Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How do I convince DD(20) it is OK to be single?

(18 Posts)
Happymum22 Tue 11-Dec-12 21:28:44

My lovely DD is 2nd year at uni. Shes bright and done very well in life, shes a wonderfully balanced, confident, caring and fun girl.
She has had one serious boyfriend before which ended about a year ago due to long distance. Since then a boy who was her best friend in first year then lead her along a lot, sleeping with her and convincing her something would happen then ditching her. I think this has really hurt her and she seems very vary of boys being players now.
She just phoned me in tears, it is quite unlike her to be so sensitive and hung up and insecure. She said shes had days on end of all her housemates being off with their respective boyfriend/girlfriend or cooking dinner with them etc and its hit her how everyone is 'pairing up' or has someone and she doesnt.
She seemed to think she'll never meet anyone at uni as she has set friendship groups, is on an almost all-girls course and tried joining socieites but didnt enjoy them. Shes planning a career in a very woman-dominated field.
She just said she feels so alone and pathetic.
I can see its tricky having couples flash the happy side of their relationship in her face but i tried to reassure her its a good time to be single, make the most of a good time to 'find herself' and do what she wants when she wants.
I said once shes busy and loving being single that will be the time someone pops up.

She hasnt gone out tongiht because she'd be the only single one.
I suspect a lot of it is, as she said, she is very tired and has worked hard all term and is just ready to come home for some tlc and to see her lovely old school friends and spent time with family.

I just dont know what else to do though. I hate seeing my baby like this, its so unlike her.

Alittlestranger Tue 11-Dec-12 21:38:04

She is so, so young. Very few of those couples will "make it". Those friends and flatmates will some day find themselves single and realise that they spent the years they should have spent developing themselves and their own interests too wrapped up in someone else.

Can you encourage her to broaden her social group though. Being single at 20 is not like being single at 30, there are loads of single people and she shouldn't feel like she's surrounded by couples.

Sioda Tue 11-Dec-12 21:48:51

Does she have any hobbies outside of uni? She needs more single friends and something she's passionate about that has nothing to do with trying to find a man. Her friends relationships all probably seem very permanent to her right now but as the pp poster said that will change. I'd remind her how temporary most of those relationships will turn out to be and how many of them will experience heartbreak to match their current loved-upness.

It's probably Christmas getting to her too, lots of people feel lonely this time of year. She'll get her perspective back. Would it help her to talk through the 'friend' who messed her around? He's probably the root of her feeling pathetic. Maybe she needs to get angrier with him for messing her around rather than (probably) being angry with herself for falling for it.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Wed 12-Dec-12 01:18:35

End of term, so she's probably tired, plus it's one of those times of year when lots of people are coupled up and the emphasis is on being relentlessly jolly. Better to be single than with a dolt like her ex, but when you feel like an untouchable you can't help wishing for some contact.

Sounds like her confidence has taken a dip, hopefully she'll come home, get some pampering from mum, see nice trustworthy friends and feel revived. There's probably still a ton of academic work this year and she'll need to feel fighting fit for next term and hopefully a busy active summer.

MrsHoarder Wed 12-Dec-12 01:21:23

Andmaybe encourage her to try a couple more societies? They trend to be very different and if you're keen they will welcome people whatever stage of the university life they're in.

I'm 22 and all my friends have partners. At first I felt exactly the same as your daughter.

Then I'd have friends moaning at me about their partners, texting asking me for advice, complaining when their partners did something they didn't like and arguing with them over petty things.

That made me realise that been single is pretty great!

I go out as the only single one a few times and at first it bothered me but I got used to it.

allthatglittersisnotgold Fri 14-Dec-12 14:09:48

Poor love, I was the same at uni, i'm late twenties now. I've never been single the thought scares me. I suppose the more time that passes as a single person the more "normal" it becomes. You sound like a lovely mum, just keep reassuring her. At the end of the day at 20 you think this is it i'm an adult, this is how it will be. I was very wrapped up in my own world. Just remind her that the world is her oyster, keep having fun and when she least expects it someone she likes and likes her will come along.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Fri 14-Dec-12 14:16:06

The last boyfriend (s) has obviously knocked her confidence. It's not therefore about being happy being single, I think it's about her being happy being herself and rebuilding her self-esteem. So easy at that age to mortgage your self-worth to some blue-eyed boy rather than appreciate that it's your personal property and should be protected at all costs.

