How Can I Be Happily Single When I Hate Being Single?


The Spinsterlicious Life –the title of my book and blog— is about the joys and realities of being a single woman.  Whether a woman is single by choice or by circumstance, a great life should be hers.  The time spent fretting about what you don’t have (a man) would be much better spent celebrating what you do have.   That’s my philosophy.  

But I know a few people who don’t agree with me.  My book is about being “happily single”, and they take issue with that.  As one friend said to me: “I’m not Spinsterlicious.  I don’t want to learn to be happily single because I don’t want to be single.”  I get that; I understand that she doesn’t want to be single.  What confuses me though is what she thinks the alternative is?  She’s single.  She doesn’t want to be, but she is.  The way I see it, she can be single and happy -or- single and unhappy.  Those really are her only two choices because the option of being married has not presented itself yet.  

I think she thinks that if she makes herself happy as a single woman then she’ll never get married.  I want to say (quoting Dr Phil) “how’s that workin’ for ya?” 

 The reality is that “happy” is attractive.  People want to be around happy people; men do, too.  With “happy”, I say you can’t lose.

So, what’s your take on the whole “happily single” thing?  Possible?  Self-defeating? A myth? The only way to go?

NOTE: The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single and Childfree— has been published and is available here and  hereand on Amazon.

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This entry was posted in dating, Dr Phil, Happily single, I hate being single, spinsterlicious. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to How Can I Be Happily Single When I Hate Being Single?

  1. Ben says:

    Having someone to share your life with is a very wonderful thing.

  2. RealityCheck says:

    Even for many of us Good men out there that are still Single today, it really hurts very much to be Alone since many of us are still having a lot of Trouble meeting a Good woman to settle down with.

  3. MyTrueHonestAnswerWhyIamStillSingle says:

    Well the real honest answer why a Good man like me that is still Single which i am sure many other men out there will certainly agree with me is that with much more women today that are so very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, and very money hungry, certainly has a lot to do with it since Most of these women with their Careers today making so much money will Never go with a man that makes much Less money than they do. And many of the women out there now want the Best and will Never settle for Less since they really Choose money over love which it is a real shame. The good old fashioned women of years ago were the Best of all since it definitely would’ve been much Easier for many of us men looking for a good woman to settle down with since Most of us that wanted to get married could’ve been all settled down by now with a good wife and family. And it is just too bad that we weren’t born many years Earlier to avoid this mess today since our family members were very Lucky in those days since it was so very much Easier for them finding Love back then with one another. On line dating is a real Joke today as it is since it is very Difficult finding love on those sites too.

  4. Reb Tree says:

    I find your thoughts here very interesting. Have you ever noticed any specific thing about the way you operate as a person that you believe is key to your preference to remain single?

  5. Truth Is says:

    Even for us men being single sure sucks nowadays. So how in the world can i be happily single?

  6. Sharron Hawkins says:

    I have an upcoming class reunion that I will be attending. I have been divorced for 17 years. I dreaded going to the reunion alone so I asked a very good male friend of mine to go with me. I love this guy like a brother. I think he has reservations about going. Anyway I feel awful about putting him in this predicament, solely because I don’t want to go alone. Mind you all my friends are married and I had to deal with who are you going with to the reunion questions. After reading Eleanor’s Wells blog I felt much better. As a matter of fact I went to high school with Eleanor and kudos to you!! It looks as though you have been having a very successful and rewarding life!!

    Anyway I am seriously thinking about telling my friend that he does not have to go. Hey, I am going to look great at my 40 year reunion. I am 58, currently a size 4 and can still walk in 4-5 inch heels!!! My assistant told me he thought I was in my early 40s (may have been bucking for a raise, but who cares!!!) I work out and I also have great relationship with my Lord. Sometimes it just takes stepping out of the box and being happy with who you are!!!

    • Eleanore says:

      Wait, we went to high school together? You’re not in the yearbook under that name. Send me a pic! 🙂 Anyway, what reunion are you talking about that I don’t know about? Is it class of ’74?

  7. TheVeryTruth says:

    well for a straight man like me that is looking for a good woman to share my life with, is without a doubt very hard these days especially since so many women are so very mean and nasty to us men when we will try to start a conversation with the one that we would really like to meet. why is that? and i think that my approach was certainly not wrong at all. there are just so many very unfriendly women nowadays, and i guess that the men that they were with at one time must have treated them very badly.

