Living Single – Feeling Left Out


Last night I attended a church meeting hoping to make some connections. Since my divorce a couple years ago I have struggled with making new contacts and friends. I have noticed that my patience for people has even diminished causing me to isolate myself more than normal. I guess I have lost confidence in others because of the divorce. To be honest I really didn’t pay much thought to it but recently I have begun to examine myself to see if I can figure out what is going on. The meeting was good but unfortunately the group was not what I was looking for. I was surrounded by people in their 20’s and/or families in their 30’s.

As a single parent I really feel left out, even more so as a single dad. There seems to be a class or a group for single women but rarely for single dads. I would love a class like that! As a man living single is very hard. I really want to do what is right but I struggle with desires and female companionship. I often pray to God to help me be happy with where I am at in life and to live for Him. I don’t understand why I am drawn to be married as much as I am. It is like a curse and some days I just want to go crazy. I am a major introvert and I can be happy with very few people in my life and maybe that is part of my problem. I feel that all I need is a spouse and a family to be completely happy and fulfilled. I don’t care if I have a lot of friends and to be honest I don’t know how I would have the time for them all. I actually enjoy the challenges of marriage and working to be the best husband and father possible.

Biblically there are reasons to stay single and Paul considered himself blessed because of his singleness (1Cor 7:7-8). Many people are called to serve God as a single person and they do it great with no regret. If that is the life God has for me then I pray that He would remove this desire! I have never felt so blocked in my life…

Biblically there are many reasons to get married:

1. Dangers of temptation
2. Loneliness
3. Self-centeredness

I struggle with all the above and as self-critical as I am I can often feel like a bad Christian. I know God’s grace is there for me and He loves me. I know I should be focusing on serving Him rather than myself but I often fall short. I know there is a lesson to be learned here and God is working on me but the answers aren’t there. What do I need to do?


Marja said...

I can understand a lot of those feelings!Here in Pocatello there don't seem to be as many churches that...I'll say "cater" to single parents, moms or dads. I didn't make friends at church when I was married because of my spouse but also because I'm a bit of an introvert....who wants people I know around me all the time.

I know for me I haven't really known any different than a family. I married at 19 lived with a friend prior to that. I never lived alone. I never anticipated being a single parent to be as lonely. I thought I'd be too busy to be bored but sometimes I don't do stuff I should...cause I'm lonely. It's easier to mope.

How about some new hobbies? You have so much around you to do. Things you can do alone even if you don't have your daughter. Nature Center, hiking, bike riding (greenbelt)...lots of hills and rocks. How about taking a class at BSU? Boise Philharmonic (or maybe that's too cultural!) I retook up mountain biking. I used to do it with friends, but now I do it with my music. I had to do something.

I think you should get permission if necessary to join one of the groups even if they are all moms now. Maybe you could attract more dads. I am good friends with a single dad. He actually blends in fairly well around me and my friends....but I think he's adapted to it for much the same reasons you could. When your a single dad who is still active in his kids' life you are in the minority but I think there's lots of you lurking about churches and other places all thinking you wish you knew more single dads!

Sorry, yes, I talk a lot too.

Jason said...

I hear what you are saying and part of my frustration stems from the fact that I am getting out. I am doing new things, going to meetings, volunteering and it doesn't seem to get any easier. I even signed up for a yoga class to help me deal with stress. I am totally out of my element. I took up photography last year and often head up to the foothills or walk through town. I guess I just keep on trying or accept that God wishes singleness upon me.

Johnathan said...

Jason, such interesting points you brought up, but do not for a second think that you are average, so stop looking for the average the average way.

Let me start by saying we introverts make up 30% of the population on planet earth. Introverts are known to work at relationships because they "feel" deeper than extroverts "shallow". Hence, they (we) need a serious relationship and would be happy with just that.

Now, before I get slammed by extroverts for my comment, let me emphasize what I mean by shallow. I do not mean socially shallow, like only dating “top 10” women because this one is too fat, this one is too thin, etc. I mean how close to the heart those people are affected by others.

My ex was a social butterfly and had literally hundreds of friends. If she said hi to you, you were her friend. I had five, close, personal friends that I would trust with my children’s lives, and that’s it. Of course, she has been married four times, but why not, right? BTW, those friends were the ones that ruined her after we got divorced as I could no longer protect her from them, which is why our divorce happened in the first place (me, the control freak); Ahh, the essence of irony.

IMHO, I feel the secret to your success in a future relationship, and mine, is not praying for someone, but learning who you want to pray for. I have several close girlfriends that I could have a more serious relationship with, and all are Christians, but none are deep thinkers/feelers like me, so in prayer, I feel God telling me to go no further with any of them. My ex would have jumped on the first one because they are “nice” or “cute” or “successful” or simply in the right place at the right time. Do you want to know how often those work out? Google divorce rate.

In all this mumbo jumbo I just wrote, I simply feel you are doing exactly what God wants you to do and I say bravo! Also, I feel your daughter is one very fortunate little girl to have a daddy as she does!

