Posts Tagged ‘Singles’

Over thirty and unhappy – 2

Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! Psalm 144:15 (NKJV)


Psychology professor, Jean Twenge, listed three possible reasons for the happiness pattern change over time.  Yesterday we talked about the first one – fewer stable relationships:

  1. Economic realities. It is not unusual as a teen to imagine having great wealth when you start working. But after you start working and try to make ends meet, you may soon realize that what you earn is not enough to provide a comfortable lifestyle, much less the wealth and riches you dreamed off.  As Twenge writes, “People who are young might still think they’re going to make it, and then your average person over 30 is starting to realize that they’re not going to make it.”  She added, though, that if the economy improves a lot, then happiness among adults will probably go up as well.
  2. High expectations. People seem to have increasing unrealistic expectations about jobs, relationships, income and status. Twenge says, “What happens when high expectations collide with reality? (People over 30) are realizing that their dreams are not going to come true.”

Here’s where the rise of social media may also play a role.  Sites like Facebook, with their endless images of parties, vacations, and date nights, are wonderful times for friends and families.  At the same time, all the pictures and positive status also lead people to compare themselves to others and feel inadequate, which may bother you more as you get older.

Instead of comparing ourselves with others, or constantly dreaming of wealth and riches, we may be better off learning from the apostle Paul who even in the worst of circumstances he could write: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11, NKJV)  It doesn’t mean you accept your condition and do nothing to improve it.  What it does mean is that being thankful for what you have helps you to not be envious for what you don’t that others do.


Father God, thank you for your generosity with me.  Help me to remember all you do and all you give me each day and thank you.

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Over thirty and unhappy – 1

Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! 1 Kings 10:8 (NKJV)


High expectations about jobs, wealth, status and relationships may be exciting for teenagers, but they are distressing for adults when they realize they may not achieve their dreams.  According to Jean Twenge, lead researcher and author of “Generation Me,” “You’re not as happy at 30 as previous generations were.”[i]  Twenge explains, “Most (research) suggests that age brings happiness because people become more content, they become more settled overall…We found that since 2010, that’s no longer true.”

It appears that those very things that make modern life exciting for younger people, like fast connections on social media or their smartphones, and the possibility of a lucrative job or exciting love life just ahead, may be disappointing for adults who crave more fulfilling relationships and know the cold, hard reality of life.

Twenge, who is a psychology professor at San Diego State University, listed three possible reasons for the happiness pattern change over time:

  1. Fewer stable relationships. While stable relationships are a strong predictor of happiness, people seem to be making fewer true commitments and connections. In the United States, the marriage rate has reached a 93-year low.  People are very individualistic, don’t join community groups like they used to, and are more isolated as they use electronic media instead of interpersonal relationships.

Comedian and author Aziz Ansari writes that more singles are looking for dates and romance by using apps like Tinder, Match, and many others.  He writes: “Barry Schwartz is a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College who has spent much of his career studying the annoying problems that come from having an abundance of options. Schwartz’s research, and a considerable amount of scholarship from other social scientists too, shows that when we have more options, we are actually less satisfied and sometimes even have a harder time making a choice at all.”[ii] (will continue tomorrow)


Father God, I want you as my partner in life, whether I ever marry or not.  Draw me close to you, and through you to others.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/over-30-frustrated-adult-happiness-declines-while-teen-contentment-grows-t55356

[ii] Ansari, Aziz; Klinenberg, Eric (2015-06-16). Modern Romance (Kindle Locations 1540-1543). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 (NKJV)

Can men and women be “just friends”?  As Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps[i] explains that the real answer depends on the particular people in that relationship. But if we are totally honest with ourselves we will recognize that some men and women feel undeniable attraction and cannot just be friends.  There are some, however, who have managed to maintain a healthy, platonic relationship.  Dr. Phelps suggests that when deciding whether your friendship really is or can remain platonic, you should consider the following warning signs that you might be going over the “just friends” line:

  • You think about your friend throughout your day.
  • You have romantic thoughts and feelings about your friend.
  • You have strong feelings of missing your friend when you are not together.
  • You are single, but would rather spend time with your friend than go on a date. You need to ask yourself if your friendship is interfering with you nurturing a romantic relationship.