  8. That's true, you should enjoy your freedom and be happy with what you have. Then people will like you and the problem with finding a partner will simply disappear. I'm not bothered by the fact that I'm single, I'm free to live the way I want to. But if you have someone it's not always possible.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I just found your blog and I feel like you are my twin. You type what I'm thinking!! 🙂 I can't stand whiney women who go on about how unhappy they are being single. I, like you, feel like if you do your thing and enjoy every day and everything you do, you will eventually meet someone. Sitting around waiting and feeling sorry for yourself isn't going to attract a guy. Whining about it won't either. I think smart, confident, happy, independent women give off a vibe that attracts men.

  10. I highly respect your philosophy. Why do women always need men and being in relationship is a sense of life, while men can live without a family for a long time and have fun and stay attractive and desirable? Maybe, it's nature. Strange how women reject their power and freedom, given to them by 20th century.

    • Kira says:

      No, society just sucks. I am a woman and I never reject my power and freedom that I have as a single career woman, if anyone wants to tell me that it’s naayyychuur for me to be financially and/or socially dependent I will bitch slap them. Women can be happy and single too, just like men, even though ev psych crap says otherwise!

  11. Lisa Brignoni says:

    Okay, my previous comment may have seemed a bit harsh, but I just think people really need to put their lives in perspective sometimes. There are women out there who would literally kill to be single again and out of an abusive relationship, and then there are a lot more terrible situations in life that one can experience than being single. I don't agree with being sensitive to people who say “Oh it's not that easy.” Sometimes you need a kick in the butt. Giving thanks and gratitude for what you do have instead of complaining about what you don't have is in fact a very simple action that can go a long way in inspiring happiness.

  12. Being single is by far one of the nicer fates life can throw at you. If you can't be happy just because you're single, then you don't deserve anything better in life.

  13. You have to be truthful about what your desires are and how you feel about things…

    People these days reject anyone that isn't perfect, perfectly happy with their lives, or otherwise. People say they want honesty in friends and partners, but are you man or woman enough to hear honesty or be in the presence of it? I suppose it almost makes them feel insecure, as well.

    I'm honest about how I feel about being single. It has its ups and downs; I certainly don't go around singing how wonderful it is if I don't feel that in my heart (just because society says if I am single, then I must embrace it).

    Own up to it – if you're not happy being single, say so. If you are and could never stand to be hooked to a man or even children, then say so, too.

    That's what it's all about!

  14. sinngle says:

    You have to be truthful about what your desires are and how you feel about things…

    People these days reject anyone that isn't perfect, perfectly happy with their lives, or otherwise. People say they want honesty in friends and partners, but are you man or woman enough to hear honesty or be in the presence of it? I suppose it almost makes them feel insecure, as well.

    I'm honest about how I feel about being single. It has its ups and downs; I certainly don't go around singing how wonderful it is if I don't feel that in my heart (just because society says if I am single, then I must embrace it).

    Own up to it – if you're not happy being single, say so. If you are and could never stand to be hooked to a man or even children, then say so, too.

    That's what it's all about!

  15. MilanoGirl says:

    I love your insight, that she feels that if she is happy being single that she won't find someone and get married. I can't deny that that hasn't lurked in the back of my mind, like someone how I am betraying myself, my goals, my dreams, my future by being happily single, which is not quite where I’d like to be. And perhaps somehow it seems that this present state of being happily single is a permanent, unchangeable state, rather than a potentially temporary one. It’s kind of like you need to be Zen about your life, take it one day at a time. Live in the moment.

  16. MilanoGirl says:

    @Melbourne Dreaming, your unhappiness lies in the gap between where you feel like you should be/want to be and where you actually are. Forgive yourself. When you forgive yourself, a space is created for the new to come in. It's a loving act and is a magnetic power for attracting good.

    But what do I know? 🙂 I wish you happiness! And you might want to check out Evan Marc Katz, this dating coach. His blog is great.

  17. MilanoGirl says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. If you're not happy being single and just want to get married already, you come across as desperate, and that pushes men away. You can't be happily married if you're not happily single first.

    I'm single by circumstance but I'm fine with it. Relationships are more hassle than they're worth most of the time. (And I have yet to find someone who is not either committment-phobic or just an asshole). I like being alone and doing things by myself. It's a lot easier that way.

  19. Thanks for the supportive comments, everyone. I'm at a particularly low point right now – however, I have been on my own plenty and I like my own company, I would just prefer to have a special relationship at the heart of my life and it is a source of great unhappiness for me that I don't. I'm trying to learn how to be content on my own, but it's a life-long battle, I'm learning.

    I love that this site is somewhere I can talk about this though. Thanks, Eleanor.

