5 Times When It’s Hard to Be Single

In Advice and Encouragement, Single by Debra Fileta56 Comments

We’ve been having some great conversation at the True Love Dates Facebook Page through #TheSingleLife Series (if you haven’t yet- join our community!)

A while back, I asked singles: “What is the hardest part of your day, or the time that tends to remind you most of your singleness?” 

I was really glad to see the amount of people who took the time to answer this question, because as a Professional Counselor, I believe a really important part of being a healthy individual is to be able to recognize the times and seasons of life that tend to be the most difficult.

Like I’ve said before in my posts, I know this one thing with all my heart (because I’ve been there/done that)…

Singleness is not a disease that needs to be cured, but rather, it’s an important stage of life that needs to be passed through as God shapes us, molds us, and loves on us.

If you haven’t read the comments from the last article, go read what God is doing in the lives of some amazing singles right now.

Yet with that said, every stage comes with trials and struggles that can’t be overlooked, and for many singles, the sheer feeling of being “alone” is the hardest part. We were MADE for relationships, by a God who longs for relationship with us. As I read through all the responses, I saw a pattern emerging that seemed to file the “hardest times” into this exact need: the deep desire to connected with others.  

I wanted to share them in this post in the hopes that even just KNOWING other people also struggle to feel alone during these times, reminds you that in a small way, you are not alone in your struggle.  

1. Quiet evenings after work. Most of you answered that coming home to an empty house after a long day of work is one of the hardest times to be single. Not having anyone to process the day with, for many singles, the evening hours can seem long and lonely. If this resonates with you, I challenge you to do what you can to fill some of those hard evening hours with extra company. Join an evening small group at your church, plan a weekly dinner get together with a small group of friends, or use that time to hit the gym or get involved in an activity to keep you feeling connected.

2. Sleeping Alone. Many of you noted that having no one to fall asleep next to, or wake up next to is the hardest part of being single. It’s completely normal to have that longing for intimacy and to even find yourself imagining what that might look like when you find yourself feeling alone. If this is you, I’m going to push the envelope a little and challenge you with a new perspective. As a married woman, I used to have these “romanticized” ideas of what falling asleep next to my “love” would look like. I imagined the movies, in which couples were entangled in each other’s arms, falling asleep in a deep, intermingled warm embrace. 

But the truth is, real life doesn’t actually look like the Hollywood movies. As meaningful as it is to have someone to chat with and in the last hours of the day, the truth is, the average married couple’s night look like the average single person’s night: falling asleep. My husband and I, along with most married couples I know, typically have our final chat, give each other a goodnight kiss, and then roll over to our sides of the bed, and fall asleep! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to take away from the blessing of having a companion, but I also don’t want the idea to be falsely romanticized because I believe a lot of harm can be done when we idealize things outside of our reach. Single, it’s okay to find yourself struggling during this time of day, but take inventory of your thoughts to make sure you aren’t letting your imagination get out of hand.

3. When you need to be taken care of. Some of you mentioned the times when you are sick, stuck on the side of the road in a broken-down car, or in the middle of a crisis or emergency as some of the hardest times to be single. It makes sense that this is a difficult time, because it’s when you feel most vulnerable and in need of others.

I acknowledge this important feeling, because I believe it’s a significant part of being human. We were made to be “interdependent”, and God wants us to be able to depend and rely on one another within the body of Christ! If this is you, I challenge you to take inventory of your community and how involved you are with the people in your life. Do you have one or two friends that you can call on in case a need arises? If not, is there anything keeping you from developing these kind of relationships? What are some next steps you can take to deepen your relationships with the friends God has placed in your life?

4. At the start of a new day. A lot of you communicated that the first hours of the day are filled with the hardest feelings of singleness. I remember going through this struggle, particularly in graduate school. I would wake up to an empty apartment, and the feelings of loneliness would hit me like a Mac Truck. I would feel utterly and completely alone. [Looking back, I believe I was ALSO going through some clinical depression during that time of my life, I just didn’t acknowledge the signs or seek treatment. More on that in this article.]

