I recently did a search on Google. I searched “being single at 30.” Here are some of the headlines that came up:
30 Reasons It’s OK to Be Single at 30
Why Being Single in Your 30s is Better than in Your 20s
24 Reasons It’s Cool to Be Single in Your 30s
Being Single in Your 30s is Actually Pretty Great
Let’s cut the bullshit! Nothing about being 30 and single is OK, fun, or cool. Actually let me rephrase that. Nothing about being 30 and single and FEMALE is OK, fun, or cool. Cause do you know what all those articles have in common? They are written by women and about women.
We all know it’s women who should be worried about becoming old maids and spinsters after a certain age. Single men at 30 or 40 remain bachelors. There isn’t some derogatory term for them because they still have time. Men are never really past their prime. When they choose to settle down, they will.
Sure we’re past the point where a single woman at 25 is classified as an old maid. Women are getting married and having children later in life than they ever have before. But for as much progress as we’ve made, there is still a long way to go.
And I am going to be blunt here and say what the women in the above articles didn’t want to admit: Being 30 and still single sucks!
Now I’m not saying that I spend every night drinking wine and crying over a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. (That only happens every other night.) For the most part, I’m doing OK. I have so much other stuff happening in my life that I’m not constantly consumed with the fact that I’m single. But then something happens to remind me just how single I really am.
It could be getting the ever popular “Why are you still single?” question. Or it could be getting invited to yet another wedding and realizing that you’d have to put an ad out on Craigslist if you wanted to bring a plus one. Or it could be going to a function with friends and realizing that you’re the only one left who hasn’t coupled up. Or most of the time, it’s simply just that look you get for “still” being single.
People will never say it (unless you know assholes) but you can sense that they’re thinking it. “There must be something wrong with her.” And the really sad part is that you’re the one thinking it the most. “There must be something wrong with ME.”
In your early twenties being single is completely normal. It’s actually more of an anomaly to find yourself in a serious relationship. However, as the candles start to pile up on your birthday cake, you start to realize that you’re becoming an endangered species.
As much as those articles want to preach that being single is OK and fun, I think we can all admit that it’s not the norm. I bet every 30-year-single girl can count on one hand the other 30-year-old single girls she knows. But if she wants to list the couples, she’ll need twenty five-subject notebooks.
“What’s wrong with me?” “Am I unlovable?” “Am I incapable of falling in love?” “Will I ever find someone that I can stand for more than two dates?” “Will I have to wind up settling?”
Settling…This is a word you’re going to think about a lot. After your 50th horrible first date in a row, you’ll wonder if settling is worth it. I’d give up donuts for the rest of my life if it meant I never had to go on another first date ever again. But it’s almost impossible to find a person that you connect with enough where a second date sounds like a good option. Maybe you should lower your “standards.”
The elusive standards. I often think that my standards are too high. And they probably are. But here’s the thing: after 30 years of dating, you’re going to rack up a shit load of standards. I’m very adamant about the things I want in a partner and even more adamant in the things that I DON’T want.
Single and Thirty is a whole new landscape and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not always OK, cool, or pretty great. There’s going to be a lot of suckage. And I think that’s something that all newly 30-somethings or soon-to-be 30-somethings should be aware of.
You’re allowed to feel lonely and stressed about living the single life. There isn’t something wrong with you cause you’re not constantly living the “Thirty, Flirting, and Thriving” life.
Wallow in your own self-pity every once in awhile. Cry over a cheesy Nicholas Sparks movie. Eat an entire sleeve of Oreo’s and wash it down with a bottle of wine. You’re single so there’s no one there to judge you. (See, being single has its perks!)
But also know that finding love in your thirties is a very real possibility. And it can be done without settling or compromising on your standards. It’s just gonna take a little more work.