Single Doesn’t Have To Mean Lonely

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At the time I am writing this post, I am a single 45-year-old woman. While I’d love for the single part to be different, I’m learning to embrace it. However, sometimes it’s hard and here’s the post where I broach this topic.

I opened this topic up to the Twitter community and received some really good feedback, both on the financial side as well as the loneliness side. You’ll get to read about the dialogue in this article. Due to the fact that I want to delve deeper into the financial side, there will be a follow-up article on finances as a single person on the path to Financial Independence (FI)…

Loneliness

Fritz over at Retirement Manifesto wrote a great article on being alone and what he learned from a two year period where he lived in an apartment in the city during the week away from his wife who lived in the mountains.  His reflections are profound and I recommend you check it out!

I just got off the phone with my new friend, Nadine, who BTW, is someone I met as a result of being so raw on the Dave Ramsey Show. She had some great pointers on dealing with loneliness worthy of being shared:

  1. Know your triggers – this is a common theme in recovery. Basically, it means to know what might trigger you into being tempted to drink or drug. When you know your triggers you can avoid them and/or implement a plan when you experience them. Nadine suggested this method can be applied to anything and specifically dealing with loneliness. If I recognize a trigger, I go to the next step…
  2. Pray and make declarations – I am obviously a woman of faith so prayer helps me tremendously and declaring truth is a great way to fight off lies and change your mindset.
  3. Turn on the music and/or phone a friend – To the former point, music can be transformative and mood changing so this is always a good idea. To the latter, I need to remember I don’t have to go it alone.

Lastly, sometimes we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and meet people. Meetups are great for that.  Rose Colored Water has a great idea which speaks to this point…

Solo Fiances

There is no one else relying on me financially which means I have fewer factors that subtract from a high savings rate.  It also means I don’t have anyone to share in the expenses.  Money Saved is Money Earned spoke to this point.

For many years, I lived the way I wanted without a financial plan and ended up with a lot of debt to show for it. Fortunately, I turned this ship around and dug my way out of debt. When I did my debt-free scream on the Dave Ramsey Show, I had a moment where I thought it’d be nice to have someone up there with me. I felt a little sad about being alone. Then my friend, Tricia, spun it and said I can also stand tall and recognize that I did this on my own.  Amanda seems to agree with that sentiment.

I choose to embrace the latter perspective and knew that while I was standing there alone, God was with me the whole time.

In regards to accountability, I decided to start this blog to chronicle my journey to FI and so Y’all are my accountability partners.

Goals

I have the financial goal to achieve FI within the next 10-15 years. Owning a home is something I would love to do again soon and I’m considering the possibility of having a rental property as an investment.

I want to advance in my current career and earn more money. I’m working on that by employing some career hacking.

Teaching is one of my passions. I am technically a certified 7-12 mathematics instructor though I am not currently teaching in my career.  I have written a recovery curriculum and am waiting for the right time/place to launch it. No surprise but I’m also working on a personal finance curriculum.

I feel weird writing this next one but I’m going to be vulnerable and share it. I’ve always wanted a big family. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamt of having a husband and a house full of kids. I’m aware of the reality of my current situation but I also don’t know what the future holds for me. Having a family can happen in a non-traditional way and I remain open to possibilities.

Future Financial Goals As a Single

Military Dollar sent me a great blurb with some thought-provoking questions on this topic that I’d like to share below:

When you are pursuing financial independence as a single person, you have to make some choices that committed couples already have the answer to. For instance, do you declare yourself FI once you have enough money to support only yourself, or do you wait until you could theoretically support a family? Do you know how more people would affect your FI number? Should you assume a future partner would come into the relationship with assets to support themselves? Are you willing to date a person who isn’t interested in FI, or who has considerable debt or trouble with money? These questions can limit the single-seeking-FI individual, either in their dating efforts or their ability to declare themselves FI.

To be honest, I hadn’t considered all of these questions, but they are really important. I want to ponder them before I respond so stay tuned for my next article where we go deep on the financial side…

Home Life

So over the last 4 years, I lived with other people. First I lived in a ministry home with 6 other people and then I lived with my parents. The funny thing is that while I had all of those people with me, I craved alone time and rarely got it. Now that I moved into my own little apartment, I crave people time.

How do I deal with this? Well, for starters I invite friends over for dinner. I have been helping some different women with their budget and I love inviting them to my humble place to work the magic.