I’m not going to lie, those times were really, really hard for me, but that was also the season of my life when God pushed me closer to His side than ever before. I learned to see HIM as company, and rely on His presence to get through my lonely mornings. My relationship with God took on a whole new level of dependence and meaning, and looking back, I am thankful for those times of loneliness, because they eventually led to teaching me the importance of solitude with my Jesus. And He proved to be good company. Single, think through this for a moment: How can you take the pain of your morning, and turn it into praise?

5. During the normalcy of life. Others of you noted that it’s in the normal routine that you are reminded of your “aloneness”. Cooking dinner for one, going to a movie, browsing through social media, attending a wedding or social gathering, or walking into a church building and sliding into the quiet pew all alone. It’s true that sometimes even in a crowd, loneliness sets in, because we feel isolated and disconnected from the people around us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these feelings of loneliness are not a sign of weak faith, or that Jesus isn’t enough, they are simply a sign that you were MADE FOR RELATIONSHIPS. Rather than letting these feelings isolate you, allow this strong need to compel you to find meaningful relationships with the people around you. The bible talks about the body of believers as a group of people who ate together, worked together, and even lived together. We sometimes shame ourselves for our need for people (Check out: 10 Reasons Why You Need People!), rather than seeing that need as a God-given way to connect us to the body of Christ. Don’t repress your need, but rather, be deliberate about connecting on a deeper level in the body of Christ.

Single, no matter who you are, or how much hope you feel right now, know this: you are not alone in feeling alone. Loneliness is a universal struggle, reminding us of our need for God, and our need for people. You are valuable, you are loved, and you are worthy no matter your relationship status, because you were made by a God who values you for simply being YOU.

Embrace your God given need for relationships, and open your heart to connecting with all the significant OTHERS God brings your way, while you wait for your “significant other”.

**I’m loving all the conversations coming out of this series. This post was originally posted a couple years ago, but I decided to resurface this conversation. So COMMENT below: What is the hardest part of your day, or the time that tends to remind you most of your singleness?**

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

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56 Comments on "5 Times When It’s Hard to Be Single"

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Nicole
Guest

The normalcy one is the biggest one I think…I hate the times when I go out with my friends after church or we all go out to eat or to play a game…they all have someone to sit with or partner up with. I hate not knowing where I’m going to sit or who I’ll play with…

And then of course there are holidays. That’s a really hard time when the only plans I have are with my parents…and all my friends are busy with their parents, in laws, own families…

To be honest, at this moment I despise singleness.

B
Guest

Totally Agree Nicole…. Thanks

Natalie Daniels
Guest

That is the case for me too… it’s much harder through holiday seasons for me and even on weekends(Sundays) when others are spending it with their own families…

B
Guest
I agree with everything the article talkes about. I also agree with Nicole about the Holidays and Normalcy of life. The biggest one is going out to eat and feeling like a third wheel or fifth wheel or odd number out. Or getting an order to go because it can be embaressing for a table for one. I do have a cat who helps with the lonely tomes but really at my age….. just looking for someone to eat with and share growing old with is what we really want…. BTW, I am in my mid-40s and still have faith… Read more »
nynb
Guest

B fear not I am pretty sure that God always has our backs and is preparing someone really awesome for you and in due time he will show up…be encouraged

Eva Koopman
Guest

I don’t mind eating alone, but I have felt the third wheel thing. There aren’t any singles ministries in my community, especially for healthy 40 somethings. I lead a DivorceCare group as well as a support group for victims of domestic abuse. They are amazing women that are growing, but not what would be healthy in the way of sharpening me.