Jason said...


You made some good points. Understanding personality types should be essential before getting married. My ex sounds much like yours to some respect, yet she has only been married 3 times. I think it is okay to mix the personality types as long as both know how to handle the other. Otherwise we get labeled as things we're not.

I guess the thing that I struggle with the most is why I "feel" like I need relationship so badly. To be honest I am used to being alone. Since I hit the 30's that all changed. I try not to think that God is holding off all because of me.. Maybe she isn't ready yet in which case she better hurry up! :-)

As for today, it is a good day and I have a lot to be thankful for.

Praise God and God bless you for posting. It made my day.

Robert said...

Hurray for You. Yes being a single father is hard. Yes it is harder than being a single mother. Everyone expects the single mother, there are car clinics, and church youth groups host sitter nights. Single mothers take turns watching each others kids so the others can have a few spare hours to get things done. This is next to impossible with single fathers, for one if we don't network like women do. Two, women don't trust men like they do other women. The reality is that you will have to start to connect with those who can help the most. Women.
Not in a physical manner either. At my daughter school there is a little coffee club, I started hanging out and talking with the guys they are all at work. (it has taken 2 years but I have met most of the husbands now) I also hang out with other women in social settings. Yes, I have a couple guy friends I can go shot with but when it comes to being a better father for my daughter, I had to bite the bullet and start talking with mommies.
I am also introverted so yes it is a struggle. It is hard to find people to really connect with. I find that what helps the most is to stop looking for someone who can help me and start looking for someone I can help. Funny how service brings just the right people into your life.
On the dating issue. I have been single now for going on eight years. It was hardest in the beginning when I wanted a larger family. Now that my DD is older I am content to not have a spouse. I read Mathew 19. It help to know that the one who can except this teaching should. Apart from a strong desire for a large family I see no need for a spouse. If you are indeed 'burning' though I would caution you to be very discerning. It should be as hard to get married as it is to get divorced. Then you would see the divorce rate drop.
Oh well, just my two cents.

Vivian said...

A couple of years ago my friend and I attempted to start a Single Parents Network with the help of our church. Know what happened? God called us in different direction. Instead of a "group" thing He wanted us to help one on one.

However, in our research of our area, not one church offered a Sunday School class, a small group discussion, or even had a ministry that targeted both single dads and moms. While we were attempting to build this ministry, we made it clear we wanted to reach out to the fathers as well as other mothers. The one thing our research on singles and single parent groups showed us is a group will grow with male leadership.

We know God wanted us to attempt this ministry. Even though the ministry never took ground, some very positive things came from it. One, my friend and I found out how much we do belong in our church family. Two, God used it to show our church family about single parents and our struggles.

I hope there's a third thing that took place ... it's my prayer that each church we called started looking for ways to minister to the single parents in their congregations. We are a mission field the church as a whole is over looking. Single fathers really get over looked.

I remember as a teenager this man named Terry. He had two beautiful daughters. Cute as buttons. His wife just walked out one day. Left him and the girls. Her dad did what he could to help Terry. No one heard from her for months. After 6 months, she popped back up wanting a divorce and the girls. Her own dad told her she wouldn't get the girls. He won full custody. I remember his struggle. I remember it well.

Maybe ... just maybe with the frustration you're feeling and this longing to connect ... maybe God's calling you to help others who have the same need. I don't know. Never know what He's got up His sleeve until you ask.

Jason said...

"Never know what He's got up His sleeve until you ask."

You really have me thinking vivainbeth...

Vivian said...

Word your question carefully!! Hahaha I say this jokingly, Jason. God's awsome and the journey He takes us down only draws us closer to Him. I'll be curious as to what His answer is when you ask. LOL

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain....I am the ONLY single mom in our church. I do not fit in at all. Having no wealth as most of the congregation and having no man as head I am totally excluded in all they do. I seem to fit in nowhere. I am waiting for God to make the next move. I don't know what to do but pray.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,

Just found your blog :) I've faced some of these things as a single mom. I've tried to do single mom minsitry at my church and even just a moms group to have nothing come of it. After 3 years I am now just starting to meet other single moms. It's very lonely, but God is teaching me allot though it too. I'v learned allot of surrender through it and have grown closer to God. Keep praying. God never leaves us. Robin

angie.a said...

As a single mom (11 years) I do take a bit of offense at the "single moms have it easier" stance of another commenter. I do not believe either sex could be considered to have it easier or harder. Period.

Now, having that off my chest. ;) I will say that I have never fit in at any churches in my area because if they have a singles group, they're all looking to "find someone". But many churches don't want to address the single parent issue and so I (we) feel excluded. It is what it is. I thought at one point that I would like to remarry. I no longer feel that is where my life will lead me.

Anonymous said...

Keep showing up for those church events in which you are interested and in which there are alot of people. You will grow in your walk of faith and meet many people. I imagined you have prayed to God about this. Leave it with him. Trust Him. And let Him heal those feelings in the process. However life may treat you, you know that He is good and loves you.