I have received some form of this question a lot lately: How are you still single? Why are you still single? How have you not been snatched up yet? And What is wrong with the men in your town!?
It doesn’t really bother me, and it is usually delivered as a compliment by someone who thinks well of me. I just try to smile through the slight awkwardness. I manage a giggle, probably blush, and then offer some explanation such as, “Well, I guess I just haven’t found the right person or the right timing yet.”
Then I usually feel the need to re-assure them, “But, you know, I really am happy and content with my life… really.” I could offer a better or more thorough explanation, but I either can’t gather all my thoughts on the fly, or it would take too long to explain.
So right now, since the pressure is off because I am not on the spot, I thought I would take some time to offer some insight on behalf of singles like me and to encourage other singles like me. You see us, you observe our lives, and you wonder, “How are you still single?”
1. I am not desperate, so I don’t need to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone. I’ve prayed hard for contentment in my singleness over the years and feel that prayer has been answered. I realize that I could end up with someone in a few weeks, in a few years, in fifteen years, or never- and none of those scenarios cause me any anxiety or hopelessness. This is not to say that I couldn’t benefit from having a man who loves me and leads me. Believe me, I know it would be so awesome and beneficial for me! But I just know that I can be happy and will be cared for either way. If you cannot find peace with your status as a single person, you will never know if you are with someone because you are lonely or because you truly love them.
2. Time and availability. Just because we don’t have spouses and kids doesn’t mean we are not busy. Life can be nuts as a single person. And the things that my unmarried friends and I have been up to are not a waste of time- getting degrees and furthering our education, taking internships, exploring other cultures, being selected for jobs which involve travel, and investing in our communities, churches, and hobbies- just to name a few. Though time-consuming, these things are not time-wasters. They help us become who we are and teach us what we have to offer to a partner and to everyone else in the world.
3. Sometimes people just don’t like us for the right reasons. We meet the “datable checklist”. We have stable jobs. We look presentable. We go to church. We have neat hobbies. We have brains. We come from nice families, and we are generally friendly and outgoing. You see it. This is part of why you wonder how we are still single. The people we go out with see it too, and here is where this gets tricky. Sometimes potential dating partners are crazy about idea of us or the image of us, but not the real us. And dating relationships based on infatuation over someone’s surface-level persona often flop because eventually they realize that they are interested in a normal person who has flaws, failures, and annoying habits just like everyone else. (More to come on this point in my next blog, so stay tuned!)
4. Many guys have forgotten or have not been taught how to be gentlemen. They are often not considerate of a woman’s time and feelings. Many do not communicate their intentions, so women are left wondering just what the heck is going on. They rush into a budding relationship with pure excitement and then drag their feet wondering if they are really ready and grown-up enough for this. To be fair, there is a flip side- many women have forgotten or have never been taught how to be a lady, how to respect a man, and how to let him lead the relationship.
5. Some people might think we are intimidating. We are too grounded, too tall, too smart, too strong, and our daddies are too successful. It has stung when guys have made me feel like I am “too much”. But eventually I had to acknowledge that this was about their insecurity and not about me being too good for them, because I truly do not believe I was. Here is the thing: Our hope is that people would give us a chance, but we cannot force them to. I have tried to hide parts of who I am sometimes in fear that I would be “too much” or “not enough” or both all at the same time. I am not doing that anymore. In the end, we can’t lie about who we are. And we can’t change who God created us to be.
6. Sometimes you go out with a great person, and it just doesn’t work out. Maybe he or she is a total catch, but the timing is terrible, or there is a geographical distance between you two. Maybe you both have fantastic personalities, but your personalities and lifestyles just don’t quite mesh well together. I’ve been out with someone before, and just thought, “Man, in another life, we would have been so great together!”
7. I am a Christian, and this affects my goals and dreams. I have been praying for years that if or when I get married, that we could do more for God, the church, and others together than we could do apart. This is important and is well worth my patience. Therefore, in this very moment and for as long as I am in this season, I have to assume that I am more usable, moldable, and teachable as a single person.