  20. @Melbourne Dreaming

    I must say, I feel ya on that one. Especially the part where something apparently is wrong with anyone who doesn't run around bragging how happy and elated they are to be single. It's like this “oh, you poor fool” attitude towards people who are just being honest about the fact that this isn't the way they dreamed their lives would turn out.

    “Never ask anyone to apologize for who they are.” You don't need anyone else's permission to feel the way you feel. I think it takes more guts to admit it's sad and lonely and heartbreaking sometimes, than to put on a front that's not real.

  21. C says:

    @Melbourne Dreaming:

    I feel the pain as your write your comments and I hope in time you find the peace to you need to get to where you're meant to be. Yes life can seem not so rosy when you look around and see others coupling and starting families. Society tells us “you're no one unless you have someone blah blah…” But so often we're surrounded by people who enter and stay in unhealthy unions because of what others' think. I can't tell you how many women I know in relationships that suck – but they won't leave because they'll “have no one” or have never been alone and can't cope with having to be their own company. And in my opinion there is nothing worse than needing a companion (and a bad one at that) to feel validated. For the 80% of Westerners needing anti-depressants for “loneliness” – it would be interesting to know how many have partners, kids, friends and still walk around saying “I'm lonely.” Having someone doesn't mean you won't be lonely. Believe me of this 80% they are not all singles. Many may have lives others dream about and still say “I feel very much alone.” If you were disappointed in your relationships then why is being single so depressing? Being alone is nothing to be sad or ashamed of – take this time to learn about yourself – and to give yourself what you were not getting out of your relationships. You may find that there is no better companion for you than yourself. And who knows – your newfound contentment may lead you to a person who realizes he/she may not be needed but wants very much to be wanted by you…:)

  22. Cameron says:

    I've enjoyed reading this and other singles blogs, but this is the first time I've posted here.

    I'm happily single, but don't ever think of happiness as something to “strive for.” With the artistic/musical projects I pursue, I always feel an excitement about life every single day. Friends and relatives have said “Cameron, you have this 'spark' to you – in your eyes or something.”

    There's a Theory of Flow (google it if interested) that rings true with me. Find your passion, that which excites you, and cultivate it. It gives your life meaning, and as a bonus, makes you more attractive to others.

  23. eleanore says:

    @Melbourne Dreaming: Thanks for your very powerful comment. One comment I'd like to add is that I know being happy is not as simple as saying “I'm going to be happy.” Finding happiness can be work and requires an attitude adjustment. I believe that focusing on the things that are good and working in your life is a better place to be than focusing on what's missing. Easier said than done, no doubt, but do-able.

  24. eleanore says:

    @Anonymous: Thanks for your feedback. I'm always interested in hearing others' “take” on this blog. One tiny correction: I'm both types of the women you describe: I'm a single woman who enjoys life…but I'm not opposed to finding a partner. I love having a boyfriend, I'm just not going to put my life on hold waiting around.

  25. Julia says:

    I was married very young – at 18 – and divorced at 20. I swore I would learn to live alone happily because I might live that way forever.

    I married again – even more briefly – at 40. I would not trade my single happiness ever again.

    If you're not happy on your own, adding another human to the mix only complicates things. You make your own happiness/contentment. Another person can enhance that – but not create it.

  26. The thing is, it's really hard to be happy when you've continually been disappointed in your relationships. It's really hard to be happy when you've had your heart broken, stomped on and splintered into a million pieces, over and over again. It's really hard to be happy when all your life you've been sold the idea that you can only be truly happy and fulfilled if you are in a loving and secure relationship, like the one your parents have, like the one all your friends seem to have.

    I can see, clearly, how differently my life might have panned out had I had a secure life partner by my side throughout my adulthood. I can see that I would be a happier, calmer, more stable and less anxious person having had that source of mutual support, love and affection in my life. I've been around long enough (and been in enough long term relationships) to know that it's not all roses and champagne. I know it's hard. But it's still infinitely preferable to being alone, with no one to lean on in times of need.

    For most people, it's natural to want to belong to a family, like the one we grew up in. To not have that, and to have to watch everyone around you gradually pair off and have babies while you struggle on alone, is utterly heart-breaking.

    I defy anyone who wants to be in a relationship to be happy on their own after 10-15 years of unsettled relationships and heartache.

    Simplistic statements like 'happy people are attractive' only serve to make people like me feel MORE like there is something wrong with them.

    I am unhappy and I don't expect anyone else to do anything about it except to understand that it's not as simple as telling me to 'be happy'. If it were that simple, everyone would be happy. 80% of westerners have been on anti-depressants at some point in their lives – unhappiness is a part of the human condition.

