These are the 7 stages of being the single sister of the family, and how best to cope with them and find all of the wonderful perks of being the single sister.
For the past few years of my singlehood, I’ve been through many ups and downs, highs and lows regarding my singleness. Especially since I turned 30, and especially since I’m the “single sister” – with two sisters who are married with kids. These four years, since I ended my last serious, long-term relationship – have been very taxing, exhausting, exhilarating and provided many great life lessons and experiences. Amongst these lessons, are many things I’ve learned about being the single sister of the family. Thinking back on it now, I managed to break it down to stages I’ve gone through.
Immediately following the breakup, there’s usually what I call the “warning stages”, or “pre-stages”. This usually consists of relief, the euphoria of being single again – especially if you’ve just ended a taxing and unhealthy relationship. Like me, you probably want nothing to do with anything remotely resembling commitment. So basically, you’re happy to be alone, to go out with friends and just have fun. But as time passes, and all you meet are crappy men (because you’re rejecting the serious ones off the bat, which is understandable.) – You start to get sick and tired of the games.
Thus the stages of “the single sister” begin:
Or in other words – the ugly stage where you kinda blame the whole world and their sisters for your lack of love. This is basically that moment where you’ve had one too many crappy men at your doorstep, and realise that you’re no longer happy with being single, with having no commitment. You suddenly start to look around yourself and notice that perhaps it does bother you, that you are the only single sister. Now all you can see is what you don’t have, and what they do.
You’re probably starting to get envious, unable to take your eyes off what they got and you don’t. But it runs much deeper than that, because you start to resent them for it. You start to resent the world for it. Questions like “why me?” and “why not me?” become constant naggings in your mind. Then, when it starts to get really dark, it becomes “why am I so unlovable?” and “what’s wrong with me?” and “what am I lacking?”
2. Self deprecating
Those self deprecating questions, and many more, are just the first step of this second stage. Because what follows these questions are their answers – which usually, are not in your favour. You point out to yourself everything that’s wrong with you, all of your flaws, quirks, weirdnesses and imperfections that keep potential suitors at bay. They prevent the world from sending love your way, because you’re “not worthy”. Which in retrospect, couldn’t be further than the truth – but at that moment, you’re stuck in a dark pit.
All of these thoughts about everything that you’re lacking, or all the things you’re too much of – they prevent you from believing in yourself, and maybe even stop dating. IF you go on dates now, they will all doom to fail (and you count the seconds until they inevitably do.) – And all because of you. It’s not because they’re not right for you, or it just wasn’t the right time – it was because something is fundamentally wrong with you.
Eventually you just accept it and basically admit defeat, or in other words – you give up all together. Because it’s exhausting, and there’s a limit to how much you can reprimand yourself for it. There’s a point where you’re so jaded and low, that you just stop caring at all. Screaming “to hell with it” to the world and you just stop trying. No more dates, means no more failed relationships, means less self deprecating for no successful dates. Thoughts like “I guess this just isn’t for me.” And “I can’t take this anymore.” Replace all of the over-exerting deprecating, leaving you to hang the towel and be done with it.
Eventually, as more time passes, you start to gradually and naturally enter a new normal rhythm. Without even noticing, you suddenly start to accept your status and all that comes with it and all that it indicates. When you start realising that you sort of entered new territory, that you’ve been living your life and the world hasn’t fallen apart. – You start to think that maybe, just maybe everything will be okay, that you’re okay.
You’re finally accepting yourself and your singleness, that it doesn’t mean you’re any less. Accepting the fact that you are the single sister, that this is your life and no amount of self pity will change that, only make it worse.
5. Stop comparing and start seeing yourself
This stage goes hand in hand with the previous one, because as you start to accept yourself and your singlehood. – You slowly stop comparing yourself to your siblings. As you accept what you have, you envy what you don’t have less and less. The acceptance helps you see past the jealousy and anger and self pity. – All the way to your true self, and how wonderful you really are. In this stage, you start changing your mindset and outlook, you refocus your attention on all of your attributes and great values. You stop micro analyzing and zeroing into your flaws, and start enhancing your greatness.
6. Learning how to love yourself and your singlehood
Once you start seeing past all of the ugly parts of being the single sister, past all the negative aspects, and start seeing all the positive in yourself. – You slowly learn how to not only accept it, or live with it, but also love it. How to love yourself and how to not only love being single, but ace it as well.
When you finally learn to love yourself and love your singlehood, truly and deeply, you will also learn how to appreciate it. Personally, I’m glad that I’m not married with kids right now, I’m happy to be the single sister – with all its many perks. You start to appreciate all those moments where you’re glad your single, because you don’t owe anything to anyone. No explanation and no reasonings. You don’t have to take anyone else into consideration. You’re basically free to do whatever, whenever I want – can be as spontaneous as I want, without having to take a significant other into consideration, I have my own space and time – as much as I choose.
Now, the questions are no longer “why me?” or “why not me?” – They’re now no longer questions at all. They’re statements of “thank god it’s me” and “thank god it’s not me”. Because you’re now thankful that you are the single one, and you’re also glad for them – that they have what they want, what is good for them. – That they are the married ones. And you’re also glad that you’re not the married one, that you can focus on you and fulfil your dreams without any distractions and less limitations and barriers.
Best ways to cope
Personally, I believe that the best way to cope is to allow yourself to go through all of these stages, to accept them as part of your journey. They were great learning curves for me, probably the best life teachers I’ve had. I also believe that I had to go through and experience every single one of them to get to the point that I am in today. All of these stages – or more accurately, overcoming them – made me stronger, made me feel like there’s nothing I can’t overcome. Being able to fight through it all, and coming out strong and stable on my two feet – made me realise just how much inner strength I have. Just how amazing I am, and just how much there is to love.
Here are a few tips that helped me along the way:
At first I thought it was a sign of weakness, but with time I learned that sharing your pain with close friends or family is actually a sign of bravery. Not to mention, that many times just getting it off your chest can ease it all. Also, you may get some wonderful and much needed support and advice.
This is something that is so important in general in life, but especially when you’re single. You need to fill your schedule and daily life with various activities, keep busy and do interesting things. But most importantly, do things that will make you feel productive and useful. That you’re doing something significant and not just wasting your time away.
I’m a huge believer in anything creative and artistic, and I do think that every person should incorporate it in their life in one way or another. They’re so very therapeutic. When I was feeling down, at every point in my life, but especially when I was mad at the world for being the single sister… Writing, drawing, crafting and many more, all helped me re-channel my energy, and focus on something more healthy.
Being the single sister can easily ruin your life and make you miserable and resentful, but it can also empower you and make you stronger. It can be the best life you ever have. While I do believe that you need to feel it all, allow yourself to go through all of these stages… You also need to have enough presence of mind to fight through it, to make that conscious decision that you won’t allow it to break you.
“It’s very fun to be single because you know what happens? You find yourself, you understand what it means to love yourself, instead of putting all this energy to give and trying relationship.”Unknown
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
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