What I’d Like For You To Know: A Single Adult

WhatidlikeWelcome to another edition of the What I’d Like For You To Know series.  If you’re new here, the idea behind this series to is to ask women to share something about a specific life challenge or circumstance, addressing some of the misconceptions and (most importantly) telling us all how we can reach out better.

Today’s guest poster is Tammy from Single Solitary Things.

The year I turned 30, my birthday happened to fall on Father’s Day.  A few days before the combined event, I phoned my dad to tell him I wouldn’t make the three hour drive home to visit.  I had just recently moved back to the city of my youthful stomping grounds after 3 years away, and I was the first of my friends to hit the big 3-0.

Dad graciously understood, and asked “So, how old are you this year?”

“Thirty.”  I replied.

“Oh.” He sighed, and paused. “I never thought you would be an old maid.”

I know what you’re thinking.  But coming from my dad, I wasn’t offended.  I knew that in his generation, that was the plain truth.  Moreover, I knew that he was really saying, “I can’t believe some man hasn’t snapped up my charming, smart and attractive daughter.”

Eight years later, I’m still not married, and still have no children.  I am sure that many people I encounter see an old maid.  Of course they don’t say it in as many words as my dad.  They show it instead.

They show it when they say, “Not married? Oh, you must be picky.”

I hear it when others, incredulous, refuse to take it as fact.  “Just kidding.” I want to say in such cases, “ I am married.  Don’t worry.  I’m normal.”

I think the inability to categorize me makes some people uncomfortable.  If I were divorced, they could make sense of it.  Were I a single mom, I’d find sympathy and compassion.   But by admitting my single, never married, no-child status is akin to announcing there is something wrong with me.   I’m reasonably attractive, funny and pass for intelligent, so people are only left to ponder my fatal flaws.  Some people actually ask, “So what’s wrong with you?”

Our society sort of views marriage as a given. A rite of passage.  When I read news accounts of a young woman or even a child who died tragically, her parents inevitably say “I’ll never walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. I’ll never hold her children.”  It is assumed that everyone who was born will marry and have children.  I assumed I would too.  When it just doesn’t happen, knowing that it is expected of us only deepens the pain.

That is why it is so hurtful when it is suggested to a single person that they “must be picky.”   As if we can just pick a guy and get married.  After all, did you settle?  Now you’re suggesting that you could have married just anyone.  Would you have had as successful a marriage if you had ended up with one of your exes?  As much as I long for marriage, I sure am glad I didn’t marry any of the men in my life so far.

That’s the trick about marriage as a goal. It’s not like learning to dance, or committing to losing weight.  It doesn’t take will power to find a mate.  It takes a mate. It takes a miracle.  Oh, that I could just go to the store and pick one up!

True, single for some people is a choice. For those of us who truly desire marriage and children and family, it is not.  Marriage is a vocation that two people agree to take on together.  I can’t do it by myself.  I learned, in just the last two months that I can’t make someone love me.  No matter how much I love him, or how strong in faith he might be. Not even that our shared faith made us both stronger.  No matter how happy we are together until all the Ifs and Buts step in. 

And the simple fact of the matter is, I’ve never been asked.

That alone makes me question my womanhood and my desirability. It’s a very uncomfortable place.  I am a woman who desperately desires motherhood.  My clock is tocking not ticking.   I am very aware that my best reproductive years are over.

What not to say

Please don’t remind a single woman that her chances for a healthy baby are diminishing every year she is over 30.   But also, please do not try to encourage us with stories of women who successfully bore children well into their 50s.   All of this is completely irrelevant to a woman without a husband or serious boyfriend.

While we’re on the topic, yes, I know adoption is an option.  I am adopted myself and believe that adopted babies are indeed the best kind.  If I were blessed with marriage, adoption would defiantly be a consideration.   But adoption is as far out there as infertility treatments when there is no man in your life.

You’ll find him when you’re not looking

I’m never not looking.  Yes, my life is full and happy.  But I am a mother without a child. I am a wife without a husband.  I want my other half.  Think of the loss you would feel if your husband or child suddenly were not there.    I feel, not daily, but often, that an important part of my life is missing.

And by the way… dating after age 30 is not fun.  It is a chore, like scrubbing the bathtub but less rewarding.  It’s hard to look forward to dinner and disappointment.   I want to anticipate a nice evening, but this much experience has taught me what to look for in a man – and more often than not, it’s not there.

In the meantime, sometimes I just want to dote my pent-up motherhood on your kids. It’s probably terribly inappropriate, but I will snuggle your baby and sniff its’ head to soak up that sweet smell.  I’ve been guilty of tickling and twirling a smiling baby until it spits up.  Sorry.  I will nosh on your toddlers’ chubby legs and lift his shirt to plant a raspberry, just so I can hear that throaty, from-the-gut baby giggle that makes my heart sing.  If it’s no trouble, please just indulge me.  (I promise not to do that to your husband.)

Seeing women my age or younger with kids in tow – can stir a pang of deep pain. I once called my church office to ask when Baptisms were scheduled, as I needed to avoid them.  Second Sunday of the month, I would attend a different church just so I didn’t have to see the happy couples with their beautiful babies.

That’s another point. Church is no place for a single woman.  Church is all about family. That’s why you see so few single adults there.  It’s not that they no longer believe, the fact is they don’t feel welcome.  When your pastor asks you reach out to share a blessing, do you turn to your family first?  I stand there waiting for a hand to embrace.

I worry this writing might sound all bitter and lonely and sad.  I am happy.  I am blessed with an incredible network of friends.  My family is amazing. I enjoy my single life to the best of my ability.  People remind me that marriage is not easy.  I remind them; neither is being single.

Oddly, Barb in last week’s post on Empty Nesting provided me a point to expound upon.  She wrote:

“Life is a circle. You flow from one stage to the next. And with a little time, you become comfortable with the newest stage.” –Barb, A Chelsea Morning

For a perpetually single person, that’s not so. My life is a wandering squiggly line – darting in and out of other people’s circles.  Everyone else is buzzing along on a predictable cycle but there is no circle of life in my world.  There are no ‘stages’ for me to move through, save the aging process.

I am not Less Than

I realize I may sound contradictory – as I have already pointed out here that I feel a part of me is missing.  But I am a whole person.  Perhaps I have not yet realized that God intends for me to be alone, and that to Him I am complete and not in need of a husband.   I’m still working on trusting God’s divine providence.

What I mean to emphasize is that you need not view me as pathetic and alone.  I am not waiting for my life to begin.  Marriage is not going to make my life worth living.  My life is worthy now.  I’m just a little lonely. 

Invite me over to play with your kids while you tackle the laundry.  Seriously.

Think about introducing me to someone.  Don’t wait until you find the ‘perfect guy’ for me.  It’s just nice to meet people.  You never know who they might lead you to!

If you do make an introduction, don’t make a big fuss.  Don’t tell either of us you’re setting it up.  Just put us in the same room.  If we’re interested, we’ll figure it out.  But feel free to point out after the fact, that you introduced me to so-and-so if sparks did not fly.

