Monday, June 25, 2012

Journey Into Singlehood

by Kate Collins

I’ve heard it said that widowhood is being a member of a club nobody wants to belong to. Boy, will I second that. I’m not happy being alone, having to navigate the waters of life by myself. One of the most difficult parts has been trying to find a new group of friends. Oh, it’s not that I’ve abandoned my old ones, it’s just that they’re halves of a couple, and couples do things together on weekends, like garden and shop and visit relatives and have children and/or grandchildren over for dinners.

And it’s not that these women don’t want to do things without their husbands – they do – but usually not on weekends, which tend to be like black holes of nothingness for me.

For a year I’ve been wondering how to find single friends, especially in an age group in which the majority of women still have husbands. I checked online for singles groups in my area and found none. Zilch. I checked with my church.  None there, either. Not knowing where else to turn, I finally set up a meeting with my minister and explained my situation. This took a lot of courage because I’ve never been much of a joiner at church, and he didn’t even know more than my first name. To my amazement, he said there was a need for a singles social group in the middle age range and he’d look into it.

A few weeks later I got an invitation to a luncheon for businesswomen, put together by the minister.  A small group of us met with him at a restaurant for lunch, where I learned that every woman there was single, either through widowhood or divorce. He had me explain my mission, and to my delight, the women were excited about having friends to socialize with, especially on those long, lonely weekends.

The point of my blog is that sometimes, instead of sitting around feeling sorry for your situation, you have to reach outside your comfort zone for help. It took me awhile to do it – I actually cancelled the first meeting I’d set up -- but now I’m so glad I pushed through my initial reluctance.  I have a feeling there are seven other women who are glad, too.

Have you ever had to reach outside your comfort zone for help? Have you ever included a single person into your plans – or maybe you are that single person and have found ways to keep from being alone. Please share your thoughts. 

11 comments:

Jude said...

I was unexpectedly widowed at 40. I ended up with a whole new set of friends by having to take over my late husband's hobby that came with dogs. I had always loved the dogs and trained them, but now it was up to me to keep them doing the work they were bred to do. With that came a whole new and totally different world, with a new circle of friends. But it wasn't a case of me searching out. It came with the dogs.
But I do know how it goes being a single person when all a \round are couples. We have a friend who has never been married but the three of us always go out together. but she is comfortable in her own company as am I.. sometimes too much so and have always been that way.. as long as I have books.

Leann Sweeney said...

So glad "outside your comfort zone" isn't as uncomfortable as it once was. Sounds like you have made a great step! And yes, many times at holidays we included people who didn't have family in the area--especially when our kids were in college.

crickerz said...

I haven't been where you are, but I have friends that are in their mid 40's and are going through divorces after years of being married, they too are "the odd wheel out" our circle of friends does try to do a girls night once a month on a weekend movies, dinner, or just hanging out of course we also see each other for lunches and such during the month, but I'm willing to bet on those weekends when they are alone, that they feel like you did. I'm glad you reached out, and I'm glad you found a group of women like you.

Jane R said...

Bless your heart. What a wonderful post! My mother was widowed at the age of 53 (she will be 85 in August) and I know it was a huge transition for her, that took more than a few years. Like you, she didn't wait for something to happen. Instead, she has remained active in a number of organizations and volunteer positions. I know my dad would be mighty proud of her and her family is too!

Aurian said...

So good of you to reach out. I have been trying to date on the internet when I was single. Did not really work out.
I also met some people online on a gaming site (not for money), where you can chat as well. But i have found that those friendships are shallow and don't last very long.

And now? I am living happily together with my boyfriend, whom I met when I called a taxi a few times. Fate brought him to my door twice, and we hit it off.

Kate Collins said...

Jude, that's very young to be widowed. Glad you did't have to look far for those new friends.

Jane, your mother is an inspiration!

Aurian, what a beautiful start to a love story. (I used to write romances).

ev said...

I'm always going outside my comfort zone, it's a way I have chanllanged myself for years, ever since I divorced very young and he got most of the friends. I'm the geeky person in a not so geeky world.

I know that someday, sooner than later, I will be a member of the not so happy club (I am 52 to hubby's fairly spry 78, when he is taking care of himself) and it's not a place I want to be. I also have no desire to date ever again. It took me 15 years to get married again after that first time, and I like the one I have now!

I hope your group also finds a way to include singles not married/divorce. My best friend is 57 and never married, but she goes places with us, or we leave hubby home, when she visits, we travel without him too and she does a lot on her own too. She joined a knitting group for just such a reason.

I belong to the Elks, go to Cons, volunteer and just put myself out there. I'm always told I'm just like my dad- never met a stranger. I can strike up a conversation with the unlikeliest people and have a new friend before I know it. I'm going to keep on doing that,even if it's just me. I'm sure it will help me keep my sanity.

Hubby's oldest daughter and I are the same age. She is widowed already. We are great friends and are talking traveling when we retire (I have an RV) and just enjoying ourselves in the future, no matter what it brings us.

Lizzie said...

I can related. I am single and 40.....was married for a very short time. When I was in my mid 20's and my friends started to marry, many "dropped" me and others because we were not attached and it's as though we posed a "threat" to their domesticity. It hurt. As you get older still and more and more friends get married and then start having kids, it put more of a strain on friendships; as much as I love children, I often feel left out or cast aside because "I just wouldn't understand". Most of my single friends don't live where I am; they live in more "cosmopolitan" cities and that seems to make a big difference. Where I currently live does not seem really conducive to being single.... it's very traditionally "family" oriented (everyone gets married, has kids, play soccer, etc.). I am hoping to move back to California soon (where I was born and raised) where there seem to be more singles and a diversity of activities and therefore opportunities to meet all kinds of friends..and who knows...maybe I'll get married again someday!:)

CindyD said...

I would look to see if there is a branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) or a similar organization in your area. The best friends I've made in our community I met thru AAUW. We have several members who are recent widows and they are very supportive of each other.

Adrienne said...

I so appreciate all of the comments. They will make me even more sensitive to this situation. I'm fortunate to be happily married (for 45 yrs) and we have mostly married friends. However, we have been blessed with soon-to-be 11 grandchildren and three of our very closest couple friends have children who are not married and/or have no children. It was when one of these dear girlfriends shared how difficult and painful it is to be around her friends who have grandchildren and show their pix and/or chat about them all the time, that I realized how much more considerate we have to be. She thankfully shared that I'm not one of those and I know I am very careful about those things.
But I'm even more aware now.
I think it comes down to stepping outside oneself, paying attention to those you love and holding their friendships carefully in your hands.
Adrienne

Adrienne said...

I so appreciate all of the comments. They will make me even more sensitive to this situation. I'm fortunate to be happily married (for 45 yrs) and we have mostly married friends. However, we have been blessed with soon-to-be 11 grandchildren and three of our very closest couple friends have children who are not married and/or have no children. It was when one of these dear girlfriends shared how difficult and painful it is to be around her friends who have grandchildren and show their pix and/or chat about them all the time, that I realized how much more considerate we have to be. She thankfully shared that I'm not one of those and I know I am very careful about those things.
But I'm even more aware now.
I think it comes down to stepping outside oneself, paying attention to those you love and holding their friendships carefully in your hands.
Adrienne