Staying happy as an older single

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  • #618542
    Person1
    Member

    [This question is addressed to anyone who has ever experienced being older single in the Chareidi community. Everyone else can share their opinion too if they like]

    As an older single, did you ever experience overcoming sadness?

    If not, do you know other singles who do? What do you think makes you different? I’m asking this because every now and then someone tells me “I’m not like all the other Chareidi guysgirls. I’m perfectly happy with being single. It’s great” So I want to hear more from these people.

    If you fought sadness and beat it, how did you achieve that?

    Did you make any major changes in your life to make yourself happier, e.g. leaving your parent’s house?

    Finally, if you hated singlehood and it made you sad every once in a while, how did getting married change that? Was that like getting out from prison, where all your previous troubles vanish instantly? And also, Did your period of prolonged singlehood leave any longtime impressions on you?

    (Even though I said everyone can share their opinion, I will appreciate not getting reponses discussing the LEGITIMACY of being sad)

    #1187914
    flatbusher
    Participant

    I never felt sad in my singlehood. I lived with the bitachon that Hashem is giving me what I need when I need it, and as shadchanim would say, each person you date brings you closer to your Bashert. Now you don’t want to hear about legitimacy about sadness, but understand that if you are sad, it is a negative feeling that do not attract people. One needs to find happiness in the current situation and not define one’s happiness based on getting married.

    #1187915
    gofish
    Member

    I don’t think I’m an older single, but the community I grew up in and my family definitely does. 😉

    I’m single by choice, so that probably makes a difference. I have never dated anyone yet and said no to all suggestions. This is a very important stage for me, and I don’t want to forfeit it until I have done what I want to accomplish and am ready to move on to the next stage.

    I am very happy, and appreciate the chance I have to develop and explore myself without having another person in the picture.

    I moved out of my parents house and moved to Israel, a place I love with all my heart. I live in a beautiful neighborhood I love which has a lot of other singles.

    I have an awesome career which stimulates, challenges and rewards me.

    I have great friends and we have good times together.

    I do some volunteer work which is meaningful to me.

    I take courses every now and then, and have discovered new passions.

    I have friends who hate being single. I have friends who have done all kinds of incredible things they would not have been able to do if they were married. I think that making sure your life is meaningful, staying connected with people who are good for you, and doing things you enjoy and find fulfilling is very important. There are so many opportunities singles can take advantage of precisely because they’re single.

    #1187916
    writersoul
    Participant

    My parents both married at an “older” age and while neither of them specifically speak a lot about specific emotions involved, both remained happy and connected by surrounding themselves with good friends, some of whom were in a similar situation. Half of my childhood consisted of hanging out with my “aunts,” or my mom’s best friends with whom she’d been single for so long, getting together for small things regularly and for big vacations every so often- bH they’re all married now, though some had to wait longer than others (my mom was one of the first). By forming that strong bond together and holding it close through everything that happened, they had a boost. While my mom’s chevra was specifically a “singles chevra,” my dad remained close with a lot of his friends who got married in the interim- as well as some single friends, who are sadly not all married. One criticism of a singles chevra can be that people get too complacent- and while that can happen, I feel like happiness and connectedness should take priority over a concern for complacency, as it’s entirely the person’s choice in the end anyway. My mother did note that it was harder for her than for my father to stay in touch with married friends- she made it a priority, but in the end shared experience and availability won out.

    #1187917
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I think it would be a good idea if all responders specify if they are male or female, since I think that this is the sort of thing that can be very different for guys and girls. Thank you. (also make sure to let us know if you are still single, and if so, how old you are, what your hashkafa is, what you are looking for, and how we can contact you :))

    #1187918
    thebabbler
    Member

    I think every nisayon. contains within it the aspect of potential sadness, but as you have read, it’s also balanced by the potential for overcoming and feeling true joy despite the “legitimate” right to be sad. May Hashem grant each of us the strength to be joyful, and believe me, in accordance with the sadness one could have claimed, he/she will be rewarded for valiantly plodding forward with as much joy as possible.This is like surfing the waves, sometimes the wave overtakes you. But not for too long, because very soon you are on top of the waves again, enjoying the ride.

    #1187919
    thebabbler
    Member

    Also, the Torah validates loneliness in many different ways, so NO ONE who is not in a lonely place should ever minimize it. The reason I feel I have a voice here, is because I am no stranger to loneliness:) And I do live a fairly happy life,b”h, to the best of my ability.

