One of our very own Single Matters writers, Kate Hurley, wrote a book titled Cupid Is a Procrastinator: Making Sense of the Unexpected Single Life. Kate discusses singleness honestly and isn’t afraid to come right out and say it: “Singleness sucks!” Can we get an amen? Yet, Kate has learned and experienced some beautiful lessons concerning the character of God and the importance of community. In singleness we have permission to grieve knowing we can lay it all at the feet of our Father and find comfort in Him. Be encouraged, friends, you are not alone.
Holly Hrywnak: In writing your book, what was something you were hoping to communicate to your readers about singleness?
Kate Hurley: More than being a self-help book, I wanted my readers to feel like they were sitting down with a trusted friend who had been through the same struggle. I wanted to give them permission to talk through and grieve their own process as a single.
HH: In your introduction you say, “Maybe I will learn to long and let go at the same time.” Explain the importance of allowing yourself to do both.
KH: The truth is, it is really important to thank God that we have good lives even if we are unmarried. But no matter how good our lives are, not having a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse and children is a deep, difficult loss, and ignoring that isn’t going to help anyone. Thankfulness and struggle don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and there is so much freedom when we allow ourselves to live into both of those emotions, even simultaneously.
HH: Singleness is grief for many of us. What have you learned about the character of God through that realization and in allowing yourself to grieve?
KH: I have been through a lot of hard things in my life … a difficult childhood and chronic illness and struggles with depression. Living into my 30s as a single has quite possibly been the hardest. I have come into a new season in my life where I have stopped trying to figure out why my suffering happens (Did God cause it? Is it my fault? Is the enemy?) which tends to exhaust me. I am trying instead to just rest with God in that place of suffering, letting Him hold me.
HH: You have two chapters in your book expressing the importance of building a family for ourselves — through giving of ourselves to others and through living in community. How has learning this truth impacted your singleness?
KH: I came to a point in my life as a single where I was working alone most of the time and in living situations where I never saw my roommates. I was so lonely. I realized that even though I can’t get a family like I can get a degree, I still had choices in my life to “build my own family.” I now live in San Diego with an intentional community called Beta Communities (betacommunities.org). Forty or so people live within four blocks of each other, purposefully eating together and living life together. I plan to start a similar team in Asheville, NC after I’ve trained to be a leader. I also work with teens at a refugee center so some of my desire for kids can be eased a little bit. It’s still different than having my own family, but I am so much happier now than when I was alone all the time.
HH: As singles, sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that finding a spouse will give us significance. What would be your advice to those of us who struggle with finding our identity in our relationship status?
KH: I have always had a little bit of a “Cinderella complex.” I lived in the ashes and was waiting for my prince to come take me away from that hard life and into my happily ever after. Some of that stemmed from not being told I was beautiful or valuable at an early age. I thought when a man finally did that for me it would make everything better. But my married friends have helped me see that getting married doesn’t usually help. It might for a while, but often you just settle back into being insecure and lonely if you are not taking actual steps to get healing. Being in therapy for years, one of the things I have challenged myself with is not looking for a man just to prove to myself that I am worthy of love. I am worthy of love right now, whether a man loves me or not, and that is something I am working hard to believe.