Have you ever been caught in that awkward situation where you’re at dinner with a couple of friends — who also happen to be the happiest couple — and they won’t stop asking you why you’re still single?
You may struggle to come up with a response that isn’t snarky or sarcastic because you’re sitting there wondering, why does it matter?
When you view our society through the lens of a single person, it seems like everyone in the world is obsessed with dating and finding that special someone to spend their life with. And if you are the odd person out who isn’t in a relationship, it almost seems like that obsession shifts toward why you aren’t dating.
Maybe this obsession with your single life is making you reevaluate your own situation. You might think, Well, should I be dating? After all, everyone else seems to think it’s strange that I’m single, so does that mean something is wrong with me?
We know how it feels to be that single friend, and it really can make you feel like something is wrong with you when everyone around you is in a happy relationship. It’s only natural that you would begin to assume there must be some reason you aren’t in a relationship, or better yet, there must be some reason you don’t want to be in a relationship.
Regardless of your situation, it’s important that you understand this from the get-go: There is nothing wrong with you. It is perfectly okay to be single. In fact, we would argue that everyone should spend some time as a single person. Too often people rush into relationships just to avoid feeling alone, and that can lead to all sorts of problems down the road.
To help you get a better perspective on #singlelife, we’ve put together 11 questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your feelings about being single. Only you know if you’re in a good place and ready to take the plunge into the dating world. Let’s dive right in!
1. Do You Feel Lonely When You’re Alone?
Let’s say you are 8 months post-breakup with your former partner, and you are feeling great. You’ve touched base with your emotions and moved past the heartbreak in a healthy way, feeling more like yourself than ever.
Yet, everywhere you turn, you’re reminded that being alone should feel very lonely. You put on a playlist and a song echoes through your house about love lost and the sadness of being alone. It’s not reflective of your own experience as a single person, so you turn it off and put something on television. Lo and behold, a movie is playing featuring a very single and very lonely protagonist, whose life only becomes joyful once he finds his lover at the end of the film.
And you’re left wondering, am I supposed to feel lonely?
The simple answer is that you aren’t supposed to be feeling anything. Your feelings and emotions are valid even if they are the opposite of what society tells you. Loneliness is not exclusive to being alone. You may feel the loneliest in a crowded room of people, and the least lonely on your own, surrounded by nature.
It’s important to remember that only you know how you truly feel, and no one can tell you if that’s right or wrong. So ask yourself, do I feel lonely as a single person? If the answer is no, then be proud! Many people go their whole lives without figuring out how to be content alone. And if the answer is yes, that doesn’t mean you have to find a relationship!
Go out with friends, chat with a stranger. You can do so many things to engage with other people without dating. Bumble even has a separate feature where you can find friends in your area without the pressure of romance!
2. Is It Normal to Be Single?
From a young age, we are bombarded with media that reinforces the idea that being single is a bad thing, that the goal in life is to be in a happy marriage and have kids — the whole nine yards. This may very well be the goal for some people, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, for those who don’t share this goal, it can start to feel like something is wrong with you for not having the same goal. Are you in the minority for being single?
Let’s look at the statistics. According to Statista, 45% of men in the country and 40% of women have never been married. That’s almost half of the population! Don’t let societal pressures convince you something is wrong with you for being single. You are perfect just the way you are, and you are in the same boat as half of the population.
3. What Do You Say When Asked, “Why Are You Still Single?”
Every single person’s worst fear — the inevitable question.
You’re at dinner catching up with friends when all of the sudden this question gets dropped on you and now you’re feeling a strange mix of guilt and embarrassment for not having a significant other.
First and foremost, you don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you are single. People, especially those who care about you like family members, just want you to be happy and think that having a significant other will achieve that for you. It’s not entirely their fault — they’ve been led to believe that a relationship is everyone’s end goal.
Try not to make excuses or apologies as to why you’re still single. In truth, this only reinforces the idea that couples are good and being single is bad. In our opinion, the best response is to simply change the subject. Try something like, Things are great for me right now. What’s new with you?
4. Ask Yourself “Why Are You Single?”
Rather than this being a pointed question from an aunt that you have to dodge, ask yourself the dreaded question, “Why am I single?”