Pray for single adults.  There are ministries for single moms, working moms, elderly widows/widowers, and petitions for the sick.  But when does society reach out to the single?  Pray that your single friends might daily, feel the love of God and of their friends and neighbors in a tangible way.

Invite your single friends for a meal.  We’ll help prepare.  I attend my church’s weekly fish fry during Lent – even though I’m allergic to fish.  My priest teased me until I explained at home, I have to eat alone.

Keep in touch with your single friends.  They’re not out tearing it up and having orgies.   We’re not out to steal your husband.  Sometimes we just want to experience the hum of a household with a family.  Look for things in common with single adults.  We might not share your challenges, but we can still relate.

If you’d like to read more of Tammy’s posts, you can check out Single Solitary Things here.

102 thoughts on “What I’d Like For You To Know: A Single Adult

  1. What About Mom says:

    That was really thought-provoking. We had a lovely single sister in our congregation in Florida, and she taught our adult Sunday School classes. She was so articulate and funny and smart. We had no idea why she was still single (why someone hadn’t snatched her up!); I’m sure she shared many of your frustrations and longings.
    She knit me the softest baby blanket for my third daughter. I thanked her for it, of course, but now I wish I’d realized at the time how hard that probably was for her.
    Sending your post to my recently divorced sister. I know her relationship with Christ has deepened since losing the man in her life. I’m glad she (and each of us) has someone so reliable to turn to.

  2. TransitionGirl says:

    totally true Tammy. People keep trying to set me up on dates, push me to any single guy that walks by and keep nagging me that I’m not getting younger… and I’m 23!!
    I like being single, but they don’t believe me. Sure, I would love to have a partner, a mate, someone who I can have fun with, cry with, etc. But I also enjoy my singlehood and it’s insulting for others to keep telling me I’m not complete without a man.

  3. Lizzie says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    I of course don’t understand all of what you’ve written, but finding myself a single mom over the last years, I’ve found what you said about church is sadly very true.
    Single moms don’t really fit in at church either.

  4. TRS says:

    I know that’s true. I’m sure it’s hard for you as it is for me… to see husbands being charming with their kids in church. But moms always seem to gravitate to each other. They have that something in common.
    What About Mom,
    I love to sew baby gifts for my friends too. I’m sure your single friend poured a lot of love into that blanket. And not an ounce of bitterness!
    It’s a fine and delicate line sometimes – but we wouldn’t do it if didn’t love to.

  5. Melissa says:

    I enjoyed this WILFYTK, many great suggestions for how to incorporate and pray for the singles in our lives. I’m single as well and definitely understand the loneliness (why can’t people at least invite me over to their house?), but I also have a small son and I’m very blessed by him. It’s true I do hang out with other mom’s, but when I’m around them I definitely don’t feel like I fit in with them and their families. What’s funny is that I feel like my life is so much more wonderful than theirs. I guess I’m at a stage where I don’t see the grass as being greener on the other (married) side because so many married people seem weighed down, or miserable or, worse, numb to life. And this is coming from someone who hasn’t even been asked or set up on a date in years. Oh also, in addition to my natural son, I’m also a foster parent. There’s nothing wrong with single-parents caring for a child that otherwise would have no where to go. And, there’s the added benefit of all the enjoyment that comes along with motherhood.

  6. Erin says:

    Thank you for being so honest.
    I agree with what you said about church not being very welcoming to single women.
    My aunt is in a similar situation to you and I love her dearly – while I know her faith is as strong as ever I have seen her draw away (even been pushed away) from her church. It saddens me, but I do understand.
    I do think that this is something you can not fully understand unless you yourself are in that situation (as with alot of things I guess). I know how hurt she is by people telling her they know how she feels because they were not married until they were 23 and they wanted to be married at 20; and it’s not the same at all.
    I do all I can for her to be my ‘other mother’ because I know how much she misses not having had that opportunity. You helped me think of other ways I can try to be a blessing to her.

  7. Colleen says:

    I continue to be amazed at all of the wonderful, thought provoiking contributions to this series. Thank you for this post – Hopefully now I will take action and reach out to a friend and invite her for dinner (and hope she doesn’t mind my messy house)
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. becca says:

    I thought this was a beautiful post. It really struck a chord with me – you don’t have to be in the same situation to get it when it’s so articulately put.

  9. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says:

    Aw, Tammy – as a former long-time single, you hit the nail right on the head. As I turned 30, 31, 32, and so on I actually looked into being a missionary because I figured God must have some plan for me in which I would need to be single since the right guy hadn’t come along.
    I also endured *years* of nosy, rude, and inappropriate (albeit some unknowingly) comments as well…especially in my family where most married in their late teens and early 20’s. My *younger* cousins have kids headed to high school while I’m now still changing diapers!
    I also agree with you on the Church missing the boat with singles ministries. Here are people lovin’ God, mature enough for low supervision (LOL), who want to make a difference, and who might have more free time than many in the church! LOL
    I would have wanted nothing more than to find “the one” at church but I found him after deciding I couldn’t keep putting my life on hold and started going to events, In my case, activities, and conferences alone. DaHubby and I met at a kayaking conference 3 hrs from home and it turned out he was a church-going man and the son of a pastor! LOL
    God’s got a plan for you – continue to seek Him and He’ll lead you where you need to go, equip you for what it is, and prepare your heart.

  10. Kim H. says:

    Awesome post! One of my dearest and closest friends is my age and single – and I love her to pieces and pray for her each and every day – and your post made me able to relate even more. It’s hard because I want all of the above for her and more – and she is amazing – accepting God’s will – yet like you said, she feels lonely at times.
    Thank you for the wonderful insight and perspective and know I’m going to pray for you when I pray for my friend.

  11. Alicia says:

    Thank you for sharing. It’s always a blessing to know how to love and minister to those around us. I’m so grateful that we have a God who knows the “big” picture and wants the best for us.

  12. CarrieZ says:

    Well put. While I (totally surprising to me) married at 21 and have two young kids, my best friend since age 4 is about to turn 29 and is really struggling with still being single. I hurt for her, but I never know what to do, say, or not say. This post will help.

  13. angela says:

    Thanks for writing, I enjoyed your views.
    I’m 28, divorced for over 3 years now (yes, really, that young – don’t feel bad for me either) 🙂
    Even now, I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a couple years now but people make similar comments and suggestions. If they aren’t asking when we’re getting married and having kids, they are reminding us that we aren’t getting younger, etc.
    Sometimes people just don’t think about the comments they make.
    I was just saying that to a co-worker today.
    I’m also a veteran (yes, I’ve done a lot with my young life). On Veteran’s day, twice someone asked if there was a veteran (once I was standing in line somewhere and once at my sister’s school’s Veteran’s day concert). Both times the response to my speaking up was, “You? You’re so young?”
    As if asking – “Are you sure you’re a veteran? Do you know what that means?”
    yes – I know what it means, I was there, I got hurt, I continue to feel the pain and doctors and other professionals gave me an official disability rating.
    Shannon – I love this series, I love your blog. Keep up the incredible work!!!

