41 single and trying to accept God's will


#1

I am single and 41. I have struggle for a long time with thinking I was inferior for being single. After years of praying, I have come to a place where I do understand my worth as a person has nothing to do with my marital status. I have created a life for myself where I am busy with hobbies and the occasional volunteer work. Having friends my age is a bit more of a problem becausee constantly being around other peoples children does get on my nerves.

Also, my family is scattered all over Canada so to me, cousins, aunts and uncles have always been people you see once a year at best.

At my dad's funeral, last week, I saw a lot of relatives. Some younger than me who introduced me to their spouses and others talking about all the upcoming marriages of my cousins kids. And I felt a twinge of being left out. It was as if all the hard work I have done at accepting God's will for me was gone down the drain.

Now I don't think the solution is to avoid family gatherings. However, since family gatherings are so rare, it is harder to come to terms with the fact I am single around them.

Let me give you an example. If I join a new club, in getting to know me, people may ask if I have kids or am married. After the initial akwardness, it settles down and I get on with getting to know people. Of course there is always one or two 'you know whats' that won't let it go but that is with everything in life.

However, when I only see these people rarely, the initial akwardness happens everytime and there is no getting past it

Just curious but how do others deal with it?

Thanks


#2

My career was pretty consuming until I retired from the stage at age 48 so I had to deal with the, "oh, you're just too busy to get married," with the implication that that was just being selfish. I had very little opportunity to meet suitable men during my career, and came to terms with that. I, too, had some involvement with volunteer work (there was always some fundraiser for the ballet company I was with, plus I volunteered in our parish's ministry to the homeless and in the thrift shop, and taught ballet to low income kids as well.) Additionally, I traveled widely, and was always the bearer of little souvenirs from my travels when I went to family holiday events.

For me, it came down to the realization that the single life IS a valid vocation, despite the tendency of society to think otherwise. Not everyone is called to marriage, and the energy and creativity of people who live in the secular world and are not bound by family responsibilities has been a blessing to God's people through the ages. We're the ones who help keep the parishes running, we're the ones who have the energy to do good works, we're the ones who have the disposable income to contribute. The single life is not necessarily just a way station between school and marriage. I found that having a good attitude about being, as I put it, a "soloist," helped tremendously, because it was my own attitude that got communicated to others.

Here is where the Catholic Church did help to a large degree, even though the "singles ministries" were pretty lame at the time. The Church helped me feel that I was doing God's will just fine (within human boundaries) all by myself, and had a long history of validating that through the ages.

Having some clarity about my sense of mission and purpose, and being able to articulate what I was doing with my time and talent with my relatives when I went to family get-togethers kept me from being viewed by them as the poor crazy lonely aunt. Instead, they tended to look at me as the happy and free single lady who could do all sorts of interesting and edifying things.

In retrospect, I think they were actually a little envious.


#3

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:240470"]
I am single and 41. I have struggle for a long time with thinking I was inferior for being single. After years of praying, I have come to a place where I do understand my worth as a person has nothing to do with my marital status. I have created a life for myself where I am busy with hobbies and the occasional volunteer work. Having friends my age is a bit more of a problem becausee constantly being around other peoples children does get on my nerves.

Also, my family is scattered all over Canada so to me, cousins, aunts and uncles have always been people you see once a year at best.

At my dad's funeral, last week, I saw a lot of relatives. Some younger than me who introduced me to their spouses and others talking about all the upcoming marriages of my cousins kids. And I felt a twinge of being left out. It was as if all the hard work I have done at accepting God's will for me was gone down the drain.

Now I don't think the solution is to avoid family gatherings. However, since family gatherings are so rare, it is harder to come to terms with the fact I am single around them.

Let me give you an example. If I join a new club, in getting to know me, people may ask if I have kids or am married. After the initial akwardness, it settles down and I get on with getting to know people. Of course there is always one or two 'you know whats' that won't let it go but that is with everything in life.

However, when I only see these people rarely, the initial akwardness happens everytime and there is no getting past it

Just curious but how do others deal with it?

Thanks

[/quote]

Dear sister in Jesus.

You are certainly not inferior to anyone.
Everyone knows there are more women than men in the western world, and that in the Church there are many more women than men - at least its like that in Europe. I just heard a teacher yesterday stating how its one of the biggest crosses a person can carry to be unvoluntarily single, and that more women than men suffer in this area because this generation of men are so afraid of comitment.

Anyway, I wanna tell you I have a friend who met her husband when she was your age and now she is married and has a kid. It can be done, but I advice you to get very active trying to find that prince God might have for you, that is, if you would like to have children.

