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{Single Saints} Being Single Is Easy (or, Lessons Learned from Gidget's Mom)

Vera Taylor - June 21, 2012

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Sure, you have to handle some tough things when you're single (loneliness, for one), but as one who has mastered the art, I can tell you: being single is not hard. Where the difficulty lies is DATING.

You know what is really easy? Being single. Yes, there are some things you have to deal with as a single person: loneliness, independence, no children, lack of physical affection, the whole eternal salvation question . . . but these issues aside, I have mastered the art of being single. It is not hard.

In fact, it is way easier than dating. I know what I want. I know what I need to do and how I want to be dealt with on any given night. I know what TV shows I want to watch and which I want to record on my DVR. I don’t ever have to wonder about my feelings or if I need to be more sensitive to myself or if I need to spend more time showing myself how I feel about myself.

I don’t want to minimize the plight of single people but I really do believe it is easier to be single than in a relationship. As we all know though, just because something is easier doesn’t mean it is preferable. There are compelling enough reasons to want to practice the more difficult lifestyle of marriage (see above “things you have to deal with as a single person”). So tragically (in my humble opinion), if you have aspirations of marriage, you must leave the comfortable, rational, and easy world of singletons and subject yourself to the worst of all states of being: dating.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: “What is she talking about? I LOVE(D) dating!” And for you people I have only one thought: We could never be friends. (I kid.) Honestly though, I do wonder if something is wrong with me. Gidget (yes, that Gidget) once asked her mom a profound question: “Why don’t I like dates?” I thought I would take this opportunity to answer her:

Gidget, it is no surprise to me that you don’t like dates. They are often awkward, uncomfortable, and forced. Usually one of you will have stronger feelings for the other (sometimes it will be you, sometimes them) and this inequity will drive the dynamic of your relationship. Mis-communication, assumptions, insecurities, and past issues will be freely used to stunt the growth of a relationship and then there is the understanding that all the time and work you invest in it will likely be fruitless. Because the reality is most relationships DON’T end in marriage, meaning they end–often painfully. Then you have to start all over again, trying not to taint the future with the mistakes and hurts of the past but knowing it is really hard not to. 

Gidget, dating is hard and inconvenient and the only reason we do it is because there is the hope that once in a (long) while something clicks and you find someone special and even magical and get to experience the euphoria that just maybe this one will last. Kind of like you and Moondoggie at the end of this movie.

Yeah, that’s what I would have said. Thing is, when I did a quick internet search to make sure I had Gidget’s quote right I was reminded of what Gidget’s mom actually did say in response. She answered that Gidget is “too genuine to pretend anything you don’t feel yet.” Interesting, Gidget’s Mom. And WOW. A simple statement that really explains a lot of the uncomfortable feelings I have surrounding dating. I don’t like pretending. And I don’t like being pretended to.

So yes, being single is easier than being in a relationship because we can more easily deal with ourselves in a genuine way. I do think, however, that the act of “pretending” is a great test when you are dating. The guy or girl that makes you feel like your authentic self? Well, that just might be someone worth sacrificing your “easy” single life for.

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Vera Taylor is a 30-something single who tries to step out of her easy "single" bubble into the harder "dating" bubble as often as possible.

© LDS Living, 2012.
Comments 9 comments

skydawn said...

08:44 AM
on Jun 21, 2012

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Being single IS easy...for all the reasons described! Being single for us LDS folks IS hard...for all the reasons described. I am what others call attractive, fun, well put together, active at church, and a good catch kind of girl. Yet, at a 40ish age I haven't dated in over 10 years, and have rarely dated in the last 20. I don't know any single LDS men in my age bracket and I don't think it is good dating practice to date long distance--even if there might be more to choose from. I suppose I could date non-members who have high moral standards....but what if we fall in love and want more and a temple marriage is not an option in this case? Unfortunately not dating at all puts one way out of practice associating with others of the opposite sex in a personal way. It makes even the thought of a date worse than a root canal...What's the answer?? I don't know....What else did Gidget's mother have to offer???

kimberlina said...

09:10 AM
on Jun 21, 2012

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For me personally the degree to which dating was torture correlated with how long I had been single. I was married at 32 years old which now doesn't seem very old, but at the time it felt like I had been single forever. In my early twenties I loved dating, but each year that passed, dating became more and more exasperating. When I was about 27, a good friend came to visit me who had gotten married young. She started telling me, "You don't know how lucky you are to be single. You get to date whoever you want and if you get sick of them, you can move on." I immediately felt the need to correct her. I asked her, "Who do you spend your Friday nights with?" She said that she spent them with her husband and children. "You always have someone to be with and go out with. I don't have an automatic date or companion. Dating and going to dances stopped being fun years ago." I'm not saying I had no fun at all between 27 and 32, but I'm pretty sure people who think dating for years on end is "fun" haven't actually had to do it.

sharons said...

