It’s been a while since I last wrote about single life on this blog. The truth is I put it all on the shelf. Not out of disinterest or lack of inspiration, it’s been more of a “temporarily closed for construction” situation. Now that I’ve worked with singles one on one plus novel personal experiences, I’ve gathered a new scope of material and insights. As a result my outlook on solo living has expanded and solidified further.
Recently, I’ve been receiving questions through email and in real life about singleness and choosen to interpret this as my cue to get back at it and start typing away.
So where to start? Well, I like to break things down for simplification and clarification purposes. What I’ve summarized are 3 types of singles with completely different set of needs and struggles. These are : The involuntary single, the voluntary single and a group I’ve named the “inbetweeners”. The first two categories mentioned are pretty self explanatory. The inbetweeners consist of singles who don’t mind being single yet are open to couplehood. I should mention that the division isn’t clear cut, but fluid in nature with one being the primary attitude.
With my clients, classifying which group one belongs to will set all parameters for the session. So how would one go about identifying which group a person belongs to? One clue to get a general idea how a single unconsciously feels about their life situation is by asking a simple question: how would you feel if you ended up alone for the rest of your life? I’ve noted asking this question eludes drilled in replies and defence mechanisms, instead aiming straight for the core stance about the single status.
If the realization that ending up alone is in fact a valid possibility elicits a feeling of devastation, victimhood, anger or any other negative response, congrats! You’re an involuntary single and we’ve got some real work to do. I don’t mean any judgment by that statement, I know this because I’ve lived it myself (and still occasionally slip back to it). For the other two groups, the answer won’t be negatively charged. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with having the desire for a relationship, moving towards it or reacting negatively temporarily to set backs in that department. This falls within the “inbetweener” concept. It’s only when the wish for a partner or the “lack” thereof, influences the overall well-being it becomes problematic. If anything for that matter, outside ourselves hijacks the power over how we feel, it’s doomed to bring unhappiness.
The main distinction between the inbetweener (and voluntary single) and the involuntary single, lies in the acceptance and appreciation for life as it is now. For the involuntary single there’s an underlying presumption of life going “wrong” or in need of fixing. This is obviously an unhealthy perception lowering one’s life quality. So, when I’m faced with an involuntary single my aim is to guide and support my client through their inner work and healing process. The internal work will with time automatically land the involuntary single in the inbetweener or even voluntarily singles’ category. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of becoming an inbetweener when singleness feels as a forced upon state. Not only does the transformation lead to a greater sense of self worth and fulfilment, the dating experience will be significantly different for the better. How you might ask? I’ll write a whole separate post on it.