How to be Single and Happy

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: I have always wanted to marry, but it just has not worked out. I find myself spending a lot of time being depressed, or angry, or something, because I have not been able to find the right person to marry. Any thoughts on what I might do to be happy?

Well, just the way your question is posed, it’s likely that marriage won’t suddenly make you happy. Happiness is a choice, whether single or married. Below are some things you might consider:

(1) Change your focus from pursuit to preparation. Prepare for the day the right person comes into your life. Constant pursuit can be debilitating, leaving you in trapped negative emotional states. Preparation, on the other hand, focuses on bettering yourself emotionally. Accept that you are single, and don’t be afraid of the word. You might start a personal growth group for singles. You are not the only one who feels the way you feel, but a group sometimes helps you see behaviors in your life that may be perpetuating your single life. An air of desperation often drives others away. Also, desperation can cause you to be blind to obvious red flags and puts you in all kinds of compromising situations. As someone has said, “If you are uncomfortable spending time alone with YOU, what makes you think anyone else will feel comfortable spending time with you?” That’s where finding a group that will be honest with you may help you eliminate idiosyncrasies that might be hindering building a relationship.

(2) Enjoy the moment. Instead of fretting over the years that are passing you by, feeling like no one will ever love you, or that you are wasting your life, try to enjoy every day. Look for things enjoyable around you. Learn how to cheer yourself up. The better you are at being alone, the better you will be at being in relationship when the time comes.

(3) Take a class. Enroll in a class that piques you interest, whether you get credit or not. It mixes you with people, possibly others who doing exactly what you are doing—looking for friendship. This is one more venue for meeting new people.

(4) Exercise or develop a hobby. The endorphins released when you work out raise your spirits. You also may return to a hobby you had when you were younger. The more things you do well the better your self-esteem.

(5) Be grateful for what you already have. “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.” At the end of each day take time to write down all the things you are grateful for. Try praying, expressing thankfulness to God for what you already have.

(6) Step out of your comfort zone. Try something different. Pursue a dream other than being married. Don’t wait until Mr. or Ms. Right is in your life to follow your dreams—begin now. You have better chance of meeting your future spouse if you are living your life to the fullest.

Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]

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