, and a single person with a community of friends may not feel lonely at all. Also like Carolyn, I sometimes wonder if I am single because something is wrong with me. It’s so easy to compare, whether we judge ourselves more highly or less esteemed than others. Sometimes we tell ourselves we are not as handsome or pretty, as funny, or as smart as others – surely that is why we are still single. Other times we see someone who, in our opinion, is less attractive or funny, or more socially awkward than we are – so why are we still single? If that guy has a girlfriend, why am I at home alone on Friday night? To be honest, I don’t have an answer for why. I know this will be a difficult question for me to stop asking. But remember that in spite of what we may hear from society or the Church, single people have value. Being single does not mean that something is wrong with you or that those in relationships are better. This is what Corrie has to say in the latest post from The Purse:
[…] Jesus was single and showed no signs of needing to be married to be a content, fulfilled and God-honoring human. If marriage would have enhanced Jesus’ life or ministry on earth, then I believe he would have gotten married, but he didn’t and that shows us something. […] Singleness and marriage are both good gifts, but the best life experience is being children of God. None of us have earned our way into God’s family; we have all been adopted and are equal heirs in God’s family. How refreshing to hear that as a single person I lack nothing, that I’m fully embraced and delighted in by God! How good to know that my married friends are not my betters, they are my brothers and sisters.
While it may be difficult to see certain others in relationships while remaining single, it is refreshing and encouraging to know that both singleness and marriage are gifts from God. I encourage you to follow the link to Corrie’s post, “We Need to Belong,” and read it in its entirety.
You are encouraged to provide your input and engage in this conversation, whether on this topic or one that has already been discussed. If you have something else on your mind, you are welcome to share that, too! “Liking” Single Sunday on Facebook is an easy way to get involved and to invite others to join you. I have seen new people join the project each week, and it would be great to see everything continue to grow. As more people join the conversation, we are able to hear a wider variety of perspectives and experiences, which will allow us to have a better understanding of what it is like being a single adult – or maybe what it should be!