Ask A Mom (Who Is Not Your Mom): Is Everyone Married But Me?

Dear Sarah,

I am 25, single, and live in small town USA. For the most part I am happy and functional. I usually don’t worry about being single, and I even try to enjoy it: Queen-sized bed to myself? Heck, yes! However, I’m starting to feel like I’m running out of time. Literally, all my close female friends are married. I guess I have one friend who isn’t married, but she recently moved in with her boyfriend who I suspect is prince charming come to life, or a spy. I can’t decide. Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely, and that age old concern of “will I ever meet someone?” is creeping in.

I love my friends and I am happy for them, but they aren’t always the most supportive. I mean, many of them haven’t been single since high school or college and have no idea the struggle it can be to meet new people after school. Rationally, I know I will probably meet someone, but emotionally I’m anxious and deeply convinced I will die alone, only to be eaten by my herd of cats. I need help getting past this phase (maybe I have low-self worth issues?), and some advice on how to go about meeting new people.

—Struggling Singleton Dear Singleton,

Ugh, people falling in love and getting married and having babies is the WORST. OK, I’m kidding. But we live in an age of narcissism and over-sharing where a mere glance at your phone can make you feel isolated and out-of-step. Picture this: You’ve just plopped on the couch in your sweet little studio apartment for a relaxing Facebook or Instagram veg-out and, boom, your feed is stuffed with sparkling diamond solitaires and yogurt-smeared babies in ironic onesies. Suddenly your empowered independent girl life feels pathetic and lonely.

Have courage, young lady. You have years and years ahead of you to half-sleep next to a chronic snorer and change dirty diapers (and also experience all the magical, life-affirming stuff that goes along with being married or part of a family). You do need to accumulate some new friends who will reflect back to you that your current life is free and important and fun. Newlyweds, the pregnant, and young parents can be unintentionally self-enthralled. I should know, I regaled my (probably inwardly horrified) friends and family with the twists and turns of my baby labor as if it were a thrilling sequel to Gone Girl.

Yes, it is harder to make friends (or find a relationship) when you don’t have time for the same late night bonding sessions and daily hang outs with piles of kids that you had in school. But when we are younger, we tend to stick with our own pack. SO, even though you live in a small town you probably didn’t engage with kids a couple of years older or younger—or who you might have discounted as oddballs. That’s a starting place: the mysterious goth chic from Advanced Chemistry who you’ve seen behind the counter at the local coffee bar? Your neighbor from the fifth grade who was sweet but shy, who you now see jogging at the park? Excellent friend potential. As is your thirty-something co-worker with the incredible shoes and outrageous sense of humor. The main thing is to show up; be open to new people at work, volunteer, join a book club.. You will meet fabulous people and start to feel a renewed sense of belonging. One day you’ll wake up sprawled in that big queen bed all dappled with morning sunlight and realize you are exactly where you should be.

Love, Sarah

Have an issue that could use a mom’s-eye-view? Our new advice column features a real live mother of three who is ready to discuss any of your burning questions judgment—and baggage—free. Email [email protected] with the subject line “Dear Mom.” Please include your first name or nickname and where you are from. Questions may be edited for clarity and length.
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