  14. Mom24@4evermom says:

    Great post. I really worry about this happening to my daughter. She’s wonderful, but not in ways that others (guys) seem to pick up on. I have no idea why. She’s very young, and there’s literally a lifetime for her to find love, I just can imagine how painful it would be to want to share your life with someone and not find that person. Again, beautiful post.

  15. litabug says:

    Tammy, this is very helpful, and beautifully written. Thank you!
    I am enormously thankful for the single friends in my life! With two children under the age of 3 and a husband who is buried under the massive burden of starting/running his own business (pretty much day and night), at times I just thought I had disintegrated into a mindless, conversationless, diaper-changing cheerio-dispenser.
    But my single friends have kept me human with vibrant conversations about our common interests. We’ve gone on all sorts of adventures together (studios! the symphony! an afternoon downtown!) and they never complain one bit about stopping to change diapers or chasing my 2-year-old to protect him from certain destruction. Some have even babysat so I could enjoy some of these events with just the adults (glorious)!
    It’s been one of the biggest blessings of my life to have mature single friends (as in, not teenagers or college kids, though they can be a blessing in a different way). 🙂 I pray that I’m as much of a help to them.
    Also, having good adult influence beyond their parents is important for the children. Frankly, they’re not going to get as much of that influence from adults who are absorbed with their own children.
    So nosh away on those chubby thighs! There’s plenty to go around! 😉

  16. Jenni says:

    Oh, this post made me so…sad! I have several single adults in my life, but they all insist that they WANT to be single. I’ve never heard the longing for a spouse/family put in such poignant words. I will surely be more careful in how I view the single sister/brother from now on. Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your heart.

  17. Laura says:

    I can’t tell you how much I learn from my best friend, who also is 38 and single. I often tell her that I live vicariously through her…
    She teaches me to be independent and graceful with it. She shows me that you can live a full life, do the things you love, and have your dreams, but mostly, she shows me (and tells me often) the things about myself that I have within myself – strengths that I don’t often acknowledge during this difficult time in my life.
    In return, I send her pictures of her “nephew” (my son), and revel in her successes as though they were my own. I pray for her to find a partner, not because he would “complete” her, but because I know that she has her times of loneliness… and because I know how incredibly much love she has to share.
    Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your story… I enjoyed it here, and enjoy your page, as well!

  18. Joanna @ Grace in the Home says:

    This is a great post. I appreciate the writer’s honesty. Since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of a big family with lots of kids. When I got married and experienced years of infertility and miscarriages, I thought that was the worst pain I could imagine. I never stopped to think of a single woman with the same dreams of a family who couldn’t even try to have kids. Who doesn’t have a spouse that shares the same dreams and disappointments. Thanks for this post.

  19. marlise says:

    I, too, am a single adult. Thanks, Tammy, you covered a lot of great territory there. You are sooo right about the church having no idea what to do with single people. Singleness is not a disease, a handicap, or a punishment, and yet we’re different from “the norm.” To anyone who’s reading this and wants to know what you can do: Just be a friend. Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t pussyfoot around my stage of life. Just ignore all that, and allow me a little human interaction without looking for the cosmic flaw that’s keeping me from getting married.

  20. Amy @ Finer Things says:

    Fantastic post. I’m nearly in tears thinking about how blessed I am right now.
    My sister finally found the love of her life last year; I know that attending bridal showers brought the same pain to her as did attending baby showers for me when we were in the trenches of infertility.
    Thank you so much for sharing from your heart.

  21. Jenni says:

    Tammy – I’ve posted several times on my blog about the very same thing. I really appreciate your words and the grace with which you expressed the life of a single gal who wants not to be single! Thanks so much for your words today.

  22. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have a single male friend, and I wonder if he feels the same things you feel….hmmmm, maybe I should introduce you!!!! Your post brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how truly blessed I am. Thank you for that.

  23. Lauri says:

    >But adoption is as far out there as infertility treatments when there is no man in your life.
    I will say that for many women, including myself, this is not true for us. I gave birth to a wonderful baby boy this year via anonymous donor insemination. It’s becoming more and more common. I will say that this post resonates with me — I’m 36 and feel much the same way. But having a baby on my own, while not my plan A, is surely the best plan B ever. And it’s taken some of the pressure off the need to find a mate SOON.

  24. Laurieann says:

    My very best friend is 38 and single. And she is PART of our family. When she discovered we had been chosen to get a baby through adoption, she literally danced a jig in the church parking lot. We include her in our family because we love her and not because we feel sorry for her.
    She did confess to me on a rough day that sometimes when she looks at us all she can see is what she doesn’t have. But on a better day, she said she enjoys hearing my complaints because it’s nice to know that what may seem perfect from the outside isn’t always.
    I think we can always reach out in love and if we’ve ever experienced anything difficult, though the trials are not the same, we can have empathy.

  25. Leigh says:

    I’m 28, and while I am in a long-term relationship, we are not married. At this point, it feels like it will never happen. 😉
    I’ve got the career, I’ve got the finances straight, my biological clock is ticking. I am painfully aware that I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 years and we’re not married. I also know that my chances of having a family after 30 start decreasing. I don’t need to be reminded of this, although I do appreciate your concern.
    The other thing is: I still have stuff I want to do…for me. It may sound selfish, but I don’t think it is. When I have kids, I want to be able to look back and I accomplished everything I set out to do as an individual before I settled down to become their mom, which will be far more exciting than anything I’ve ever done. (If any of that makes sense.)
    My Great Uncle Johnny is 94. He maintains that he has a brown suit that he’s either going to dance with me at my wedding in, or he’s going to be buried…whatever happens first. *sigh*
    I too make baby blankets and such for my friends and family…it’s not painful at all! I think of it as practice. 😉

  26. lovedandamazed says:

    It was good to read this post, and it makes me feel so young to be only 25 and achingly single. I’m not to the age where people start wondering why I’m not married, but I feel it myself. I pray for my future husband even though I have no idea if there really is someone I’ll end up marrying.
    But I have a great life and I am extremely happy. I am the oldest in a very large family – my youngest brother just turned 4 – and so I’m still able to have time with children very near to me. Because I have been so involved in my parent’s household and my mother’s pregnancies, my friends who are married with children come to me just as often as other mothers for advice. I was recently sharing labor tips with a friend who is having her first baby and when I mentioned transition, she said, “What’s that?” It feels weird to know more about giving birth to a child than someone who is actually in the process of doing it. Yet I’m so glad to be able to be included and an active part in those conversations.
    I also have a great church which never ceases to offer support to me right where I am. They are concerned about the whole me and encourage me to keep growing. There are older ladies who mentor me, young ladies who are my friends, and children who look up to me as the best teacher they’ve ever had. The guys in our church are pretty great, too, although there basically aren’t any single guys. Still, I am able to be involved in several different ministries and the church is a wonderful extended family for me. I know I’m blessed and I do not take it for granted.
    God bless you, Tammy.

