Dreading facing your family festivities without a partner again this year? Don’t worry, we know how you feel.
If ever there was a time to rent a boyfriend, it would be Christmas.
We’ve all seen the rom-coms; successful 35-year-old city gal can’t face returning home without a man on her arm so pays a suave stranger to pose as her other half. The family fall in love with him, she makes her ex jealous, it all blows up and then they realise they loved each other all along. The end. No need for the Netflix subscription this Christmas, I’ve just ruined every festive film for you. Except Die Hard, which stands alone.
Being single over the festive season is hard for a number of reasons. I’ve listed mine below ranked from least to most serious:
- It’s cold and I don’t like to be cold. Having a boyfriend to provide a hug/his jacket would warm me up.
- Splitting the cost of gifts. I buy my sister, her husband and each of her children a gift, they get me a collective gift from their family, as is the custom. That’s one gift for my four. Rubbish return on investment.
- It’s nice to do the travelling bit with someone. Driving home, eating Greggs at service stations and long train rides are all better with company. I can’t play eye-spy with myself.
- On Boxing Day my sister and her husband spend the day with his family, my parents get out of town as quickly as possible to recover from the screeches of over-sugared children and I am on my own. I find myself meeting up with a group of blokes I know from school and pretending to be interested in the football.
- I am now the last person in my extended family, cousins and everything, without a partner. I can no longer avoid the sympathetic looks. I have to wear increasingly garish dresses to these events to convince them that I am happy being the fabulous single one who writes books and wears fluffy shoes.
For all those reasons and more, I can see why people opt for the rent-a-man option.
The fact is, being single at Christmas is hard, but we are not alone. The enemy would have us look around every Christmas gathering, carol concert and family dinner and think: ‘This would be better if I was with my husband’. But that is a lie.
It would be different, but it wouldn’t necessarily be better.
The enemy would have us look around every Christmas gathering, carol concert and family dinner and think: ‘This would be better if I was with my husband’.
When you have a partner, your Christmas party wouldn’t be an exciting opportunity to meet new people and have a cheeky flirt. You wouldn’t scan the room for fresh faces and look forward to introductions. Mistletoe would no longer be a vessel for new opportunity but a prompt for a regular occurrence.
Family gatherings can get complicated when you are responsible for a new addition, you have to navigate family politics and pre-condition your partner to excuse your weird uncle’s behaviour. Plus you suddenly have someone to host and watch out for, rather than just chucking on your cracker hat and having a laugh with the cousin you don’t see enough.
Then you’ll be in rooms full of strangers, doing your best to get to know his friends and family. Trying to simultaneously make a good impression and remember everyone’s names. You may even have to compromise on spending Christmas Day with your family and operate an alternate year scenario.
I’m not trying to put you off dating someone, this stuff can be fun and really special. There is truly nothing like the interior glow of pride you get when you see the person you’re in a relationship with getting on with your family. But remember there is both excitement and difficulty in being single and in being in a relationship. It’s different grass – but it’s not necessarily greener.
Remember there is both excitement and difficulty in being single and in being in a relationship. It’s different grass – but it’s not necessarily greener.
If you feel alone at Christmas you have to know that you’re not. You may not feel that, but feelings aren’t facts. I would encourage you to reinforce what you do know; you walked into that room by yourself but you are loved by the people in it. Your family are proud of you and only make comments about your relationship status because they think they’re being supportive. You want to be loved, and you are – by a God who is so wildly in love with you, that he gave his only son to save you and make sure you would spend an eternity with him.
That’s the love that counts. That’s the love that doesn’t change. That’s the love that will never leave. That’s the love that means you are never truly alone.