Dear Married/Mom Friend (From All the Single Ladies)

Today’s guest post and response to Dear Mom Friend comes from a friend who wishes to remain anonymous.  This friend was amongst many single women who responded to the Dear Mom Friend letter by saying that single gals often lose their girlfriends twice: Once to marriage and oftentimes, later to children.  The guest poster has some powerful words for all of us (single, married, and married with children) to read.

Dear Married Friend (who may or may not be a mom),

Remember me? Once upon a time we used to stay up late together, talking about life,
love, God, and whatever books we were reading. Now I feel like I’m interrupting
something if I call you past 8:30. When I ask you how you’re doing and your response
starts with “we,” it makes me feel like I’ve lost you. Don’t get me wrong. I think your
husband’s great, and I wasn’t faking when I said I was happy for you when you met
him … but I care far more about how you’re doing and what you’re up to than about his
latest job promotion or about your child’s teething misadventures.

Sometimes I feel like you’re jealous of me because I come and go as I please, or
because I still have money for cute shoes, or because I’m not battling off the baby
weight. Please don’t be. What I feel you sometimes don’t remember is how much
pressure a single woman in the (often brutal) dating world has. Your husband doesn’t
care that you didn’t shave your legs today, or yesterday, or the day before that. Do you
remember how expensive (and exhausting) it is to have to constantly look your best
because you never know when or where you might happen to bump into Mr. Right? I
can’t remember the last time I wore pj’s to the grocery store. Even when you’ve been in
a relationship with the same guy for a while, without that sparkly ring on your finger,
there’s just no guarantee that you won’t end up back out on your butt in the ruthless
dating arena again at some future point, so you keep buying those shoes and doing
those crunches.

Then there’s the financial pressure of having to do all the bills on your own. You think
I’ve got lots of money because I have no one but me to spend it on … but I know your
mortgage payment costs hundreds of dollars less than my tiny apartment, and you don’t
have to listen to your upstairs neighbor do jumping jacks at 10:30 at night.

I think what bothers me the most is hearing you complain about your husband. I know it
must be frustrating sometimes to deal with each others’ quirks day in and day out … but
do you know how often I don’t pick up my own socks because they’re just mine and
cleaning & cooking for myself feels lame? You don’t know what I’d give to have
someone else’s socks to pick up now and then, or someone else’s muddy tracks to
clean off the linoleum. (Okay, maybe someday I’ll take this back, but you get my
point!) 🙂

Sometimes I get so lonely, and all I need is a hug. Thank God I have the cat. I know
you think it’s annoying that I treat her like she’s my child … and that’s when I feel like
you have no recollection of what it’s like to want a family so badly that you’ll create one
for yourself out of the little furry creatures at the SPCA.

And then there’s church. Sigh. I used to love church. But after awhile, it gets old going
by yourself, sitting by yourself, or being the third wheel in someone else’s pew because
people start to feel bad for you. Singles’ groups — they’re the absolute worst! I know
they’re well-intentioned, but it’s like Christian speed dating … the meat market on
overdrive … well, you get the point. Or, they try to recruit you for nursery duty … taking care of everyone else’s kids, irregardless of the fact that it only rubs your face in the fact
that it seems like everyone else has a life and you don’t. (Okay, maybe some single
girls love it and live vicariously through the experience, but it’s just not my thing.)

You see, I really do love my career. And if you ask me about it, I’ll make it sound just as
glorious as I can to convince you that I’m totally content working three jobs to pay the
rent and being so tired at the end of the day that I can’t remember my own name
anymore. What’s worse is that, since I’m a therapist and listen to people’s problems all
day long, by the time I see you, all I really have energy left to talk about is the weather
and where I wish I were going on vacation. Meanwhile, you’ve been home all day,
itching for adult company, and my conversation skills with you suck. I’m sorry.

What I really want to tell you, though, but usually don’t because I get this lump in my
throat and think I might cry … is that women don’t define themselves by their careers.
You know this, but no one talks about it. Men define themselves by what they do, but
women define themselves by who they’re in relationship with. Deep down, I know that’s
why you answer my questions about you with “we.” You’re living in constant
relationship, and even though you’re tired, deep down, I know you’re truly content. I
know you feel the need to justify that being a SAHM is a valid life choice. I need you to
know that I’ve never questioned that. I think what you’re doing is awesome, and if
anything, being a therapist has shown me that parenting well is one of the most
important things most people will ever do.

I truly think that singleness is a calling for a very select few women, and I know I don’t
have it. The problem is, this is the one area of my life that this Type A chick can’t
control. I wanted a Master’s degree; I went out and got one. I wanted a good job; I got
one. I want a husband and 2.3 children; still waiting. I put myself out there; I dated
way more people than you ever did and have lots of funny stories to tell. So please forgive me if I can’t empathize with your frustrations right now. Someday, I’m sure I’ll be able to again. I really do like your husband. I really do like your kids. But I like you the best, and I want you to “get” me.