I go to the gym a lot, participate in fitness classes or play volleyball.  It’s a win/win to connect with others and boost the endorphins! I’m finding that I love the camaraderie of team sports.

Megan tweeted a great idea that I know a lot of single people embrace on the journey to achieving FI. I signed a one year lease on my little apartment, but most likely will consider this next year.

The Challenge

Now it’s time to confess the hard stuff.

I want a best friend, a partner, a husband to do things with, someone to cook dinner with, someone to share in the ups and downs, someone to come home to, someone to be on this FI journey with.  I would love to be a wife and encourager.

So I employ a lot the things mentioned in this article but let’s be honest there are still moments when it hits me. The hardest times for me are when I come home alone at the end of the day.

Mind you I have been married before and for many reasons, it failed but in it, I learned that I loved being a wife. I gotta believe that I’ll have the chance at it again. However, it’s not a guarantee so what kind of mindset do I want to embrace?

I could choose to dwell on what I don’t have in my life. Or I can choose to embrace all that I do have: 

  • A loving supportive family
  • A great job
  • Fabulous friends
  • My health
  • Drinking water
  • A budget for groceries
  • Debt-freedom
  • The ability to save towards FI
  • My faith
  • Brothers & sisters to share in my faith
  • My education
  • This blog
  • FI Friends
  • Time

Closing Thoughts

I think one of the keys to fulfillment in singlehood is helping others. Invariably, when I help someone in need, I am helped. I no longer feel alone but instead feel a sense of purpose. I have a calling to help women who are recovering from addiction or alcoholism. Lately, I’m discovering I also have a calling to help others gain control of their finances.

I apologize that I cannot give the exact reference for this next nugget of wisdom but it’s too good not to share.  I heard a pastor being interviewed on a radio show and he talked about a man who was riddled with physical pain. He suffered constantly and doctors came to the end of the road on how to help him so he turned to his pastor. The pastor simply said to him, you can focus on the pain and be miserable or you can choose to live a life of servitude. If you choose a life of servitude your pain won’t disappear but it will no longer be the main focus of your life and hence bearable.  That man chose to be a servant and found a life filled with joy.

I’m very privileged in what I have and where I live and I notice there is no shortage of people who need help. I consider it an honor to be able to use my gifts in ways that make others lives better.

I want to close with a great word from my favorite book, “And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there.” ~ Paul, The Bible (The Message Translation)

Now, I would love to hear from you! Please share how you cope with loneliness. Or perhaps you are married and crave some alone time. Let me know how you deal with that. I am open to any and all feedback. If you want to email me some thoughts on the financial side of being single, I might be able to use it in my next post…

 

 

 

33 thoughts on “Single Doesn’t Have To Mean Lonely”

  1. As a single women myself, your post really resonated with me. I too deal with loneliness and wanting to share my life with someone, but just haven’t been able to find the right guy. However, from a financial (and otherwise) perspective, it has been nice to be able to make my own decisions and do whatever I want with my life and money. It would definitely be an adjustment bringing someone else into the mix. Hopefully we’ll both find that perfect someone 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think it just helps to know we are not alone in our feelings, right?

      Yes, cheers to each of us finding our future partners!

      1. I can’t believe you wrote this raw comment 3 months ago and no one answered you. I’m so sorry that you feel this way after 22 years. That’s such a long time. Being single is something I’ve done for the last 21 years. Along the way I’ve discovered that independence is very sweet. It’s not my place to tell you what to do – just know that your happiness and self of self-worth is definitely worth everything. Life’s too short to feel stuck in a backwater forever.

        1. Thank you, Frogdancer, for jumping in here. I am embarrassed that I never replied to Sue’s comment. I think I saw it, meant to reply and then got caught up in other things. 🙁

          Sue, I am also incredibly sorry you feel that way. I am not sure what I can say to help but if you ever want to vent or talk, feel free to email me – msfiology@gmail.com and maybe we can schedule a time to chat.

  2. I was 42 when I married a Mr Groovy and both of us were horrible with money. I will freely admit that life got easier with a partner BUT you are way ahead of where I was, financially, when I was single. For one, I was mostly underemployed throughout my 20s and 30s.

    Although I have no great advice for managing finances as a single person I want to reinforce something: It’s wonderful that you can share how much you want a partner and a family. Keep sharing that! I had several single girlfriends in their 40s who thought they wanted a partner. But that’s not the image they projected. They constantly said things like “I don’t need a man. If it happens it happens.” Basically, to me, and to others, they were shutting all opportunities for love down. They said things like that to protect themselves but in actuality they were closing the door. You can be financially, self sufficient and have an enjoyable life when you’re single, but it’s OK to feel lonely and to feel you need a man. Men need to be needed.

