The Deep Truth Is: Living as a Single Woman

“So how are things going in New York?”


I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count lately, and I’m always excited to tell my friends (both new and old) that things are going well. I’ve gotten a ton of writing done – in fact, I’m more than halfway done with my musical – and I’m making some great connections with people here. My new church already feels like the beginning of a new spiritual community for me, and I have a few friends there that I hope to get to know more as time passes. I have a new voice teacher and I am auditioning for worship band vocals in a few weeks; I’ve never sung in a worship band before, but I’ve always wanted to! I have been to see a Broadway show already and I have walked through Central Park at least half the days I have been here. My cousin and I send each other silly Snapchats while sitting next to each other on the couch in the evenings. The weather is getting warmer. I have lunch hangouts scheduled with drama therapy colleagues who might have some potential job connections for me, and I continue to write, trusting that when a professional writing opportunity comes along, I’ll be ready to take it. And while I’m meeting people and writing my script and blog posts, I’m getting out into the city and taking in all the NYC energy.

Of course, I also struggle with the fear of uncertainty and the loneliness that comes with uprooting myself and replanting in a brand-new location. I am transparent about those struggles because moving is, by no means, easy. But I’ve done it once, and I’m doing it again. I am not shy in answering with the truth of my experience when people ask me – sharing the stories of both the joys and the struggles of my current chapter in life.


But there is one struggle that I have not revealed to anyone but my mom, my best friend, and my therapist. I won’t ask for help with it; I won’t ask for prayers on it; I won’t let anyone know that I think about it every day.


… … …


Numerous friends and family members have shared how proud they are of me for chasing my dreams and moving to NYC, without a job, without friends, completely by myself. And I am deeply proud of me for what I have done, and I have a love for and confidence in myself that wasn’t present a few years ago. I live a life that brings me joy, happiness, fulfillment, and love.


I am a confident, strong, independent, single woman, who can make shit happen for herself and live her best life.


But I don’t want to be single. I really don’t want to be single.


… … …


For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of my wedding day. I have fantasized about being with an amazing man who loves me deeply, having a family together, and supporting each other in living this life together.


I had a few high school relationships and I dated a bit in college, but I have never been in a serious relationship. If you knew me well in undergrad, you know this was a huge source of pain: I wasn’t shy about my singleness woes then. But once I started grad school, I stopped talking about it outside of a very small group of close friends and family. This means that, if you know me from recent years, you probably only know that I am single, or, at the very least, you have never seen me with a partner around. And I probably seemed completely happy and fine with it.


But the truth is, I’m not fine with it.


And for the first time in years, I actually want to talk about it.


… … …


On the prayer request line of the connection card at my new church here in NYC, I wrote that I would deeply appreciate prayers of support as I put down roots here in New York and work on finding friends, a community, and a job. Nowhere in that prayer request did I mention finding a romantic relationship.


Yet, when I called my mom yesterday, a conversation about some exciting updates in my new NYC life turned into the distress of my loneliness and a deep desire to prioritize a partnership in this fresh chapter of my life.


Why don’t I tell anyone that a relationship is something that I want? Why won’t I ask for prayers for it? Why won’t I ask for help?


Because I’m ashamed of it, and I’m confused about what it means to be a single woman.


… … …


“Kate, if you want a relationship, then you need to put yourself in situations where you’re going to actually meet single guys.”


Okay, well, I have tried online dating and dating apps (four, to be exact). Those didn’t work too well for me – after two years of lackluster dates that started with dating app connections, I finally conceded that online dating and I just don’t click. I’ve also let friends set me up (twice) and I do my best to get out into the city and just be social. I intentionally put myself in situations where opportunities might arise for me to meet someone new.


“Yeah, but I met my partner when I just totally stopped trying. They’ll show up when you’re least expecting it.”


Oh. Okay, I can try to stop trying…I guess. But even if I’m not putting in effort, I still want a relationship.


“Aw, don’t worry! It will happen for you someday!”


Yeah, I don’t disagree with you, but that doesn’t necessarily help me to feel better now. I don’t need the relationship to happen immediately, but I do want to feel better right now. Or at least feel validated.


“But you’re so young! You have so much time! Why are you even worrying about this?”


Don’t most people want to find someone to share their lives with, to be fully seen and known by a life partner? Why shouldn’t I want that at my age?


“Maybe it’s just not in God’s plan for you – after all, God doesn’t design everyone to be married.”


I refuse to believe in a God so cruel as to create a human with the desire for partnership and then deny them that partnership. This is a strong desire and I know in my heart that I want to be a committed partner – I refuse to believe the possibility that it might not happen because that just leads me down a path of depression and hopelessness.

“All you have to do is just become totally comfortable being on your own – then, it will happen for you!”

