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Sunday, August 31, 2014

An Open Letter to Single Women

*Single here is defined as not married, or seeing anyone. This article is for single WOMEN! I am not a single MAN; so I’m not qualified to address that side of the issue.

Dear Single Women,

This is the best free advice you are ever going to get so listen carefully:


I want you to know that I am single (never married and not seeing anyone) and have been for a quite some time. I want you to know that there are lots of single women out there and that they understand where you are coming from. I don’t have any of the typical Cosmo, Glamour, Style etc. advice for you about how a new sexual position, outfit, or make up tip will make you magically appealing to the weaker sex.  But I am here to say that pining over a man won’t get you one and complaining about men (even though it’s good entertainment from time to time) won't change them. I know, I know men are selfish, sex -obsessed, narcissistic, blah blah blah. In fact you can insert any other adjective and I will totally agree with you, but how does that help YOU? I’m a huge fan of self-acceptance. There are so many things in life we can’t control. Whether someone is sexually attracted to us and eventually comes to love us is not a factor we have too much control over! That’s tough for women, because we like control. That’s why we read all those relationship books, that’s why we spend money and time on dating sites, and why we stomach inordinate amounts of dating advice from well-meaning friends and family. But part of being an adult is also learning to accept the things that you cannot change. I know, I know your church has a singles groups, and your minister is praying a special prayer for you, and everyone is telling you that if you are single it’s your fault and that you need to change, or that singleness is a gift, or that God is preparing you for yada yada yada.

The fact is women are relational. We love relationships. We love talking about relationships and when our relationships aren't right we are not happy. Being single is a lot more negative, stigmatizing, and potentially heartbreaking to women, just because we are so relational. So here are some things to consider if you would like to be both single AND happy.

1) It is probably not your fault that you are single. I know everyone is blaming you, but in most cases it’s a simple numbers game. You haven’t done anything wrong. Look at your friends who are married, are they really that much more wonderful, enlightened, mature etc. than you? You may still wish to take the time to do serious introspection and work on those things that may hinder positive relationships, but if you are scratching your head and wondering, "why am I single?," it’s probably NOT you that’s the problem. It could be just a bad break. It could be where you are located, and it could be that the other gender is the problem. More than likely women are single because of a skewed male to female ratio or a severe shortage of quality single men. In short, dating is a numbers game!

2)Please enjoy your life. When I look back at some of the best times in my entire life--those defining moments, those times when I was happiest and at my best, I was single! Really examine your life and the things that matter to you. In fact, my regret is wasting my time pining over some guy. When I was fresh out of college I had a good social network. I was always going to parties, game nights, restaurant etc. I had so much fun, but often I put a damper on these great experiences because I was worried over being single, sad that I wasn't pretty enough, and discouraged because Mr. I-forget-his-name-now didn't like me. All the time I could have been and should have been enjoying myself and cultivating meaningful friendships with other people.

3) Leave dem relationship books and seminars alone! Sure the advice may be good, but is it healthy to constantly hear that you are doing it wrong? That if you change x,y, and z factors you will get the incredible man of your dreams? I do not think it helpful to fixate on this stuff. It’s a recipe for depression.

4) As a rule, I don’t go to weddings. Not because I’m a mean person, but because a wedding is no place for a single woman! As a single person, you may not be able to plan your third cousin twice removed's wedding. Those bridal magazines are NOT for you. Those articles on marriage are NOT for you. Drink too much of this Kool-Aid and you will start to believe that you are defective and that marriage will lead you to your happily ever after. Our society knows this is not true. Look at how many marriages end in divorce or how many people stay married out of a sense of obligation but are neither in love nor happy. The bitter truth is that very few people are happily married.

5) Please have fun. I say this because so many people postpone doing those things they have always wanted to do until they have found a partner. Why let life pass you by? Where have you always wanted to go? What are your goals? What fulfilling things can you do with your time? What types of experiences add meaning to your life? These are questions the single woman should ask herself. We only get one shot down here on this planet. We are here, quite literally, for a limited time only! So what things, within your control, can you do that will help add to your happiness and joy (doing things for others can be one of those things). For me, I like to read, play old school video games, plan vacations (even if I can’t afford to go on one right now), take up new hobbies, study chess strategy, write blogs etc. etc. These things add to who I am and make me unique and interesting. I love to learn. I try to teach myself a foreign language, how to play an instrument, how to bake, etc. Fun is a priority to me. When I am having fun I am a better person, a better friend, and yes more attractive! Don’t let society tell you how to feel, what the timeline on love is (e.g. Oh my wow I’m [insert age here] and I’m not married!!!!!!), or what you are worth as a human being!

6) You may have to change your friends. I once had a group of friends who only wanted to talk about relationships. I became angry and bitter. I didn't want to talk about being single every time we got together. Some commiserating is healthy, but as mentioned above fixating is not. On the positive, if you have great girlfriends you have a wonderful blessing. Enjoy each other!

7) Don’t do anything that reinforces the "you're single = your broken = you need to do something about it” message. You may have to quit the singles ministry. You may have to stop pursuing relationships for a while. Leave the blind dates alone, or shut down your okcupid profile etc.

8) Do not settle. There is a reason you don’t date men who smoke, party, harm animals, etc.We all have deal breakers. I don’t date men who have children, who are unemployed, and who don’t practice basic sanitation and hygiene. When you start compromising on things you said were unacceptable you may cease being single, but I assure you, you will also cease being happy and cease being you.

9) Yes men as a gender are (insert bad adjectives here) but how does that fix anything? How can you become better and not bitter?

 I’m all about living life to the fullest. I’m about going out, having a good time, meeting new people sharing new experiences, laughing, and in the process hopefully doing something that makes a difference down here. I am a complete person, with thoughts and feelings, and goals. The best advice I can give to single women is to live life in such a way that someone has to be truly exceptional  in order to compel you to change your single status. 


Anonymous said...

hello from Sharon: I am a forever single Black woman over 40. At one time I longed to be married. I am also a Christian who tries to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. I don't believe in fornication or any other sexual sin. These beliefs have led me to be single for a long time. I am not willing to compromise on these beliefs. It is more important to please God rather than man. As Christians, we are here on this earth for a short time. We must live to pursue and please the Lord Jesus Christ and not men, jobs, materialism, marriage,possessions, etc. I enjoy reading your article and hope that you will stay strong. Marriage cannot make you happy and fulfilled. Only Christ can make you happy and fulfilled. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Sharon:

I wanted to say that many married people put forward a false image of themselves to the public, especially when they are around other single people. Behind closed doors, most of these married people are not happy. They may have the house in the suburbs,2.5 kids, etc, but they are not truly happy.I know some married people who don't even wear their wedding rings anymore, and sleep in separate beds!

Crystal Clear said...

Hi Sharon and welcome to the blog. Thank you for sharing your experience as a single black woman. I especially appreciated what you said about marriage not being able to make any one happy. You are 100% correct about that. Anyway I hope you will stop by more often. Thanks again for your perspective.