I think you have to encourage her to get out there and be with other confident, independent young women rather than a bunch of WAG wannabees. Is there a feminist society? smile

janelikesjam Fri 14-Dec-12 14:22:48

I am a tinsy bit puzzled at this, but perhaps I am a bit more unconventional.

When I was at University (admittedly nearly 30 years ago) most young people were single confused! It was quite a political time though. Maybe society has become more couple-oriented and conservative, even for the very young?

Though its really nice for a young woman to have a genuine and loving boyfriend, when the pressure is like what the OP and others have implied, I am completely stumm.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Fri 14-Dec-12 14:42:57

@janelikesjam I think society has become more couple-oriented. All of these female celebs that are only famous for who they go out with etc. Not so long ago I was on a train sat across from four young women (late teens, early twenties) who had been on a shopping trip. They were discussing a mutual friend and one said 'I don't know why she's bothering getting a job. She's so pretty she should get herself a footballer'.... My feminist heart sank.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Fri 14-Dec-12 17:25:14

Get her to come on here and read some of the awful threads about women stuck in abusive relationships. Also, suggest to her that maybe some of the uni friends desperately clinging to couplehood are in fact inadequate losers who are too pathetic to work out who they actually are so throwing themselves into Look I'm IN A Relationship behaviour.

At 20 at the end of term she's tired, and she's been mistreated by some knob of a bloke, she's probably just having a bit of a miserable spell and needs her Mum and some home cooking and big hugs.

BertieBotts Fri 14-Dec-12 17:29:18

Well, much as I really strongly believe it's okay - great in fact - to be single, it does suck a bit when all of your friends are in happy great relationships and you're sat there on your own, especially if you've recently had a relationship which has gone wrong. sad

I'm sure she'll be fine - she just needs a bit of TLC and reminding that she's great just the way she is.

I was single for the first two years of uni (or, rather, without a 'proper boyfriend' anyway) and I do remember feeling a bit pathetic sometimes.

Tell her from someone 14 years down the road that (1) only a tiny percentage of those couples will 'make it'
(2) it's a GREAT time to be single and selfish with your time
(3) the 'need' to be in a couple is a bit crap
(4) she'll feel different when she's had some family cuddles and TLC - sometimes it's just that university is a tiring, lonely place and you need a hug!

bigTillyMincePie Fri 14-Dec-12 17:32:58

JanelikesJam, I agree - virtually nobody got into a relationship of any length till their final year. And maybe not even then. Have times changed?

Surely this is the time to try-out lots of potentials and find yourself and HAVE FUN?

And SolidGold is right - she probably needs her mum!

badguider Fri 14-Dec-12 17:35:44

Being single is great - but only if you have a wide and varied social life and hobbies.

I think she needs to try again with clubs and societies in January - university is the easiest time to take up anything, there' s a club for everything... and they're all so so different - you couldn't possibly not like all of them!
A plan to start a new sport, book club, volunteering, theatre, art, whatever in January should hopefully distract her from all the couples around her right now (and in a few weeks/months some of them will split/argue/cheat and she'll see it's not all roses and great sex).

Dozer Fri 14-Dec-12 17:38:27

If the course is full of women, surely some of them are single and happy to go out? Maybe she needs a change from current friendship groups?

Shared student houses can be quite intense, urgh.

TheCraicDealer Fri 14-Dec-12 17:39:48

There'll be a point in a few months time and it'll seem like everyone is breaking up. That's the way relationships within groups of friends go, especially when you're young and so much changes in a seemingly short space of time.

MoomieAndFreddie Fri 14-Dec-12 17:40:05

no advice for you but i wish my mum had been able to persuade me this when i was 20

i ended up stuck in a really shit relationship from 18 - 26, wasted most of my 20's on him. (although i do have a DS from that relationship so not all bad)

so am watching as i have a DD now and i will not have her do the same

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now