Love (along with dating and of course mating eek) is a complicated beast, even more so when you are a Christian trying to forge a life(style) for one in a world that feels like it’s mostly built for twos.
Navigating rights and wrongs can be enough to derail any fledgling flirtation and the pressure us singletons put on ourselves to ‘get things right’ can be so overwhelming at times because when really is the right time to message after a date, how soon is too soon to let things go far enough without going too far and at what point do you reveal that you may have slightly oversold on your saintly qualities.
This post isn’t for everyone in fact it may seem a bit risqué and perhaps a little too honest but it’s a very real look at singleness and I guess if anything is more for fellow singles who I hope will look at things a little differently if they make it all the way through my ramblings.
I wish I could say that being single was easy but there are moments when it can be outright overwhelming which is why I thought I would take a step away from ‘what I want my married friends to know’ and head towards ‘what I think all (struggling) singles should know.
1. It’s not terminal. i.e. being single (particularly over the age of thirty) will not kill you. Life happens and the faster you stop seeing your singleness as a meantime, limbo or waiting room the faster you can start living and exploring and embracing and enjoying.
2. Everyone’s process differs. In a moment of annoyance and frustration one Saturday morning (after a particularly bad date) I decided to free myself of the numerous singleness focused self-help books I had accumulated. There were 21. Twenty One! Though I believe there were some nuggets of wisdom in each, not one of them completely resonated with where I was at or what I had been through. Own your process and get to know yourself it’s the most worthwhile investment you will ever make.
3. Honestly assess why you want someone in your life. If the words ‘age’ or ‘everyone else’ fall into the equation, chances are maybe this is something that needs to be relooked at. Relationships essentially involve a level of mutual seed sowing – don’t sow those babies where you know they won’t grow or be nurtured.
4. Never underestimate the power of a lonely moment. Even the most rock solid of convictions can be compromised in the quest to find, create or sustain a connection. Mechanisms such as whatsapp, snap chat and mxit provide a false sense of security and a distorted basis for interaction – many people have shared sobering moments of regret after nights spent over exposing themselves (take from that what you will) to virtual strangers and it comes from a need an innate need we all share to feel wanted and attractive and desirable.
5. Know your boundaries and why you have them. One of the most incredible conversations I have had of late revolved around how acknowledged, shared and respected core values form the basis for successful and thriving relationships. There is so much truth in this because it’s the root of who we are and where we are headed.
6. Have a sense of humour. Be able to laugh at yourself and those dates that don’t go quite as planned. Try to take something from each interaction even if it’s just a great meal or confirmation of what you are(n’t) looking for in a love interest.
7. Go with your gut and trust your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right chances are it isn’t.
8. Live in the moment. Embrace and celebrate love. I spent a large portion of my twenties so wrapped up in meeting Mr Right that I missed out on the opportunity to really embrace the joyful happenings in the lives of those around me.
9. Get out of your head, get out of their head. Be present! Nine times out of ten what we think the other person is thinking isn’t what they’re thinking at all. That’s a lot of thinking to be doing in the first place.
10. Have a predefined idea of what you want in a potential partner. A handy way of doing this is having negotiables, non-negotiables and items (potentially) for future discussion.
11. You are entitled to a private life. For many singletons divulging details of their romantic and intimate on-goings can often feel like a good way to feel included when among those who are attached. While its second nature to want to conduct a post-date autopsy it can lead to cloudy judgement stemming from mixed suggestions on what should come next, heightened pressure for things to go as planned and open the door to becoming the butt of jokes and jibes particularly if you like to add a little humour when regaling your friends with the story of how your dreamboat tried to convince you that stealing exotic plants from a local nursery and selling them for a profit would be a great idea if you wouldn’t mind helping him load them up (yes that really happened).
12. Be real. You will not meet the right person for you by misrepresenting yourself it’s too much hard work, makes for a shaky foundation and probably means you’re attracting individuals who aren’t being entirely honest either (eek).
13. God provides, take comfort in that. Look around you and come to the realisation that what you lack in partner is made up by the people you surround yourself with. No matter what my need whether it’s a date for a wedding (who loves to dance and makes me laugh until my tummy aches), help changing a tyre, a listening ear and some male perspective or a lesson in setting up my latest gadget there is always always an answer to my call for help.