    #1187920
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Happiness is a state of mind, it has to come from within you, and not be dependent on your situation. That is obviously very hard to achieve when you are not where you really want to be- married with a family. R’ Ezriel Tauber once gave a talk on this issue- I am summarizing what he said, the way I understood it and the way it helped me when I was still single- everyone davens for their yeshua- whether it is to get married or have children, and sometimes the answer is “not yet”. Until that time comes, instead of thinking of your current life as just a waiting time until your tefillos are answered, you have to realize that you are exactly where and who Hashem wants you to be at that moment. That doesn’t mean that you give up on the dream and the tefillos, it just means that you are ok as you are, for the meantime. You have to find your tafkid/fulfillment now.

    And by the way, marriage does not always mean happily ever after. It’s not a happy ending, but a new beginning and it can bring its own sets of challenges and issues. Unfortunately, older singles who married late can still have other problems/challenges as a married, just like everyone else. But once you figure out how to be happy despite what life throws you, you can face those challenges too. maybe that is an advantage of being an older single- you learn how to face challenges and overcome them.

    #1187921

    as a married man B”H for many years & blessed with children. before getting married i had many younger male siblings get married before me & each time i accepted it with happiness & faith in Hashem that my time was not right & i went through their entire engagements all the way until the end after Sheva brachos ended with thousands of people watching me as the older brother of the chosson (many times before my zivug was sent to me) & still not married going around the Simcha with complete happiness & bitachon. with the complete acceptanceof faith & trust in Hashem that my time was not right yet until Hashem answered my tefillos

    I will tell you that each male sibling that cut me off & got married before me, that my tefillos to Hashem got stronger & stronger to send me my zivug-As Chana & Penina-begging Hashem to answer me, but not for embarrasment of not being married with MANY YOUNGER BOYS SIBLINGS married ahead of me but they were ruchniyus tefillos of ruchnius mitzvos that apply to marriage, from Peru-urivu to making your wife happy 24-7 & taking care of ALL her needs etc…

    May Hashem answer your tefillos and send you your zivug at the right time ASAP

    #1187922
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Person1, while being an older single girl can be difficult at times, I have found that most of the time I am able to be pretty happy. Actually, I never really thought of being an older single as being so hard and certainly not as being a crisis. I think that there are a few reasons for this:

    1. I have experienced things in my life that were WAY harder and I am just thankful that most of those things are past. I look back and can’t believe the things I had to go through in my life. Being single is nothing in comparision!

    2. Being single in and of itself is not so hard for me. What is hard are the indirect results of being single, but I don’t usually associate those things with being single, even though perhaps I should. Recently, I did start to associate those things with being single, so I started to think that being single is difficult, but that was a very recent conclusion.

    I am referring to things like trying to find a good living arrangement.

    The truth is that I think that I have only been thinking about this lately because I recently moved home. The only way I can deal with living at home is by thinking that it is very temporary and that I will get married soon. When I lived on my own, I don’t think that being single bothered me as much.

    I don’t know for sure and I never thought about this until this second (as I am writing this), but I would guess that when singles live on their own, they are generally more focused on living their lives in the present but when they live at home, they are more likely to view their current situation as temporary and to be more focused on getting married.

    There are maalos and chesronos to each approach. Personally, I found that when I lived on my own and had to find a way to pay the rent, I didn’t have time and energy for shidduch hishtadlus. On the one hand, this meant that I wasn’t depressed about being single (since I was too busy and preoccupied to think about it) but on the other hand, I wasn’t doing hishtadlus. Now that I am living at home, partially in order to be able to spend more time and effort on hishtadlus (although there are other reasons as well), but I find that means that I am more preoccupied and stressed out about being single.

    3. Boruch Hashem, I have a very fulfilling life, so being single doesn’t bother me so much. I never saw being married as being my main goal in life. My main goal in life has always been to learn and to teach (as you can tell by my user name!) When I wasn’t doing the teaching I wanted to be doing, I was much more depressed about that than I have ever been about being single. I think that for girls who view being married the way I view learning and teaching, it must be much harder.

    4. I think the only times I really start to get bothered (depressed is way too strong a word) by the fact that I am single are when I read articles about how terrible the shidduch crisis is and how awful it is to be an older single, or when someone says something implying that it really hard to be an older single and they feel really bad for me. Then I have to remind myself that I did not consider it a crisis until I read that it was one!!! So I should stop feeling sorry for myself!!