God bless you.:hug1:


#4

My thought is that perhaps God keeps putting these people and their kids in your life for a reason! I heard a Christian speaker (Sheri Rose Shepherd) say that one should not try to put a period where God has put a comma. I know that this may sound silly, but perhaps you may want to try the following (which I know works because I've done it): sit down and list down everything that you want in a husband. If you'd like, go through magazines and cut out pictures of guys who look like the guy you have in mind, perhaps he will be doing the activities that you think your husband would do. Same goes with the kids you want. Yes, it sounds silly, but give it a try!!!! There is an article from the "Guideposts" magazine (October 2006) entitled "Picture Perfect" by Genda (not Glenda) Poulter (of Wichita, Kansas). In the article, she discusses how she did this, and how it works.

Heavenly Father, in faith I thank You for blessing CMS and those in her shoes with the gifts You have for them. Amen.


#5

cmscms, I'm a little over 10 years younger than you, so I am not sure if being single will bother me if I still am at 41. However, in the meantime being single is fine with me and I lead quite a good life in my opinion. I feel like I'm happy and content with things and feel that I am in a good situation to have a successful relationship whenever I come across the right girl. Until then I'm living life to the fullest, trying to continually better myself - both professionally, spiritually, and personally. If I do happen to be single my entire life, I'm sure that things will work out all right as well. I have some life long unmarried family members who have had great lives (both men and women).

I think the only thing that bothers me about being single is being excluded from some things. A handful of my close friends (either married or in serious relationships) had a dinner party recently and I was not invited. I feel like if I had a girlfriend or was married there was no way I would not be included in this, but since I'm single they probably thought it would be awkward for me to be around a bunch of couples. Personally, it doesn't bother me if I were spending an evening with all couples and/or their kids. So those are the only situations that frustrate me when it comes to being single.

Like you, I get asked by family if I have met any nice girls or girls I'm interested in, dating, etc. This is especially so since I'm the oldest unmarried one of my generation in my extended family. I'm sure things will fall into place for me at the right time, so until then I'm patient and proactive in leading a good and fulfilling life.


#6

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:240470"]
I am single and 41. I have struggle for a long time with thinking I was inferior for being single. After years of praying, I have come to a place where I do understand my worth as a person has nothing to do with my marital status. I have created a life for myself where I am busy with hobbies and the occasional volunteer work. Having friends my age is a bit more of a problem becausee constantly being around other peoples children does get on my nerves.

Also, my family is scattered all over Canada so to me, cousins, aunts and uncles have always been people you see once a year at best.

At my dad's funeral, last week, I saw a lot of relatives. Some younger than me who introduced me to their spouses and others talking about all the upcoming marriages of my cousins kids. And I felt a twinge of being left out. It was as if all the hard work I have done at accepting God's will for me was gone down the drain.

Now I don't think the solution is to avoid family gatherings. However, since family gatherings are so rare, it is harder to come to terms with the fact I am single around them.

Let me give you an example. If I join a new club, in getting to know me, people may ask if I have kids or am married. After the initial akwardness, it settles down and I get on with getting to know people. Of course there is always one or two 'you know whats' that won't let it go but that is with everything in life.

However, when I only see these people rarely, the initial akwardness happens everytime and there is no getting past it

Just curious but how do others deal with it?

Thanks

[/quote]

I was single until I was 40, so I know where you're coming from. I think the occasional kvetch about the lack of a spouse and children - like your post here - is helpful as long as you don't allow yourself to wallow in self-pity for days on end. :) It feels good to vent and get hear how other people cope with their life situations.

Like you, I lead a really full, active, involved life as a singleton. Like you, I'd sometimes feel a twinge as I watched friends pair off and start families. I'd wonder if I was destine to walk this earthly plane forever alone. And then the feelings would pass and I'd carry on.

I think it's important to cultivate a great life as a single person, and if you meet someone you can meld your life with, fine. If that doesn't happen, that's Okay too. Some people won't understand that point of view - they'd feel utterly unmoored without a spouse/family and assume everyone else would be too - but that's their problem, not yours.


#7

I've pretty much come to terms with being single. I have my moments where I'm really down about it, but then I get a call from my niece on mother's day saying "Happy Godmother's Day" which just makes me so happy to have "my kids."

Where I have troubles is with my family always planning things and then telling me what the plans are later -- not always but a lot of the time. It's almost like they don't think I have any obligations to be taken into consideration. I used to constantly rearrange my schedule to accomodate them. I've stopped doing that; and if I can't do something because they didn't inquire as to my schedule, I just apologize and say "maybe next time I'll be able to make it."


