Life Advice



Single File: The Toss of a Coin

Susan Dietz on

Yes, singleness gives the power of being in charge of your life, but what about the sadness that we often feel? How do you explain it?

Being in total control of your life is the positive side of single life, but the flip side is there, too -- a sad, gnawing realization that you're on your own. Onlyness, I call it. But -- you suspected this was coming -- don't think being coupled gives you total immunity from those down moments! They are very much part of the human condition, single and married. So when the blues come a-calling, it's your duty to remind yourself that singleness isn't a curse any more than being coupled is a guarantee of 24-hour bliss. Every honest relationship has its problems and its rough patches. But a couple who are best friends will put their heads and hearts together and jointly work things out -- because they want to. Keeping an upbeat, realistic attitude toward themselves, each other and what they have together gives a healthy relationship very good odds for long-term survival.

But here you are, in a single patch, coming home to your quiet place each night, with more time to ruminate on your pangs of loneliness and self-pity. Definitely down time. But you can use your alone time to decorate your space, plan a bus trip to an art museum in the next town, phone your folks to hear their loving voices. These solo hours are yours, to spend as you see fit. They can be interesting, discovered hours. I promise you, time in your own company feels different when you are occupied and productive. Attitude transforms reality.

Hey, I never promised you a rose garden! The unmarried life is full of roadblocks, frustrations and challenges that meet you head-on. But being unattached also gives you freedom to latch on to interesting new opportunities as they come along. They'll have their snags -- as most situations do -- and some twists and turns. I'm asking that you put the emphasis on the opportunity rather than being mired in the problems. To emphasize the negatives -- of the opportunities, of your singleness -- while virtually ignoring your singleness's exciting open-endedness is to miss out on its huge promise.


(Sigh.) Not easy, this mission of mine. But then, I never promised myself a rose garden.


Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.




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