If you find that even one of these warning signs apply to you, it’s time to reconsider that friendship. Dr. Phelps suggests you ask yourself these questions:

  • If you are not in another relationship, do you want to try to take the leap from friend to romantic partner?
  • If you know that your friend is not open to a romantic relationship with you, is it wiser for you to maintain such a close relationship or put distance in it?
  • If you are in another relationship, you have some serious decisions to make about how to proceed. Is your “platonic” relationship a threat to your romantic one? Which one do you really want to pursue?

Male-female relationships are complex. Be honest and ask yourself – can we really be “just friends”?

Father God, help me to be clear as to the relationships in my life and to maintain clear boundaries between them.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/04/can-men-and-women-be-just-friends.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_041115&ctr=wnl-sxr-041115_nsl-promo_1&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d\

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If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer. Proverbs 9:12 (NLT)

Clinical psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker, EdD.[i], explains that “In the first blush of romance, people overlook a lot of stuff because they’re so excited.” But after a month or so, that’s when it’s time to look closer.  As a dating relationship progresses there may be some later alarm bells you need to watch for.  It could be a sign of trouble if your partner:

Doesn’t introduce you to family or friends. Does she always have an excuse not to? Not introducing you is not only a sign of disrespect, it could be that they are embarrassed of their family, or of you.

Doesn’t have friends.  If he/she doesn’t have other friends, you may want to consider why.  You can’t possibly be the only one friend in their life; but if they say so you may want to know why.

Isolates you. He/she wants you to spend your time with him/her only, and wants to know where you are when you are apart. This has to do with trust, but more importantly with control.

Wants to do only what he/she likes. Is he/she calling all the shots? Relationships are two-sided. If he/she’s interested in doing only what he/she likes, you have a problem.

Never pays his share.  Chivalry aside, if both people are at the same stage of life, one person always or never paying is a red flag for imbalance in the relationship.  Somebody who is unwilling to invest money is probably unwilling to invest their emotions as well.

The bottom line is, trust your judgment and consult with trusted friends. Keep your own personal deal-breaker list to five things that are non-negotiable for you, and leave it at that.  Don’t make a long list as an excuse to keep people away because no one is going to be perfect, but don’t go into any relationship thinking you’re going to change the other person You won’t.  It will prove fruitless, frustrating, and futile.  As our text for today recommends, If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.  If you ignore wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

Father God, help me to have the wisdom to see and not ignore red flags in the relationships I pursue.

[i] Ibid.

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Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things. 2 Corinthians 11:6 (NKJV)

As singles get older, often they begin to experience anxiety over their future which at times leads them to ignore warning signs from the people they may be seeing as potential life partners.  Marianne Wait[i], who writes for WebMB, suggests you make a list of the things that you would consider deal-breakers, things that should cause you to end a relationship before it becomes more serious. Bethany Marshall, PhD, PsyD, author of Deal Breakers: When to Work On a Relationship and When to Walk Away, explains, “When you’re with that person at the beginning and something strikes you as odd or bizarre, and it sticks with you, it makes you uncomfortable but you can’t really wrap meaning around it, that’s your red flag.”

Here are some early signs to watch for.  Make a mental note (maybe even write it down) if the person you are interested in:

Shows up more than a little late. This can be a sign of anxiety, trouble tracking time, or simple disrespect; Is this something you can deal with?

Trash-talks an ex. It can take time to heal from a break-up, but if your date is focusing on the ex, how can they focus on you? Are they ready to move on? And if they can devalue one person they had a relationship with, what’s to keep them from doing the same with you?

Grooms too much, or not enough. Over-grooming could indicate a person who is insecure and has a puffed-up sense of self, while under-grooming could signal depression or other problems.

Sends the food back. Once may be normal, but if they do it often it could be a sign of a person who feels they have a right to special treatment. Maybe no one can please the person — including you.

If you notice some of these sings early in a relationship it may simply be normal anxiety.  But don’t ignore them if they continue as they may be a sign of something deeper.

Father God, help me to discern carefully and to make wise decisions as they will determine my future happiness and success in life or a lot of disappointment and pain.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/dating-deal-breakers?ecd=wnl_sxr_021415&ctr=wnl-sxr-021415_nsl-ld-stry&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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