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April 26, 2022

What to Do While You’re Single and Waiting for Love

Many of the things I write about are not new- maybe my spin on them is unique. But ultimately, I am holding space for this one moment in time for you to focus on this aspect of your life.

You have probably been doing all the things- focusing on yourself, self care, upleveling. You feel like you’ve got a good handle on that. But there is this glaring hole.

You want a life partner.

And honestly, this can apply to anyone who is waiting. Waiting for love, waiting for life to start, waiting for a season to end, waiting for the death of a terminally ill loved one. There is so much waiting in our life. But today, I’m going to talk to you who are waiting for love.

I’ve been married for 27 years. I met my hubby when I was 18, so you may be wondering, how do you even know what it’s like to be waiting on a partner when you never did. 

You’re right. I don’t. And we can never fully understand the internal world of another’s, but I have been working with women for over 20 years – walking this journey of living and thriving while waiting. I feel I have access to a little private door not often walked through. With this access, I have sat with the waiting and I have my own journey of waiting.

My husband and I were married for 7 years before we had our first child. I placed my first child for adoption when I was 16 and desperately wanted to be a mother in ways different than someone who has never had it briefly and given it up. We waited until I graduated from college to start trying and nothing happened. I had nothing else to do, so I decided to go to grad school, which was something I had always wanted to do, but I wanted to be a mother more. 

After two years of grad school, I finished with my master’s degree and still no pregnancy. I figured I might as well go and get my doctorate because it was always something I had wanted to do and I was vastly interested in psychology, but I would have never gone if I had the baby I so desperately wanted. 3 years later, I was almost finished with my doctorate. I had given up the idea that I would have a child someday. I put all my baby magazine gear away and all the things I was saving for in a cabinet and closed the door. It was too painful to continue to hope.

And of course, as life would have it, when I had given up the hope, that’s when I became pregnant. I was too far along in my doctoral program to quit and so I decided to finish. It took me a little longer because I was a mom, but I graduated with my doctorate with two children at my ceremony. 

I am convinced that had I gotten what I really wanted when I wanted it,  I would not be where I am today with a career ( my work feels way more than a career and more than a business, it’s a life’s mission).  I wouldn’t have this life that I absolutely love. And I still got what I wanted. I still got the family- Just not in my timing. In God’s timing. 

So, yes, I tied that all up with a nice bow and that’s all very nice for me, but what about you? You’re still here waiting and you’re not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and these guys you’re meeting are not good candidates. You have done all things and you’re ready, but it’s not happening. Now what? 

I can wait with you now.

I almost forget what it was like to wait, because it’s all good now, but I force myself to remember when I am sitting with a woman in waiting. And maybe because I have waited for seven years, I can wait with you now.

So what advice do I have for you? 

1. I know it’s tempting, but I implore you not to settle.

Okay, you guys know about the list- I hope you know about the list- that all single women should have. I’ve talked about it before on the podcast and this is paramount because the hardest thing to do when you’re waiting is maintain your standards. I have worked with countless women who will admit that their current relationship is not what they really want,  but it’s quickly followed up by, “but it’s not that bad and the dating world is tough out there and at least I know what I have.” This breaks my heart because it’s hard to fathom what the rest of your life means when you make that commitment. And I see too many women on the other side of settling that makes me say in the most resounding voice I can. Don’t do it. This is better.

Wait!

Make your non-negotiable list when you are not in a relationship and commit to ending a relationship the second anyone demonstrates a non-negotiable. 

2. Date people you aren’t attracted to.

Wait, what? I know you’re thinking I’ve gone off the deep end here. I didn’t say date someone you’re repulsed by. Don’t do that. But if the sparks aren’t there immediately, especially if you tend to be attracted to guys who aren’t that great for you, go ahead and date the guy who looks good on paper- your paper, your list- not anyone else’s. And see if something develops. The early lusty, exciting limerence does not a lifetime last. You need to date the guy who has the qualities of the husband you want, not the guy who makes you lose all your adult senses. If they are packaged together, that’s fantastic, but that’s not always the case, so don’t overlook that possible gem because he’s not shiny.

3. Stop asking what’s wrong with you.

Nothing’s wrong with you. Well, I don’t know you- something may be wrong with you, but that’s not the reason you’re not coupled up. I know plenty of people with plenty of things wrong with them who are coupled up. So that’s not it and stop talking to yourself that way. If you truly feel you need to work on some things- and who doesn’t? Get some help. Read some books, seek therapy. But don’t believe the lie that you’re too broken to have love. 

4. Answer the What if’s?

I know the waiting can be excruciating and in the process you ask yourself all the questions that strike fear in your heart- What if all the good guys are taken? What if by the time I meet the right one I’m too old to have kids, what if there’s something wrong with me, what if I’m going to be alone forever? I know it’s almost impossible not to ask yourself these questions. So, if you’re going to do it, you must answer them. Thoroughly.

When you ask yourself a question and you don’t answer it, you leave your brain hanging and that causes and increases anxiety. When you answer the question, your brain calms down and it can let it go. If it asks again, remind yourself of the answer and move on with your life.  I encourage you to write down your what if’s and write down your answers.

5. Find your next right thing.

Find your passions and pursue them with abandon. And a side note about that- you’ll meet a lot of people while pursuing your passions and it makes you more attractive. 

When your person does come into your life, he will not save you, complete you or make you whole. If you’re waiting on that, stop. It’s a DIY thing and you have all you need for that.

Corey Copeland said:

“…we can breathe easy in knowing that, while we may ache for the completion of another, being single is actually OK. Within those somewhat lonely nights full of painful growth, we are being made whole.”

6. Live!  Do the things you want to do in life.

I hope you have a goal list that spans 1 yr, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. I hope marriage is on there if that’s what you’re waiting for. It’s crucial to put words to your goals. But do not put them off, waiting to couple up. Women often tells me, “ I’m waiting until I’m married to do that.” DON’T. Marriage is not the beginning of life. You are living right here and now. This is your life and it’s beautiful in so many ways- even when it’s not what you expected. Don’t put off that around the world trip, don’t wait to buy your first house. Get out of your comfort zone.  If you’re over 35, don’t wait to have that baby. 

7. Have faith. Trust. Rest in that. Your person will come when the time is right. And you will see the unfolding of God’s plan. 

Corey Copeland in his article, Being Single Is Okay, Ok? said:

“I’m content in knowing that I can be fulfilled in God and in my own path without having to desperately cling to another beating heart.”

Finally, here’s the kicker:

“It is by no means a walk in the proverbial park, and there are excruciating growing pains to go through, but in those moments of loneliness, in those moments of seeded exploration, we begin to discover just how self-sustaining we can be. We begin to unearth the real us. We learn things about ourselves that we may have never known before. We find new talents and ambitions that may have otherwise been buried by our decadent union. No, being alone isn’t necessarily fun, but it is OK. Being single, if seen as an opportunity rather than a condition, is something we can learn from.”

When you’re rushing to get out of this stage, you are missing the beauty that’s right in front of your face. 

You’ve got this!

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