But I am. I am a confident, strong, independent, single woman, who can make shit happen for herself and live her best life, and I’m not lacking anything in my life because I’m single. I moved to my dream city; I am writing every day and taking the plunge down the path of freelance writing; I am getting out and having fun and enjoying my life. I do not believe that I’m less of a person because I don’t have a partner.


But pop culture and those in my life who found relationships after they “just stopped trying” send the message that I ‘should’ have a partner in my life now, and if I don’t, well then, I’m clearly still doing something wrong.


… … …


Then again, there are a lot of things I ‘should’ and ‘should not’ be doing.


As a 25-year-old person, I ‘should’ be loving the single life – being carefree, living my dreams, and having fun.


As a young woman, I ‘should’ be able to effortlessly find a romantic partner.

As a career-driven individual, I ‘should’ put all my focus into that, not into romance.


And if I do want a relationship, then it ‘should’ be easy.


… … …

But it’s not easy for me – it never has been – especially with so many conflicting messages swirling in my head.


The messages all stockpile – an armory of ammunition for my inner critic to use whenever it wants. It will throw anything and everything at me to make itself right and me wrong.


I lay in bed crying myself to sleep out of loneliness, wanting nothing more than to curl up in someone’s arms, while the voice in my head tells me that I’m just not good enough yet, and if I was, then I wouldn’t be crying myself to sleep all alone in the first place.


I’m on my way to a café to write for a bit, when a fleeting thought passes through my mind during my walk, “Maybe today will be the day I meet him,” followed immediately by, “well, now it’s not the day because I’m expecting it.”


I take a shower, feeling the heaviness in my chest as I wrestle with my own mind, attempting to “just let it go” while kicking myself for even wanting it to begin with. Wouldn’t I be so much happier if I didn’t want a partner? Why can’t I just not want a partner?

… … …


I have immense love for the people in my life who support me and want to see me succeed. I relate to everyone in different ways over different points of connection, but the one thing that I don’t feel like I relate to anyone in is the particular way I experience my desire to be in a relationship. I’ve never heard a story of someone finding a romantic partnership while feeling the same way I do. It’s hard when I only hear stories of how friends were able to “just let it go” or how they never really thought about it or how easy it was because that’s now how I’m experiencing it.


And when I try to follow their steps, I end up hurting even more because I’m denying my own experience of it and trying to live someone else’s, in desperate attempts to change my situation.


So not only do I feel lonely because I’m a single woman who wants a relationship, but I feel lonely because I can’t seem to connect with anyone who has a similar story or whose story can provide hope for me.


Then I feel like I can’t tell anyone that I want a relationship because it ‘should’ just be easy for me, and who am I to ask for help and prayers and support around this when there are so many other more important things to be helping and praying for and supporting?

The loneliness compounds.


… … …


I am a confident, strong, independent, single woman, who can make shit happen for herself and live her best life.


I am capable of moving across the country. Twice.


I am a healer.


I am a writer.


I am a sister.


I am a performer.


I am a daughter.


I am a teacher.


I am a friend.


I’m good at playing all these roles. But, like any role, being a 'single woman' gets old after a while. I’m tired to denying what I want to be and do.


The deep truth is, I don’t want to be single anymore.


I want to be a wife. I want to be a life partner. I want to live my life in a team with someone. Someone who loves me to the moon and back. Someone who sees me fully for who I am and loves me anyway. Someone who will support me in everything I do. Someone who will disagree with me and work together to resolve those disagreements. Someone who makes me feel happy and excited and supported and loved and passionate and fiery. Someone that reminds me of how grateful I am to spend my life with such a special, handsome, talented, driven, and loving individual. Someone who wants me in his life right now as much as I want him.


And as I write all of this out, tears welling, I wonder why I’ve felt so ashamed to ever admit this.


I’m doing everything ‘right’ – that is, I’m doing what is in my control to do. I’m living my most joyful life. I’m forging ahead in my career and friendships. I’m taking steps to be the best partner I can be when I finally do find myself in a relationship.


And now, I’m talking about it. I’m sharing it. I’m letting others know that this is something very real that I struggle with every day. Even though this doesn’t change my relationship status, it does provide some relief knowing that I’m not holding this within myself anymore. Being positive and hopeful about it doesn’t mean I have to hide it and push it down, forcing myself to ‘forget’ about it; it means that I can acknowledge that this is a challenge for me, and take steps to make it a little less hard for myself.


Whatever it is you’re ashamed of, I hope you can find someone to share it with. It just might help take away some of that shame.


Writing this post has certainly helped me do that.


Thank you for taking the time to hear my heart.


With love and gratitude,


Kate




(Cover image photo credit: Thomas Kinto from Unsplash)

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