When Being Single Just Feels HARD

When Being Single Just Feels Hard | gimmesomeoven.com

I never quite know when those moments will come, when the weight of being single will come crashing down upon my chest.

Those moments have been fewer and farther between over the past few years.

But without fail, they always come.

MY LATEST VIDEOS

And boy, they’ll knock the wind out of you.

The moments

For me, it’s always moments.  I’ve never been one to really get down and stay down for days or weeks on end about being single.  It’s more random moments that hit fast and hit hard, and then take awhile to process and bounce back from.

I wish I could say that I have learned over the years to predict when those moments will come.  Sure, there are some of the obvious triggers like weddings, or holidays, or even just scrolling through Facebook feeds filled with happy couples and babies and families galore.  But more often than not, it is the tiniest of things that unexpectedly cause a catch in my throat and fill my eyes with tears.  Like watching a couple I’m with exchange a knowing look and smile.  Or coming home with some great news with no one there waiting.  Or waking up for the thousandth morning in a row next to an empty pillow.  Or walking into church or a party or gathering alone.  Or watching freaking Parenthood, where even watching the roller coaster of those relationships leaves me wishing I had a Joel or Adam or Crosby of my own.

It’s like grief, the way those feelings sneak up on you without warning and then instantly overtake you.  And while sometimes I’m in public or in the middle of a project and have to just block out those feelings and press on, I have learned from experience over the years that it’s best to just ride out the wave.  And not overanalyze everything.  Because after days or weeks or years of staying strong and holding it together, usually the best thing in the world is to yield to the grief and let it out.

The grief

For those who aren’t single, I know it might sound melodramatic to associate being single with grief.  But I have come to believe that’s exactly what it is at times.

Let me be clear.  I love my life, single and all.  And I have written a handful of times on here before about how I’ve found many things about the single life to be empowering and awesome.  And I absolutely believe in living life — wherever it finds you — to the fullest.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I still would love to be married, and that I have dreamed dreams and hoped hopes over the years that simply were left unmet.  And I grieve those things.

I grieve the fact that I didn’t get to experience young love and marriage like so many of my friends, and alongside so many of those friends.  I grieve the fact that I didn’t get to meet my husband when we were in the smooth-skinned, wrinkle-free, heads-full-of-hair, bursting-with-energy “prime” of our youth.  I grieve that a guy never got to see me lead worship in my first job, and I never got to cheer him on with his first promotion, and stay up late dreaming and planning where our careers would lead.  I grieve that we didn’t get to choose all of our “firsts” together — first city, first home, first set of pots and pans, first Craigslisted-couch, first dog, first car, first broken toilet that we fix together, and on and on.  I grieve that — even if I do meet someone — we will in some ways be years behind so many of my peers in experiencing all of those “firsts” of marriage, and being newlyweds, and starting a family, and quite simply just getting to really know everything about each other.  I grieve that my age is becoming an increasing factor in whether or not having kids of our own would even be possible.  I grieve that there is no one on the horizon.

Sure, I can play devil’s advocate on all of these.  And I often do with myself, because I absolutely know that the years I’ve been single have (for the most) part been wonderful.  And if a guy does happen to come along in the future, I also know that relationship will be great in its own special way.   But that doesn’t discount the fact that I had dreams of how I hoped things would go.  And when those dreams or prayers were not answered as I had hoped, something deep inside me just aches.

The heartache

Really, that’s the best word I can use to describe the really hard days and moments that I have being single.  It’s heartache, in the most literal and emotional way.  You know the feeling, when a weight presses down on your chest so hard that you can barely breathe, and then somehow buries deep into your soul?  That kind of ache.

It’s not really jealousy.  Trust me, I struggle with jealousy and comparison in all sorts of other areas of life.  But with relationships, I’ve strangely always been encouraged by watching other good marriages.  It’s also not really anger either.  Occasionally I get mad about the situation and vent to friends or have it out with God.  But even with God, as counter-whatever it may seem, I’ve always felt like He gets that grief more than anyone.  And He has seen me through so many years and I don’t doubt He will continue to do so.  So there’s no one or nothing really to be mad at.

