I am a 30-year-old single woman. The taboo of being 30 and single is eating me inside out. Everyone asks me the same question, every now and then: “When are you getting married?”
I feel like it is my own fault that I am still single. My married cousins look down on me. It is extremely depressing. Is it my fault? Can I do something about it?
A depressed woman.
Dear depressed woman,
No, it is not your fault at all that you are single. In fact, being 30 (or for that matter any age) and single is not a fault at all. Anyone who makes you feel otherwise is just being silly, shallow and immature.
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People marry at all ages. Some people get married early, some a bit late. It is all about fate, actually. Many people are single due to circumstances of their lives. When it comes to marriage, it is hard not to feel that you are a victim. After all, others can be cruel, you will get hurt, and no…it is not your fault.
I once came across a quote that I really liked and found it to be quite true: “It is better to be single wishing you were married than married wishing you were single.”
I am sure many of the people who look down on you for still being single must not exactly be going through lives of a perfect marital bliss. Many of them must be having problems in their marriages. I wonder how people, whom you know have been shackled in lousy marriages, will feel if you turn the tables on them and ask: “And why are you still married?”
Having said that I do understand that in a society like ours, it can be quite stressful facing nosy relatives and friends who are only interested in bringing up the topic of your marriage whenever you come across with them. And yes, our society – wrongly so – begins to be condescending towards girls who take time in getting married and just do not say yes to the first proposal that walks in through the door.
It is not possible to ignore people and make them understand that you will get married when the time is right and when you will find the right person. People will talk no matter what. The same people who are looking down on you right now must also be looking down on married people for other reasons.
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I know it is not easy but I advise you to ignore their hurtful comments and actions of your acquaintances – people with ultimate goal to pair up with another human being and cling to that ideal as if their lives depend on it – and concentrate your energies on doing things that make you happy and help you grow as a person.
It might seem like you will never be able to be happy when single, but it is really not so different than being happy under any other condition. By finding passions in your life as much as possible, you can learn to be happy without being worried about your relationship status. Not everything in life has to be about finding ‘the one’.
Appreciate your freedom
Being on your own provides ‘restorative’ solitude, which means time to think, refresh, and replenish your creative juices before re-entering the world as a fruitful person. When you are in a marriage, you cannot neglect the needs of your spouse. Sometimes you have to do things that you really do not want to only to keep your partner happy. When you are single, you can spend your time as you want. You do not have to worry about pleasing anyone else but yourself. That means you have more time for your hobbies, interests, career, and overall well-being. Enjoy this freedom while you are single.
Try not to idealise relationships
Being in a relationship with someone is not easy, and sometimes people as couples can be even lonelier than singletons.
The right person will come in your life at the right time when you will be least expecting him. Enjoy your single life with yourself now rather than focusing on finding someone immediately.
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Be content within yourself and never think that you are not worthy because you are not in a relationship, or that you are a ‘loser’ being lonely. Instead, remind yourself to look on the bright side of your life, and that there are lots of good things to be gained during the moments of singleness and solitude.
Concentrate on yourself
Being single is an opportunity to focus on yourself and work towards your ideal vision of who you want to be. Concentrate on yourself and figure out your likes and dislikes. Developing a stronger sense of who you are will help you while moving in your life. It will also guide you to identify people who you would be truly compatible with. Get to know your inner self better with some personal meditation time, or connect to a higher power through prayer. Just remember that everything you do should be for yourself.
Start new hobby
Learning something new can be a rewarding experience and help you cultivate new interests. Learn guitar, join an art class, grow a garden, write a blog, cook some gourmet meals, do volunteer work, or do whatever you want to. Anything that you always wanted to do, go for it now. Trying something new can lead to developing new skills, friendships besides improving your self-esteem.
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Join new social groups
Platonic gatherings can be great spaces to meet like-minded people and share interests. If you are passionate about particular issues or social causes, do some internet searching to see if there are groups or organisations in your city that focus on the same areas. Not only it will help you utilise your lonely time but volunteering will also make you feel good about yourself as a person. This exercise has clinically shown to improve one’s mood.
Exercise to get active
If you feel lonely or depressed, taking up a new sport or going for exercise can really help. It will be great for your body and soul. Try taking yoga classes with other people since it helps reducing stress while building flexibility and strength. You can practice it alone too. Join a gym. Becoming a gym member not only provides great motivation for staying active, it also offers a healthy social environment where you can meet people. Running, too, is great for relieving stress and depression. It releases a lot of endorphins – the neurochemicals responsible for making you feel happy and less stressed.
Make your environment happy
Your surrounding can have a big influence on your moods and with a few simple changes around you; you can create a happy, vibrant space that will help you combat the lonely blues. Surround yourself with bright colours. Give your room a fresh coat of happy paint. Also, try adding colour to your wardrobe. Remember, if you dress happy, you just might feel happier.
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Visiting any place on your own (or with a group) you have always wanted to can be quite exciting. It will also be a great learning experience.
Live in the moment
Studies have shown that mindful living or focusing on the present moment, can help you overcome loneliness and find more self-satisfaction.
Become an optimist
Being optimistic person can help you to feel happier whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed. Practising optimism can assist you to stay focused on the things that you like about yourself and your situation while stopping you dwell on things you do not like about yourself or your situation. For example, instead of dwelling on something you dislike about being single, remind yourself of all the things you love this way, such as being able to anything you want when you have time.
Do not worry too much about the future. Have hopes, dreams, and aspirations, but do not let your thoughts of the future turn into negative fears or worries that detract you from your present day.
All the best!
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.