Our lives are not statistics, so don’t let anyone put you into a box and make you feel like you’ve missed out on love.
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs out there lately, many about dating and people looking for love. I’ve noticed a theme, and it depresses me. A lot of women (maybe men too, but I haven’t read their blogs) seem to blame themselves for being single. There is this attitude of shame, of having somehow missed the boat, of wishing there could be some kind of do-over. As if, had you known you would be single at 28 or 34 or 45, you would have stayed with the college boyfriend who didn’t treat you well or the post-college boyfriend who didn’t get your jokes and bored you to tears.
Would you have really wanted to settle? Is it really better to be with the wrong person (and probably end up divorced or miserably married) than to be alone? If you had things to do over, you would probably make the exact same choices you already made because we all do the best that we can with the information we have at the time. Have faith in yourself and the decisions you have made in your life thus far. Trust me, you did not miss your chance at true love!
A lot of the panic seems to come from statistics: you are too old or fat or living in the wrong city or working in the wrong profession to statistically find love. I have read a lot of women lamenting that “over 30, the chances of getting married drop each year,” etc. First, statistics are compiled over time. People now get married later in life than ever before. When there are finally statistics that apply to our generation and this decade, it will be over, and the statistics then will be equally inaccurate. Society shifts and changes. Statistics are best at capturing constants or trends over time (i.e. how old people were when they DID get married in 1920 or how many people WERE single in 2010 but not how many people WILL get married after 30).
Second, there is no statistic that applies to your life because there is only one life like yours, and you are living it! It is not an “average” life.There is no statistic that applies to you or can predict what you have in store.
And you can’t game theory it, so stop blaming yourselves for doing the wrong things! I know friends who have been desperate to find love and have found it (disproving the “it comes when you aren’t looking” theory), friends who have met the guy they married in random and impossible ways (while on vacation, in another country, at the grocery store, during intermission at a play), and friends who have met “the one” while perfectly content alone. There are no rules, and people who try to create rules are fooling themselves (and you). Throw away those lame books on how to get guys to like you or marry you or whatever. Recognize that it happens differently for everyone, and just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean that it won’t.
But in the meantime, you have a life to live! True love may indeed be an important ingredient to a happy life, but there are a lot of other ingredients and a lot of people who have true love but are missing other essential happiness elements that you have (and should be enjoying). There is your work, whether volunteer or professional, your passions and hobbies, your friends, your family. Once you find that special permanent person, you will no longer be able to do a lot of the things you have freedom to do while single. And once you have kids (if you want them), you will have even less freedom. You have a scarce resource now that you should revel in!
Here is my challenge for you: stop blaming and if only-ing (“if only I were younger, thinner, prettier, better dressed, more interesting…”) yourselves and consider that single or not, you are exactly where you are meant to be. And, if you are where you are meant to be, then there absolutely must be opportunities for fulfillment around you. Take advantage! One day it all will change, and you will look back at this time wistfully (oh, the days when I could sleep in, meet my friends whenever I wanted, spend my money without checking with anyone else, take off to climb Mt. Everest, learn to speak French…)
Live, really live, the life that you have. Even if you don’t have the love you envisioned for yourself, you have something to enjoy and celebrate! And the love will come.