jacoline
Guest
I love traveling and often do to conferences and on holiday. I often have to do so on my own as most of my friends are married with kids and are not as flexiable as me, so i travel alone. Its hard sometime especially at night when going out to dinner seems weird and desperate and I am hardly in any of the photos as im always taking them. I also am not fond of Christmas time when all my friends have their families around and often have family holidays. Its just my mother and me in our family and… Read more »
Jasmine Ruigrok
Guest
I think the hardest time for me is when I want to spend time with close friends, but they are busy investing in their dating relationships. Obviously, relationships that could potentially take up a big chunk of your life’s future need to be a priority on the investment list, however just because a good friend has found a relationship, it doesn’t end the friendship you already have with them, and I hate feeling like they are obligated to take time out of their dating relationship to spend time with me. It’s not that I envy their relationship so much as… Read more »
Angelina
Guest

I know exactly what that feels like! That is when I am reminded of my singleness the most: wanting to spend time with my friends when they are busy with their other relationships, and feeling like you are pushed to the side when you were one of their people they called on the most for friendship. It is SO lonely. But then I am reminded that God is the one Who you can depend on the most.

Greg
Guest

The only honest answer to the ongoing pain of being single and lonely (esp. as it becomes decades, not just years), is to find something that you enjoy–anything else in reason–and spend your time there.

It’s not so much a cop-out as it is a means of surviving one day at a time (Matthew 6:34).

S
Guest

When I attend weddings of childhood friends or people I grew up with and family friends who are older than me comment and ask whether or not I’m dating and when I’m planning to “settle down”.

I know they mean well and come from a place of love – but really, that’s not what I want to hear at that moment in time thank you very much…

Nicole
Guest

Yes, exactly. Like you said, I know they aren’t trying to be hurtful…but sometimes a little common sense and courtesy would be helpful. They act like it’s somehow our fault or choice to be alone…like it’s something you can go to the store and buy and we just haven’t went to the store yet. Or what about when they ask when you’re going to start having babies…when you aren’t even married yet. I mean come on…use a little sense.

Eileen Edinger
Guest

At this present moment, I am not living alone since I have a grown daughter who moved back to my home. Nice to have her company yet I still want to adult conversations that is not appropriate to discuss with my daughter re: my daily struggles and to be able to sleep next to someone in bed is the hardest about being single.

Claire
Guest

Christmas & New Years is the hardest for me. All of my family is married and having kids. Thankfully they are gracious not to highlight my singleness but it’s impossible not to feel it. And it’s also the repetition of ‘yet another’ year has gone by and I’m still single. Just makes for a hard holiday season.

Amber
Guest
This is such a great article! These are all times that are hardest for me and my struggle with lonliness. Being an “older” single (mid-thirties), they are especially challenging because all of my friends and church community members and small group members are married with 3 to 5 kids minimum. So, being able to compensate is more challenging, especially since I’m a Nanny by trade and sometimes want time with people but not with their kids! But I can testify that making the effort to be honest with people about our loneliness and out need for deep, meaningful, supportive relationships… Read more »
Kristy
Guest

I’m in a time of transition. My life seems to be full of these at the moment, and it is these times that I find the hardest to do alone. Moving to a new city, attending a new church alone and yes, the restaurant thing has hit me in a new way – I have never been one to shy away from eating in a restaurant alone, but this time around, with this new move, I can’t quite get up the nerve to sit at a table alone for an evening meal out.

Melissa
Guest
Thank you for this particular article and all your articles/blogs. Personally, #3 is the ‘time’ that resonates the most to me. I am so thankful that I have been able to surround myself with Christian friends in life groups, bible studies, girls night out (which is great also for your married friends to participate…and an added bonus to this is listening to them vent [occasionally] about married life and realizing that being single has its positive qualities!), serving at church and in community, and enjoying, yes! fully enjoying, the Friday nights at home ALONE after a busy work week. But… Read more »
Ani
Guest

What happens when you are an older single, who lIves with her family? The is some degree of loneliness, but not to such a deep level as you’ve described.

Luke
Guest

The hardest part is the weekends when everyone has someone to sit by at church or at sporting events. During Christmas and New Year’s when most of my family is dating someone or is married.

