When my friend Deborah’s post on ‘What my Single Friends would like their Married Friends to know’ hit 1000 views, i figured that people were interested in what she had to say and so it would be worth seeing if she was up to writing a piece for the Taboo Topic on Singleness and turns out, she was…

deborah

Stages of Singleness

When I was 18 years old, I attended my very first Singles Camp. Contrary to the name, the purpose of the camp was not to ‘hook up’ single people. Rather, it was designed to help single people deal with issues that are peculiar to unmarried persons. There were a range of sessions, some designed to help persons prepare for marriage, others geared towards helping persons deal with some of the challenges of singleness like loneliness. I attended this camp for years, until I realised that some of the ‘little’ children whom I had counselled at our church camp were now attending Singles Camp; I had officially become an Older Single person!

I recognise that being single in my 30s is a whole different dynamic than being single in my 20s. If I am still single in my 40s, I imagine that will again be a totally unique experience. I would like to share the stages of singleness that I went through. Maybe you can identify with one of these stages, or maybe it will give you some insight about how the single persons in your circles may be feeling.

Studious Stage

From a young age we heard the mantra “Boys and books don’t mix”. I had seen first hand the devastation of my classmates who suffered their first heart-break, so I knew that I didn’t want to experience this. As a result, I engulfed myself fully in my studies, and the results paid off – graduating with First Class Honors as Valedictorian of my faculty at university. I was single by choice.

Social Stage

Thanks to my success in the previous stage, I was able to get a decent job that enabled me to rent an apartment and live comfortably. I now had the time (and means) to lime! I thoroughly enjoyed this phase of singleness; being able to engage in activities without having the responsibilities of a husband or children to restrict me; having the freedom to jump on a plane and travel to wherever in the world I wanted to go (mostly visiting my sisters and friends in the States and England). I was open to relationships at this stage, but (as I found out later) some of my male friends were intimidated by my responses to them in the Studious Stage, so they never made a move. I was single by consequence.

Sulky Stage

I didn’t have a problem when my friends who were my age or older got married – I was genuinely happy for them and fully supported in whatever way I could, helping with decorations, wedding planning, the works. When it started to get difficult was when the younger ones started getting married. That is when I started to question if anything was wrong with me. If I was as nice as people said I was, why did no one want to spend the rest of their life with me? There were guys who approached, but I didn’t feel the connection although some of them were nice. And the ones I did like were not available. I was single by circumstance.

Sold out Stage

It took heartbreak at the end of a relationship for me to recognise that ultimately, what really matters is my relationship with God. For me, being at the center of His will for my life is of more value than my marital status. My priority right now is serving God and bringing pleasure to Him with my life. If I get married along the way, great! But that is not my focus. Of course there are times when I wish I had that ‘special someone’ in my life, but in the meantime, God has surrounded me with amazing family and friends who provide the social, emotional and physical support in my time of need. I am single and content.

[For more inspiring stories from some amazing people on their own journeys of Singleness, click here]

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