Some singles view their relationship status as a true gift; to other singles, it may feel like a curse. Summer is wedding season, a time where many people have friends and family getting married. For some single people who deeply desire a committed relationship, seeing friends and family get married can feel saddening, lonely, and frustrating. Wedding season also may trigger feelings of self-doubt, grief, jealousy, hopelessness, and/or insecurity for such singles. Here are some tips for singles who long to be partnered to cope during wedding season or any other time that there are salient reminders of singleness.
Know that feeling jealous, grieved, sad, lonely, or angry is normal. Know that it is also ok to have conflicted feelings.
Some singles who have loved ones getting married may experience a grief reaction in response to the newly married person moving away or having their time consumed more by their new spouse. Grief/sadness is a normal response to a loss of something valued, and for this situation, the loss could be of a friend or family member’s time or nearness. Jealousy is also a normal reaction. It is an indication that there is something that you deeply desire, and there is nothing inherently “bad” about having a hope or a dream for your life. You can be happy for someone and express that happiness while also feeling jealous. Anger is also a very normal response. Anger is a secondary emotion that we can sometimes feel more than other, potentially more vulnerable emotions such as (but not limited to) hurt, anxiety, or regret.
Learn to refrain from jumping to conclusions about your own future.
When you see loved ones getting married around you and you feel distressed, it is easy to jump to a conclusion. Jumping to a conclusion means that you are making an assumption that may not be true about the future and responding as if it were mostly/entirely true. Conclusions that one may jump to in this situation might include, “My love life is doomed,” “No one will find me attractive,” “I’m never going to find a partner,” or “I’m going to be single forever.” Remember that you cannot possibly predict the future. Also, someone having what you want does not necessarily mean that you will never have it. Some people struggle with jumping to conclusions so often that it can create a lot of distress. If you feel a high level of distress about your singleness, therapy can be a great place to develop a new perspective on it.
Remind yourself that being partnered or married is not a guarantee of long-term happiness.
Thanks to television and social media, our society has become inundated by and obsessed with the idea of “Pinterest-perfect weddings,” “perfect proposals,” and sharing many details of wedding planning. All we see when we see a wedding, proposal, or a very happy moment between partners is a very short window of time in someone’s life. We often do not get to see the times that couples spend disagreeing about something, the loneliness that some married people feel when there is infidelity or lack of effort in the relationship, or other tough moments that a married/partnered person might experience. While there are many happy couples in the world, there are also many partnered people that feel disconnected, hurt, and lonely while still being in the relationship.
Invest time in people, hobbies, or activities that bring you joy.
Regardless of your relationship status, it is healthy to have sources of meaning and joy in your life both in and outside of relationships. Reflect on what makes you who you are and what (or who) brings you joy. Make it a priority to invest your free time and energy into these things and people. Your life may feel richer and more well-rounded for it.