Rachel
Guest

Thanks so much Debra for how great you are at turning our pain into a positive. With out the cares/struggles we wouldn’t need to run to God. Keep bringing these great words to the world! Thanks 🙂

Mandy
Guest

I think the most difficult thing for me is hearing of people getting engaged or married or having to attend weddings of people now significantly younger than me. It feels like its just a reminder of what I don’t have and I feel like I’ve missed out. It used to be ok when it was only a few years younger than me (my younger sisters got married before me and I was ok with it) but now cousins seventeen years younger than me are getting married and I’m finding that really difficult.

Greg
Guest

All too familiar, and very difficult to live through…

Kyndal
Guest
Its hits on all different levels with me on different days. I am a single parent, so I’m not ever really alone but, to have a help-mate, a person to have an adult conversation with, to cook for (and when it’s their favorite dish, will not turn their nose up at it, haha!), to go to church with, to enjoy a quiet evening with after kids have gone to bed, in general, just to enjoy life with, is something that I long for. Some days are harder than others. I married and had kids very early in my life, and… Read more »
terryzane
Guest

Single life..it really is lonely but its better than living with someone with a bad attitude or controller.
To find the right woman for me..I need to read and research Gods intructions who she is. I am a marriage counselor and that helps. I ask the right questions to know who she is and where she is from.

Eva Koopman
Guest
The holidays and especially Sundays. I have been divorced for 4 years and separated for almost 5. Even though these times have gotten fewer and farther in between, I still feel that longing for family. All of my children are grown and on their own, 3 of which are ex-step-children who are still close to me. Just yesterday, Sunday, I couldn’t help but long for a hand to hold as I praised my Lord and for someone to talk about the sermon with on the way home. I guess these periods have become shorter and have also been filled with… Read more »
Dani
Guest

A lot of those times are difficult for me, too. I think the worst, though, is not having somebody to unwind and process with. There are people in my life that I’m close to, but they have spouses and/or children that are their priority and it stirs in me a feeling of incredible isolation and disconnection. It really makes me feel Less Than when “everyone around me” has someone to pour into and I don’t.

Allison
Guest
“These feelings of loneliness are not a sign of weak faith, or that Jesus isn’t enough, they are simply a sign that you were MADE FOR RELATIONSHIPS.” Oh my goodness, that is so encouraging to read. I sometimes feel like a bad Christian for wanting human relationships and not being satisfied in Jesus…thank you for the encouragement. For me the hardest times to be single are when I’m in bed at night alone and when I’m the fifth wheel with other couples. I wish sometimes that God could literally give us a hug and let us know physically that we… Read more »
Emily
Guest

Amen Allison…I wish God could literally hug us!!

Dorothea
Guest

Mine is normalcy of life from the list, but the hardest would be when I’m experiencing something new or a big event in my life. It’s hard when I look around and don’t have a special someone to share the experience or happiness in me. I’m okay with bearing the hard times with God alone, but oddly enough, it’s the happy times that are harder.

Jennifer
Guest

Definitely 3 & 5 for me.

ML
Guest

It’s also hard when you want to travel some place for vacation; and there are a lot of travel packages and discounts for couples.

Bessie
Guest
Debra, May I urge you to not address your readers who are single with the lone epithet “single” please? Not because I want to deny their lived reality. The designation “human being,” or “person” is fundamental, “Christian” or “disciple” is also primary, likely for many of your readers (including myself), but calling someone “single,” as opposed to “single person,” or “single Christian,” or “single disciple” confuses what is a state we happen to be in (singleness), which can change on any given day with our primary identity, beings made in God’s image, and called and invited to be disciples. I’m… Read more »
Terri
Guest
Normalcy of life, when you need help, and weekends are tough. Now that I am 32 and almost all of my friends are either married, in relationships, have recently become parents, or have moved away, what used to be a normal social life with friends has become quite lonely. On top of that, I am an entrepreneur (fyi: entrepreneurship can be very lonely when you’e starting out!). When you’re a working, very socially and physically active person and most of the people you used to play with have married and “babied”, what do you do? Been praying about my lack… Read more »
Joshua
Guest
I can relate to many of these struggles..and I used to struggle with them a lot more in the past.. So I am just coming up to being 17 and I know that is a lot younger than most of the people here. But I to used to lie in bed thinking about how nice it would be just to lie in bed cuddling someone and going on dates with them and showing them off toy friend..I am a huge fan of photography and videoing (I like doing weddings) and I dream about having a person who has the ane… Read more »
Sacha
Guest

