All singles over 35, especially women, will agree with me that there are pressures when living single. It’s all over the world. There may be more support in the western world. America, Britain and China have singles holidays; in recognition of their population of mature singles.
Why is there so much pressure for some to become so depressed and even commit suicide? It is true that some are mentally stronger than others. Psychologists will tell you that single people are prone to depression. Studies done with singles of a wide age range have reported similar results. (Ref: Associations between relationship status and mental well-being at different life stages, from youth to mid-adulthood (Source – www.sciencedirect.com – Internet).
The pressure is real.
That said, keep in mind that some people want to stay single. Nigerian society cannot leave room for these people to live freely. It is a society that respects married women and does not respect single women. I remember when I was looking for an apartment, as a young single woman in her twenties. After a few rejections by the owners, I learned that the only way was to introduce someone as my “husband”. It worked. Fortunately, owners are more reasonable these days.
Another pressure comes from isolation. You probably have an apartment. Your friends and siblings are busy with their families. If you are an entrepreneur working alone, this could add to the isolation. Your married friends have other married friends and may even have disconnected from you.
Here are some tips for dealing with isolation:
Reach out with kindness to someone every day.
Take up a new hobby and connect with like minds.
If you are introverted, reach out via social media. Connecting with people eliminates loneliness and draws attention away from yourself.
Exercise often. Raise the endorphins. It is the “feel good” hormone. If you can’t go to the gym or practice a sport, walk. It helps to boost morale.
Pressure can also come from the biological clock. Consider adoption. It can be a long process. You can try to become a host family, which is not a lifetime commitment, legally.
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, get yourself a pet. They have been proven to be therapeutic. The Lagosians have understood this; considering how many dog owners I’ve met at my local vet clinic.
Another pressure comes from comparing yourself to classmates and feeling left behind. DON’T. You do better than some. So, someone’s a grandmother and you don’t have kids? We have different destinies. Check your list of achievements. You’ve probably done what that grandma never imagined.
Lots of mature singles; especially women, have a delay in social life. Why? Perhaps to escape social pressures. Or maybe you’re getting fewer invites.
Don’t let societal pressures or fewer invitations keep you from having the kind of social life you want. Connect with people who have similar interests. I was delighted with the number of people sharing the same passion for fine dining; like me. Get out! Enjoy every day God has given you and be thankful for everything. Believe in the best, every day.
This article will be concluded in another edition.
The book titled “Why Am I Still Single?” was written to encourage mature singles, by sharing the experiences of mature singles. It offers solutions to the problems of mature singles, from a Christian perspective. The first five applicants will each receive a free copy, through the Nigerian Guardian Newspaper.
•Olugbemi Fernandez is a market research consultant based in Lagos. She has a ministry with mature singles.
Send your comments and requests to [email protected]