    And most of it, in my opinion, is caused by loneliness.

    • Reb Tree says:

      It is scientifically proven that telling people to be happier will make them even less happy. It’s also a pretty cruel thing to do, because you’re basically telling that person that they’re wrong to have the feelings they have, that their feelings aren’t valid/justified. That’s not helpful, nor even trying to be.

      I’ve been happy and unhappy single. I’ve been NOT single and felt more lonely and unhappy than when I was single. I’ve also been single and just LONGING to not be alone anymore. Desperately.

      So I will just say this in the hopes that it might be remotely helpful: The only thing that ever helped me out of dark times was finding something that sparked my passion and throwing myself into it. Something that I may suck at, or maybe be good at, but that distracts me and allows me to get some peace of mind.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Eleanore, I have been reading your blog since last year. I even ordered a tote bag. When I first started reading your blog, I thought you were a black older woman who was saying that you are going to enjoy life until you find a partner, because that is who I am.

    However, the vibe I get from your posts are I am going to enjoy life as a single person permanently.

    There are 2 types of single women:
    * Single women who enjoy life and prepare for a partner.
    * Single women who enjoy life.

    You give off the vibe of the latter. However, there is nothing wrong with that; it is just not me because I am the former.

    Let me tell you the unexpected effect your blog has had on me. For one, I have to not focus on the fact that I am single because my life encompasses a lot of things.

    I also follow because it is a lifestyle source for singles. I was thinking that your blog was more like that but for older single women. Don't get me wrong, it is NOT your fault that I thought that. It is just that I was looking for that.

    When I read your posts and reader comments, it is NOT depressing per se, but I find myself thinking too much, “I don't want to be that person.”

    Once again, the mission of your blog is to make women think about what it means to be spinsterlicious. I finally have my own meaning for it. Thanks for the journey.

  28. Molly says:

    Agree with you 100% Eleanore. Although I am married now, when I was single, I hoped to find a good guy to marry. But until I did, I was still a happy person. I've always enjoyed my own company, and although I'm blessed with many friends, I like alone time as well.

    I have a friend who's desperate to get married and she's not a happy person and that comes through loud and clear. On the other hand, she's so picky, she practically rejects a guy if she doesn't like his footwear. If she was more focused on just enjoying his company, rather than rejecting him because he's not her future husband, she might be able to let go and just enjoy him….and that might somehow lead her to what she wants.

  29. Janine says:

    True, Tricia, and I can't help noticing more and more that the onus always seems be on women to “make themselves” into whatever a man desires, without the merest suggestion that the modern man could actually apply any self-improvements, could actually EVOLVE or adapt to the modern woman. Some do, many don't. But that's a discussion for another topic…

  30. Tricia says:

    I agree with all of it.. What I do find interesting though is how many men end up marrying the needy type women who have lives filled with drama… Only to bitch about them later… But this is not to say these men are healthy either!

  31. Janine says:

    All true, in my experience. However, I guess because I know that realistically I can never be married or possibly even in a relationship, I find it an uphill battle daily to reinforce my right to be happy about that. I'm so often told, in one way or other, that I must be tragic, sad and miserable for growing old “alone”, that it's hard not to believe society's spin on it. So I need to employ self-therapy, in a sense. I don't want to be happy to attract a man, I want to be happy so that I can accept myself more, and the way my future is heading – my spinsterlicioushood.

  32. TypeA says:

    I agree, one must be able to be happy alone and single in order to be able to he happy in a pair/relationship. Otherwise, what happens is that that person defines their happiness with the relationship and if that's not going well, the rest of their life takes a down turn as well.

    In my experience, I have found all men appreciate a woman who doesn't need a man to make them happy.

  33. Annabelle says:

    I think you need to be able to be happy single to be in a really good relationship, frankly. If you know you'll be miserable alone, how will you ever have the courage to leave a bad relationship? I would always prefer to be in a relationship, but I'm glad that I know I can be happy on my own.

  34. Stella says:

    Totally agree, eleanore. Try to be happy, even if it's not the circumstances that you would have picked for yourself.
    I come and read your blog because you do just that and you remind me of the things I can be happy about.

  35. Michael Ann says:

    I think you pretty much nailed it on the head. I don't want to be single either, but here I am, going through a divorce ( by choice). I do want to find someone new eventually, but I don't intend to be miserable in the meantime. And what you said is very important–happy attracts happy. You want to attract good in your life. Healthy men who are confident in themselves, want women who are that way too. It's a win/win.

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