My 7-year-long relationship fell apart just as I was turning 30. I thought we'd be married with kids, but life had other plans. Being single again at the time most of my friends were either planning weddings, babies or both proved to be quite a challenge.
How did this happen? I wondered.
Almost every eligible man I knew was unavailable. My friends were suddenly more interested in spending their evenings cuddling at home in front of the TV than partying.
Single and in your late 20s to mid-30s- you know the feeling. Your ex-wingmen (or wing-women) now socialize with other couples... and toddlers. They talk about honeymoons or diapers. Instead of being happy for them, their stories make you feel excluded, bored, irritated or -- envious.
It feels unfair and so hopeless... like you've missed that last rocket ship to Planet Couples and you'll never be able to catch up. I guess what you (and I) need to remember: you are where you are, period. You can't go back in time and do it all over again. Feeling sorry for yourself or angry at the world won't help you, either -- but here are some things that will:
Find your new crowd
Look for new or reconnect with old single friends -- you won't feel so different or isolated around them. You'll also get support and companionship in your partner search, and a shoulder to cry on, if necessary. For all those times when you feel like you can't stand the thought of yet another first date.
Get a reality check
Take a good look at your friends' relationships -- not all is rosy in their worlds, either. (Of course, you always want to be happy for your friends -- ALWAYS.) Nothing is black and white in life and being in a relationship doesn't mean you're safe from misery. You are much better off single than with the wrong person just because "it's time." If you want a true, lasting connection, and not just any relationship to make you feel less lonely and "fit in," it's always worth the wait.
You have much more freedom to do exactly what YOU want to do than your coupled friends may have: make the most of it. Don't wait for that perfect person to enter your life so you can have an adventure, fun or travel to those amazing places you always wanted to visit. Pursue your interests and passions. You'll feel happier and more fulfilled, and you'll see life can be great without a partner, too.
When you get busy living your fabulous life, you'll spontaneously create chances to meet potential partners. Being happy and content in your own skin will give you greater confidence -- and that is the biggest magnet for attracting well-matched partners.
Up your game
Maybe it's not as easy to meet someone as it used to be when you were younger, but that's not an excuse to stay at home feeling sorry for yourself on a Saturday night. Get resourceful and creative about finding opportunities to socialize. You will have to make an effort, but that's how it is now; there is no way around it. If you want to find a partner, you can't rely on chance encounters and spontaneous get-togethers anymore.
Get out and get going, and soon you'll see there are still plenty of ways to meet people everywhere.
You are not your 'relationship status'
Don't forget -- you are a person of many qualities and talents -- regardless of whether you have a partner or not. Don't judge your worth based on your relationship status. There is so much more to you than that. You can't escape other people's judgment, but the most important thing is not to judge yourself.
Look around you, there are surely people in your life who love and cherish you. That's a clear sign you are worthy of love and connection -- just as you are. The more you believe in you, the easier it will be to find your great match.
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Petra Kreatschman is a love and relationship coach, guide and mentor and contributor to GalTime.com. She connects with men and women from all over the world sharing her love tips through her popular blog Petralovecoach.com, online courses and individual coaching. She is happily married today, but has been on that bumpy road to love and knows very well how hard it is to see what you may be doing wrong, and why you can't seem to find happiness in love.