    5. I do think that it must be much harder to be an older single guy than an older single girl. It has always bothered me that people are so focused on feeling bad for the girls and no one feels bad for the boys even though it is probably WAY harder for them since boys need to be married much more than girls do.

    My impression is that people don’t feel bad for the boys because they assume that any boy who is older and single must have issues, but I don’t think that’s fair for two reasons: A. It’s a very unfair generalization that is not necessarily true in all cases (clearly not in yours, for example).

    B. Why is that a reason not to feel bad for them? They didn’t choose to have issues. Even if someone wants to argue that any boy who is older and single must be too picky or have commitment issues because there are so many wonderful single girls out there, why is that something to hold against them? They didn’t choose to have these issues and there might not be anything they can do about it.

    6. Lately whenever I have been feeling a bit down about being single, I started hanging out in the CR. It’s a great antidote to stress, boredom and loneliness!

    Hatzlacha Rabba! You sound like a wonderful person (1) and I hope you find your zivug soon!!

    #1187923
    TheGoq
    Participant

    I think one way to be happy in your status is to not listen to any moron who tells you why you are single, you do not have to accept condescension from anyone and if someone is being nosy, judgemental or just a jerk you have the right to stand up for yourself and call them out for their insulting behaviour just because they are elderly, or married does not give them the right to make you feel like garbage.

    #1187924
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Rabbi Arush’s Prayer of Thanks totally made me appreciate being single way more. It says that even what I don’t have is for my ultimate benefit and a gift from Hashem.

    So I see where I am at today as being for my best. I still desire and want to be married but I know that I am not ready yet for a good reason and anything can change in a moment.

    #1187925
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    The Goq +1!

    #1187926
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Anyone who needs chizuk for being an older single should listen to the following shiur: Go to Rav Zev Leff’s website, go to the Homepage, go to “special shiurim”, scroll down until you get to “Shidduchim – don’t despair” (it’s pretty far down – the shiurim go in order of years, and the one before this says 5770 – this was also given in 5770, but it’s not labeled).

    #1187928
    reuventree555
    Participant

    The way to stay happy when you’re single is just to live your life. Go on a trip, get a job, do whatever you want… Don’t be constantly thinking about shidduchim. Hashem will take care of you. Enjoy being single…It’s not a crime or disease…

    #1187929
    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    I think it also depends on the person. GoFish doesn’t want to start dating. It is more frustrating to be 27 and in the parsha for 9 years than being 27 and being in the parshah for 2 or 3 years.

    It also depends on how badly you want (think you need) to get married now.

    #1187930
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Shopping – very true. Also, some of us are more than 27 – not that you can’t be happy at any age, but you do have and need to have a different perspective at different ages. Also, as I pointed out, I think it must be much harder for boys.

    #1187931
    thebabbler
    Member

    reuventree555:that is very well put

    #1187932
    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    The thing is some people want to get married early, that’s what’s frustrating. I’m not even in shidduchim yet but I do want to get married young. I feel it’s what’s best for me and I’m ready for that stage of life. So it would be VERY frustrating and depressing for me to be even 24 and not married yet, chas vishalom.

    So tree555, I am a positive person and obviously I would understand it’s what Hashem knows I need, I still would think about it a lot in that situation. It doesn’t sound easy,but of course G-d only gives us what we can handle

    #1187933
    Person1
    Member

    Thanks everyone for responding! Thank you for all the interesting life experiences, the good tips and the general cheering up. I really appreciate you putting time and thought into your answers (Please check out my other thread “question to those who used to be older singles”)

    My main reason in opening this thread was so that people could share some difficult experiences they’ve had as older singles and how they overcame them. That’s why I didn’t explain what exactly might be hard about being an older single – because different people can experience it differently. Few people have actually chosen to share that. Maybe “overcoming sadness” was not phrasing people felt comfortable identifying with. I still appreciate all the answers though.

    To answer my own question, I think that the most important to remember when being single is(as you said WinnieThePooh) not to live the shiduchim period as a waiting time until you get married. I know this is something many singles have problem with, me included. It’s not always easy to achieve but it’s worth the effort.