  27. Mary says:

    Thank you so much for your post today. I am a single woman who turned 50 this year. It really made me step back and examine my life. It’s such a milestone, especially for women, and at first, I could only see what I didn’t have and would probably never have. I came to see that my life is rich with friends and I have much to be thankful for. I still struggle with being “that age” and seeing my former high school classmates turning 50 with their grandchildren and children surrounding them. They are talking about retirement and I feel like I’m still waiting for my life to begin. I’ve never been asked, either, and for many years I kept asking myself and God what was the matter with me. Obviously, there was something wrong with me. It’s getting better, but I ask God often why I am still alone. I have no nieces or nephews and it’s difficult to be around children sometimes.
    I agree completely with your comments about society not quite knowing how to treat us. There is some of that at my church, too. I am seen as being the “go to” person when something needs to be done, because I don’t have a family to worry about – I must have tons of free time.
    One of the hardest things for me is that no one touches me. I don’t get daily hugs from my children or my husband. Think about how different your day would be without a child’s hug or good night kiss or a husband’s caress.
    The realization that I might always be alone is a painful one. Giving up the dream of a husband and children is not easy. I remember one day as I was checking out at the store, someone looked at my last name and asked if I was the mother of an acquaintance of his. It took a second to say no, because I was so shocked that someone might think I was someone’s mother. I was so shocked because I didn’t think I’d ever be anyone’s mother. For some reason, it totally threw me.
    Anyway, thanks again for your incredible post. I’m slowly coming to accept that this is how God wants me to live. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one going through this. God bless you now and always.

  28. Vicki says:

    There are so many great points in this article – thanks for taking the time Tammy! I was single until age 32 but was very content in my singleness. I felt “blessed” that I didn’t have a strong ache or desire to be a mother as I always thought that would make things so much more difficult.
    But I would simply tell people that I could “settle” & get married at 50 – what if I lived to be 80? That’s still 30 years of miserable & it just didn’t make sense to me to “choose” that, no matter what age I was! I liked what you had to say about marriage being the “goal” because that’s pretty much how I viewed it as well.
    Thank you for talking about the church’s lack of ministering to singles. At this point in my life I honestly do not know any single people – how sad is that??? But my eyes & ears will be much more attentive these days, as well as my heart being more open to serving them with your great suggestions.

  29. Krissie says:

    Thanks for writing this, Tammy! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Been having an off few days, and I needed to be reminded I’m not entirely alone in the world in how I feel.
    Lately it’s definitely been the struggle of “what’s wrong with me?” or what am I supposed to be learning, so I can hurry up and learn it, and get on with finding someone. It really doesn’t work that way though, although everyone around us seems to act like it does sometimes.
    I was encouraged by another friend recently, who told me that she met her husband in an utter moment of pity for herself and her single state. That was like a big HA HA HA to all of the “you’ll find someone when you aren’t looking” ideas.

  30. Tonyia says:

    Thank you so much. My best friend was supposed to get married this past Saturday. Well, the guy she was engaged to was… well, it didn’t work out. They postponed the wedding, intending to work on things. Well, now they have completely borken up. My heart breaks for her becuase I wasn’t LOOKING for a relationship when I met my husband. I had actually told him we were NOT going to date. Eight years later (we’ve been married for 5) he is the second best thing to ever happen to me (my daughter is the first). But my friend, she BADLY wants a family. And she would be SO great at it, so much better than me. She is so intelligent and beautiful and witty and caring. Seriously, I am not exaggerating. She is very invovled in the community and her church. She is a steal. But she hasn’t found the one yet. And we have discussed the possibility of it not being in God’s plan, but that seems too unfair to ponder on. It makes it hard as a married friend sometimes because I want SO badly for her to find it. There are times where I feel like my calling to see how she is (we only get to see each other about once a year) only makes it worse becuase whether we talk about my family or not, I know it’s in the back of her mind. I wish I could find him for her…

  31. MamaHenClucks says:

    Thank you for sharing so deeply from your heart. My husband Auntie has never been married. She is an intelligent, beautiful, funny, wonderful person whom we love so much. I’m sure over the years that she has been asked the same questions and felt the same feelings.
    We are so lucky to live near her and she gets the honorary status of another gramma to my chickies. She loves them and dotes on them and we love her and dote on her. It’s interesting because it is hard for the actual gramma’s to share their position but we know that it means so very, very much to Auntie.

  32. Molly says:

    I pictured my life to be like yours, Tammy. Unmarried with no propsects on the horizon. I was 20 before I even had my first kiss. But I did get married, to a guy I knew since 5th grade.
    Good for you for not feeling so pressured to get married that you make a hasty desicion regarding your mate. And as I look at it, the world is your oyster. You’re free to travel, move, spend your money how you see fit, and use all the hot water you want! You don’t have to be married to have a complete and filling life. But I understand your struggles and wish you all the best that life has to give!

  33. auntie says:

    Great post! You described exactly how I feel about being single in my thirties. One of the things that bothers me the most is knowing that I’m getting to a point where I may not be married to someone for 50 years, like my grandparents have been. Those things you assume will happen when you grow up sometimes just don’t happen, and that’s been a big lesson for me.
    I was engaged to be married earlier this year and thankfully realized before too long that it wasn’t right, that I had jumped too quickly because I wanted so much to be married. To feel like I belonged to something, and like I was “normal”.
    I guess I could go on forever about this…but I just wanted to say thanks for capturing so well what it’s like to be single these days. I’m off to check out your blog now 🙂

  34. Misty says:

    Thank you for the wonderful post. There are similarities (though I wouldn’t BEGIN to say it is the same) between what you describe and the battle with infertility. I have a child that is 8 years old and we have stuggled since his birth to have another…and it doesn’t help that in his innocence all he can talk about is wanting a brother or sister. It is so hard NOT be able to give your child the desires of his heart when it is also the desire of your own.
    But I have not really considered that I could be making things easier or at least less of a burden by including singles in my “groups” – as I relate to MANY different groups in our church. At our church we have a singles ministry and I honestly know very few of them…so I am going to find out how I can be a blessing to that ministry.
    Thank you for the insight and thought-provoking post…my prayers are for your peaceful rest in God’s arms until He provides you with the answer to your questions…

  35. erinannie says:

    I’ve long been a fan (and I flatter myself to say friend) of “Single Solitary Things.” You are a gifted writer, and find beautiful ways of explaining just what my heart is feeling. Today is no exception.

  36. Laura says:

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for running this, Shannon, and for sharing, Tammy. You hit the nail on the head.
    Churches need to realize that segregating singles apart from the rest of the church comes off like they’re saying, “Okay, lepers, go over here.” That’s not how the body of Christ is supposed to operate.

