A while back, I asked singles: “What is the hardest part of your day, or the time that tends to remind you most of your singleness?”
I was really glad to see the amount of people who took the time to answer this question, because as a Professional Counselor, I believe a really important part of being a healthy individual is to be able to recognize the times and seasons of life that tend to be the most difficult.
Like I’ve said before in my posts, I know this one thing with all my heart (because I’ve been there/done that)…
Singleness is not a disease that needs to be cured, but rather, it’s an important stage of life that needs to be passed through as God shapes us, molds us, and loves on us.
If you haven’t read the comments from the last article, go read what God is doing in the lives of some amazing singles right now.
Yet with that said, every stage comes with trials and struggles that can’t be overlooked, and for many singles, the sheer feeling of being “alone” is the hardest part. We were MADE for relationships, by a God who longs for relationship with us. As I read through all the responses, I saw a pattern emerging that seemed to file the “hardest times” into this exact need: the deep desire to connected with others.
I wanted to share them in this post in the hopes that even just KNOWING other people also struggle to feel alone during these times, reminds you that in a small way, you are not alone in your struggle.
1. Quiet evenings after work.
Most of you answered that coming home to an empty house after a long day of work is one of the hardest times to be single. Not having anyone to process the day with, for many singles, the evening hours can seem long and lonely. If this resonates with you, I challenge you to do what you can to fill some of those hard evening hours with extra company. Join an evening small group at your church, plan a weekly dinner get together with a small group of friends, or use that time to hit the gym or get involved in an activity to keep you feeling connected.
2. Sleeping Alone.
Many of you noted that having no one to fall asleep next to, or wake up next to is the hardest part of being single. It’s completely normal to have that longing for intimacy and to even find yourself imagining what that might look like when you find yourself feeling alone. If this is you, I’m going to push the envelope a little and challenge you with a new perspective. As a married woman, I used to have these “romanticized” ideas of what falling asleep next to my “love” would look like. I imagined the movies, in which couples were entangled in each other’s arms, falling asleep in a deep, intermingled warm embrace.
But the truth is, real life doesn’t actually look like the Hollywood movies. As meaningful as it is to have someone to chat with and in the last hours of the day, the truth is, the average married couple’s night look like the average single person’s night: falling asleep. My husband and I, along with most married couples I know, typically have our final chat, give each other a goodnight kiss, and then roll over to our sides of the bed, and fall asleep! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to take away from the blessing of having a companion, but I also don’t want the idea to be falsely romanticized because I believe a lot of harm can be done when we idealize things outside of our reach. Single, it’s okay to find yourself struggling during this time of day, but take inventory of your thoughts to make sure you aren’t letting your imagination get out of hand.
3. When you need to be taken care of.
Some of you mentioned the times when you are sick, stuck on the side of the road in a broken-down car, or in the middle of a crisis or emergency as some of the hardest times to be single. It makes sense that this is a difficult time, because it’s when you feel most vulnerable and in need of others.
I acknowledge this important feeling, because I believe it’s a significant part of being human. We were made to be “interdependent”, and God wants us to be able to depend and rely on one another within the body of Christ! If this is you, I challenge you to take inventory of your community and how involved you are with the people in your life. Do you have one or two friends that you can call on in case a need arises? If not, is there anything keeping you from developing these kind of relationships? What are some next steps you can take to deepen your relationships with the friends God has placed in your life?
4. At the start of a new day.
A lot of you communicated that the first hours of the day are filled with the hardest feelings of singleness. I remember going through this struggle, particularly in graduate school. I would wake up to an empty apartment, and the feelings of loneliness would hit me like a Mac Truck. I would feel utterly and completely alone. [Looking back, I believe I was ALSO going through some clinical depression during that time of my life, I just didn’t acknowledge the signs or seek treatment. More on that in this article.]
I’m not going to lie, those times were really, really hard for me, but that was also the season of my life when God pushed me closer to His side than ever before. I learned to see HIM as company, and rely on His presence to get through my lonely mornings. My relationship with God took on a whole new level of dependence and meaning, and looking back, I am thankful for those times of loneliness, because they eventually led to teaching me the importance of solitude with my Jesus. And He proved to be good company. Single, think through this for a moment: How can you take the pain of your morning, and turn it into praise?
5. During the normalcy of life.
Others of you noted that it’s in the normal routine that you are reminded of your “aloneness”. Cooking dinner for one, going to a movie, browsing through social media, attending a wedding or social gathering, or walking into a church building and sliding into the quiet pew all alone. It’s true that sometimes even in a crowd, loneliness sets in, because we feel isolated and disconnected from the people around us.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these feelings of loneliness are not a sign of weak faith, or that Jesus isn’t enough, they are simply a sign that you were MADE FOR RELATIONSHIPS. Rather than letting these feelings isolate you, allow this strong need to compel you to find meaningful relationships with the people around you. The bible talks about the body of believers as a group of people who ate together, worked together, and even lived together. We sometimes shame ourselves for our need for people (Check out: 10 Reasons Why You Need People!), rather than seeing that need as a God-given way to connect us to the body of Christ. Don’t repress your need, but rather, be deliberate about connecting on a deeper level in the body of Christ.
Single, no matter who you are, or how much hope you feel right now, know this: you are not alone in feeling alone. Loneliness is a universal struggle, reminding us of our need for God, and our need for people. You are valuable, you are loved, and you are worthy no matter your relationship status, because you were made by a God who values you for simply being YOU.
**I’m loving all the conversations coming out of this series. This post was originally posted a couple years ago, but I decided to resurface this conversation. So COMMENT below: What is the hardest part of your day, or the time that tends to remind you most of your singleness?**
A version of this post originally appeared on True Love Dates on April 28th, 2017. Used by permission.
(Debra’s New Book: Love In Every Season Coming January 2020, Pre-Order Today!)
DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twi