1, 2 and 5 really hit home for me. I’m in a foreign country where the 1st language isn’t English; so, it’s not easy to make friends. It’s very difficult. I can go out to an Aperitivo everyday and it won’t make me feel less alone. I need a relationship (with the one). It’s not just a desire, it’s a need and a that’s what makes it so difficult. Whether it’s the holidays or just the weekend, it’s extremely difficult.

Jenny
Guest
I agreed with all the points, but point no.1,2 &5 hit me more. Even though I have few close female friends who are all single but we cannot be always togather. Now by next year I will turn 40, I had been asking God for a husband but till now I have not been answered. Sometime I wonder if my way of asking God is not correct, or is He testing my faith. I asked many times Jesus why am I still single? Its not that I only asked God and did not put an effort from my side. I… Read more »
A
Guest
For me it’s at night the most, though I definitely relate to all of the situations. Thanks so much, Debra for the article, I find the suggestions helpful, though I know I find many of them challenging to do. I do disagree on one thing though, that singleness is something to be ‘walked through’. Some people are single for their whole lives and as we have no way of predicting if we will be one of them (just as we can’t guarantee a happy marriage or that we won’t lose a spouse sooner than expected). So I can’t help thinking… Read more »
K
Guest
The hardest time for me are weekends, when I see families going camping or other outings, date nights, or what have you… And here I sit with takeout and my dog staring me down because I won’t let him eat what I’m eating. And then I check facebook and see girlfriends out with each other, or selfies of happy couples and I think ‘what’s wrong with me that I can’t even get an invite for a girls night out’? Even the stupid stuff like going to a Menard’s or Lowe’s… I’d do that if it meant I could spend that… Read more »
anthony
Guest

how about not having a family that doesn’t care like mine doesn’t,feeling like women don’t want me or like me.the hardest times for me are always and holidays make it worse.now all I’m doing is praying and hoping my chance will come.i believe in love and want my special someone.but a lot of times seeing others with gfs or bfs eats me up and I feel sad wishing I had someone.its all good though bcs I know now that I’m good and need to work on me

Colette
Guest

Being single is tough in so many ways. It is hard not to feel left out the loop when most of everyone around you is either married or in a relationship. You begin to wonder why God keeps giving what you desire to someone else. I struggle often with loneliness often but the struggle is so much tougher during the holidays.

Sara
Guest

This article really resonated with me. The other day, after a long day of work and school, I found myself stuck in the rain as I was waiting for the bus. It was pouring out. I was getting drench and I was so exhausted. For those moments I really yearned for a companion who would actually care that I was standing in the rain. Who would come pick me up after a long day of work… those are the hardest days.

Bubu
Guest

Yes the best part of being single is getting to love yourself wholly and definetly knowing you as well as connecting with the Lord our father deeply but the *Just waiting & thinking when God will show up and make you and your partner meet. Wondering where and who this partner is hits every once in a while