  37. susieshomemade says:

    Great post! I got married when I was 33 and I have to admit, I was starting to lose faith after 30. But, I wasn’t ready until then and once I was ready, pickins were slim. People mean well when they say those things but…

  38. Betsy says:

    Tammy, what an amazing and truthful post.
    Mary’s remark: “One of the hardest things for me is that no one touches me. I don’t get daily hugs from my children or my husband. Think about how different your day would be without a child’s hug or good night kiss or a husband’s caress.” also struck me as completely true.
    While I have been married, my husband and I separated two years ago and are confronting the idea that it might not work at all.
    In that time, I have occasionally been struck with what a friend dubbed “skin hunger,” the acute need to feel another human’s touch. It is astonishing how long we can go without holding hands, hugging or sharing a casual touch of friendship or encouragement, but I have found this to be (one of) the hardest things about being in my 30s and not (physically/geographically) close to my family.
    Since I realized it, I’ve made a point of reaching out to people who are in like condition — a friendly hand on the arm, less hesitation when a hug seems called for. I am not a touchy-feely person, so this particular need astonished me when I discovered it.

  39. Prairie Rose says:

    I married late (28) and am now divorced, and you’re right, it’s an entirely different experience. Before I was married, I felt like everyone was looking at me and wondering why I wasn’t, wondering if I had alternative preferences, wonder what was wrong with me, and constantly trying to set me up with someone. Now divorced, I get none of that. It’s like I’m okay now because I WAS married anyway, and that makes no sense whatosever.
    As a childless single-again person, and your comments about adoption — it’s not out of the question with no mate in view. There are plenty of kids out there that have no one — yes, it’s far preferable that a child have a mother and a father — but better that they have a mother only than nobody at all to love them and care for them. Find them a strong male role model, a grandpa or an uncle or even a friend, that can help fill the daddy-void somewhat. If you think God might be leading you toward adoption, definitely don’t rule it out just because you’re single.

  40. heather says:

    Tammy thanks for that wonderfully written and heartfelt post!
    While I’m, almost, 38, married, with 3 children, my BF, since 2nd grade, is still single! She longs to find a husband and “try” to have children. I, too, wonder why someone has not “snatched her up”. But I don’t feel sorry for her.
    And I feel better after reading your post, b/c I do a lot of the things you suggest! She’s currently living quite a long way away, but when my 2nd child was born, she came and stayed with us for several days. I thoroughly loved having her here, and while I was concerned that all the crying and fussing might get on her nerves, she confessed that, “This is the first time a crying baby didn’t drive me up a wall!”
    She painted the words to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star around the top of his “nursery” walls. He’s 6 now, but has a younger brother sharing his room ;), and it’s going to pain me to paint over it.
    When we talk, I get to share some of the frustrations of motherhood, and I get to live vicariously through her single life and career. We each envy the other just a little. But I, also, know how loneliness feels, and would never wish that on anyone, especially her.
    Anyway, thanks for pouring your heart out, and if you lived nearby, I’d let you babysit my 3 wild things anytime your heart desired. I wouldn’t even care if my house looked like a tornado had hit! 😉
    I wish you the very best!! And if you’re ever in MO, give me a ring! I have a 3 yr old who would reward your raspberry blowing with the most glorious sound you’ve ever heard.

  41. Micha says:

    I could have written that very same post. I’m 28 single with no prospects on the horizon. My 22 year old sister is married with a 19 month old and another due any day now. Some days all I want to do is cry.
    I also know first hand that as unfortunate as it is the Church has turned her back on the single members of the body. I am the only never married member of my church and it’s hard to get to know anyone when their husbands and children have all of their free time. The youngest adult Sunday School class at my church has the name “Pairs and Spares” um excuse me I am not a spare part. That’s why I teach the preschoolers. 😀
    All I can do is to rest in the fact that God is sovereign and that He knows what is best and will work all things together for good even when the good is impossible to see. And to steal as many sticky faced and hands hugs and kisses from my nephew as possible.

  42. Lucy says:

    This is a really great post. I don’t have many single friends at this point, but this motivates me to reach out more to the ones I do have. Once single friend has offered to babysit and I’ve never taken her up on it because I felt bad, like hey, come spend your Friday night with my three noisy kids so my husband and I can go out. What fun! But you’ve made me think that she wouldn’t see it that way and she wouldn’t offer if she didn’t want to do it.
    Thanks for opening up your heart.

  43. Erin says:

    Your comment – But adoption is as far out there as infertility treatments when there is no man in your life. – is really not true. If you really do want children in your life, there is no need to wait for a man! There is adoption, there is donor sperm.
    I’m a single mother by choice of two beautiful little girls and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Someday I hope to add a husband to our family, but it’s certainly not a necessity.

  44. TRS says:

    I’m so thrilled by all of your comments!
    And let me say that I know not every single adult is going to agree with all of my points. Some would just as soon run like the wind away from your kids!
    But have confidence, if they have offered to help – they mean it. We want to be Christ to you just as you want to be Christ to us! We just have to figure out how sometimes!
    Regarding my points about adoption being out of the question outside of marriage — let me say that is ME talking! It may be a great option for some people, but I know in my heart that I want to approach parenthood in a position of partnership. I don’t make much money and I can’t imagine supporting a child on my own.
    If I won the lottery however, I would scoop up babies all over town.
    And someone made a beautiful point that I forgot to make – the lack of touch IS a huge missing component in a single person’s life.
    I broke up with my boyfriend last month… and since we were abstinent we avoided some physical intimacy because if we ramped up we’d just have to ramp back down.
    One day, after being apart for nearly a week he embraced me when we were together – and I nearly sobbed. I told him I hadn’t been touched in a week and that I really needed it!!!
    Funny, you don’t realize you need it until you get it – then you realize how important touch is.
    Thanks again for all the sweet comments. Can’t wait to read more!

  45. Leah says:

    THANK YOU. It’s refreshing to see that I am not alone out there. This article sounds just as if I wrote it. I am 36 single, never married and have been set up with just about every breathing, walking male in my city. It is a job. You expressed the life of a true single Christian woman to a tee. Yes, we are “normal”, yes we are lonely, No we are not freaks or have something wrong with us. I appreciate your honesty and your heart. Know that there are several of us out there with you. :o)

  46. Jennifer says:

    Hi Thanks for sharing this. I have a sister who will be 30 soon. She is not married or even dating anyone seriously. I always have a hard time knowing what to say to her when she says “Kids wont be coming for me for a LONG time I guess”.
    I am sure you know about the bible verse that says the unmarried woman can be fully devoted to the Lord and how the married woman has cares in this life. Rejoice, please rejoice, your reward will be great in Heaven because you are/can be serving the King without the cares of this life getting in the way. It is a good thing. The church doesnt want to talk about it most churches are always about “FAAAMILY values”. But you know, our mission isnt to uplift the faaamily, its to GLORIFY GOD!

  47. Alexsandra says:

    Thank you for this incredibly honest and self aware description of single life.
    My church has a prayer that includes those who are “chosen to live the single life”. It is a vocation too. Why does God choose some to live this life? I see it in the special things I can do now as a single person that I couldn’t do as a married person. I was widowed at age 37 and have never dated since. I turned 50 this year and the married life seems very far in my past. I am gradually learning God’s purpose for me remaining single right now: creativity, connecting, learning, growing stronger in my faith. We each must find purpose in the life we are called to live.
    Many thanks again.

