Running Out of Time

Last summer I went to a wedding as my friend’s “plus one” and caught the bouquet. When I carried it back to the table, he pointed out insensitively — and unnecessarily — that we were not a couple. It was a harsh reminder that I was there to fill a seat and a dance card, but that I shouldn’t get my hopes up for wearing my own white gown anytime soon. We were just friends.

For the most part, I love weddings. I’m at a point in my life where I’m going to a few of them a year. It’s fun to dress up and celebrate with my loved ones, and it’s always an honor to be part of the bridal party. But as I get older, they feel harder and harder.

I’ve been told repeatedly that good things come to those who wait. But I’ve been waiting a long time! I feel like I’m stuck on the outside: out of the world where I’m encouraged to still be single but not yet a member of the married world that so many of my friends are joining. I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll be invited in. For me, that’s the hardest part of being single.

It’s a painful reality that I crawl into a cold twin bed, even if no one ever steals my blankets.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definite advantages. I’m happy to do what I want whenever I want, happy not to have anyone to compromise with when I login to stream movies, and to hang out with my male friends without the guilt I suspect might creep in if I "belonged" to someone else.

I love holding my friends’ children, but it’s a lonely reminder when they call out for "mama" and leave my arms. It’s a painful reality that I crawl into a cold twin bed, even if no one ever steals my blankets. I crave — and fear — the commitment of a serious relationship and having a little family of my own.

I’ve tried online dating sites, I am social, and I talk to strangers. I spent five years at the university where so many of my friends met and fell in love with their spouses. I have been on plenty of dates, and I’ve met dozens more men, but so few of them come close to the kind of person I want to spend my life with. And if they do, my experience tells me they are unavailable, at least to me. I still find myself alone more often than not, wondering (perhaps melodramatically): is this it? Just me, forever? What have I done wrong?

I hear my heart cry on my loneliest nights that I must have failed somehow.

I’m not exactly sure what it is that sets me apart from the friends who didn’t need to wait (at least not as long as I have), but I hear my heart cry on my loneliest nights that I must have failed somehow. Are they thinner? Prettier? Nicer people? Have they made consistently better choices? Or did they settle for less than they desire? Less than they deserve? Am I just too picky?

It’s not like I haven’t been in serious relationships. In all except one of them, I was the one who walked away. I was offered love and hope for a future together and I was afraid. Or I was selfish. Or I was cold. Or I might have done the right thing. It feels like I’ll never know.

I can’t help but feel like my time is running out. I often feel alone surrounded by couples, but I have been learning a lot about myself. If you're struggling with being single, leave your contact information below. You can use your real name or a fake one. It's up to you. Someone from our team will connect with you shortly. You may feel lonely, but you’re not alone.

Photo Credit: PRORajarshi MITRA