Rachel H
Guest
I think for me the hardest part of being single is going “home” (i.e. hometown) either for a holiday or for the weekend. It’s seeing the disappointment on the faces of family members who time and again hope that there will be “something to report” relating to my love life. I feel like I’m invisible to them because I don’t have an other half – like they just don’t know what to talk to me about, because they can’t talk about engagements, or weddings, or houses, or children. I am very happy for my younger cousins and siblings who are… Read more »
Hope
Guest
This. THIS. I’m so sorry, and I wanted you to know you’re not alone in this. I feel your pain. You just expressed everything I wanted to say to this post. I wish I had some wise words for you, but I’m still figuring it out, too. I tend to respond with sarcasm to the ‘So when are you getting married?’ or ‘When will you get a boyfriend?’ question. Perhaps not the most Christian response, but on the upside, no one has asked me either of those for about five years now, after a memorable Thanksgiving. God bless and keep… Read more »
Keisha
Guest
Its hard to be single when it’s the weekend and especially long weekends. When everyone is with their spouse or significant other, planning mini trips and enjoying each other’s company, and I’m literally waiting for the weekend to pass so that I can go back to work and not have to be reminded of how alone I am. Its funny because having faith has never given me peace about being single and it has never given me hope because even when I try to be content and do everything the right way, nothing changes. Taking matters into my own hands… Read more »
Jasmine
Guest
Like someone has already mentioned, the hardest thing is when I see the friends I went to school with or the neighborhood kids I grew up with, or even my younger cousins, all getting married and having babies and here I am…….still as single as I was the day I graduated high school. I mean, hello? Have I been forgotten about? Is there something wrong with me? Am I not good enough? I am also in my 40’s. And to carry around the “”never been married, never had children”” status is really embarrassing. And when someone asks you why, what… Read more »
Danielle Killinger
Guest

Hey Debra, its me Dani, I know the truth of being single can be lonely at times especially if you’re the only one who’s different. What I mean by that is being autistic and a free spirited Christian, I’m not afraid to be myself but my family doesn’t like the way that I am which they are emotionally unavailable and I feel so rejected which it’s like being shun. That always hurts me and I just wish that I had someone to love me unconditionally and I can cry on their Shoulder.

Luke Urban
Guest

I feel that during Christmas and New Year’s it’s the worst because everyone has somebody. During those times I feel very lonely and was.

Mel
Guest
I ageeed with all those difficult moments in life of being a single Christian. There are also those awkward moments where believers that are not single try to advice me on how to change my prayer about about my singleness as if I am not praying it the “right” way, or to confront me that I am being too picky, or to tell me that I am putting God in a box by not dating non-believers who may be open to Christianity. I feel judged and confused by lack of support from my community. It is absolutely hard enough to… Read more »
Cj
Guest

All of these times resonated with me but seem to be multiplied in that I’m also raising a child alone. And dealing with the things that are associated with that seem to magnify those lonely feelings even more.

Dawna B
Guest
Hi Debra, Another time that is hard to be single is when you are raising kids, day in and day out. You don’t get the break of a two parent home, especially when you are the primary residence for the children. My sons are older, so it is not as tough as when kids are young. When you are single again, the road of singleness is quite a bit different than the young person or older person without kids. A person may not be “alone” in one since of having other humans in the house, smile, but it a different… Read more »
Diane
Guest

I get so tired of married people addressing the feelings and loneliness of single persons like they understand. They can never understand. It is like a person who was sick once in the past, says they understand all the feelings of a person with a terminal illness.

Dee
Guest

They were single once.

Rose
Guest
All of them are right and what stuck with me the most is your depression in grad school(even tho you didn’t elaborate). I think it is exactly what I am having but I hope to graduate this August and become a normal person once again.Meanwhile,I spend some days on bed,unable to wake up and get myself go work or even something to eat(that if I’ve cooked).checking my emails terrorize me.If I ever eat I don’t get full.Even a box of pizza doesn’t do nothing to me.I don’t have family around,I am all on my own.So at first I wished I… Read more »
Liz
Guest
“Singleness is not a disease that needs to be cured, but rather, it’s an important stage of life that needs to be passed through as God shapes us, molds us, and loves on us.” I agree. Not so much with the passed-through part, as focusing on passing through can actually contribute to our discontentment. But singleness is absolutely not a disease, like you said. It’s an important part of life that we all live – no one is born married. And it’s also a season that has value and purpose. One thing that I recently read on another blog is… Read more »
Craig
Guest

Thx

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