  48. Kim says:

    Thank you for being so straightforward and honest. I really learned from what you said and feel sad that I haven’t reached out to my single friends more. So, thank you for teaching me something today.

  49. Ewokgirl says:

    I laughed when you said that people said you’re picky. Um, yeah! When it comes to dating and potential marriage, one can’t afford to NOT be picky! Better alone than saddled with the wrong man.
    I have noticed that many churches are set up to mostly accommodate families with children. My husband and I have encountered this in the past because churches don’t know what to do with married couples who don’t have children. I can only imagine how much worse it must be if you don’t have a spouse in tow.
    However, we were fortunate to be members of a church with a very active singles ministry, which is where my husband and I actually met. If your church doesn’t have stuff for singles, perhaps it would help to seek out a church that does have that ministry. You wouldn’t even necessarily have to join and leave your own church; just attend some of their events.

  50. Lisa says:

    You are so right. I remember feeling that so ‘different’ and that somehow it would be more acceptable it would be to be divorced than never married. My sister – married with 3 kids – talked about how much she admired all my travels and other adventure. I told her I enjoyed it – but that it came at a price – if she wanted to give up the husband and kids – she too could have a higher level of career focus and travel the world.
    FYI – I eventually decided that ‘he’ did not exist in my current rountine. I tried some new things – including the internet. I met him at 41, was engaged at 42, married at 43 had a son at 44. (I would have love more but I figured I was already pushing my luck). So – you never know what might happen.
    Good luck to you.

  51. anonymous says:

    Tammy, this seriously made me cry.
    Because. I. Wrote. This.
    At least, this is what I have been trying to explain to friends and family for years. You hit the nail on the head over and over. And you are SO right about the Church thing and the “stages” of life comment.

  52. TRS says:

    Oh… anonymous – I wish you had left a link!
    If it would help – print it out and give it to your family. It may help them understand.
    God bless you.
    I know that He keeps you!
    Come comment on my blog and I’ll give you my email.

  53. Doris says:

    In response to a few commenters:
    Adoption and becoming a single mother by choice are NOT ALWAYS an option. Even if you were willing to do it with out a partner, not everyone can afford that option.
    Don’t tell me my reward will be great in heaven. If you are a married Christian parent, your’s will be, too. I’d rather not be made to feel second class while I’m here. I’d like both. Thank you very much.
    And yes, being 39 and divorced at least once is far more acceptable than being 39 and never married. Trust me. People confirm that to me through their looks and lack of comment ALL THE TIME.
    Thank you so much for this post, Tammy, extremely well said.

  54. Carrie says:

    Thanks for sharing! Just last week I was with a single girlfriend, and she loves to play with my baby, but I always feel guilty- like I’m being a burden to her by not taking care of him myself. So thanks for sharing what a blessing that is to you!

  55. The Random Muse says:

    I can really identify with this one. I’m only 23, but already am starting to feel like a fifth wheel, especially at church.

  56. gillie says:

    Thanks for the post. When I was single, I remember the day I realized that Dating as an institution has very few success stories. What I mean is that everybody sucks at dating. Every date is a failure until you find the right person. Everyone fails over and over until it doesn’t and something clicks with another person. Just because you haven’t found the right person, doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. So maybe we need to remember to be nicer to each other. It would be nice to know when all those failures will add up to success, though, huh?

  57. gillie says:

    Thanks for the post. When I was single, I remember the day I realized that Dating as an institution has very few success stories. What I mean is that everybody sucks at dating. Every date is a failure until you find the right person. Everyone fails over and over until it doesn’t and something clicks with another person. Just because you haven’t found the right person, doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. So maybe we need to remember to be nicer to each other. It would be nice to know when all those failures will add up to success, though, huh?

  58. Jane says:

    This is the best written account of single life I have read. I did marry at 32 and now suffer from infertility, so the part about not having a circle of life is so accurate. My life hasn’t had many stages. And now without kids time seems timeless. Year after year so little changes. Thanks for sharing this. I must say, tho that my church is made up of tons of singles. It’s pretty rare I know. But, if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area check out Hollywood United Methodist. You’d be surprised!

  59. Britney says:

    Tammy, thank you for sharing your heart. It’s an encouragement to know I am not the only one in this situation.
    I also heartily agree with Laura’s statement regarding singles’ ministries at church: “Churches need to realize that segregating singles apart from the rest of the church comes off like they’re saying, “Okay, lepers, go over here.” That’s not how the body of Christ is supposed to operate.”

  60. laura says:

    wow … thank you for a peek into my older sister’s life. Intellectually, I knew these things, but it’s so much better to hear it from someone like you.

  61. Vicky says:

    As I drove to work this morning, I thought, “I wonder what the What I’d Like for you to Know” is about today.” (not something that normally occupies my mind). And then I thought, “ya know, it’d be cool if she did a post from a single woman waiting for marriage and kids”. So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw “A Single” Adult” on my reader list!
    While I’m only 27, I agreed with so much of this post. All I have EVER wanted to be is a wife and mommy. I ache for it! I fear that it won’t happen. Yes, I trust that God will meet my needs and grant the desires that He has placed in my heart… but still, I worry. Thank you so much, Tammy, for writing this.
    I especially agreed with the parts about “mothering” your friends kids. I am blessed with a best friend who lets me love on her two year old and newborn as often as I like. Last month, she called me to see if I wanted to join them at the pumpkin patch. I love every minute I get to spend with her kids, but it often reminds me of the longing in my heart for a family of my own.
    This was beautiful– Thanks again Tammy! I’m heading over now to check out your blog 🙂

  62. lomagirl says:

    When I was about 30, and unmarried, my father gave me a beautiful gift- he said, “You don’t have to get married.” And what he meant is that in a society where too often a person’s worth is measured by their marital status, he saw me as valid just as I was. So I say the same to you, understanding that yes, it would be nice to have the companionship of a constant partner, but also knowing that “being picky” is not something negative, but an indication that you have strong self esteem. It’s a pity more women don’t. So, good for you- and keep finding joy in the love of your friends and their children and trusting God’s hand in your life.

  63. Mrs. Bick says:

    Thank you. There is a part of me that felt as if you were telling a part of my story. And even though I married at 30, quickly had a brood of children, I most certainly know what it is like to be on the other side of 25 and single. As does my dear friend and godmother to our children. She is 37, single. She is part of our family. And I still am amazed that she comes to our crazy, loud, raucus house to “chill”. Amidst our chaos she naps on our couch. She soaks in the love of our little people. Again, thanks.

  64. Veronica Mitchell says:

    I was named after my mother’s best friend at my birth, a single woman who has never married. She has been like a second mother to me my entire life, inviting me to visit for summers. I had the ushers seat her at my wedding as another mother. She is very dear to me.
    She wanted to marry, and was in love more than once, but she never did. But somewhere in her fifties she began to notice that she was happier than most of her married (or married and divorced) friends. She found contentment in it, and there is no bitterness in it for her anymore.
    Her friends mean more to her than mine do. I admit that frankly. She finds and welcomes into her life people who need and become good friends, and they form a kind of family of their own. I think it glorifies God, the way they sustain and strengthen one another.

