Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do I be hopeful and single instead of bitter and single?
- I Can't Believe It's Not Bitter
Let's talk about the Saints, Baby,
Let's talk about the D & C,
Let's talk about Edward Partridge,
And the divine decree.
Specifically, let's look at D&C 51. The scenario: saints are arriving in Ohio from the eastern states, and they need a place to live. There's some land that they could settle on, but some of the saints are wary because they think they could be leaving soon, and so they want a revelation from God as to whether or not they should actually settle there. What did God say?
...let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good. (D&C 51:17)
Basically: settle on the land and do so as if you were going to stay there for a long time. Did the saints end up staying there for a long time? No, they did not.
I first heard this scripture when one of my old roommates shared it in a spiritual thought, and he likened it to being single. While there are things we can do to date and try and find someone to marry, a lot of the time there is a sort of randomness to the whole process as well, and a large part of it is definitely out of our control (since we're dealing with the agency of another human being). My advice would be to try and live your best life with the idea that it might be a while until you get married. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh; it's basically the advice I gave myself. Maybe it's not what you needed to hear, but it is what I needed.
Good luck! I'm sorry things can be so hard.
So I haven't discussed this too much on the Board, but Yossarian and I broke up recently after 9 months of dating. While breaking up was the right thing for us, it's been a rough few weeks for me. The breakup was challenging in and of itself, because I did love Yossarian and despite all our difficulties I thought we had the potential to make each other happy. But it also happened to coincide with a lot of changes in my life during which I craved his support as my best friend, but unfortunately couldn't rely on him.
There were a lot of complicated feelings involved in that whole emotional process but bitterness was one of the most resounding. I was bitter that something I had put so much time, energy, and effort into was ending. I was bitter that I had been naïve enough to assume I was done, and that I wouldn't have to stress about dating anymore. I was bitter because I couldn't see myself finding anyone better suited to myself than Yossarian. And I was bitter because he had been my first serious boyfriend and yet it had been a really stressful and problematic relationship.
I can't fully say that I'm over those bitter feelings, because my emotions are still kind of tangled up in Yossarian and in the relationship. But the last week or so has been much better, mainly because I've been meeting and spending time with new people. Up until recently, I had been minorly depressed and therefore lacked the energy to do much more than shower and go to work every day, so I spent a lot of time sitting in bed and feeling miserable. But as I've forced myself to be more social, whether it be sitting in the living room with my roommates or going out with my coworkers after a long day, I've started to feel much less bitter towards the world. Having people in my life that I appreciate and can rely on has made all the difference.
So honestly, as difficult as this may be, my best advice is to meet new people. It doesn't even necessarily have to be people you're interested in dating, and there doesn't have to be flirting involved. But meeting interesting people and seeing what a wide variety of people there are in the world has helped remind me that my happiness doesn't have to be based on a relationship with one individual person. Live your best life, developing new hobbies and spending time with awesome friends and doing everything you can to make yourself happy. If a relationship comes along, great. If not, you'll still have an engaging and fulfilling life. Of course, that's easier said than done. But joking around with my coworkers and spending time with them has injected my life with the meaning it had been lacking since the breakup, and I feel like much more of a viable person since then.
I'm truly sorry for your bitterness and for any heartbreak you've been through. But I'm here to say it gets better, even if it takes a while.
When I got back from my mission I was pretty marriage crazy. I kept watching all the people from my mission get engaged and married (thanks, mission Facebook group dedicated to only posting when RMs get hitched) and feeling bitter about my lack of relationships. That anger and resentment faded when I realized I didn't have much control over when I got engaged (that darn agency), God was aware of me and actively wanted to help me find happiness, and there were so many benefits of being single.
I think we never talk about how great being single can be in the Church because it's all focused eternal marriage and having kids. Don't get me wrong, relationships are great, but single people don't sit around and cry all day. They have adventures!
I can't count how many times I did something spontaneous and fun because I wasn't reliant on someone else's schedule. When my friend asked me if I wanted to go to Zion's with her over the weekend, I could immediately say yes. I didn't have to worry about others' schedules or cutting back on my fun because my significant other couldn't make it. When flights to Hawaii went on sale for $300 on Friday, I had to call minnow and make sure he could come (he couldn't) or make sure he was fine with me just going with a friend (he was). By the time we had talked, the cheapest tickets were gone. If you're single, you don't have to worry about another person's finances or financial habits. Subscribe to Scott's Cheap Flights, fly to a new country, go on a study abroad! Have adventures while you still can!