#8

[quote="Nanny_PK, post:7, topic:240470"]
Where I have troubles is with my family always planning things and then telling me what the plans are later -- not always but a lot of the time. It's almost like they don't think I have any obligations to be taken into consideration. I used to constantly rearrange my schedule to accomodate them. I've stopped doing that; and if I can't do something because they didn't inquire as to my schedule, I just apologize and say "maybe next time I'll be able to make it."

[/quote]

This happened with me, too, only it would be friends as my family lives thousands of miles away. It drove me nuts to get a call at 5:30 on a Saturday evening inviting me to dinner when it was obvious the other people coming along had known about the plan for days. I used to feel like I was being treated like an afterthought. I love the way you handle this.


#9

I knew I was not called to the vocation of single life. But somehow, I wound up in it for a very, very long time. My sister would tell me - whatever you do, don't settle. She was correct. I recall very much wanting to be a wife and mother. More than anything. I had to give those desires to God daily and at some times hourly:), as I noticed my desires leaning towards covetousness. I wrestled a lot with things like - Lord, If you're waiting for me to be perfect it's never gonna happen for me. And .. How come other couples who don't even like their spouses get to be married .. what's wrong with me? (I can feel the lump in my throat just remembering the agony of those years.) I had a friend who talked to me seriously about the difference between legal marriage (quid pro quo / legal contract) and covenant marriage as a Sacrament. It was life-changing for me. I began to pray for my future husband.. similar to what NiceMimi said. I prayed for him for 8 years before God sent him to me (later in life). But I needed that time to become a godly wife focused on glorifying God with the marriage he gave me. Few couples prepared as much as me and my husband did. We spent many years trying to discern God's will for us, and learning about the treasures and riches that the chaste life yields. But most of all, I felt all the feelings you described. Feeling left out. Feeling awkward, but many more in addition to those. I gave Jesus the pen to author my marriage and my life. He has written the most beautiful love story. He is the glue that holds us together. He's number one - we're number two. And the covenant marriage is between us 3 - God, and us. He's the focus, the goal, the whole point to everything - Lord of our lives, our hearts, our home, our family, Lord of all. We've placed Jesus, The Sacred Heart, The Divine Mercy- as Christ the King over our marriage. I would not have had that if I listened to others who told me what my conscience denied - that I'd be better off single. I am your age. I did everything wrong early on when everyone else out there was doing everything right. It took me longer to get straightened out and be able to serve rather than await service, to give and not count the cost, to love for the sake of love rather than what I could receive. If you are called to marriage.. start the boot camp training now. Prepare your fields for harvest. God will fill your fields with good things according to His goodness. I wish you joy and love, hope and strength. But most of all, peace. God bless.


#10

I’m the same age give or take a few months. I’ve found that contributing the community through volunteer work and taking up hobbies I love has helped me deal with being single. I gave up on dating last year. It wasn’t working and always felt a bit awkward (long story for another time). We live in a couples oriented world that only has value for people in pairs unless they are swingers and in that case they pair up just not with the same person all the time. If you’re single society doesn’t really see you as worth much. It’s a hard fact but the truth. I don’t think the church helps much with this outlook unless you have a vocation to the religious life (I think they could do better by singles but that’s a topic for another day).

I guess my suggestions would all go back to finding something you love to do and get involved with that. Helping others is a great way to do that but only one of many.


#11

Thank you everhbody for the kind replies, but I think the point of my post was misuderstood. I am NOT complaining about being single, I am complaining about feeling left out of my family. Does that make sense?

I can't help but think if I was married, then I would feel inferior because my husband is not as good as other family members spouses.

Or, I can't help but feel inferior because others have better careers than me. It is not so much my lot in life as it is the family of orgine being unsupportive. That is more my concern

To 'I love rocks', I really like how you explained how you spent time trying to get to know God before looking for a spouse. But I am curious, do you think perhaps that would relate to other aspects of life such as finding a good career?

Thanks

CM


#12

You can only feel left out if you let yourself feel that way. As I said, I sometimes felt that my family was letting me know of the plans after they’d been made. I used to kill myself to accommodate, but I finally said to myself “I have a life. I have obligations.” If I can join in the festivities, I do; if I can’t, I don’t. On something that’s big (like my niece’s upcoming baptism – and I’m the Godmother) I let her know of a conflict that I absolutely cannot get out of. Other than that, I will accommodate their schedule regardless of what I have going on because it’s important. Otherwise, if it’s something that’s not a major event, I keep my own plans.


#13

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