Being single isn’t so bad
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50
Last week’s article on why married people read this column generated a potpourri of comments by singles.
After a very difficult marriage in which she didn’t have the strength to get out for a long time, Donna, Illinois, said that she now sees great advantages of being single.
“Being able to make one’s own decisions and proving to oneself that you can pay the bills and handle life is very good for one’s self esteem,” Donna said. Although she’s had some “psycho dates” in five years of dating, she’s found a person who is nice, “but the idea of commitment or marriage is very scary and not in my vocabulary.”
Shirley, the wise bird of Manhattan (NYC), wishes married people would be more sensitive to singles. “Married people don’t invite single friends, especially women, to parties, the theater, eating out, especially during the evening hours. We singles know how to pay our own way, and it isn’t embarrassing. We don’t have to be escorted, we’ve been traveling alone for some time.
“One married friend told me outright that she can’t invite me because she’ll slight her husband in conversation during an evening activity. She is insensitive and very limited—her behavior is no reflection on my worth or charm—she is too rigid and socially incompetent, so we meet for lunch.”
Shirley added that in retirement communities this goes on all the time. “I’m told by friends who live there; single women are NEVER invited to dinner, which sounds crazy, to say the least.”
Shirley feels that singles can enhance the lives of married people. “We need all kinds of friends, and being a couple is not the universe,” she said.
Loneliness is the toughest aspect of being single. Most over-50 singles never expected to be alone at this stage in their lives. Some think a mate will cure all. When I make speeches, I say, “Be careful for what you wish because you just might find it.”
Too many singles meet someone and commit too soon without knowing the person, thinking they’ve cured their loneliness. Then the little secrets and idiosyncrasies of the new mate start to emerge—he’s a control freak or too set in his ways, for example. In months, the person realizes that being single wasn’t so bad, in fact, it was pretty darned good.
One 59-year-old woman met a widower in the summer of 2016. She did not know he was widowed only five months prior. We showered her with false love, promises and flowers. And then dumped her, breaking her hear.
Over the years, women readers have shared their reasons why:
One said, “I’ve been married and unhappy and single and unhappy and single and unhappy is better because I can more easily do something about my situation.” By that, she means she can get out and involved in activities she enjoys. But when you’re married and unhappy, to get out means going through the divorce train wreck.
Another said, “Why should I live with a man? I already have a job.”
A third said, “I never knew true happiness until I remarried, but then it was too late.”
Singles need to remind themselves that being single isn’t so bad.