No, I think the main thing I feel is just that ache of sadness.  Sad that I’m still walking this road.  Sad that it is downright exhausting at times doing life on your own.  Sad that I have absolutely no idea or hint of what lies ahead.  Sad because I would just love the chance to love.  Sad that there’s a decent chance that might never happen for me.

Some days, my heart just aches.

The response

I’m not going to package this up with a nice pretty bow and a list of 5 steps for how to handle these moments.  Because if I read that in someone else’s post, it would probably make me cringe.  But mostly because, like I said, I honestly don’t think there’s a ton to “do”.

Sometimes I cry, sometimes I pray, sometimes I call a friend, sometimes I go for a walk, sometimes I just snuggle with my dog, sometimes I make myself a bowl of my favorite egg drop soup.  But most times, I try my best to just be present in the moment and listen to my heart.  Sometimes a specific issue will rise to the surface about being single that I need to deal with, maybe on my own, or with God, or something I should bring up with a group of friends or a therapist or something.  But I’ve come to find that most of the time, I’m usually just sad and that’s all there is to it.

And that’s ok.

So yeah.  I’m still that someone who’s all about enjoying life being single, and feeling empowered and chasing after dreams and living life to the fullest.  But I’m also someone who has spent plenty of time in the valleys, learning the outlines of the shadows that come with this territory when all seems lost.  And I’ve come to believe these moments are just as important as the highs.

But as my old pastor used to say, the worst thing is never the last thing.  And somehow, the light and joy that come with the morning always come again.  Always.

So to any of you dear friends who find yourself in the midst of those hard days, I raise my glass to you and the courage and strength it takes to get through.  And I offer that you’re not alone.  And remind you — and myself — that it will get better.

It will.

If you’re interested, here are some other posts I’ve written about being single.

**Update: I just wanted to pop in and say how completely blown away I am for all of your thoughtful responses below.  I read every single one, and am so grateful for each of you who share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

183 comments on “When Being Single Just Feels HARD”

  1. Thank you! I’m newly single and feel miserable, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone

  2. Well when you do have someone to share your life with, which makes you feel a whole lot better than being alone all the time by yourself. Makes sense, especially if you’re very compatible with one another.

  3. Thank you for this post. It was so refreshing to read someone write about the grief, the heartache, and the sadness that is so hard to explain to “happily coupled” friends.

  4. So glad to have run across this post. I actually was married young and had a baby young…now I’m an almost 33 year old single mom and man does it not sting to wonder if I wasted all those years with the wrong guy and that my guy got tired of waiting. I think about it a lot more than is like to admit. Thank you for explaining the grief so perfectly. It’s hard to be told how great you are and how “it will happen when you least expect it” when you’re not so sure it will. I often feel guilty because I know I am loved and wanted…by family and friends…but I want so much more.

  5. Sitting on my couch and reading this with tears in my eyes because it’s all true from top to bottom. While it sometimes helps to know you’re not the only one having this thoughts and feelings, unfortunately it doesn’t take the sadness away. But as you wrote: sometimes all that’s left to do is give in to the sadness and know that this is only today and not forever. Thank you for writing this. Hug from single to single.

  6. My heart aches in all the ways you so fluently discribed. Growing older… and with every loss of an “almost” relationship the grief feels deeper and deeper. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

  7. I know this was from a long time ago, but I just found it on Pinterest. It was what i needed. I feel like there’s no one in my life that understands my heartache, struggles & frustrations. Thank you for sharing ♡

