Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not Alone Series: Vulnerability with Friends

Hello! We're back at my place again this week...Jen has been spending time with her cuter-than-cute nieces, so I'm giving her a break to get settled back into real life :) This week's topic:

Do you find that your non-single friends struggle with relating to you or vice versa? If so, in what ways? How do you handle it? What is something that you would like them to know or understand that they just don't seem to get?

Most of my friends are in serious relationships, engaged, or married. And I love it. (usually) 
I love seeing my girlfriends in fulfilling relationships and I love watching my guy friends navigate the estrogen ocean ;)

Some of them are nearing engagement (exciting!), others are planning weddings (super exciting!!), and a few are married and have little ones whom I love dearly. Learning through my friends and their experiences with love in all different stages of romantic relationships is an invaluable experience.

There are many times when they just can't relate to my life and struggles as a single woman.

It's not that they don't try...believe me, they do. They listen and empathize and attempt to give advice, and I appreciate it.
But there's always the voice in the back of my mind saying "you don't really know what I'm going through."
They all met and wed their beloved when they were younger than I.
They were never graduated from college and single and working.
They don't know what it's like to see all of their friends marry and birth babes and wonder when their day will come.

And that's ok, because that's their story, not mine.
However it makes it difficult for having reciprocal friendships.
Because, let's be honest, I can't relate to their complaints of in-laws or video-playing fiances/husbands or sleepless baby-crying nights.

Now, this doesn't go for all of my in-relationship-friends. One of my closest friends is a couple years older than I and she's been single for the entirety of our friendship (5 years). She just began dating this guy (who's great and I totally approve!) a few weeks ago, so while she's dating someone, she can still relate to the struggles I face as a singleton.

I so appreciate having a friend who knows how I feel, even though she isn't in this same place at the moment.
It gives me hope.
She's a testament to the "I know it sucks, but enjoy the ride for now and be patient for the future" mentality
....because she's lived it. Hearing that advice from her means so much more to me than my friend who married straight out of college telling me the exact same thing.

So what's a girl to do?
Should I simply avoid anyone in a relationship until I'm in one myself and we can therefore relate to one another?
Mmmm no.

I think it's important to have friendships with people at all different stages of life.
Authentic, organic friendships should occur between people regardless of your "relationship status".
I like to have a mix.

My single friends help me to know that I'm not alone in feeling the way that I am. And if we're living in true friendships, we're able to help one another through rough patches. We are there for one another in solidarity. We are not alone.

My in-relationship-but-have-been-where-I-am friends are a source of hope and encouragement and affirmation in my feelings as a single woman. They can relate.

My married/engaged friends are such great models of holy romances. They help me to know what I'm truly looking for in a relationship, what matters and what doesn't. And you know what? While they might not be able to relate to my particular situation, they've had struggles of their own. Maybe I can learn from something they've had to deal with!

What about you? Do you struggle having non-single friends and relating to one another? Write a post and link it up below!

Next week's topic:
Surviving events/parties as a singleton
The holidays are coming up! Family parties, friend gatherings... and you're single. How do you "cope"? Any tips or tricks?


Just a reminder that we've decided to take a break from the Not Alone Series until January 14, 2014. Feel free to continue to blog about your single life experiences, but we just won't be having anything formal until January!


  1. I totally feel you on having friendships with people in all states of life. It's actually the norm outside of the U.S. As I write about in my post today, my issue is not so much with Catholic married friends. But your post did trigger something in my brain that it was sometimes hard for me to be around my peers or in young adult groups where it seems like EVERYONE is pairing off and getting serious, while I'm stuck in a cyclic pattern of dating for a bit before it inevitably ends. The worst is when their advice trends more to something I've done wrong, when in reality, it's just a matter of they have found someone compatible long-term in their immediate circle and I have not. ugh. Anyway...three cheers for friends who get it and encourage me on to enjoy life. :)

  2. Thank you for this post! It was so so so so wonderful! I enjoyed your use of little text for usually because there are some times when no matter how hard I try to be happy for my friends who are engaged/married/in solid relationships, a tiny part of me just aches. And I love your mention of a friend who was single for quite some time and is now in a relationship because one of my good friends is in a similar boat - she still understands what I'm going through yet she is going through something quite exciting!


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