A Boyfriend for Christmas

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I watched my favorite cheesy Christmas treat last night–the Hallmark Channel movie de jour…”A Boyfriend for Christmas.”

(It reminded me of a low-budget Bridget Jones movie)

But the movie–despite the terrible scripting–struck a chord.  I remember, all too well, the holidays I spent as a post-30 single, and I certainly wasn’t above begging Santa for a good man.

What is it about Christmas that makes being single more challenging?  All of a sudden the pressure seems bigger.  It’s like Christmas is an unofficial  marking system that we all fail to measure up to–another year, no boyfriend, check–naughty list for you missy!

It’s even a little scary flying solo at some of these events.  There’s the numerous holiday parties where we are accosted by well-meaning friends (who have someone special they just have to introduce you to), the crazy office party (do you bring a friend or brave the drunk VP alone?), and then to top it off, your nosy extended family who just can’t believe another year has gone by that you still aren’t married) and they talk it about it very loudly in the same room with you as if you aren’t even there).

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I will never forget the first Christmas I spent as a single divorced mom.  I ran into Target to get a few last-minute items for the kid’s stockings.  I was in sweaty workout clothes, no makeup, ratty pony-tail—you get the picture—and I run into the super-geek of my childhood who tormented me from second grade to graduation with his puppy-dog devotion. 

Of course, now he was a relatively attractive attorney (no longer chubby and annoying) with his lovely fiancé who thought he was AMAZING. 

Now I was the awkward single chick at Christmas with no special someone to kiss under the mistletoe.

Ouch!

So how do you navigate the holidays as a single with all the pressure caving in around you?

Here are some tips:

Don’t settle for just anyone to fill the boyfriend/girlfriend shoes. Research from the University of Toronto suggests that the fear of being single causes both men and women to settle for less in romantic relationships.

“Sometimes they stay in relationships they aren’t happy in, and sometimes they want to date people who aren’t very good for them,” states psychology researcher Stephanie Spielmann about the study published in the December edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Now we understand that people’s anxieties about being single seem to play a key role in these types of unhealthy relationship behaviors.”

Expect the Family Interrogation (and Neutralize It!)

You buy kitty litter because you know cat poop stinks.  Do the same with the family questions.  Expect the tough questions, know they will bite and prepare with some pre-planned responses to neutralize the assault.

Instead of getting defensive, respond to the “Why are you still single question?” with lighthearted humor.  Tell them, ‘I’m working hard on it, you got any tips grandma?”  And then sit back and chuckle with what she comes up with.

Focus on the Positive

I look back on that Christmas and recognize that although my single status didn’t FEEL good, I was still very blessed!  And I certainly wasn’t alone.  I had good friends, a loving family, and my children were healthy.  God was working on my broken-heart, I had a good job and enough food to eat and moneyto blow at Target on trinkets for my kiddos.  Although it was not everything I had dreamed of, it was still pretty amazing put into the right perspective.

When we throw a pity party and feel sorry for ourselves, we rob ourselves of the joy God gives us in this day and this moment.

Remember that where you are at now is not a forever status.  Seasons change, relationships ebb and flow and life has a way of always surprising you. 

And so if you run into an old childhood friend this Christmas at Target who is now married with three kids, (and your insides churn with envy) take a deep breath, give them a high-five and bless them.  Because the truth is, your blessing may be just around the corner.

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