  65. Mourninglory says:

    Yes,I can relate to what you’ve shared. I know. I am thirty and single. I feel confident and fulfilled, but still lonely, too.

  66. Marianne says:

    So well written and expressed; I certainly can see your point of view.
    I have a dear family member who is still single (turning 38 this year); he too would love to be married with a family but hasn’t met that right person. He’s not “picky” either. He just deeply understands that marriage is a vocation and something you do for life (we’re Catholic, too).
    Wishing you luck and love…and luck in love!

  67. Marcy says:

    Hi Tammy,
    I’m 28 and have 3 kids. I always wanted to be a wife and mother and my world was turned upside down when my husband decided he’d rather be with another woman in March of this year.
    I’ve been single now for 2 months. I never wanted the divorce and would have liked to work on our imperfect marriage the rest of my life if he had wanted to also, but now I see that I am better off without my husband because he does not value the things that I value anymore. Being single has its pros. I definitely know who I am now, and can be exactly who I want to be without feeling dragged down by another person’s selfishness. On the other hand, it is also incredibly lonely at times to be without a companion.
    I wanted to comment about church. I was so worried about how I would fit in with my new congregation after my divorce and moving to a new place. “Hi, I’m divorced. Do I fit in here where marriage and families are so important (the ideal)?” I realize it’s different from what you experience because I have one foot in the mommy world and one foot in the single world, but I can tell you that I have been so amazed at the love I’ve felt from my neighbors and congregation. I’m grateful that my church has programs for single people and a job for every adult to do, whether teaching various age groups or leading the choir or whatever. My church also has a system of watching over each woman—we are all assigned other women to watch over. In my new congregation I felt like I fit in from the second time I attended.
    I believe strongly that God has a plan for all His children, whether single or married. I believe that if we pray to find our usefulness in this world—and seek for whom we can serve—we will find our place. I’m not saying I’ve got it figured out already. And the uncertainty of whether I’ll ever be married to a wonderful man in the future is really hard for me sometimes. I just never want to be bitter. God knows that we singles can handle it. He helps us through the hard things. It’s wonderful to know that our future is in His hands. One thing that one of my church’s leaders said recently touched me profoundly. He talked about the principle of compensation. He said:
    “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.” (The whole talk is here: http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-947-9,00.html)
    We singles will be compensated later on for our lonely times now. God pays attention to our tears and to our heart’s longings. SOMEDAY, everything will be made right and we will receive all of our righteous desires, if we are faithful to the Lord’s plan for us.

  68. TRS says:

    MaryAnne… you may have to introduce me to fine Catholic man. I mean… seriously.
    I’m coming to visit your blog and probably harass you!!

  69. kissmekate says:

    Thanks for posting this. I wish we could put it on the NY Times in the editorial pages.
    One reader mentioned single moms aren’t welcome at church either. How true those words are!
    I am 36, I have been divorced for 11 years. I have dated a little, but it sucked goose eggs. I have had friends (insecure, obviously) act weird if I talk to their boyfriend/husband for longer the a nanosecond. As if. I value friendships more than that.
    I am just lonely. Tired of being the fifth wheel. I have even stopped going to some friends houses when I know it is them and other couples only. I feel like a freak.
    I have kids, but they’re older, into their friends and it isn’t the same regardless.
    Have you read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” by Joshua Harris. It is a good read, and very insightful on WHY God made us single.
    But I still get lonely and feel a little freak-ish at times. I am glad I am not alone.

  70. Jan J. says:

    I was a 38-year-old single wife/mama wannabe 10 years ago. I am still not married but I now have two amazing and wonderful little girls from China. I do wish for them to have a father, but they are enough to give me a family and to give two deserving children a parent who loves them and cares well for them. If ever I did anything right! If you are a mama inside aching for a little hand to hold, don’t let single status stop you! I know numerous single moms who became happy mamas later than usual through adoption. It is true fitting in is difficult. At church I am not made to feel included. I don’t even feel included many times by other single adoptive moms as I work from home and homeschool, and they seem to think I will judge them for not being full-time moms, which is anything but true. I made unique choices and don’t expect others to make the same. I also cannot seem to find a spot among homeschool moms, who are all married and seem to find me not suitable for the group. Where I do fit in is in my happy home with my girls and I am content and fulfilled. Look into it – there are many international programs for singles – Peru is a lesser expensive, very small program. Vietnam, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kazhakstan, many others accept single parents.

  71. harper says:

    It never occurred to me that those who remain single would feel the pain you do. The single people I know remain single almost as a political stance: they are militantly anti-marriage and anti-children, and if you are not, you must be anti-feminist.
    Thank you for something more hopeful (I know that sounds weird). Although I am happily married, I never expected to marry. I expected to be like you. And reading that my feelings at the prospect of being single in the long term are shared by someone who is there is oddly refreshing.

  72. happy woman says:

    I think I could have married just about anyone!
    Now maybe I am saying this from the position of having lucked into a really great guy. Or maybe I settled. Personally I think everyone “settles”. To me “settling” for someone means giving up some fairy tale images and working with the real person I am and the real person my partner is.
    Looking back on how miserable I was being single and looking back on all the boyfriends that for one reason or another didn’t work out….I think any one of those boyfriends would have been better than missing out on partnership. I think whatever the problems, working through those problems with somebody would be way better, for me, than staying alone.
    If I were still single I would say to myself: You have tried being single. Now, go out and get married. To just about anyone. Work it out. And if it doesn’t work out, then you will be divorced which is better than never having been married.
    a now very very happy 41 year old woman who was married at 38 and became mother to twins at 39

  73. Nicole says:

    Thanks for writing this. I have a single friend, and this gives me great insight into what she might be feeling and thinking sometimes. Thanks so much for sharing.

  74. lomagirl says:

    About the skin contact? Get massages. Do it on a regular schedule with the same massuese. It’s a little expensive, but it is awesome to be touched (and known) that well by a person. Now, I’m not talking about seamy, squalid massage parlors. Got to a spa- but it helps. I used to get weekly massages (in another country where it was affordable) and it made a difference.

  75. Tamara says:

    This was a wonderful post. And right on the money. I was single until 32. Like you, I endured a lot of unhelpful and unkind comments. And I spent a lot of years trying to understand why He placed in me the desire for marriage without placing in my life a husband. In the long run, I came to a place of leaning heavily on the Lord as the lover of my soul, and I became content. Then, unexpectedly, the Lord brought my husband to me. We wed when I was 32 and my husband was 33.
    At 39, I am infertile. Again, my plans (to be a mommy) have been frustrated. We are pursuing adoption. And what I’ve learned is this. There are always going to be times when we struggle with the fact that our plans and God’s plans don’t line up. We are painfully aware of time ticking by. He is painfully aware of the perfection of His plan for us. So I’ve spent the last few years leaning into God again. Letting Him fill the hole in my heart that developed when I learned I’d not be able to bear children. Now I’m looking forward to the next thing He has in store, and I know it will be for our good, for His glory.
    I think the thing that ministered to me most as a single woman was the way a few of my married friends surrounded me and made me feel like I was worthy of love and companionship. I sometimes felt as though people perceived me as unloveable, so those friends really encouraged me. In the infertility journey, I’ve often felt like I was less of a woman. A few dear friends have encouraged me and loved me through those feelings.
    Thanks again for this meaningful post.

