I’ve been self-diagnosed as what some might call chronic singleness. I’ve gone on more dates than I can count while my relationships have been… scattered? Yeah, we’ll go with scattered. So I have been asked the time-old question “Why are you single?” about as many times as I’ve had a new relationship go to hell in a handbasket. You’ve probably caught on, but I’ll spell it out. I’ve been asked why I’m single for what feels like the better part of 29 years.
Sure, if I was a dude, there’s no way I would have been asked as much—or at all—and that’s infuriating. But this is my reality, and I know I’m not alone in my distaste every time I hear this question accompanied by a look of pity filled with sad eyes and a condescending sneer.
In my early-to-mid twenties, I was incredibly insecure, and as much as I hated this question, I let it eat away at me in the worst way possible. I would try and answer by looking at my behavior to find what was wrong with me. I’m single because I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, friendly enough, outgoing enough, confident enough, successful enough, rich enough, strong enough, connected enough… and the list went on. In other words, I wasn’t worthy, and I had to justify to friends and acquaintances alike why I was struck with the plague of single life while battering my self-worth.
Oh, how I wish I could go back and give my 24-year old self a big giant hug.
I was dead wrong because being single has nothing to do with your worth or the impact you can have on the people around you. It is not a negative thing to be single. The negative connotation was birthed from assumption, judgment, and ignorance.
It took time, but as I evolved, I learned that being able to stand on your own two feet with only the support of your mind, body, and spirit is one of the healthiest accomplishments a person can practice.
It is more common for people to stay in an unhealthy relationship rather than explore the unknown. Yet, we so commonly celebrate those that stay inside toxic relationships while criticizing people without a significant other. It’s totally backwards. A relationship can bring meaning to your life, but it will never be the power source that keeps you going; that force is entirely inside of you. A relationship will not fulfill you; a fulfilled you will fill a relationship.
When you’re single, it may be easier to focus on what you don’t have, but I’m telling you that you have so much more than you realize. Love is felt through many forms; focusing on the lack of a romantic relationship only distracts you from everything happening in front of you. There’s so much love to be discovered through friendships, activism, art, family, community, and expression.
But for whatever reason, it’s been normalized for the general population to nag—mostly women—about the lack of a romantic relationship as a key talking point. People continue to cross boundaries with this question even when it is most often none of their business. I hope we stop asking this question altogether and shift towards asking more questions of substance. But most importantly, I hope the people that get stuck on the receiving end of single-shaming stop beating themselves up over an independent relationship status.
Ignited by this hope, I’ve thought of 29 smart-ass-brutally-honest responses you can use the next time someone engages you in that daunting “Why are you single?” debate. Respond with any of the replies below, and I doubt they’ll ask you, “Why are you single?” ever again.
1. I’m single because someone I cared about lied to me, and liars have no place in my life.
2. I’m single because I don’t want to share my time with someone else right now.
3. I’m single because I was cheated on, so I left; I don’t know about you, but cheating is a deal-breaker for me.
4. I’m single because I haven’t encountered anyone that’s met or exceeded my standards.
5. I’m single because I haven’t found someone that I liked enough to want to make a commitment.
6. I’m single because—I don’t know, actually, maybe you could tell me why I’m single?
7. I’m single because I prefer it.
8. I’m single because I’d much rather enjoy the company of several people instead of just one person.
9. I’m single because I was dumped in my last relationship.
10. I’m single because I haven’t connected to anyone on any of the dates I’ve been on this year.
11. I’m single because I’m okay with being alone if it means I won’t be with someone motivated by loneliness.
12. I’m single because I was led on in my last almost-relationship, and I’m not ready to put myself out there again.
13. I’m single because I haven’t found anyone that’s expressed interest in dating me.
14. I’m single because I was previously in an abusive relationship, and leaving that environment was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
15. I’m single because I’m working on the relationship I have with myself right now, and that is my primary focus.
16. I’m single because I spent too many years in an unhappy relationship, and when I ended it, I fell in love with independence.
17. I’m single because I was rejected by the last person I tried to make a commitment to.
18. I’m single because I’m figuring out my sexuality.
19. I’m single because I’m focusing on my mental health.
20. I’m single because I fell out of love with someone.
21. I’m single because someone fell out of love with me.
22. I’m single because I can’t seem to find anyone that I want to be in a relationship with.
23. I’m single because I’m not interested in entering a new relationship.
24. I’m single because I’m not in a relationship right now. It’s as simple as that, and there’s nothing wrong with either label.
25. I’m single because I’m afraid to open myself up to the dating world.
26. I’m single because I’ve never wanted to be in a relationship.
27. I’m single because a relationship isn’t a priority for me.
28. I’m single because I won’t enter a relationship unless I’m sure.
29. I’m single because I know the love I deserve, and I haven’t found it yet.