    1. This is such a liberating comment. Thank you. I felt kinda funny after I published the article like I was being too vulnerable to admit my struggles with singlehood. I think there is this thought as single women that we have to be strong. At least, I have that thought. I will keep sharing and being open to possibilities. Great advice 🙂

      Congrats on how far you and the Mr. have come. Wow, I didn’t realize how late you got started. Yay, for latecomers! It’s always game time.

  3. I took a break from dating about 10 years ago. I was beginning to get jaded and I thought, “I’ll take 6 months off.” Happiest 6 months of my life.
    So I just kept on extending it…
    Still single. Still happy.
    🙂

    1. Sounds like you found your happiness. Nice! Yeah, if I start to get jaded about something a break is a wise plan.

  4. After my kids’ dad and I split almost 13 years ago I chose not to get involved because I didn’t want to just have a constant string of someone’s in my kids’ lives. Before them I bounced from one relationship to the next. I think to some degree I needed the break. Now I do feel lonely, and like it would’ve nice to have a partner, but I also fear that the kids would wind up feeling like they didn’t really have a home because they don’t always seem to feel like their Dad’s is home because nothing is ever where they left it even if it’s not supposed to be messed with. I try to remain open to the possibilities because I am at that age where if I meet someone who wants more kids we could try for another….if I don’t find Mr. Right until the kids fly the coop it will probably be too late for that.

    From the financial perspective I just know that I am the only one to blame for my situation. Hopefully at the point someone comes into my life in that capacity I have learned to forgive myself for taking the crappy financial advice instead of standing up for myself and saying no.

    1. Hey there, thank you for your comment. I am going to give you my 2 cents: I think you need to learn to forgive yourself, make a plan to change your financial situation, stick to the plan, involve your kids and make it fun, and hope/dream about your future.

      I am currently reading the book, Retired Inspired by Chris Hogan and I am going to share quote a line from it: “Think about regret like the rearview mirror in your car. You check it every once in a while to keep yourself from making terrible mistakes while you’re driving. But why is that little mirror so small and the windshield so big? Because you are supposed to look forward!”

      Having kids certainly adds a complexity to one’s life situation that I’m not qualified to speak on but it sounds like you are a good, thoughtful Mom.

  5. First, I want to say thank you for featuring me! It is an honor!

    You have done so great on your own, and that takes guts! I think you are awesome and a great mentor to other women in your position. I am recently divorced and not sure where I will be in the coming years as far as relationships go.

    You are on the right path though. Serving and getting involved in the community is one of the most noble ways to cope with feelings of loneliness. I’ve found that the more involved I am at work and my volunteer time, the more alone time I crave in my home. I think it’s a healthy trade-off, and it definitely helps keep me centered and grounded.

    Also, volleyball! Great way to stay busy AND fit!

    1. Thank you, Liz! I too am divorced but it was a lifetime ago (18 years ago). The future holds many possibilities for us!

      You are right, it’s a healthy trade-off. And, it’s all about balance. I’m discovering that I’d rather be busy helping others and craving alone time than being alone craving people time. I strive for balance. #singlelife 😉

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  7. Ms. Fioligy… A while back I listened to a podcast where a woman decided to really dig in to find a mate and this method might depend on how big of a city you are in and how much effort you want to put forth. Before you start looking I for a mate you should be very clear with yourself what exactly you are looking for and write it down, this will keep you in check when you find yourself on the fence about someone.

    This lady made a spreadsheet to keep track of her “dates”, what she liked or didn’t like about them and I’m not sure what else she had on there but you can decide for yourself what would be important to track. She set a goal to do 100 dates (which was actually just meeting for coffee) in a short amount of time and see if anyone peaked her interest. I believe out of those 100 dates she found a few that interested her and finally narrowed it down to one. If you look at it as a numbers game you really have to go at this a little aggressively and not just wait for it to happen. When you make a coffee date (or anything quick) you are not committing to anything that will take up a lot of time and money. You also might find new friends, learn something about yourself and have a great time. This does mean employing a few dating apps to get a big enough pool to choose from, putting out the word to everyone you know that you are looking for dates, etc. Good luck in your quest, it is good for the soul to have a partner in life as long as it is the right partner.