  8. thank you for writing this. i am 51 and have been depressed, anxious, struggled with low self esteem for over 40 years. it seems that for whatever reason…perhaps what i give off to others, or my choices in dating or others not always being straightforward about their true intentions i really have never had a relationship that lasted more than months. thusly, it’s very hard for me to believe at this point i will have one in my life. i have learned out of necessity how to be ok (much of the time) being alone. but probably about the equal amount of time, i feel lonely, like there’s something wrong with me to have not had relationships when i was younger and now. it truly is that chest crushing heartache you talk about. i isolate myself a lot…i have endured a lot of rejections in spite of being an attractive, smart person…and i feel traumatized by those experiences. if i date someone…when it ends, i tend to have a very hard time letting go/accepting it’s over. In the past, because it was usually easy I have initiated another go or two with the same person, bc of familiarity, attraction, etc..even though it ended up the same.
    I am now not doing that, thank goodness…I sure wish I knew how to cope with being alone better and not feel such grief at the way the relationship part of my life has unfolded.
    I grew up in the shadow of the weddings of my 4 elder siblings…even though that was long ago and really only one of the marriages has lasted/been a good marriage, i still hurt a lot regarding not sharing moments, touch and friendship in a romantic sense in any lasting way in my life…

    To all, such as yourself, who deal with these feelings, you are not alone.

  9. Thank you for your article. I am all too familiar with ‘the ache.’ I get it. I have been single most of my life (I’m 49), and relatively happy with that. But sometimes, being single is just HARD. I have my lonely days, when I just wish I could share my day with someone, and hold their hand. There is only so much sharing you can do with friends. I get tired of being upbeat, and I want to not be so strong sometimes. I have spent my whole life being strong. I spent 21 years in the Army, have a combat tour, and have done things most will never do. That doen’t make me better, just different. I can get through the lonely spots, but damn it can be hard at times. I want that one person who is on my side, to laugh and talk and make love with. To just be with. Oh that ache.

  10. Hi. I just recently came across your post. I realize this is about three years old now but just wanted to say it meant a lot to hear someone that’s described the same type of feelings that’s been on my heart for a while. Some days seem to be harder then others. A lot of these feelings are still relatively new to me and have been hard to process. They started for me about a year ago. I pray a lot but there is still a grief that seems to linger and gnaw at me.

    There are days I ask God why. I know there are seasons in life that we go through that He uses to draw us closer to him. My fear is not knowing how long the season will last. I do know that God is good and I have faith He will bring me as I know he will bring or brought you through as well. It’s been helpful to hear of someone that’s gone through the same struggles. I pray that God has brought you through this season of life and that every day has been better then the next. May God bless you!

  11. Just came across this post and it really hit home. And all the usual advice “You can’t rush it”, “It will happen when you least expect it”, “You have to put yourself out there”, “You’ll find your special someone someday”, “I can’t believe you’re single, you’re such a catch”… I know people mean well but all it does it makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me that I I’m still single. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one that bursts into tears when the weight of singledom really settles in hard :(

  12. Today I shared your post in facebook because this is the nearest I have read about how I feel when it all comes crashing down. It is heartbreaking to remain single for so many years, it feels so unfair at times when, probably like you, I yearn to be loved and loved and to share my life and struggles. So many friends were blown away by your words and so am I. Thank you for making me realise that my emotions are justified!

  13. I wish I had more time to post. You nailed most everything I have ever thought. My “moments” come when moving furniture from one floor to another. And the horribly horribly daunting prospect of living a long time, single, and the awful prospect of retirement and funding all those years of retirement. A long life is wonderful if you are wealthy and healthy. The crushing weight everyday of balancing a bank account and my dreams. And the knowledge I have to just put one foot in front of the other and keep going….. But the best part of your post is that you share your life with God. I have a faith that borders on the weird. I have the oddest, rarest personality type, the INTJ, and I have very very few friends. Thank you for this post. God is by my side, in my mind, heart, soul always. Looking forward to reading your other ‘single’ posts. Best to you.

  14. This article couldn’t be more on point with the thoughts and feelings I feel. Thank you for putting many of our feelings into words and putting it out there that we are not alone on this road.

  15. In life, there are two versions of people, the outgoing type and the anti-social type. Those who are the live wire of any gathering, I’m talking about those people that you can’t help but love their charisma. Then comes those of unfriendly aura that unwelcome people’s company, I am one of the many who ended up here. With everything that has happened in my life, I think I may be anti-social. Personally, I’m naturally introverted and mingling in social gatherings is not my forte.

