Reasons Why I’m Single

I have a lot of thoughts about relationships. (You may have picked that up by the nature of most of my columns.) And while I’ve had some pretty serious “are we about to get engaged?” level of relationships in my time, for the last few years I’ve been starkly single.

And I’m fine with that. Not “fine” in the way people who are not fine say they’re fine. But truly, authentically fine. In fact, it seems as though everyone else is more concerned about my lack of a partner than I am—women’s magazines, my grandpa, my married friends, and, yes, the lady who does my nails. For a while in my early 20s I went to a church where they very starkly separated people into two groups: married and singles. I remember disgruntledly thinking that singles is a word for dollar bills, not people—but it was clear some people find comfort in these two labels.

It seems as though everyone else is more concerned about my lack of a partner than I am.

Now that I’m in my 30s, it seems the panic level is higher than ever…on my behalf. People are worried about my happiness, my finances, my eggs. And I often feel like I’m in the twilight zone, looking around at everyone screaming, waving their arms above their heads as I’m all, “Hey, does anyone wanna talk about other cool things besides boys?”

So, to ward off the worried folk who behave as though being single is something to be cured—and fast!—I thought I’d make a list of reasons why I am single. Maybe some of you “singles” out there (sorry, had to) have felt this same way—and to quote Arrested Development, “There are dozens of us!” So here is a non-exhaustive list of some of reasons why I am currently single.

1. I like being single.

Yes, it’s true. (GASP!) There are a lot of things I really love about being unattached. The other day, actually, I pictured myself in a serious relationship and got panicked thinking of all of the things I would miss about my current life. This is not everyone’s story, but it’s mine. I like my independence and I like staying up late at night, lounging diagonally across my bed eating crackers alone. 

Satisfaction with my life isn’t based off of being paired off or not.

2. I choose the wrong men.

I have to be honest, sometimes I do think I have bad taste in men. Offense intended, exes. But instead of seeing this as The Big Bad Thing keeping me from my soulmate, I view it as I do any other baggage or hangup—I get counseling, I read juicy, soul-cleansing books, and I try and be as honest with myself as I can. Oh, and I regularly remind myself to open my eyes to different types of people that I wouldn’t normally be drawn to. 

3. Timing is luck.

I read a glorious article the other day entitled “I Found Love Because I Got Lucky, not Because I Changed Myself.” In it the author basically debunks the idea that we have to do all of these clichéd  things (put yourself out there! Become your best self! Let go and let god!) to find love. Here’s a great chunk:

“I’m here to tell you that I didn’t do anything differently than I normally did. I didn’t fundamentally change any part of myself to finally find a happy relationship: I didn’t read a slew of self-help books and start going to SoulCycle to Get Right. I didn’t try a new dating app or a new therapist, and I didn’t arrive at some place of spiritual enlightenment at the end of which I announced to the world, “I am ready for love,” with my arms outstretched in the air. Reader, I got lucky. That’s it. For once in my life I got phenomenally lucky. I’m still the same old me with the same insecurities and biases and hangups but now I’ve found someone I love very much who loves me back. My before and after photos look almost identical, except I’m not alone in the after one.”

So I may be single because of luck or timing (or both) or because I keep deleting all of my dating apps or because the person who lights me up and laughs at my jokes and brings my baked Cheetos hasn’t moved to Chicago yet. And to that I shrug and say c’est la vie.

4. Because it’s OK.

The thing I loathe most about the whole conversation is the idea that my satisfaction with my life and myself should be based off who is or isn’t in my bed or signed on my lease. What a disastrous way to approach life, actually. I read a book last year called Loving What Is and before you point your finger at me and scream “hippie!” let me say that it simply offers the badass (and for me life-changing) message that happiness can be found when we learn to embrace reality. I am single because I am single and that’s what today looks like, so hell, that’s what I’m goin’ with.

I hope that as the conversation continues to mature and develop, we can see outside of that binary way of defining ourselves by whether we are in or not in a relationship. 

Before you think I am all zen and easy breezy, let me make clear that I completely understand (and empathize with) the fear, loneliness, and pain that can come from being without a partner. It can be especially brutal as we get older and our friends are married (and then divorced and then remarried) and as we realize we may never have kids the same age as our college girlfriends, all on their second or third baby. This is all real stuff.

I in no way want to diminish those feelings for any of you—I’ve been there. I’ve cried myself to sleep, I’ve bitched to friends about how terrible men are these days, I’ve read dating books and followed bad, trite advice on how to attract and keep and please a man (barf times one thousand). 

