Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Hardest Thing About Being Single In Your 30s

The irony isn't lost on me that I'm writing this on a Saturday night, while home alone.

I've been mostly single now for around 18 months, of course I've dated in that time but I haven't been in a serious committed relationship since the tail end of 2016 now (and even thats debatable..) and it definitely has both its upsides and downsides, as with anything else. 
The dating game seems to change on an almost monthly basis and for most of us, it's pretty exhausting, not least because men seem to hold all the cards these days. 
But the dating do's and don'ts are a whole different ball game, and that isn't really what this post is about. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be single in your 30's, and the one thing I keep coming back to is this: it's pretty rubbish not having friends. 
I do of course have friends, and I'm very lucky to have several very good friends, but these friendships are now totally different to how they were when I was in my 20's. 

When I think about my life as it is now it doesn't feel empty. 
I have a career I've worked hard for, I've travelled, I have social plans at least every week, I have a loving family and I've finally achieved the goal I've been aiming for for the best part of a decade - I'm a homeowner. And I've done it all on my own. 

However: at seminal parts throughout my life the one thing that's always been consistent is having a strong network of female friends around me. 
Friends who have been there to pick me up after a break-up, to cheer me on when I've accomplished something, to offer positive and constructive advice, to tell me I'm ace when its the last thing I feel, to sit around binge-watching Hollyoaks with on a Sunday morning after a night of getting dressed up, dancing and drinking cocktails. 
Friends who are always free to meet for a coffee, friends who are always available to join you on a weekend away. Just friends.

Throughout my 20's I was part of a close-knit gang of 6. Not all of those friendships have lasted, both down to circumstance and down to the fact that ultimately one or two were downright destructive so I'm not attempting to look at them through rose-tinted glasses - but in essence what I miss is that feeling of being a team, that feeling of female solidarity.
I'm still lucky enough to be surrounded by some fantastically strong and loyal friends, but our lives are now so profoundly different that try as they might they simply can't relate to the obscene hornet's nest that modern dating is. I don't have any single friends who want to go out on a Saturday night, and I can't say I blame them.

For me those female friendships have provided me with something that no relationship has ever done. I think I want marriage and kids (or at least the wedding) but the intricacies of day to day married life holds less appeal than my own single lifestyle does in lots of ways. I've also occasionally struggled with my maternal instincts and wondered deep down if I'm really cut out for it.

I like my life, I do. I love that my flat is done to my own taste, I love that I can lie in on weekends. I love that I have the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want. 
None of these things are negatives. 
But do I miss those times? Absolutely.

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