09:15 AM
on Jun 21, 2012

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As someone who is now married with 2 kids, I disagree completely. Being single was WAY harder. I didn't meet my husband until 31 and it was exhausting. To be single and have an active social life, it's constant work. You will have friends and then they will get married, so you don't see them much anymore and they definitely aren't going to go to single activities anymore with you.... So, you have to find new single friends who get more and more sparse as you get older. You have to go out all the time to meet people and hope to meet your mate. Sure, you get to do what you want when you want, but I think single people get the biggest shaft. Everyone thinks it is so much easier and it isn't. People think you are the one who can work on Halloween b/c "heck, you don't have kids" - well, I am never going to have kids if I have to work instead of going to that fun Halloween party my friend is throwing. So, sorry, I think you're wrong. Also, when you are single you are the one who has to do everything. You take out the trash, do the dishes, take in the dry cleaning. When you get married - amazingly the trash just gets taken out. One of you pays the bills so the other doesn't have to - division of labor is a wonderful thing - even if all you get from your husband is the typical "male" tasks. It's also easier to be closer to God when you are married with kids. Less temptation, etc... So, from someone who has been on both sides of the coin - I strongly disagree with being single is easier and think you do singles a big disservice by saying so...

mamdu said...

10:15 AM
on Jun 21, 2012

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I was about to disagree with everything when I saw the title of the blog, but after reading, I completely agree! And Gidget's mom is so wise. Maybe the true test of whether someone is good for you or not is if you can be genuine. Thank you for this! It came at the perfect time for me :).

wahlymom said...

07:48 PM
on Jun 22, 2012

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Watching my daughter just enter the dating game is difficult as well! We live in the south where dateable church boys are hard to find, so she is currently at BYU on scholarship, finding it much more difficult than she anticipated. She is very beautiful and accomplished but the boys are few and far between.....and she is finding that even MANY of "RM's" are not up to snuff, so to speak. Any advice for the almost 20 something just starting into a tough dating scene?

bridget said...

10:34 AM
on Jun 26, 2012

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Think about what it means to be a son or daughter of God. Does that mean you treat other children of God with disrespect? All is NOT fair in love and war. Dating practices today are setting you up for divorce. Look at what goes on: boy and girl get butterflies in their stomach for awhile and act married though they are not (kissing, holding hands, and even more). Then when the "magic" wears off (mainly because none of what they were doing belongs outside a marriage commitment), they break up and move on to the next fiasco. What ought to happen is you never associate with anyone in any romantic way until you are actually engaged to be married. Given the lack of seriousness in today's engagements, the wisest practice would be to show affection only after marriage. (The old saying, "You may now kiss the bride" should have meaning. That really ought to be the first time the bride is ever kissed, and the first time the groom ever kisses, too.) Want to know why the magic has gone out of marriage? Nobody treats marriage with the respect and dignity it deserves. It's all a shopping game. Hey, if you went into the grocery store and started testing the apples by biting into them and putting them back, you'd be kicked out. And yet in dating practices you're doing the same thing to a child of God. This is not in the least acceptable in the Lord's eyes. Not at all. What you ought to do is get the Lord involved in your life. Running around dating is not going to get you the results the Lord can get. (Just read how Isaac found Rebekah.) If you find someone who obeys the Lord and puts the Lord first, that's the basis for a marriage — not he's cute, she's gorgeous. Looks fade. Righteousness lasts forever. [Incidentally, my mom said that what she wanted in a husband was one who obeyed the Lord. And my dad is that rare breed of man who actually cares more about what the Lord wants than anything else. You don't find that very often. Actually, it's about as rare as finding a treasure chest under the sea.]

dangladdy said...

07:35 AM
on Jun 30, 2012

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I like what bridget said. I am 27 and still single. Some may see living with parents at this age as a negative thing, but by so doing they judge without knowing the full situation. I have been living at home trying to help my parents keep the house. My father didn't always make the wisest choices with finances and my brothers have made similar mistakes. I have helped to make the house payments and pay for groceries. As far as relationships go I still have yet to be in one. I have dated and continue to try to date, but so far only one woman I have dated has gone beyond the first date. I do not like how superficial the dating games have become. I really want to find someone who is willing to make a relationship work. I believe the best relationships are those based on providing the joy and comfort of ones companion above the interest of your own and the same goes for the other person. I have never kissed, held hands, or anything else. I believe I may wait until I find someone who is willing to work on the core of a relationship first. There are good people out there, it is more of a matter of who you are and want to be so that you can attract that same kind of person. Even if my dating experiences have only led to friendships I am grateful for those friendships. The one woman I went on more than one date with I developed feelings for, but she never fully developed feelings for me. Instead of feeling hurt or angry when I saw she had started a relationship I decided to be happy for a friend. I prayed for her and the man she was dating. I prayed that if they were good for each other that they would have a spark or chemistry between them, but if they were not good for each other that the experience overall would still be positive for both. I have done some activities and talked with her since and neither of us has had much success in dating so I suggested that we fast for each others dating opportunities. I will fast for her and she will fast for me. No matter how the future goes, because I really do care about her I want to see her happy even if that means she ends up with someone else.

vasper said...

02:06 PM
on Jun 30, 2012

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The Most Difficult Task Of Being A LDS Single,Whether Male Or Female,Is The Lack Of LDS In The Area One Lives.--Living In An Area Where Are Many LDS Singles,The Question Always Is,Is There Someone "More Perfect,More Beautiful,More Handsone"Right Around The Corner Waiting For Him.Her To Come By??It's A Catch 22,No Matter Where One Lives.It's 6 Of One,Half A Dozen Of The Other.--As One Becomes Older,Which Person Will Sacrifice Their Career Or Family Life To Transition To Another Location??When Single These Questions Almost Never Ever Become An Issue Unless You Let Them.

juanito said...

04:23 PM
on Jul 04, 2012

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The editor should Photoshop out those wine glasses on her table. Or find a different picture.
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