    An anecdote that illustrates why the above might be difficult: when my sister got married I told some relative of mine that now I’ll have to give my mother double help in the house to replace my sister. His answer was: “Beezras Hashem you’ll get married so soon you won’t have too”. This is one example of how people around you make you feel (falsely) that everything you experience now is just transitive, and that your real life will start once you’re married.

    flastbusher: “but understand that if you are sad, it is a negative feeling that do not attract people” that’s an extremely insensitive thing to say. I hope you don’t usually tell people who are sad they should cheer up because it is not attractive.

    golfish: You have a really awesome life! I like Jeruzalem too! I’d like to note that some of the challenge for older singles is living a meaningful life even when your life looks very boring. For example in Israel it’s very uncommon for a girl to leave her parents’ house before she is married (maybe because everything is so close, living separately seems like a strange step) You can imagine how it can be more difficult for a girl who lives at home to live her life in the present and not think constantly about getting married.

    Thebabbler your answer really warmed my heart… Thank you very much for everything you said.

    LU thank you very much for sharing everything, and thank for considering me a wonderful person.

    Regarding point 4 – I didn’t know it was like that. Personally I’m so young that I can hardly call myself an older single (I know my two threads probably gave different impression) and yet people constantly give me broches that I may get married soon. I thought we were supposed to be miserable as well (:

    I suppose things might be very different here in E”Y. Here they didn’t even there was a crisis (“Mashber Hashiduchim” is an American import)

    Maybe people feel bad for the girls because they have to see them all the time. Most chareidi boys are in the yeshiva and are below everyone’s radar. Also maybe there is some prestige to being an Elter Bochur. I’m sure it’s less fun than it seems though.

    As for older single guys being picky andor unable to commit, If I tried to refute every brainless stereotype there is out there it would take too much of my time. Let dumb people think what they want. The truth is usually much more complex.

    Thank you for saying it’s clearly wrong in my case. The fact is I’m a bad test case as I’m both still young, and also have my own personal reasons for having difficulties in finding my zivug.

    #1187934
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “I suppose things might be very different here in E”Y. Here they didn’t even there was a crisis (“Mashber Hashiduchim” is an American import)”

    That’s true. It was mainly when I was in America that I kept hearing about the Shidduch Crisis. That is mainly because they are more into it there, but also partially because I had more access to Frum publications there, and the Frum magazines and papers in the US are constantly writing about it, and making it sound like a major tragedy and like the purpose in life is to get married.

    #1187935
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I suppose things might be very different here in E”Y. Here they didn’t even there was a crisis (“Mashber Hashiduchim” is an American import)

    In Eretz Yisroel the boys start shidduchim younger than in the U.S.

    #1187936
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I think that I heard that the Shidduch Crisis may have started to come to EY now also, but I’m not sure. Most American things end up coming to EY eventually.

    #1187937
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    And the age thing is not the only reason for the Shidduch Crisis, although it may contribute to it.

    #1187938
    gofish
    Member

    “golfish: You have a really awesome life! I like Jeruzalem too! I’d like to note that some of the challenge for older singles is living a meaningful life even when your life looks very boring. For example in Israel it’s very uncommon for a girl to leave her parents’ house before she is married (maybe because everything is so close, living separately seems like a strange step) You can imagine how it can be more difficult for a girl who lives at home to live her life in the present and not think constantly about getting married.”

    There definitely are parts of my life that are awesome, baruch Hashem. I do have many painful challenges as well, but they are completely unrelated to being single.

    Yes, I can imagine, because I lived at home for a year and a half after shana bet. And that was all people were interested in. Me, my education, my interests, my career- nah, that was all superfluous. The main thing was – nu, when are you getting married? People started setting up tehillim groups for me when I was 21…

    Being that I did not want to get married then, I learned to block all that out and regard them with amusement and some pity – what a pity they thought that all there was to life for a girl was marriage. And I deliberately and consciously made sure to do things that would infuse my life with meaning. Life is not all about marriage, and there are so many things singles can do because they have the time and aren’t tied down to a husband’s schedule and the responsibilities of married life. I gotta say I embrace my singlehood – there is no way I could have had the career I have now, and love, had I gotten married right away, along with many other opportunities I would have missed out on.

    (Oh, and I left the chareidi community (for other reasons) – I have to say that helped a lot.)

    #1187939
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    And the age thing is not the only reason for the Shidduch Crisis, although it may contribute to it.

    How are you defining “The Shidduch Crisis”?

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/defining-the-shidduch-crisis

    #1187940
    Person1
    Member

    It’s possible that in less modern communities it’s easier for people to get married. I’m quite certain about that when it comes to arranged marriages. Now some dating styles are not very different than arranged marriages, both in quantity (number of dates) and quality (the kind of expectations people have from dates)

    And if that’s true maybe in EY people are, statistically speaking, less modern and so it’s easier for them them to get married.