Or you can focus on your studies! Relationships take a lot of time, and I am so grateful I wasn't in one for the majority of my college career. Regardless of what's being said, you can't have it all. Once I got in a relationship, I chose to stop attending ward activities and getting to know people in my ward. I know others who drop work or classes or studying or sleep or exercising or cooking or so many other things in order to fit in time for a relationship. Use this time to study hard and get top grades, earn good scholarships, make new friends, attend all the ward activities, become physically fit, become employee of the month, learn to cook, or gain a new hobby. And think about how much more interesting you'll be with all the time you spend improving yourself!
One final thought: it's important to be happy with how we are now. Of course, I'm not addressing people with depression or other such problems. But if you keep saying "I'll be happy when [fill in the blank]," then happiness will forever be elusive. If you choose to be happy now, you'll be able to find happiness in any season of life.
-guppy of doom
How to be hopeful and single instead of bitter and single? I think there a different types of bitter: bitter about a failed relationship, bitter about a relationship that isn't materializing, bitter about still having to deal with the hassle of dating, bitter about older people always asking you if you're dating someone and on and on. There are also lots of ways to be hopeful. I think where we choose to put our focus can do a lot to keep singleness more sweet than bitter.
Like Alta and guppy of doom mention, there are a lot of awesome things about being single. You have so much freedom to try new things, have hobbies, go on adventures, meet tons of new people, flirt, and not have to worry about all the work and time that comes with a relationship. There are also lots of great things about dating. Personally, I find that thinking about those things doesn’t make me all that bitter. Wanting to be able to be in a relationship where you are appreciated, where you are supported and can support the other person, where you can share your feelings and have great experiences are good things. Thinking about all those good things is what motivates me to deal with dating. Sometimes I'm sad that I'm not there yet, but I feel like hoping for the joys of a future relationship leads to more hope than bitterness.
What makes me bitter is when I start to compare my singleness to the non-singleness of others. "How come they're in a relationship?" "People always ask them out." "I try so hard to meet people but I'm not going on dates like everyone else." "It seems like everyone is in a relationship but me." Comparing is just not a good idea. Comparing your situation to the situation of others isn't fair and doesn't make sense, but sometimes we still do it. The trouble with comparing is that it pits the happiness of other people against our happiness and that's not good. There's always going to be someone who is "better off" than us relationship wise, so if we go around comparing ourselves to others we'll just make ourselves miserable. Remember, comparison leads to competition, competition leads to pride, pride leads to jealousy, jealousy leads to envy, envy leads to hate, hate leads to bitterness, and bitterness leads to the dark side.
Relationships can be wonderful and dating can be fun, but sometimes it's hard and frustrating. It's okay to feel down and consume large amounts of chocolate once in a while, but if we focus on the good things about being single, hope for the joys of future relationships, and avoid comparing ourselves to others we can take a lot of the bitterness out of dating. Food for thought. Hope this helps.
I really get the feeling, and I've been there more times than I'd like, but I've learned a lot from it. There are a lot things to understand to learn from being single, breaking up, from disappointments in dating, etc. They're not a lot of fun, but the best lessons aren't always that fun. I've found that when I'm single I often feel like there's a void in my life that can only be filled by a significant romantic relationship. But I'm here to tell you that there are a lot of things that can fill that void that are a lot more attractive than being bitter about being single. Find things that you love and invest in them. Pick up a hobby you've always wanted to learn, spend more time with friends, make new friends! These kinds of things will help to fill that emptiness that can come along with being single.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't want, long for, or pursue a relationship. It's an important thing to do, but it's certainly not the only thing to do, and what's worse, it depends on someone else's agency. You wait around for someone else's decisions to make you happy.
This also doesn't mean that it won't suck to be single sometimes. But lean into it, and try to understand what you're feeling. Recognize what valid emotions you're feeling and recognize their validity. Shoving your real feelings out of the way for other hobbies won't actually help you. Let them run their course and learn from them, don't bottle them up. Your intense desire to be in a relationship is not a bad thing, but it can become toxic if you let it blind you to other realities.
Keep it real,