Dear Giving Older Singles a Hard Time,
Chances are, this letter is either to you or from you.
If it is to you, let me just say that I hope you don’t take offense. My intention is not to be hurtful, but explain to how your words have hurt others–and most likely with the best of intentions.
Who are “we?”
We are those that are single and above the “normal age” to marry. We aren’t gay. We don’t have porn problems. We aren’t bitter about our divorce. We aren’t obsessed with our careers. And we aren’t having too much fun. We just happen to be over 21 and not married. #puttingtheSINinSINGLE
You see, so many times, help is offered, but it just doesn’t come across very well. We don’t need set-ups with ugly friends (unless we are the ugly friend, then keep it coming), condescending advice (we’ve heard it, know it, try it, and some weirdo’s even blog about it), comments about us being selfish, text messages when someone mentions singles in general conference, telling us we are “stupid” when we break up with someone, or constant barrage of “why are you single?”
And most importantly (outside of a hospital), no one, ever needs to be asked, “What is wrong with you?” Ever. [period]
Now, what we do need is your support, love, kindness, understanding and sincere friendship.
Instead of incessantly indicating the individual intention that has been thus far elusive (a spouse), help us to see all that we have accomplished. Don’t dwell on the one failure (as you see it), shed a light on the many accomplishments (as we should see it). I’m not asking you to be a patronizing cheerleader, but rather reminding you of you when you were single.
When we go to sleep at night, we are woefully aware that we are single. And in those dark moments, often your question echoes in the chambers of an empty heart, ‘what is wrong with me?’
Well nothing is wrong with us. We are working and we will get “there,” whatever that “there” happens to be for us, but coming down on us for being single doesn’t help us get “there” any better.
Now, you may say this is unfair of us since we poke fun of ourselves. We put up our single life on the altar of easy jabs. We make the topic our target. But that target is really our shield. See, your comments pierced us a few times and we realized that there was no way to avoid it. So we put up a target as our shield–at least this way, we know it is coming. But it doesn’t mean that words never get through.
Some say that we are thinking of ourselves, we are too picky and that we are having too much fun. But if you saw the million rides we give to the airport, the long nights of comfort that are given, the hours spent working in the temple; if you saw the dreadful red flags of our dating pool, the emotionless first dates, the amount of people that we like who don’t like us at the same time; and oh, if you saw the aching hearts, tears and long nights of begging the Lord for comfort; if you saw all that (or maybe remembered), we think you would have a different perspective. And if you have lived through all of this, all the more reason for kindness before critique.
Know we are trying. We are trying to learn charity, trying to be open, trying to find the right person, trying to be the best person we can, and trying to distract ourselves occasionally because no…loneliness is not fun. And maybe marriage and parenting isn’t going to be this fairy tale awesomeness, but let’s all just lift each other up in whatever station we may be. We all have crosses that are barely bearable, but I feel we were put here to lighten the load, not add to it.
So before we finish, let me tell you why we’re even telling you this.
We wish we could say that your words don’t matter…but they do because, we look up to you. And even when words unintentionally cut, we know you want us to have an amazing family and want to help us get there.
Your love means so much, which is why we thought you might like to know how we feel.
p.s. Let’s not make this awkward or dramatic. We aren’t breaking up with you–just thought our relationship needed a touch of honesty.