  76. Cheryl says:

    Very nice post. And, though I can’t relate completely because I am a divorced mom of two, I can relate to the being single sucks after the age of 30. My boys go with their Dad a lot and though some of those days are wonderfully quiet and filled with things I want to do, some of them are just plain lonely. Tammy- I wish you were in Texas. You could come play the Wii with my boys anytime! 🙂

  77. Ronnica says:

    Ironic that I was posting a shorter post on the same topic the same day.
    Thanks for getting this out there. I feel like an outsider enough as is, I don’t need people’s misconception and inadvertently hurtful words to make me feel more so!

  78. TRS says:

    Happy Woman,
    While I appreciate your point of view – I think we come from very different places.
    I (and many women like me) don’t view marriage as casual as furniture placement. – you’ve had the sofa against the wall for years, try it some place else.
    Marriage is a lifelong committment and to say that one would be better off divorced than never married is exactly the attitude that I wrote this article to dissaude.
    There is a difference between settling and settling down. Settling down is giving up the fairytale – and accepting life in it’s real and imperfect form.
    Settling – would be marrying someone who doesn’t love you as you need to be loved, someone who doesn’t take joy in seeing your face when you arrive.
    That would not be a marriage – that would be a roommate with legal ties!
    I just let go of a man who I loved very much. I was willing to accept that he didn’t love me fully – we would still have a satisfactory marriage – but God showed me that He has more for me.
    God wants me to be with someone who delights in me — and if that is not a husband — that is why I have a great circle of friends who all light up when I enter a room or their home.
    It’s okay to expect the same reaction from a man. In fact – it’s worth waiting for – God has assured me of that.

  79. KathyC says:

    I didn’t get married until I was 36 and almost none of my friends got married until their 30s. In hindsight, I really value the “me” years I had before I became part of a “we”. I know it is always so much easier to say than do, but try to enjoy the phase of life you are in! As a previous poster said, the world is indeed your oyster!

  80. Claire says:

    Thankyou… for someone who is 28 and single it is refreshing to read about someone else who feels as I do.. and I agree no amount of loving someone will make them love you… so we try to have a full life anyway….
    And choose to praise God for what we do have!

  81. Jenny Robinson says:

    I am a single never married 36 year old who grieves for the family I might never meet. Thank you for introducing me to Tammy and her blog. I echo her words and appreciate you including the topic of singleness in this series. I enjoy your blog and your writing style (and your reviews of LOST)!!!!

  82. Julianne says:

    Tammy, thank you for this oh-so-honest piece. My eyes have been opened to new aspects of life experiences. It adds new dimensions of understanding of others’ lives and about 20 years of my own life having experienced a very challenging, unhealthy (read “bad”) first marriage in my 20s which produced a (thankfully) daughter then living as a single mother (very happily but it wasn’t easy either). Not expecting to get re-married, I fell into a healthy one somehow. I then experienced the longing for a baby for about three years, working through medical issues which got resolved to give us a son almost three years ago. I feel like although I have not walked the same path as you, I have tasted some of the same fruits, some sweet and some not so.
    One dynamic that struck me about your post is your openess to spending time with other people’s (sp?) children. When I was experiencing infertility, desperately wanting a baby, and going through fertility treatments, any site of a baby struck lightning through me. I definitely relate to your avoiding the 2nd Sunday of the month. You might wonder how I could feel that way since I had a preteen daughter; I think it was related to never feeling finished with having children, but it seemed out of my reach. I also “needed” to experience pregnancy, birth, and infancy without the drama of dealing with an alcoholic husband and dysfunctional marriage. I was driven to “do it right.”
    I am so grateful you inspired me to reflect, and you taught me to reach out to friends in ways I wouldn’t have expected to. In fact, today I have plans with a friend who has never married and has no children. I believe her perspective may be similar to you. I have always felt uneasy inviting her into the family life even though she has hinted at being okay with it. I have always socialized with her on my own, but I now think I will extend invitations to her to come into my “messy house” (thank you, Colleen!) if she’d like to.
    Two last quick points: I enjoyed attending the local Congregational Church as a single woman (who happened to be a mother too). I found it to serve not only as a church but as a place to socialize. I often found myself doing things with other couples or families even though I was the third wheel. It didn’t seem to matter.
    Secondly, I don’t know what to think about “the secret” (attracting what I want into my life by focusing on it), but if it exists, I am sure it brought my now husband into my life. Without being needy (in my opinion), I focused on attracting the right man for me, one who would respect me, be a partner, help with some of the work of life (unromantic, I know–sorry, but I was getting tired), one who was intelligent and interesting to talk to, etc. Somehow he showed up, and we both recognized each other, if you will. Immediately we knew the other was right for each other. We were engaged after knowing each other for two months, dating for one. We married seven months after getting engaged. We’ve now been happily married (not easy either always) for seven and a half years with no itches in site. I share this because in August of 2000, I had no idea that before July of 2001, I would be a wife and stepmother. Who knows what your life will look like this time next year!?!
    Meanwhile, it’s great that you are happy and enjoying the scenery on the path you are strolling down.
    Thank you for sharing your perspective and your beautiful writing, Tammy!

  83. Kara says:

    What a post. I am 34 and single.
    I think I might actually send this to my close circle of friends.
    I’d love to put it on a billboard… but maybe forwarding it will work fine.
    Thanks a bunch for saying what is on my mind, and probably others too.

  84. Rebekah says:

    Please oh please forgive me if this is the wrong response, but my heart broke a little reading this. It grieves me that singles are so often overlooked and even pitied, especially in churches. I have been freshly reminded to open our home to the singles in my life, for a meal, for fellowship, for time with our kids if wanted/needed. I hope that my husband and I are sensitive to all you have written here when he starts our church this upcoming year. (If you have any specific advice for a new, small church in this regard, please write me!)

  85. midlife mommy says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I didn’t get married until I was almost 40, and it surprised me when it happened. I moved away from home when I was 18, and for most of those years, I lived alone. I had a full life, I earned lots of degrees, and I did (mostly) like being alone. I do remember people saying all those things about being picky, etc. I also think at some point, there were people who decided that I was probably not really interested in men. Ugh.

  86. Jessica says:

    Incredible post! Thank you for the insight. My husband is a Navy man and is gone for months at a time. I have PCOS and we thought we’d never have children. He was gone for months and I was childless. I always thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom and wife, so living without these two things was just so hard. I can only imagine how hard it would be if I were still waiting on either or both. Thank you so much for sharing all you did. I hope you find someone to share your days with :).

  87. edj says:

    Great post. I have a couple of single friends and I love having them in my life and my family’s life. They are aunties to my kids and don’t cancel coffee dates like my fellow mothers tend to. I love including them in our family’s life.

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