The REAL Reasons Why You're Still Single
"I've yet to see the position explored that if you are still single you are doing something right."
This is the observation I shared in the post "Why I Stopped Reading Nearly Everything For Singles," squarely directed at articles that labor to convince you that your flaws are causing you to remain single.
I concede that they are right about one thing. You are flawed.
I'm flawed. The people who write these articles are flawed. Single people are flawed. People in relationships are flawed. That's the take-it-or-leave-it deal we get upon entry into this universe as humans--we, even in our most loving, compassionate, and highest states, will be inarguably, unequivocally, and perfectly flawed.
If there is a connection between human imperfections and relationship status, it's weak, but attractive because taking a negative position on singleness simply has more of a payoff.
It's provocative, it implies that taking arbitrary steps can change your situation (change being a function of control, which we love), it plays on people's feelings of inadequacy, it gives others a false sense of superiority (if relationship status is the scale on which worthiness is measured), and it's easy to critique readers who are begging for a critique--viewing their single status as undesirable and looking for answers.
Clearly, affirming goodness is less interesting.
While I think your faults cannot effectively explain your singleness, I think your positive traits actually gets you closer to the truth.
This is why you are really single...
1. You MAKE good decisions about who to allow in and who to dismiss from your life
You've had the fortune of spending time with both exceptional and terrible people, your life teachers. Knowing what you don't want is as valuable as knowing what you do want and your life teachers have refined your judgement. So things don't always work out, but you are better, stronger, kinder, smarter, and more loving for having met them. Your instincts are strong. You know when to say "hello" and "goodbye."
2. YOU dON't force it
It didn't work for Cinderella's wicked stepsisters and it doesn't work for you. If the shoe doesn't fit, you don't stuff your foot inside and limp around in it. Ok. Maybe that one time, but you learned. No matter how mind-blowing the shoe design, they aren't worth the bunions.
3. You're [rightfully] Selective About Your Mate
Your social security number, family secrets, financial history, medical information, children, personal space, proclivities, intimate space, money, credit, knowledge of weird and gross habits - just a few of the many things your mate will have access to. Yes, you are rightfully selective.
4. You Feel Worthy
You've had opportunities to be matrimonially boo'd up, but it would've been going through the motions--getting married for married sake. You feel worthy of having what it is you really want and you're ok waiting for it.
5. YOU ENJOY YOUR OWN COMPANY
You think you're a pretty cool person. You make yourself laugh, you know how to entertain yourself and feed your interests. There's always something for you to do. Your relationship will come. In the meantime, you're enjoying being in the company of a wonderful, whole human being. You.
6. You planned it that way
You didn't want to consider marriage until your 30s. Your vision for your life involved developing your career in your twenties, then settling down in your thirties. If we're really being honest, you also wanted to enjoy unquestionable freedom. By allowing yourself that time, you did yourself and others a favor.
7. Someone said "no"
You left someone, someone left you, you left each other, or you never had a chance. Either way, an incredible thing occurred. Two people who were not tied to each other's destinies moved on. Perhaps the most under-appreciated of God's gifts: the word "no." It doesn't feel good and it's deeply disappointing, but it lovingly guides us to our destiny.
8. At this moment, You aren't meant to be anything else, but single
No lie, this is the most unsatisfactory truth ever written. If it were meant for you to be coupled, you'd be coupled. It's not an explanation that brings you a substantial measure of comfort, but probably the most accurate explanation that exists. This does not absolve you from growing or taking action to pursue the life that you want, but it does put your life in perspective.
Flaws don't keep people out of relationships. Perfection doesn't keep people in relationships.
The same unseeable forces that miraculously bring people together are working for single people, too. But maybe the miracle is that you are single. And maybe that's a miracle because there's something meaningful you can do while here.
That's your treasure to uncover.
Photo Credit: Ilhman Rahmansyah via Unsplash