Today, I want to talk about singleness and bring you into a conversation that I had with another single woman. Now, everyone has their own definition of singleness, but ultimately it means a “quality or state of being single”. To be single means to “be unmarried, not in a serious, committed relationship”.
Over the last couple of years, I have been talking to a lot of single women. I have realized that the back and forth, on and off feelings surrounding singleness is universal. A lot of women struggle with this season, whether they are in their 20s, 30s, or even 40s. Singleness is a complex situation that is not talked about a lot.
Everyone always talks about how great or shitty marriage can be. Everyone talks about the puppy dog phase of a relationship and everything in between. We rarely talk about how complex singleness can be and the feelings and challenges that arise. As a society when a woman gets to a certain age we begin to question and ask, “why are you not in a relationship?”, “maybe your standards and/or expectations are too high?”, or “when do you plan on getting married?”. NOBODY (rarely) ever asks, “how is your singleness going”, “what are you doing during this season?”, or “what have you learned?”.
I have become more cognizant of the questions that I ask women because it can be quite daunting and overwhelming when you feel like you have not made it or you are supposed to be somewhere and you are not there (it is total BS).
In the next few paragraphs I am going to take you through a conversation I had with Albertine Pierre, another young woman navigating her singleness. Take out your notepads, ladies because we are dropping gems. So, let’s get right into it…
Q: How long have you been single, Albertine?
A: I have been single for about 4-5 years.
Q: What are some challenges that you have faced while being single?
A: Some challenges I’ve faced with being single is not wanting to do anything. For some time now, I realized that I just don’t have as much fun as I used to and I think it’s because I’ve always been surrounded by people in my life (friends or partners) and in this season, I’m learning to deal with being alone at times. It’s been hard though... to go everywhere alone. I’m learning to embrace that now and just go out there and enjoy myself by myself for a while. Another challenge is the temptation to get into a relationship when I know I’m not ready. I’ve met some great men that seem to reflect my values and expectations for a partner but due to my vow to God to be single until He says otherwise, I have to hold back from certain conversations, from going out on dates, from exploring what’s out there in general, no matter how godly a man seems to be. It’s also because I know I have a lot more to work on in myself... and I want my partner to find me whole and ready... so I have to keep overcoming that temptation to be in a relationship right now.
PAUSE. This right here is some good JUICY advice! I am going to drop two gems for you, so get your pens ready!
Gem #1: Go out there and just DO IT.
It never hurts to explore new places, foods, restaurants, bars, concerts, stores, etc. by yourself. Now, a word of advice, DO IT SAFELY. Make sure you let a friend and/or family member know where you are at all times. You can definitely do things alone and it will not hurt you. It will actually benefit you because you will get to learn new things about yourself. Things that you may have never known you liked. You can do this without having to cosign with anyone or wait for permission. When you are in a relationship most, but not all things you do affect your relationship. When you get into a relationship it is not ME anymore, it is WE. At least how it should be. When you are single, you do not have that responsibility. You are your only responsibility (this is if you are not a caregiver or parent). So, I encourage you to go out there and find new places to eat or shop at. AGAIN, BE SAFE & KNOW YOUR LIMITS.
Gem #2: Seek counseling for you and your future spouse
Counseling could be religious, but it does not have to be. I encourage ladies that are in their singleness and want a particular relationship of a certain caliber to reach for the Bible, books, and/or therapy. I say this because there are a lot of things that may have caused brokenness and trauma in our lives as children and adults. So, it is important that we rectify those issues or are working on them in a healthy manner before getting into a relationship. I also encourage individuals to pray for their future spouse. It is all about finding the balance and alignment with mind, body, and spirit, so that you can make better decisions and practice discernment.
Let’s hop back into the conversation…
Q: What are some benefits of being single?
