I’m the only single person I know

Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers a new perspective on your challenges and problems


I’m the only single person I know

My friend who, until recently, was the last single person in my friendship group, has just started dating someone, which makes me, more or less, the only single person I know now. She suggested that I shouldn’t have so many criteria when it comes to potential partners and perhaps that’s why I’m still single.

Because all my friends are coupled up, I am spending more time with my mum, who also told me I’m being too fussy. I’ve taken these comments as a huge insult. It’s as if they think I should just take whoever comes along – I do desperately want to find someone, but I don’t see why I should settle for second best. What should I do? Name supplied

I read your letter when I had just flown to the other side of the world, which meant that my calendar skipped the day that would have been the anniversary of my husband’s death. And then the jetlag meant waking up every day in time to see the sun rise.

In this daily miracle of dawn, your letter was in the back of my mind and I kept asking myself if this experience would be better if I was sharing it with someone else.

And the conclusion I came to was no – it might well be different, but it wouldn’t necessarily be better. I know that the times I’ve felt loneliest were in a bad relationship, or when I forgot what mattered to me, and those two things often go together.

This is a great time to explore what does matter to you, as a whole person, not just as a single person. Please take my full permission, if that’s what you need, to be as fussy as you like. What your friend or your mother are saying are not the only definitions of you – in fact, I hope you won’t ever leave it up to a single other person to define who you are. How about trying one tiny, fun, new thing every day and let’s watch this space?

Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email mary@psychologies.co.uk, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line

More inspiration:

Download Kristin Neff – the meditation I use is on the free Insight Timer app: ‘Loving-Kindness with Self-Compassion’

Research therapists at bacp.co.uk

Read Looking for love by Jackee Holder on LifeLabs

Photograph: iStock