You get a text from a friend and see a close-up picture of a sparkly ring. You open Facebook and find an image of your friend standing in a picturesque location with her boyfriend on one knee before her. You see the Instagram post of your friend and his girlfriend cuddling close, diamond on display. Well, there is yet another one of your friends who has paired off. You do a mental tally of your close friends. Are you really the only single person left?When everyone around you is preparing to tie the knot and settle down in newlywed bliss, it can be hard to be the only one who is not involved in a relationship that is headed in the direction of marriage. Maybe you and your significant other only recently started dating, or perhaps you are entirely single without a beau at all. Either way, when you are the only one in your friend group who is not planning a wedding or hoping for a proposal, you can start to feel rather like an outcast. You start to wonder if you are going to be alone forever and live out your twilight years surrounded by cats.
Your friends’ engagements do not need to be a source of stress for you. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not going to be alone forever. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself these questions to help you cope when everyone around you is getting engaged.
Are you really ready for marriage or are you just lonely or jealous?No matter how much anyone swears that they would never begrudge their friends their happiness, everyone gets jealous. When you are still struggling to find someone worthy of a second or third date or getting over a bad breakup, the sight of your friends staring deeply into each other’s eyes over clasped hands and a diamond ring can rapidly lead to the growth of the ugly, green-eyed monster. You want that happiness, too. Wanting to have someone you are that happy with, however, is not the same as being ready for marriage. You can want to love someone and still be completely unprepared to spend the rest of your life with someone.
Loneliness can also rear its unpleasant head when all your friends are becoming engaged. You wonder if you will be alone because you do not have a fiancé. You also may wonder if your friends are really going to have time to be with you anymore or if they will be off doing married things with their spouse and married friends. Do not fear. You will not be alone forever. Not having someone you want to spend forever with yet does not mean that you will not find them one day. Also, your friends will not abandon you simply because they have gotten married. Frankly, if they do, they were never your friends in the first place.
Have you set an arbitrary time limit for marriage?For some reason, many people set mental deadlines for when they need to have achieved various milestones in life. They need to have found their dream job by the time they are 25. They need to be married by the time they are 28. They have to make so much money or reached a certain level in the corporate hierarchy by the time they are 30. They need to have children by the time they are 32. The list goes on and on. Have you set one of these time limits for finding a spouse? Are you getting anxious because you “need” be married by 28, and your 26th birthday is right around the corner? Have you decided that you “have” to have children by the age of 33, but you still have not found your spouse?
Do not let arbitrary deadlines cause you either anxiety or to rush into a relationship. There is no time limit on getting married. You can be happily married later in life. If children are you concern, you can always have children later in life, something that is becoming increasingly common, or adopt.
Do you know how to be happy by yourself?Sometimes people long to get married because it means that they will not be alone. They are terrified that they will be alone forever. As such, these people tend to cling to every relationship like a shipwrecked sailor clings to a piece of wood. When a relationship ends, they immediately pour all their energy into finding their next beau. This is no state of mind to be in when deciding if you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone. You should not get married simply because you are afraid.
If you do not know how to be happy by yourself, you need to learn. You will struggle to have a happy relationship or a lasting marriage if your identity is forever wrapped up in your significant other. If you do not know how to be happy when you are single, take this time to learn. Discover who you are as your own person, then go find someone who compliments your traits.
Being the last single friend when you are surrounded by glittering diamond rings and discussions that focus on wedding planning can be equal parts exhausting and infuriating. Do not let yourself get lost in jealousy or fear. There is someone out there for you. Until then, enjoy the fact that you do not have to spend hours arguing with caterers, drop $1,000 on a dress, work out like a fiend to get in shape for the honeymoon or try to figure out how to sit feuding family members at the same table without causing a riot. Instead, you get to dance around in your underwear singing terrible show tunes while making unhealthy comfort food. Be happy for your friends, but enjoy the singlehood while you still have the bathroom to yourself.