A: When you’re single, you can truly take the time to learn about yourself. What better way to do that than to build a relationship with your creator? When you’re single, you have all this extra time (although it may not feel like it) ...you really do, just think about it. Time you would’ve spent texting your partner, Face Timing them, going out on dates with them... etc. You now have all this extra time to yourself and you could truly dedicate it to discovering who you are outside of friendships and relationships. Another benefit to being single is that you can work on bettering yourself for your next relationship. Now is the time to reflect on what you did wrong in your last relationships, what you learned from them, and actually start applying them to your life. Being single also gives you the time to set up your standard for what you want in your next partner, what you want to invest in them, etc. Ladies, he that finds a wife finds a good thing... while you’re single, make sure you work on first not LOOKING for a man (he’s supposed to find you) and second, work on being a GOOD thing. Make sure you truly work on any residue of hurt in your life and in your last relationships so that you do not go into your next relationship broken, hurt, angry, bitter, etc.
GEM #3: WORK ON YOU!!!
Take inventory of your life and really dig deep into the things that you may need to let go of and work on. This is the best time to do it because you have more ME time.
Q: Best piece of advice for someone who is single?
A: My best piece of advice to someone who is single is to take everything at your own pace. Don’t worry about what you see on social media and do not make them your “goals”... make your own goals. Remember, social media only shows the pretty things, so don’t get discouraged and don’t feel the need to rush everything and jump into a relationship only because that’s what’s trending and you feel weird and left out. If you cannot stand being alone for a while, then you have a lot of work to do on yourself because that usually means that you don’t feel content with yourself. Go at your own pace, don’t look at everyone else’s life to determine what you should do in yours. I can relate to this because this has been hard for me at times but I keep pushing through because I know the more time I take for myself to allow God to work in me instead of watching other people, the better I’ll be for me and for my partner. One more thing... you cannot fully love anyone until you’ve learned to love God and yourself.
In a nutshell, Albertine hit this on the head. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE NEXT RELATIONSHIP. Nobody should be your #GOALS. It is a false expectation that you and your partner will never meet. I MEAN NEVER. That includes putting #GOALS under a cute photo op of Michelle & Barack. You never know what that couple has been through or what they are going through. Honestly you do not want what someone else has. Do not get me wrong, you should be inspired by a couple’s transparency in their relationship but practice discernment. An example that I use often is Jada and Will Smith. They went through it and back in their relationship. I am inspired by their transparency to take my own journey to a wholehearted relationship with self and making sure I am happy on my own before my husband steps into the picture, but in no way are they GOALS. You should create your own “GOAL” list. These should be the standards that you expect of YOU and YOUR PARTNER.
Q: What perspective(s) have you gained from being a single woman?
A: I’ve learned a lot about the importance of communication in a relationship. I’ve learned a lot about just working on loving myself before I can even love a man. Learning these things help me to not settle and to know my worth and how I deserve to be treated in a relationship. I’ve also learned that I can be a strong woman and still submit to my future husband and allow him to lead our home as God would have it.
GEM #5: LISTEN TO ALBERTINE!
Albertine, really did it! She provided a lot of VALUABLE advice that I hope will encourage you on your journey and season of singleness. This conversation was important, and I applaud Albertine for her transparency.
I want you to ask yourself this today, “Am I meeting my needs?” If you do not know what that looks like proceed to ask yourself (+ jot down), “What are my needs?”. This is a great reflective practice and should be done often. Take inventory and put in the work. There are a number of ways that you can achieve wholeheartedness and pursue a relationship that will not drain you. Understand that there will be temptation. It happens and you might slip farther than you hoped. BUT know that your bounce back game is KILLER. This is where forgiveness comes in and granting yourself grace. Singleness is trial and error. It is dating people that you never thought you would date or going overseas to a different country alone. There is no one stop shop to singleness. It is not packaged nicely, but the prize at the end is worth it. The prize is whatever you desire most. I want to make clear that marriage is not the end all be all. If you choose marriage, great. If you choose you, that is great too. Do what you feel is best and do not allow others to influence your decision. There is no pressure here to get married. The only thing you should be focusing on is choosing a life that you love, and you have created.
Stay tuned for our next blog post, where I will provide you a few resources (books, podcasts, YouTube channels, and therapists) to help you navigate your singleness, healing, and wholehearted journey.
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