And I’ll probably be there again—but I sort of hope not. I hope that as the conversation continues to mature and develop, we can see outside of a binary way of defining ourselves, and especially by whether or not we are in a relationship.

I hope that even if others see me as a sad spinster who exists solely to hold the door open for a woman pushing the double stroller, I see myself for all of the layers and complexities I possess. I hope I continue to appreciate how fulfilling my other relationships are. I hope that in my next relationship (if there is one), I don’t do to my single friends the well-intentioned things my coupled friends have done to me. I hope that we realize how many other fascinating things there are to know about a person other than who they call bae (or whom they refuse to call bae).

So there you have it, why I’m single. Now can someone please mail this to my Gramps?

  • YES…and seriously, should I send to my mom?

  • People tend to believe, a bit movie like, that good guys end up in relationships and bad guys stay alone. It is not true. Being single is not a punishment for our sins and being in relationship is not for everyone too. Finding love or whatever it is should not be a tick in a box. Cannot be a tick in a box because simply some people prefer being by themselves. Can we just accept that?
    But then I challenge you all, girl, to tell people you don’t want to have kids…

    • JEPierson

      “But then I challenge you all, girl, to tell people you don’t want to have kids…”
      I’ve done that. My cousin who, according to a few family members is a lazy mother, told me how bad it would be if my mother never had grandchildren. Come again?! Not everyone is meant to have kids. You can see that on any given Saturday at your local mall, at about 1-2pm. Or at Walmart or Target.

    • Yep, the children topic is a tough one. The pressure we get from society is insane.
      I’m lucky, my parents and close relatives respect our decision, but from simple acquaintances it really gets awkward sometimes.

  • JEPierson

    So that’s a Grandfather thing? LOL. My grandfather does the same thing. He asks if I’m seeing anybody but he also tells me that if I do get married one day, that I don’t rush into it and to have my own money. Done and done.
    I don’t make excuses for being single or try to find reasons,When I was in my 20s and desperate, I never could imagine being 33 and single. But here I am and I love it.

  • Great piece! I love it.

    I’ve been there, my husband has too, and yes when we met we have been extremely lucky. It was really just luck. No effort, it was easy.
    I’ve been single for many years before meeting my husband, I loved and enjoyed it a lot, and I’m sure that without this great period of my life, I wouldn’t be happy in my relationship today.
    I discovered I was my best friend, I learnt who I am, what I really don’t want in life (the list of what I like is way too long :-)). Without this single time I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.
    The nice thing is that my husband had the same experience, and that this probably shaped our couple as well.
    And I can reassure you: we don’t forget the things we suffered from our married friends, we don’t push our single friends or give them advice. We just take a little more care of them and make sure we’re available when they need an extra hand.

  • I totally agree. I’m 28 years old, almost 29 and people think I’m really lonely or sad. The truth is I’m really happy right now.

  • Dee

    I hear you! All us “singles” hear you! At a gathering of mostly “singles” on the weekend, everyone is reminded of the “better alone than badly accompanied” mantra. Single or coupled, each hold their own ups and downs. Not having to “answer to anyone” or have total freedom in your decision making is quite priceless! But a word of caution to some: Just ensure that you’re not meeting the right people/guys because of luck/timing and not because you’ve got personal obstacles in the way. Chronically meeting the wrong men may be cause for concern and perhaps a therapy session or two (no joke but remember that episode in Sex and The City when Carrie went to see the therapist?). But not for all, just some….

    And re: having kids/providing grandkids….hummmm some can’t or have extreme difficulty so…let’s not add that into the mix!

    I am happiest when single, till proven otherwise (right person, right timing to come perhaps?). In fact, so happy at times that I fear it might keep me this way forever….unless I meet someone worth give it up for an alternate ‘happier ever after’. 🙂

    • Your last paragraph reminds me of myself just before I met my husband (I actually said this to friends over brunch the day I met him!).
      This is silly (but it happened to me that day) but when you meet someone who is really right, you know straight away. It is love at first sight… or at the first 15 minutes spent together 🙂

  • Elyse

    I am so glad someone else thinks this way! Thank you for this amazing column.

  • So. much. yes!

  • DJessup

    Amen. Thank you for posting this. Nuff said.