    In little words, I am not the kind of person that likes to be around a lot of people. I’d rather just be alone and thrive in my own space. Several people have asked me why I like to keep to myself; I’m still yet to think of a justifiable reason.

  16. WOW!

    Thank you for sharing, for allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Your post spoke to me and in a way has helped me process where I am at. I have been feeling disillusioned and wondering why I am not able to be grateful or happy with what I have, but this post helps me put things into perspective a lot better. It is not that I am not grateful for what i have, its more that I have had a hop for a dream that has remained unfulfilled and this has given me grief. The principle is biblical “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.

    Reading others comments make me realise I am not alone and even if I do not know everyone else who posted, I feel like I am journeying with others.

    God bless you abundantly!

  17. Well for many of us good single men that were really hoping to meet a good woman to share our life with, certainly is very difficult today since this society has really changed from the old days when love was much easier to find back then with no trouble at all. Being a single man today myself has so many disadvantages to begin with since everywhere we go which we really are all by ourselves all the time which isn’t really fun at all, especially since many of us really hate it. At least when you’re married which you have your family to be with wherever you go instead of being all alone all the time which can be very depressing. You could go on trips together, eat out in a restaurant, get together with other friends for a party, and the list goes on. And when you’re all alone which makes it very difficult to go anywhere by ourselves, especially when all of our other friends are all settled down since their life is so complete and ours really suck.

  18. Well for me being a single man has so many disadvantages since everywhere i go which i am always alone. Very difficult to go anywhere by yourself when i wish that i could have a woman in my life to share it with. And being single and all alone is very unhealthy too which could lead to depression as well. At least when you’re married it does make you feel very loved and wanted since your never alone at all. Married people have all the advantages as well. The married life would be the very best of all if your that very lucky and blessed to find the right person to be with, especially if you really love one another and being very compatible and caring to each other. It is just too very bad for many of us single men that we weren’t that blessed to find the right good woman for us since many of us good men really hate being single too.

  19. Not exactly Isaac,I guess,as he was 40 when he met Rebecca.I’m 53,single,never married,no children.I don’t have any camels to water,but maybe a woman will show up soon,(13 years late),and hose down my car? :-D .I’m listening to a song by forkingandcountry now called (to the dreamers).

  20. I’m 58 now and hate being single. There’s just nothing out there. Seems like all of the women are either taken, don’t want me or I don’t want the ones who are available. It’s just a miserably crappy deal for those of us that God completely forgot about when it comes to love.

  21. Thank you for writing this, I related to everything you wrote. By reading this, I realize we are not alone.

  22. This is exactly how I’m feeling right now. It’s so refreshing to hear someone say ‘you know what, sometimes it plain sucks’. So many times people in life try to give you advice but there is nothing anyone can say to make it better. No one can know what will happen, that it will be around the corner, that you need to be patient, good things will come around. Sometimes nothing happens and expecting it to just creates more sadness and disappointment. So thanks for understanding the heartache that no one else does.

  23. I love this post so much. As a gay man–I somehow feel like I could relate to this too. I’ve been single for almost 3 years now. I tried online dating, speed dating, getting set up and nothing progressed. I almost teared up when reading the grief paragraph. I realized that finding love is not about being a nice person (sure it helps)-it’s about luck. I just don’t know the answer to my questions, I don’t know how to be lucky in love and that’s the frustrating part of it all. Some people are just lucky and blessed to have found their partners early on. Some people are lucky that they met someone who is head over heels over them. I’ve never met one who feels that way to me. One thing that scares me is that the time is moving-it’s nonstop. That’s why I liked the grief paragraph when you mentioned “I grieve the fact that I didn’t get to meet my husband when we were in the smooth-skinned, wrinkle-free, heads-full-of-hair, bursting-with-energy “prime” of our youth.” As a person who have so much love and support to give, I too am grieving that I don’t have someone to give that to. I have many friends and I spend a lot of time with family and still there’s something missing. I grieve that after I spend time with friends/family and socializing. I go home alone, and that’s my reality. I appreciate the other comments too, I read them all. It’s good to know that there is an army of us waiting for that special someone to give us a chance to show them how lovable and adorable we are!