    1. Thank you for the tips! Funny, I never thought of it as a numbers game but it certainly can be looked at that way.

      I agree the right partner seems good for the soul 🙂

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  9. Thank you for opening up about something less talked about in the blogging world.

    I’m not alone as in I have a girlfriend, but she lives a few states away and there are times of loneliness. It dictates my financial decisions in some ways because of the plane ticket costs and travel costs to go see her or when she comes here.

    Thankfully we can see each other regularly, but it still means many frugal activities when we are together to save money for the traveling.

    I loved that you posted the things you do have that are so important – family, friends, a job, and more. I’ve found another item you could add to your list to combat triggers? Call a friend!

    In today’s world as a millennial, it is hell trying to get people on the phone – eveyone wants to text. Whenever I catch up with an old friend on the phone it gives me such joy to remember that there are people in my life to count on, talk to, and celebrate!

    Love the blog and will definitely be subscribing !

    1. Chris, I really appreciate your comment. Yeah, I imagine navigating a long distance relationship takes a lot of intentionality both with your time & finances. Sounds like you know your priorities here.

      Thanks for the tip! It is so crazy, in today’s world, how hard it can be to get people on the phone to actually talk. When it does happens, it is lovely.

  10. The hard truth is that women should expect to be alone in the latter part of their lives. I left an abusive marriage when I was forty-eight and 20 years later I am still single and independent. Autonomy becomes addictive. But the fact of the matter, is that all women should plan to be alone in old age, due to divorce or death of a spouse. If you have a partner, be sure to have a clear understanding of your shared assets. Whether partnered or not, save for your old age. Most of us grow to be old. My mother was married for 52 years, widowed at 80 and nervous about ‘living alone” because had never in her life been in that situation. Six months late she declare, “I love living alone!” Being accountable to only yourself boosts honesty, confidence and ambition. Embrace your strengths and use them to help others.

    1. Hi Kay, I appreciate your comment and know that statistically, women live longer than men but does it mean we have to be alone? How about the Golden Girls 😉

      Thank you for sharing part of your story. I am really glad to hear you got away from an abusive relationship. What you wrote about having a clear understanding of your shared assets is spot on.

      Great advice about embracing your strengths & using them to help others. You are a wise woman.

  11. It’s an interesting article but I wish you had fleshed out this point more -“The funny thing is that while I had all of those people with me, I craved alone time and rarely got it.”

    Having people around/marriage is not a cure for loneliness. I think it’s more about having deeper connections with people and being at peace with yourself.

    Also: I’m just going to leave this here….Solo Fiances?

    1. Hi Lisa. There really isn’t too much more to that comment about when I lived in a community house with 6 other people. I found that there was always someone around so I didn’t have too much alone time. I craved and cherished it when I got it. However, now that I have more alone time, I crave (and cherish) people time. I think it just comes down to balancing the two.

      I agree that deeper connections and peace with oneself is a fine cure for loneliness. Unfortunately, there are many people in relationships who are still lonely. Good comment.

      Did you have a question about my solo finance section?

  12. This was an amazing post, I really liked it. I feel this way so much of the time, thank you for being honest and sharing your story.

  13. To be honest, the thought of a relationship scares me way more than the thought of being alone. Growing up, my household was so scary and chaotic that while I would love companionship, I value being in control of my surroundings more. Living alone means no worrying about someone stomping around, slamming doors, or finding fault in everything I do. I know a relationship doesn’t have to be that way but fear is a barrier to me even trying.

    I would add that I am not unhappy and I am rarely lonely (as I like to say, when I am by myself I am in the presence of someone whose company I enjoy!). Perhaps if that wasn’t the case, it would spur me to take a chance.

    I do wish for you to find someone you will be happy with!

    1. Great comment, Jenny. Thanks for your honesty. I believe we are all products of the environments we grew up in and that shapes how we live in and view the world. It sounds like you are really self-aware and have developed meaningful and happy relationships. That doesn’t happen without intentional living!

      Yeah, I am always fascinated by what drives us to face our fears head-on.

      Thank you for the well wishes 🙂

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  16. Fantastic post, I love your vulnerability, thank you for sharing your story. I watched your appearance on the Dave Ramsey show and it was heartwarming and inspiring. Best wishes on the rest of your journey!

    1. Thank you for that, Matt! Congrats to you and the Mrs on paying off 55K+. The feeling of freedom is priceless, huh?

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