A great way you can answer this question for yourself is to make a list of the most important things you want from a relationship. It may also be beneficial to write out a list of all your strengths and accomplishments — don’t be afraid to ask for a friend’s help with this, sometimes we can’t see in ourselves what others see in us.
Use the list you made to determine whether or not being single is checking all of those boxes. If you find that it isn’t, it may be time to start looking for something else.
5. What Are Your Boundaries?
Whether you’re planning on entering a relationship or not, it’s important to understand your personal boundaries.
Boundaries are useful for all relationships in life, not just romantic ones. By taking the time to understand where your boundaries lie, you are ensuring your comfort and safety in all future relationships. Many people don’t know what their boundaries are until lines have been crossed, at which point a relationship may suffer.
If you understand your boundaries ahead of time, you can establish them in all future relationships.
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6. What Didn’t Work in Past Relationships?
The answer to this question could be any number of things and will look completely different for everyone. Only you know the ins and outs of your past relationships, and knowing what caused issues in the past can help you avoid them in the future.
Did you sacrifice too much of yourself while your partner remained whole? Did your relationship lack trust or honesty? Once you have a list of all the things that went wrong or were lacking in your previous relationships, you can work towards solutions so that they don’t negatively impact your next one.
7. What Did Work in Past Relationships?
Similar to the previous question, discovering what worked in past relationships can also be helpful to better understanding what you want in the future. What good experiences would you look for in a future relationship?
If your past relationships lack insight, look at the happy couples around you. Maybe it’s your parents or a sibling and their partner, or just a close friend couple. Don’t be afraid to look to them for advice on what works in relationships and apply them to your life.
8. Do You Love Yourself?
We know what you’re thinking, that this is the biggest cliche in the book. And even though this question is asked in every self-help book ever written, it’s there for good reason.
If you don’t love yourself, chances are that you’ll have difficulty accepting love from someone else because you’ll feel like you don’t deserve it. However, loving yourself is not something you can just wake up and decide to do. Learning how to love yourself can take time, and you may not even be able to do so on your own.
Don’t be afraid to seek therapy. Sometimes we need help to gain perspective on ourselves and our lives, and a therapist is specially trained to help us better love ourselves. BetterHelp is a great online tool you can use to get in touch virtually with a therapist or counselor.
9. Are You Happy?
If you are genuinely happy and content living life as a single person, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Maybe you just don’t feel the need for a romantic connection, and you get all the fulfillment you need from the connections you share with family and friends.
Honestly, a lot of people would be jealous of you for this. Life becomes much more simple when you’re only living for yourself and your own happiness. Romance can be great, but it can also complicate every aspect of your life. So if you enjoy being single, don’t let anyone tell you differently!
10. What Are Your Goals?
Sometimes relationships don’t fit in with what we want to accomplish, and that’s okay!
Your current goals could be to dedicate yourself to your career, finish your education, or just learn how to love yourself more, and a relationship may just not be in the cards right now. Starting a relationship that interferes with your long-term goals could keep you from achieving what you want in life.
Ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve?” If looking for a relationship doesn’t fall into that list, don’t try to rewrite your goals to wedge one in. Forcing yourself to find someone else because “everybody else is doing it” usually ends in misunderstanding and hurt feelings, so don’t feel guilty about focusing on goals you want to accomplish on your own.
11. Are You Ready?
If you do want a romantic connection in your life, it’s critical to check in with yourself and ask yourself whether or not you’re truly ready.
Don’t settle for the bargain bin when it comes to dating, and don’t get discouraged if your first date isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Know when to move on and when to hold on. If a potential partner isn’t giving you what you need, don’t get upset and fall into the trap of thinking you’ll never find someone. Get back out there and try again!
To keep the cliche trend going — there’s plenty of fish in the sea!
Single and Ready to Mingle… Or Not!
Whether you’re happy as a single person, or ready to get back out there and find someone, always remember that you are never wrong for feeling a certain way.
You feel however you feel, and whatever that is, as long as you check in with yourself and understand your feelings, you’re doing great. Establishing boundaries and having a list of what you want from a relationship in your head will help you make wise decisions in your relationship moving forward.
All of the best things in life require effort, and relationships are no exception. So get out there and create the life you want, achieve greatness, and enjoy #singlelife!