    LU: “Most American things end up coming to EY eventually.” This is true, mostly because of the many Americans coming to live in Israel. But I think the yeshivish community might be singular in the fact that the influence goes both ways (I’ve never been to the US but this is an impression I got from talking with people)

    #1187941
    Shopping613 🌠
    Participant

    It’s all very personal. For someone like me who wants to start “real life” it’s very hard to wait. And being a frum person there are only some things you can have/get when you are married, and if you need it beforehand than tough luck.

    #1187942
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Shopping – aren’t you in seminary? Do you find it hard not being married while you are in seminary? (not being critical – just curious)

    #1187943
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    This morning as I was davening it occurred to me that to the extent that I am focused on my relationship with Hashem, it bothers me less that I am single.

    #1187945
    yeshivabochur123
    Participant

    Marriage in and of itself isn’t even a mitzvah. The mitzvah which is only for men is having kids. That said for anyone who wants to get married they should do hishtadlus but it shouldn’t be the only focus in someone’s life. I think that’s why people get desperate and sad because they make marriage to be the be all and end all of everything. That’s how we are raised so it’s natural but there are other things many other things in life that one does not have to be married for

    #1187946
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    Actually it is a Mitzvah. Gemarah (somewhere) says ???? ?? ???? ??????? about Kidushin.

    #1187947
    yeshivabochur123
    Participant

    It’s a big discussion in the rishonim most come out that it’s only a hechsher mitzvah. Anyway the point was that the reason people get sad in the first place is because it’s the only thing they focus on. Of course if anyone spent all their time thinking about getting something it will be very frustrating until they do. Best advice is to focus on other things in addition to getting married and take marriage if and when it comes

    #1187948
    Joseph
    Participant

    A person must be *at least* as focused on finding themselves a shidduch as they are focused on finding themselves a job, career, education, wealth, nice home, friends, socializing, vacations, entertainment, etcetera.

    #1187949
    yeshivabochur123
    Participant

    That is a fair statement but very rarely are people so focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else especially something beyond their control. For school someone who studies hard gets good grades for work someone who works hard can usually manage but noone can control when they will meet their zivug. That is the problem with people who are sad in shidduchim.

    #1187950
    Person1
    Member

    yeshivabochur123 that’s very well said. Thank you.

    #1187951
    YeshivahStudent
    Participant

    THE GOQ- well said!

    how its related to the topic?

    -i found out that many of the times i feel some sadness [call it whatever u want] its after talking with a married friend or relative.

    its easy to notice, for some reason, once people get married they suddenly feel “wiser” andor more adult than u, even if you are older than them!

    it results in “knowing” exactly why you are still single and what u dodid wrong,

    and in general arrogance on you…

    so my main method for staying happy is to minimize seeing them to minimum, and finding new, single friends 🙂 .

    also, finding brothers in arms is quite comforting, so… 😉

    {

    AND the root of the problem i think is {already said above} the fact that the Charedi society “overlook” the singles…its like u dont exist until u get married.

    the general feeling is like there is no such thing as being a single, its like falling between 2 stools…”u can be a child, or married, but being single is weird”

    and its absurd!

    THIS should be changed!

    being a single is not any single’s fault(or will)! its Hashem plans…

    }

    a good week and a gezunte winter all.

    #1187953
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Joseph – that sounds reasonable in theory, but in practice it is not always possible. Many people think that getting married should be the #1 priority, but l’maaseh, it can’t be. Earning a parnassah is more of a priority than getting married. I can’t just decide that I am going to stop working because I need time for shidduch hishtadlus, because meanwhile the rent needs to be paid and I need to eat.

    And the same is true to a certain extent with some of the other things you mentioned. Maybe getting married is the most important thing, but meanwhile I am single, and I need to have friends and to be happy and functional and t/f to spend at least some time on socializing, etc.

    And as Yeshivabochur pointed out, the difference between hishtadlus for shidduchim and for other things is that you don’t see direct results of your hishtadlus, and with the other things you usually do. If I call a friend to shmooze for an hour or three, I will have gotten something out of it (unless she doesn’t answer the phone, in which case I will have only lost one minute). If I go to work, I will most probably get paid. But if I go on a date, all I gain is a lot of wasted time, wasted energy and extra stress in my life.

    That’s one of the reasons I would prefer to actually DO something on a date; that way I would at least have fun and I would actually gain something from the date even if I don’t like the guy, but most people don’t do things on dates.

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