Thursday, May 30, 2024
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The Fear Of Being Single Forever

Photo courtesy of @Doug88888 via Flickr
Photo courtesy of @Doug88888 via Flickr

I am married now, but there was a time of several years when I was single.

As each year clicked by, I would celebrate another year only to realize yet again, I was still single.

Now, some people reflect back on their singleness with great nostalgia about all of the freedom they had in life.

While single, you get to call life on your terms and not compromise as you eat what you want, make plans, and spend your finances however you wish according to your own goals. My friend once described the joy of singleness as the ability to wear your pajamas all day and eat Popsicles for breakfast, lunch and dinner with no accountability. After the second day, the novelty of being free would wear off … and of course, it is more fun to eat popsicles with someone else.

I was not one who had nostalgic pride when looking back at my years of singleness. Instead, at that time in life I was consumed by a fear that I would be single forever. As a result, whenever I would meet a potential new love opportunity, I would try to make a situation of nothing into something in case nobody better came along. Over time I made excuses for the poor behavior of others, and I would talk myself out of my feelings to try to make someone who was totally incompatible fit within my world.

In one word, I was becoming DESPERATE.

After several failed relationship attempts, I came to the conclusion that it was better to eat Popsicles alone than to suffer the pain as well as exhaustion of trying to make silly, unstable situations with others into potential long-term relationships. We can’t make something out of nothing, and when we are operating outside of God’s will, things will fall apart.

As the years passed, I danced with this fear of being single forever. Each day, meanwhile, I courageously woke up and put one foot in front of the other while feeling like there was something missing from my life. During multiple moments, I also felt like I was waiting to get on with life and that being married would be the new start line for me to actually have a life.

Now that I have been married for 13 years, I look back on my years of singleness and see the value in that time. I worried that I would be single forever, but really, during even the most bleak periods, I was being prepared for marriage. I learned about who I was, how to communicate, how to ask for what I wanted in life, and about how to set healthy boundaries. When I learned about my own value, grew in my self-esteem, and brought God back into the center of my life, then I was ready for my spouse.

God answered my prayers by connecting me—out of nowhere—with someone from my past. I became ready for marriage, and my single years were not something to be dreaded but celebrated. Singleness was a training ground for figuring myself out so that I could share a life with someone else.

About Cathy Patterson-Sterling

Cathy Patterson-Sterling is a Christian counselor with a counseling ministry called Real Life Tool Box. She is an author, speaker, wife, mother and friend. Through her counseling ministry, she offers more than 50 e-learning audio play courses to help people grow in faith and have their healthiest relationships. She is passionate about helping people find freedom from fear or other emotional strongholds that are holding them back from living out their greatest potential in God's plans for their lives.
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