Tag Archives: Singleness

Waiting for Mr. Right can be an ongoing challenge, but for some reason during the holidays it can be even more poignant and painful.

Until I married at 42, I never had a boyfriend during the holidays, a reality that instigated many bouts of tears.  No one to go with to the office parties.  Alone under the mistletoe and on New Year’s Eve.  While everyone else seemed to be extra in-love this time of year, I was alone and often lonely, exasperated too.

Wouldn’t it be fun being a couple enjoying each others’ families?  Or maybe a romantic ski vacation in Aspen (no matter I don’t ski and am afraid of the slopes, I’d sure look fine in a new Pucci ski jacket.)

Parties came and went while I seldom went anywhere, except home alone for Christmas, or New Year’s Eve with a best friend’s kids.

So, how does a heart hold on during yet another holiday season alone?

Here are a few tested strategies which I found can alleviate pain and make for a festive season of joy, while Mr. Right tarries.

Dress Up – Sure, it would be fun shopping with him in mind, but why not don a few sparkles anyway?  Target and H&M have inexpensive sequin tanks or fun little accessories that can make a girl feel special.  Find a friend or two who will appreciate your bling and head out for some fine dining or a festive event like the Nutcracker.  Girlfriends hand out a lot more compliments anyway, so drink it in and enjoy how pretty you feel.

Celebrate Your Family & Friends Now – Once Mr. Right starts weighing in on holiday plans, you can plan to give up some treasured moments with relatives and friends.  Sure it’s a worthy trade-off, but it IS a trade-off.  So while full freedom reigns, choose your favorite crowd and go.  (certainly keep your eyes open too, should one of them be related to Mr. Right.)

Don’t Be Fooled…Attending Alone is Not All Bad – If the thought of going to a holiday party without a date is way outside your comfort zone, why not try it and discover how interesting the freedom can be.  I found it often more enjoyable to attend on my own, completely myself without worrying if my guest was having fun, rather than bring someone I wasn’t in love with along to simply play the part.  Being alone isn’t awkward if you don’t act awkward, so put on a confident smile and enjoy the surprise moments you’re sure to have.

Maybe this year isn’t a MARRY Christmas, but surely it’s a MERRY one.  With 100 million singles in America you’re really not alone.  What a comfort to remember that the Christ child came much later than expected but right on time.  It will be no different for your Mr. Right.  So until he gets here….Joy to the World!

The other evening walking to our favorite dinner spot, I bumped into two beautiful women, friends of mine.  They started sharing how discouraged they’ve been about being single.  One tried unsuccessfully to hold back tears.

“I just helped one of my best friends pick out her wedding dress,” she said.  “And all I could hear in my ears was, ‘You’re 28 and have never had a serious boyfriend, what’s wrong with you?'”

The other one shared, “I’m about to turn 30, with no prospects in sight.  It’s easy to feel utterly hopeless!”

Boy do I relate!  I married at 42 and until then, accompanied each of my best friends, my sister, and myriads of others, down the aisle toward all MY dreams.  I threw the showers (first for weddings, then many babies), and looked around to find my hopes fading and options increasingly rare.

So how does a heart hold on without any signs of change?

There are several ways, not rocket science but effective nonetheless.  Here are the few I shared with my two friends…..

1.  Keep Dreaming Other Dreams — Maybe you can’t make your dream relationship happen, but what other dreams can you make happen?  Do you want to travel?  Write a book?  Redecorate or take a cooking class?   Start a new career?  Buy a fun car that only a single would enjoy?    Use this season to do these or other dreams.

So often single women feel “on hold” or “held back” because they imagine so much will change when they do get married.  Maybe it will, but likely it won’t, and in the meantime you can bring your heart alive by dreaming other dreams.

There was a time when I realized part of my frustration in being single was really about not having a home of my own where I could express my love of decorating and entertaining.  While I had enjoyed some wonderful roommates, it was time to get my own little place.  Wow, the fulfillment I imagined would only come in sharing a home with my husband, suddenly happened by just moving out on my own.  No more waiting to buy a Cuisinart, or a beautiful table and chairs!

While love and marriage tarry, move boldly in the direction of other dreams.  This is THE MOST empowering thing to do whenever a dream feels on hold and out of our control.

2.  Enjoy Your Friends — This may sound obvious, but even after you get married there are certain ways that only friends can enliven the heart and satisfy the soul.  No one relationship is ever an “all-in-all” so take the time now to cultivate varied relationships that bring joy and courage while you wait.

I always dreamed of going to the ballet with my husband, then I married a man who doesn’t like the ballet!  I’m so glad that before we met I was enjoying the Nutcracker with my friend Elizabeth who worked for the ballet and got free tickets.  Nothing like a girl’s night out to satisfy the female soul.

3.  Spend Time With People Like the Person You Want to Marry — 85% of people meet their spouse through mutual friends.  Think about your dream man and imagine who his friends are, where he spends his time, what he probably enjoys doing.  Then make a point to get involved in those settings, not trying to manipulate, but in a sincere desire to position yourself where you also belong.  For me that meant finding a dynamic church full of “whole” people (without “issues”!) who care lots about their faith and making a difference for God.  It also meant attending certain conferences and being proactive in business circles.

There is nothing quite as attractive as someone living their dreams, full of life, engaged in a variety of interesting things.  Open to relationships YES, but not desperate or increasingly depressed.  Bottom line — the more people you know, the more people you know.

4.  Be a Woman of Hope — Lastly, choose to keep hoping.  In spite of what you see or feel, regardless of how things look or don’t look.  Hope is a choice, not a feeling.  Hope is also a “beauty treatment,” making the face beautiful and alive, while keeping the heart engaged.  We all choose whether we will let facts and circumstances determine our countenance, or if we will believe in a power higher than our own and a sovereign plan at work, even amidst no signs of change.

I have determined that for every dream in my heart I will be a woman who hopes, no matter how long it takes.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being single until the age of 42. Rather, in my Type A, first-born, choleric personality, here is how I knew it would go:

  • Meet Mr. Right in college
  • Marry at 25
  • Have two girls and one boy by the age of 35
  • Raise a family while simultaneously using my television degree in some way
  • Enjoy marriage and family life, entertain other families in our home
  • Instead, college graduation came and went with no sign of Mr. Right anywhere. Meanwhile, most of my girlfriends did find theirs in college. So I threw the showers, stood up in the weddings, celebrated their joy in fulfilling MY dreams.

    Every year I thought, “This is my year,” but alas, years came and went.  So, seemingly, did all the great men.

    Somewhere along the way I knew I had to make a choice. Would I enjoy this season of singleness, regardless of how long it lasted? Or would I bemoan and grow more bitter with each passing year?

    Thankfully, I chose joy, hundreds of times, over and over, often amidst heartache, tears, and unanswered questions of why it was taking so long.

    Now married to my wonderful husband for nearly six years, am I ever glad I fought to find joy before he came. Because, interestingly, the fight for joy is not unique to singleness. Every season has its gifts and challenges that so easily steal hope and joy, married or not.

    I’ll be writing much more about this topic in the weeks to come so please keep checking back. You may also enjoy my podcast series Single in the City.  I would love to know your thoughts, questions, or ideas for HOW to stay joyful while you wait.