There’s one more thing I need to say. I debated whether to put this in here, but I feel
the need to remind you not to take your sex life for granted. Maybe outside the
Christian community, singleness is seen as sexual freedom … but inside the Church,
where singleness is expected to mean celibacy, being single usually feels like being a
second class citizen. This is where I most often feel like I can’t relate to you anymore. I
cringe when you remind me that “sex is for married people” and try to poke your nose
into how far I’ve gone with my boyfriend. You know what? I’ll never tell. Because that’s
between me, him, and the Lord … and because I know for a fact that you’ll never know
what it’s like to be my age and still waiting for that part of your life to start too. So when
you’re annoyed because you’ve had a long day with the kids but your husband wants
sex anyway … complain to one of your married friends, please, not to me. Because I’ll
just tell you to run for the bedroom and have at it and enjoy the fact that you can.  Trust me, ladies, I might not be married, but I’m a therapist.  Sex is important in marriage, so invest in it!

I hope this doesn’t sound too angry and bitter. I really do try to enjoy every moment of
my singleness and take the perspective that God has a purpose for this. But some days
I just can’t pull that off. I really need friends right now so please pray for me, as I pray for
you, that God would give you the strength to be the wife and mother He’s blessed you
to be. I know that those sleepless nights are tough, but talk to any empty nester and
they’ll tell you how fast kids grow up. Please call (after 10 am, thanks!).

Sincerely,

All the Single Ladies

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12 thoughts on “Dear Married/Mom Friend (From All the Single Ladies)

  1. Oh gosh, let’s not even get into the sex and the single adult Christian conversation. but wow, does it need to be had! Great post, anonymous. Thanks for sharing your brave words.

  2. Amen, darling. The prayer of my heart is that the Lord sends you a man who will adore this trying time of your life into a distant memory.

    You speak truth.

  3. Thank you so much for your honesty! I love when women share how other women truly make us feel. We should all be striving to help encourage and love each other not complain about our current situations. We have to learn to live outside our small worlds and I apprictae you reminding me that I need to work hard on this!

  4. Allison, thanks for using your blog as a forum for these conversations. It’s been fun to hear the dialogue and see the voices come out of the woodwork.
    And here’s a thankful shout out to the anonymous poster. Thanks for voicing what single life can be like. I know it spoke to my experiences! I can be content with where I am and what God has given me, until I hear someone else entirely oblivious to how much her complaints are exactly what I would like to have right now.
    On the other hand, I’d like to thank some of my closest married/mothering female friends for not forgetting what it’s like to be single and for allowing me to see that marriage w/ kids is not the idyllic fairytale I fantasize when I’m feeling down.

    1. Joy, thanks for weighing in on this conversation. I’ve had so much fun reading and learning through this week, glad that others are, too. Thanks for your vulnerability. Glad that you have some friends in your life who don’t shy away from asking how you are and loving you in your current season!

  5. Allison, I’m really enjoying this series. In regards to single friends, I think it’s important to acknowledge that married women sometimes don’t know how to respond to single friends. I’ve experienced that in the 9 months since I’ve been married. I had a large group of single friends and we all swore that nothing would change when someone got married, but the truth is change is unavoidable.

    I know that my single friends long for what I have, and I know that even though they truly are happy for me, they might also be struggling with jealously. I know this because I used to feel it when other friends got married. I sometimes feel guilty that I’m finally experiencing this journey called marriage and they aren’t. I don’t want to rub it in their face or make them feel worse than they already do. Before, I used to feel free to share anything and everything, but now it’s a struggle to figure out how much to share for fear of causing them pain.

  6. I think that the point is not to censor yourself but to share what you will with your single friends, but now and then ask them what it’s like to hear your married tales when they maybe can’t relate. As a single woman myself, I can’t tell you what it would do for my relationships with my married girlfriends if every now and then one would ask me what it’s like for me to hear their stories about husbands and kids and if it’s hard for me sometimes. I had a roommate once after college who would bombard me when I got home from work every night with every detail of what she’d planned for her wedding that day. She knew that I was going through a rocky relationship myself, but never once did she ask me what it was like to help her plan her wedding, not knowing when my turn would ever come around. Years later, she had a miscarriage. While all her married friends went on talking about their pregnancies and upcoming deliveries in front of her (never bothering to ask her how it affected her to hear all that after a miscarriage) … I took her breakfast and cried with her. We really bonded over that because she was able to acknowledge that the pain she felt over being the only woman not having a baby was similar to how I felt to be the only one of our friends not yet married. Unfortunately for our friendship, she got pregnant again soon after that and got swept away into Mommy-world, and that brief connection we made over her miscarriage was lost. I love my single friends because I can be honest with them about how painful it is sometimes to be single. We live in a culture that usually shies away from talking about things that are painful. I feel like my married friends don’t ask how I’m dealing with being single because they don’t wanna remind me that I’m hurting (as if I’ve somehow forgotten) … when I really want to (and often need to) talk about it.

  7. Dear Anonomous, I really appreciate your perspective! Thank you for reminding me how much I should value my life and the relationships I have. I think no matter what our live position, I think it’s easy to look at someone else and idealize their life. When I was single, I often idealized married life, and when I wanted a child but didn’t have one yet, I was so jealous of people who did, and now I find myself dreaming about the “carefree days” of singleness (because naturally I forget about the loneliness and feeling out of place and remember the uninterrupted sleep and so much time to myself.) Fortunately most of the time I am thankful for my current life, but it is easy to slide into complaining and ingratitude. I definitely want to live more of a life of contentment and thankfulness.

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