  • Great article! Thanks for sharing.
    Singleness has definitely been viewed among society as some sort of ‘disease’ and it’s just simply not true! I really cherish my single days (married now) and I grew so much within myself and loved being able to think only for myself at the time.
    Loved your points although I’m so sure on No. 3. Whilst I believe that no amount of self-help books, coaches or gym workouts are going to bring you your soulmate – I do think the level to which you love/respect yourself is the same level of what you’ll attract. E.g. I had very low self-worth and attracted douche bags for boyfriends – they were controlling, manipulative, even abusive… eventually I sought healing, counselling and regained self-respect. strength and confidence and I know without a doubt it effected the quality of the relationships I have now with others. To some degree, there may be things in your life you might need to change… Hope that makes sense? x
    Chloe – http://www.soulandsparkle.com

  • I agree 100 percent. It’s ok to want to be single, and it’s ok to want to be in relationship!
    Blue Jazzmin

  • Love this!

  • Great article! Even though I’m dating someone, there is still that mentality that we have to do everything together, go everywhere together, etc. Even in a relationship, people forget that it’s OK to be your own individual person. I so enjoyed and appreciated this.

    http://www.thebusinessofblooming.com

  • K_Virtuous

    Omgosh I’m sending this to my family and my married friends. 1000% agree. Thanks for this!

  • Freaking LOVED this! I’ve been with someone for 4 years, but I can still relate to so much of it. Love, love, love. Free therapy 😉

  • I love the honesty of #2! I know a few single ladies that don’t hesitate to put the blame on everything and everyone else, when they choose the same “type” of partners every time. I’m in no way saying it’s their faults for being single still – I’m just saying, try something new, or own up to the fact that you might be choosing the wrong ones.

  • Stevie Jewel

    Love this. There’s nothing wrong with learning to enjoy and embrace the person you are, without needing someone else.

    http://www.steviejewel.com

  • Oh I loved this so much! It just reflects exactly how I feel. On the whole I am totally ok with being single and there are things in my life that I absolutely love and that I would miss if I was in a relationship. I have great friends, I travel where and when I want to, I have a job I love and pursue the things that make me happy, so… there isn’t a hole or void in my life that needs filling, yet sometimes I worry I will be alone forever and get into a Bridget Jones mindset of panic, ha ha. Your post is so sincere and I thank you for writing it! I also think that luck has got a lot to do with it, because there have been times I have met someone I ended up loving and I did not do anything different. Rather than change, I think we need to embrace being ourselves so that at least if there is nobody next to us to love us, we do love ourselves.

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

  • Loreal Torres

    Love this article!

  • Loreal Torres

    Love this article!

  • Andrea Friedell

    It’s better to just get a dog. They love you unconditionally.

  • Adriana Rodriguez

    I busted out laughing after I read this. This touched every corner of my BEING in 5 minutes. I have never read something so brutally honest, yet so enlightening. I have found this to be so relieving, for many reasons. I face the same questions and feelings of disappointment as mentioned in the article from my family and friends. So I always think that maybe something is wrong with me or that I can never find “happiness” because all I know is to love my own company, my dog, and food. But you know what, that’s what makes me happy and I am in no way working to change a thing about myself in hopes of snagging a guy. I NEEDED this! I am lucky to have come across such words at this time in my life. So thank you!

  • Emily

    Praise hands!!!

  • I agree – you shouldn’t define yourself or your worth by whether or not you’re in a relationship. Great post!

    Diana | thechicdiary.com

  • This is comforting to read and I completely agree that society is to blame for this binary thinking.
    http://wewillgoplaces.com/

  • Erika Hansen

    I have gotten this question a lot lately, so what I say is, “I am dating my masters program and exploring my self-identity.” I am finishing my masters of counseling shortly. I think it is good to spend time with yourself to understand your dislikes and likes. This way when you do get into a relationship you aren’t liking your significant other’s likes and dislikes because of them.

  • Katie B Edwards

    Giving you a high five for this one Lyndsay. From a 29 year old, and very much single, fellow woman who is (learning) to be ok with where I’m at in life.

  • Bridget

    THANK YOU. Wonderful article. Appreciated!

  • jamie

    I love this. Even as someone who isn’t “single”. I’ve been in a relationship for almost 5 years, and I feel as though I can still relate to everything you’re saying. It’s funny how society creates these norms that everyone should fit into – a timeline of sorts. When you should get married, have kids, buy a house. I think at any stage in life, if you can master and embracing reality, you’re ahead of the game. You do you girl 🙂

  • The Serious Truth

    It is the type of women nowadays that are keeping many of us Good men Single.

  • Rochelle Amiscaray

    “I hope that in my next relationship (if there is one), I don’t do to my
    single friends the well-intentioned things my coupled friends have done
    to me.”

    This was a beautiful sentence and a line I have also promised myself to keep, if & when I find myself in a relationship.

  • The Very Truth

    Well with the kind of women out there nowadays well that sure explains it.

  • Indeed, I’m single because I choose to be. I have no desire to be in any kind of romantic relationship. They’re just not for me.