I am single and everyone around me has a partner. How do I deal with that?

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Dear VICE,

I’m 29 and blessed with multiple sets of friends whom I trust. However, there is a “but” to this story. At the moment everyone is in a relationship, while I myself have been single for almost five years. Most of the time, I’m surrounded by couples or people who gossip about their partners. At such times, I sometimes feel a lot of annoyance and boredom.

I am especially sick of people wanting to talk about their partner and then telling me how jealous they are of me. They say they find me really interesting: the girl who goes on dates with different people and sometimes even ends up in bed with them; The girl whose partners might be analyzed if they get attached too quickly or lose themselves in a total dread of the commitment story.

I like to admit that I enjoy talking about my life, but then people say things like “just wait, you’ll eventually find the right person” and then all of a sudden I enjoy it a lot. These things are said from the good heart because they think that is what you are saying or perhaps because they have no idea what they are going to say.

I’d be lying if I said there aren’t times I miss a partner, the kind of sex you can only achieve with a certain amount of intimacy, or someone to share and save money with. Sometimes it makes me very sad. But this is not the biggest problem. It’s about the pressure I feel when people say they don’t know why “a girl like me is still single”. It’s the pity in people’s eyes when they look at me.

Everyone around me seems to follow a certain standard script. Even though I am surrounded by people who love me, I feel increasingly lonely. How do I avoid the urge to throw my phone against the wall when my best friend asks me to go to the movies with her and her partner? How do I feel less lonely if I am not invited and have nothing better to do? And what if you remain celibate for a while, whether voluntarily or involuntarily?

Thank you b.

Dear B.,

More and more people are choosing to be single, according to Israeli sociologist Eliakim Kislev, author of “Happy Singleness: Growing Acceptance and Celebration of the Single Life”. It is remarkably difficult to find accurate data on single lives – most governments only record those who live alone, those who have never been married and not necessarily those who are not in a relationship.

But according to Kislev’s research, singles are the fastest growing population in the world. This is due to several things: Women no longer need a man to take care of them, for example, which made them value independence more. As a society, we are becoming more individualistic and career-oriented anyway, and we have more opportunities to immigrate.

However, people still have a negative image of singles, which is a phenomenon singles It’s called: stereotyping and discrimination of people who are not in a romantic relationship. These stereotypes include people thinking “something will happen” when a nice person doesn’t have a partner. And although these opinions are somewhat outdated, they can be compelling. It can make you feel guilty in some way about being single, even if you’re really happy with your relationship status. “Our way of thinking hasn’t really changed with the times,” Kislev said earlier. Interview with VICE. “We still believe that single people cannot be trusted.”

Federica Micale and Giulia Amicone, pairs of therapists and co-founders of the mental health platform Apsicologa, claim that people often think solitude means being alone. “But people can feel lonely when they are single, in a relationship, physically alone or even when they are with a large group of people,” they wrote in an email.

When your friends talk to you about it, you feel some pathos in their words. Whether they mean well or not, it’s only natural for you to have an emotional reaction to what they say, which can manifest in expressions or frustrations like wanting to throw your phone against a wall.

You rightly say that you are not inferior just because you do not have a partner. So when someone asks why a “girl like you” is “still single,” remember that these judgments say a lot more about themselves and the prejudices they have more than they say about you. “Before you’re single, you’re a B., with your body, your personality, your interests, your story, and your daily life,” the experts continue to write. In other words, being single or part of a couple does not define you as a person and may change many times throughout your life.

These comments can be especially hurtful because you are likely to compare your life to the lives of friends or to milestones that society says you should have achieved at different ages in life. This is totally normal, it’s part of human nature. But it can also weigh you down. “That’s why it’s so important to really understand what we truly value when we’re feeling dissatisfied,” couples therapists continue.

For example, contrary to what your friends and social circle say, you seem to want a relationship. But it’s also okay to wait for the right person. You don’t seem to put yourself under any pressure at all.

If someone says, “Wait, you’re going to find someone too,” even with the best of intentions, it turns you on because it puts you in a vulnerable position. “The act of ‘searching’ is an oversimplification, and is very ineffective, whereas the act of ‘choosing’ is proactive,” wrote Michal and Amicon. “Think about how different it is to hear, ‘You choose a person too.’” The process of selecting a long-term partner takes time, It can vary based on happiness, priorities, maturity and all sorts of factors.

Furthermore, “every situation brings satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and this is healthy and normal,” writes Mikhali and Amicon. As long as it doesn’t become a prison or a comfort zone, it’s always an opportunity to get to know yourself, experience it, and do new things.

This also applies to your friends – if being single doesn’t mean you’re missing out on something in life, being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have everything you want and need. In a way, the fact that your friends are so eager to talk about what’s going on in your dating life may be a reaction to the loss of the sense of adventure that sometimes comes with being in a relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, and you also love to be involved. But sometimes it also seems to make you feel different, isolated, and judged on some level. If that’s the case, talk to your friends and explain your point of view, or maybe set some boundaries — things you won’t talk about with friend A or B because of the response you expect from them.

You also write that you feel lonely sometimes in your spare time, especially when your friends go out without you or when everyone resorts to couple-talk. One solution might be to “ask your friends to meet you separately,” Micale and Amicone suggest. “Even people in couples like to spend moments with themselves.”

But you should also consider expanding your friendship circle to include the people who connect with you the most now. “This is always motivating and helpful,” the psychologists continue. “Not because you want or need to leave good old friends behind, but because of the simple fact that we don’t always have the same interests or can share the same things with them at every stage of life.”

Besides, hanging out with couples alone can be a limitation for meeting romantic partners. “There may be friends with whom we get along well and enjoy going out to dinner, to a fair, or for a walk,” write Micale and Amicone, “and others with whom we prefer to dance and get to know people.”

This does not mean that you do not love or value your friends. But whether it’s individual or not, we change over the course of our lives, and so do our needs and expectations. Distinguishing between what’s good for us and what we’ve been taught to believe is good for us is hard – but you’re on your way.

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