HUFFPOST PERSONAL
03/22/2018 05:45 am ET

7 Women Ages 28 To 65 Get Honest About Being Single

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About half of Americans are single, and half of those who marry end up getting divorced. Yet single women nearing age 30 are constantly dodging questions about their mates (or lack thereof) from peers, parents and the grandmothers whose one goal in life is to see their grandchildren marry off and make babies.

But how do women navigating life’s daily and existential challenges without a partner really feel about flying solo? We went right to the source to find out.

Hundreds of women ― from all different parts of the country and at all different stages of life ― responded to a social media callout and shared their feelings about the single life, including frustration, fear and inspired confidence. Most eye-opening of all? The advice women in their 50s and 60s would give to their younger selves: Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and never settle.

Duly noted. 

Check out what seven women had to say below. 

Diana, 33, San Diego, California 

Why are you single? 

I am currently single by choice. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend about six years ago, after my father passed away. We had a decent relationship and he was a really nice guy, but I wasn’t in love. I didn’t want to settle, and I felt selfish for keeping him when I didn’t have those feelings for him. I knew he would make a great boyfriend for someone, just not me. Six years later, I feel like an entirely different person.  

How do you feel about being single? 

I do love it. I’ve learned to ignore the “single-shamers” and have embraced my independence. I learned how strong I could be when I moved across the country with my dog for a new job and had to rely solely on myself. Being single has taught me to love my quirks because my quirks are my strengths. I’m single, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I love this time for women. I love that we’re embracing our careers and waiting longer to get married and have children. I love that we’re really fighting the stigma that has surrounded single women for so long.

Have you always felt this way?

I did, I was just afraid to admit it. It has never been socially acceptable to be a single woman in your 30s. That’s why I love this time for women. I love that we’re embracing our careers and waiting longer to get married and have children. I love that we’re really fighting the stigma that has surrounded single women for so long. 

What would you tell your younger self?

You are strong and you are enough. You don’t need to be thinner, prettier or more successful to be worthy of someone else’s love. You have to embrace what you really want in life and learn to love yourself first. You have what it takes to make it on your own. Be honest with yourself, and don’t settle for mediocrity because life is too short. You deserve happiness.

Lori, 45, Wichita, Kansas

How do you feel about being single? 

I get lonely sometimes and occasionally miss having someone in my life. But overall I enjoy doing my own thing, sleeping alone and being by myself. I’ve been single more than I’ve been coupled up. I’ve not dated extensively for about five years. Since turning 40 and having a couple of bad experiences with online dating, I’ve come to accept that I may never get married, and I’m OK with that. I’m willing to let it happen organically if it does. Until then, I’m dating myself. I think it bothers others that I’m single more than it bothers me. 

I would tell my younger self that the opinions of others are not important. The most important relationship in my life is with myself.

How have your viewpoints changed over the years?

I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself and less concerned with what others think. A lot of people are miserable in their marriages but too comfortable to make a change and/or are too scared to be alone. I’m much less hung up on the idea that Prince Charming is going to show up, but do hope there is someone out there for me. I stayed in an abusive relationship for five years in my 20s, so I know about being comfortable but miserable and scared to be alone. 

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self that the opinions of others are not important. The most important relationship in my life is with myself. Finally, I’d remind myself to trust my gut feeling.  

Maggie, 65, Willows, California  

Why are you single? 

That is a tough question. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it just just turned out that way. I was never interested in settling for less, and I’ve also realized recently that I’ve never felt loved by the men I was with. 

For a long time, I believed society’s view, that it is abnormal to be single. Now I know life can be just as fulfilling without a partner.

How do you feel about being single? 

For the most part, I love it. There are times when having someone who’s got my back would have been nice. 

How have your viewpoints changed over the years?

For a long time, I believed society’s view, that it is abnormal to be single. Now I know life can be just as fulfilling without a partner.

What would you tell your younger self? 

Be yourself and accept yourself as you are. 

Julia, 28, Buffalo, New York 

Why are you single? 

I recently decided to call off my wedding and end my relationship with my boyfriend of seven years. 

I’m finding security in knowing that life is unpredictable and the best thing I can do is continue to follow my gut.

How do you feel about being single? 

I feel empowered and excited most days. Some days, it’s lonely. That’s the damn truth. I mean, who doesn’t want to come home to their best friend and sit on the couch and cuddle, right? But, I think after a long time with someone, you start to feel a sense of comfort and security in the relationship. So it’s been exciting to get away from that and re-establish my own sense of confidence. I’m finding security in knowing that life is unpredictable and the best thing I can do is continue to follow my gut. 

Have you always felt this way?

Definitely not. I dreaded being single years ago. I wasn’t as confident or outgoing. However, when I realized my current relationship wasn’t necessarily leading me toward where I wanted to go, and my partner and I didn’t think that marriage was the right thing for us, we were both convicted in the decision to end the relationship. It wasn’t easy, but it was totally the right thing to do. We’re still very close friends, which I feel grateful for. 

What would you tell your younger self? 

Slow down. Love yourself harder than anyone else. Let things evolve naturally rather than trying to muscle your way into making everything you want to happen happen. As a Type A woman, I think it’s hard to sit with uncertainty and be patient. We want to know where we’re going to end up. I’d tell my younger self to be patient and see what the universe wants to serve up. 

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Bridget, 33, Philadelphia

How do you feel about being single?

Eighty percent of the time, I feel fine about it. I’m not willing to just date anyone in order to not be single, so I’d rather hang with myself than just be with someone so I’m not alone. I’m also really good at being alone. I’ve lived by myself for the past 10 years and I have plenty of fulfilling things in my life that don’t revolve around men. The other 20 percent of the time, the weekend is approaching and I wish I had a partner to go get brunch with on Saturday morning. It’s smaller times like that that I might get a little sad, but I snap out of it pretty quickly.

Have you always felt this way?

When I was younger, I put more of an emphasis on trying to find romantic partners. This was back in middle and high school, when I was less confident in myself. Then college hit and I slowly became more confident and more in touch with who I am and who I want to be. My siblings and I were also raised by parents who didn’t want us to be dependent on anyone, so I never felt there was an expectation to get married young and start giving them grandbabies.

Kendra, 52 

Why are you single?

My boyfriend, who I had lived with for three years, decided he didn’t want to work on our relationship. While I felt safe and kept and really enjoyed 50 percent of the time, I didn’t feel appreciated. 

How do you feel about being single?

Initially, not good. But being dumped actually broke me of my fear of being alone. I would rather be alone than in a relationship with no shared goals. 

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