Yes, being single is hard.
I’ve been single most of my adult life and for many, many years I worked hard on healing the wounded places within me, both so I would be a happier person and so I would be a better mate. This, of course, assumed that there was something wrong with me and that’s why I wasn’t finding someone to love me in that special way.
It was many years (okay, I’ll admit it, a few decades) into my healing work that a therapist said to me, “You know Jen, not everybody gets it all. You have a family that loves you, a great mind that enables you to find meaningful, interesting work, you have a personality that makes it easy for you to make friends, you have enough money to be comfortable, you’re healthy, you live in a beautiful place of your choosing… maybe having a mate just isn’t in the cards for you.”
I was so shocked when he said this, but what surprised me the most was the rush of RELIEF that immediately followed. You mean it’s not because I’m so fundamentally broken that no one wants to be with me? It’s not that I’m not pretty enough or sexually appealing enough? It’s not that I’m not working hard enough at this? It simply may not be in the cards for me? Wow, what a relief.
What I find so interesting about what you wrote, Emma, is that I would look at all my friends and my siblings who were married and scratch my head wondering why they didn’t seem to be that much more mentally healthy or stable or appealing than me. But I didn’t take it to the place of realizing that they’re not actually more healthy than me. I just assumed I wasn’t seeing the whole picture of them, and that they MUST be in a better place than me. I assumed there had to be something wrong with me. Funny the things I can miss.
I agree with you totally about touch though. This is something that all my single friends and I talk about. I get regular massages just to have some form of touch. And I hug my girlfriends and I even hug my most stable girlfriends’ husbands. It is that casual touch that’s so hard to live without. Holding hands to let you know there’s someone out there who thinks you’re special. A casual caress across the back as you pass through the house together or at a social function. That caress can say so many things… I’m here with you, I’m glad you’re here with me, I’m feeling connected to you, I see you’re hurting, I just want to say hi, I love you…
I miss those physical communications so much because they bypass my brain’s dismissing tone. To hear those words from friends and family is nice, but my brain can get in there and mess with the communication. It can say, “Well, he/she felt she had to say that, he/she is just being polite…” all the nonsense my brain can spew that I’ve spent decades learning to not take to heart.
But the communication via touch goes right to my heart without passing through my critical brain. I didn’t realize until today that what makes touch so special for me is that my body believes the communication of touch. It believes I am lovable and loving. My body can receive the full benefit of a loving touch communication where my brain can’t seem to take it in. Hmm, great food for thought this morning!