The Perpetual Third Wheel

“If you just had a boyfriend, this wouldn’t have happened…”  These words from a well meaning friend regarding my fellow Awana leader trying to set me up with her son, received a look that could have killed.  Immediately following was a half hearted “sorry” and an attempt to redirect the conversation.  The implication being, that I simply haven’t tried hard enough to find a significant other.  That it is simply my own fault, my being single.  These words probably were not meant to come off as condescending or judgmental.  But they sliced into me and caused an uncontrollable ache in my heart.  Thoughts that said that maybe she was right, it’s my fault I’m single and I’m not trying hard enough to remedy that fact.  Maybe I just don’t want a boyfriend badly enough.  It’s my own fault that I’m single.  As we got off the train and walked back to campus, my mind was not with my dear friend.  I was lost in my own thoughts.  “If only you knew just how badly I don’t want to be single!”  I wanted to shout at her.  “You honestly think I willingly choose to have to be a perpetual third wheel??”  Truthfully, It’s my own fault that she does not understand.  Since she is happily in a relationship, I choose to avoid bringing up the subject of dating entirely.  I wonder then, if she thinks I enjoy getting to see and hear about her wonderful relationship, with her perfect boyfriend.  Oh, I tell her that I don’t mind it one bit, that I think that they are the cutest couple ever and their relationship could never bother me.  But it does.  I want her to be happy, I really do.  I just feel lonely.

These feelings creep up when I least expect them, and hit me like a freight train.  Especially in the evenings.  (Not for the reasons you think either!!)  You see, most evenings my roommate will call or Skype with her almost boyfriend, Josh.  Not wanting to interrupt, I walk down to my best friend Darby’s room and knock on her door.  “Oh hey!”  She says, “You can come in, but I told Shane I’d talk to him in 5 minutes…”  “That’s ok,”  I think to myself, “I’ll just go study by myself in Joe’s.”  So I walk over to Joe’s and try to find a quiet place to study, but there are couples everywhere.  Having deep conversations, cuddled up together on the couches, and holding hands while watching a movie.  Thinking better, I decided to move on to the library, where I find the same couple filled mess.  That’s when the feelings of loneliness reach their crashing point.  On Moody’s campus, I can’t escape.  No matter where I turn, I can find a happily ever after couple.  I think relationships are wonderful, but it hurts me too deeply to be around them all of the time.

You might ask, “Why?”  Well, here it is:

Why I Struggle With Being the Perpetual Third Wheel.

1. I’m Surrounded

Being surrounded by happy couples makes it hard to forget that I am single.  When I was back at home, I was still third wheeling it with my friends and their boyfriends.  Coming to Moody was not an eye opening experience about how single I am.  But back at home, it was easier to forget that I was the only single person in the group.  The only times I felt like I “needed” a boyfriend was at youth group, when all of my friends were off with their significant others.  Now, I’m surrounded by couples 24/7.  People get engaged here all of the time.  I’m also the only one of my friends that is single. (For the most part anyways, some aren’t technically dating, but they are close).  This makes it really hard to forget that I’m alone.

2. People Make it Seem like being Single is a Disease

When I tell people that I am still single, I get a look of pity.  Some will also say, “But you’re such a nice girl!  What boy wouldn’t want you?”  It turns out most of them actually. 😉  But in all seriousness,  what is wrong with being single?  Right now I am a college student.  My top priority is my studies.  I also am a mentor for our Big Bro- Big Sis program, have my weekly PCM, and heading up a service group.  Maybe I don’t want a boyfriend right now.  Or, maybe God just has not had a great guy step into my life.  Either way, I don’t need the pity eyes.  Being single is not a disease that needs help being cured. (I’m looking at the guys on my bro floor lol)

3. Couples Tend to Forget About Their Other Friends

Once your friends are dating, they become twitter-patted.  All they can see is their significant other.  All they want to do is be with each other, and this sometimes results in “forgetting” about their other friends.  Yep, it feels fantastic! Not.

4. You Get to Hear About How Single You Are.  All. The. Time

My friends are well meaning, but if the subject of my singleness comes up, I explode internally.

It becomes a joke to them, and I don’t really appreciate it most of the time.  It also gets dropped into conversation far too quickly.  Nope, I did not forget that I am single, thanks for the reminder.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against my friends who are in relationships.  I’m just being honest about how it’s difficult to be single in college. Here is how I cope:

1. I Pray

I may be single now, but I (hopefully) won’t be forever.  I have already started praying for the man I will marry one day.  I also pray that God will have me not be single in His own timing.  Instead of stressing about being single, I’ve given it over to God.  He knows what is best for me.

2. I Enjoy the Time Alone

Instead of having a perpetual pity party, I enjoy the time I have alone.  Most of my friends in relationships don’t have time to do pleasure reading, or to binge watching Sherlock.  I do, and I’m going to enjoy this while I have the chance.

3. I Go On Adventures in Chicago

I live in one of the greatest cities in the US.  Exploring has been great!  I love finding new coffee shops and doing homework there.  I also take frequent trips to the massive Harold- Washington Library in the Loop.  Sometimes, it’s better to enjoy these places alone.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t single.  Right now I know that God has a man picked out for me, and I will find him at the right time. But for now, #single4life #thirdwheel4thewin 🙂

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