It’s one thing if you remain unattached because you want to be.
But if you’d rather be one half of a loving, committed couple, you might wonder why you’re still single.
The mere question, “Why am I alone?” is proof enough you’re not okay with the idea of being single for the rest of your life. Some are, and you don’t judge them for that.
But you want a relationship where you feel connected on a deep level.
You want someone you can count on to love you forever.
So, why is it taking so long?
- Is It Normal to be Single for a Long Time?
- Why Am I Still Single? 21 Reasons Why and What To Do About It
- 1. Your defenses are up.
- 2. You have a history of unhealthy relationships.
- 3. You have a lower threshold for closeness/intimacy.
- 4. Your standards are unrealistic.
- 5. Your self-esteem is low (and not just because you’re single).
- 6. You’re quick to despair of your chances with someone.
- 7. You’re used to being single.
- 8. You keep telling yourself, “I’m fine on my own.”
- 9. You make rules based on past disappointments.
- 10. You’re just too busy.
- 11. You’ve prioritized other things over relationships or meeting new people.
- 12. You need to let go of some things first.
- 13. You haven’t met the right person.
- 14. You Travel a Lot
- 15. You Don’t Know What You Want in a Partner
- 16. Your Lifestyle Isn’t Conducive To Partnership
- 17. You Don’t Enjoy Sex
- 18. You Have an Insufferable Personality
- 19. You’re In the Wrong Place
- 20. Your Taste in Partners Needs an Upgrade
- 21. Subconsciously, You Don’t Want To Be in a Relationship
- How Do You Know If You Will Be Single Forever?
Is It Normal to be Single for a Long Time?
The question might have occurred to you: “Is it OK to be single for the rest of your life?”
You’ve heard the statistics for health and happiness for single people vs. those who are part of a happily-married couple.
You’ve read the studies:
- Happily married people have a 5% lower chance of heart disease than singles, but
- Unhappily married people are more likely to experience heart disease than those who are happily married or single.
- Happily married people are less likely to suffer from depression or struggle with addictions.
- Married people can also pool their resources to afford a nicer place to live.
But this isn’t a contest. You’re not looking for a partner to give you an edge over heart disease.
Your desire for a mutually-fulfilling relationship really has nothing to do with longevity or a more impressive home.
It’s about living the kind of life you want, which, to you, includes sharing it with someone.
Why Am I Still Single? 21 Reasons Why and What To Do About It
You have some idea of the reasons why you are single, but the following list can help you see your personal obstacles more clearly.
And with that knowledge, you can take steps to remove them.
1. Your defenses are up.
Could be your upbringing has taught you to be wary of “committed” relationships. But keeping those walls up can make you unapproachable or even intimidating to those who might otherwise show interest.
Actions to take: Seize the first opportunity to share something you haven’t shared about yourself with someone you trust (enough) not to blab. It doesn’t have to be shocking or deeply personal to make you seem more approachable or more relatable to others.
2. You have a history of unhealthy relationships.
Maybe in the past, you haven’t been picky enough, and you’ve dated a series of people who didn’t value you or your relationship. They saw you as someone to use, or as the trophy on their arm, or as their personal pot of gold.
Actions to take: Make a list of qualities you want to see in the person you commit to, along with a shortlist of red flags (the ones you’ve learned to recognize). Tell yourself you’re not going to settle for someone who doesn’t have the qualities you’re looking for.
3. You have a lower threshold for closeness/intimacy.
By nature, you don’t feel as strong a need for physical expressions of love or affection. It’s just the way you’re made.
So when you meet someone whose threshold is higher, you might feel smothered by their apparent need to hug, hold hands, kiss, etcetera.
Actions to take: Decide which scenario appeals to you most:
- Remaining single
- Adapting to a relationship with someone who has a higher threshold for intimacy
- Waiting for someone with an intimacy threshold similar to your own
4. Your standards are unrealistic.
It’s not as though your life as a single person is so bad that any partner will do. But if you’re feeling regret over someone you might have prematurely ruled out, your standards may be too high for mere mortals to reach.
Actions to take: Get clear on the must-have qualities in your future partner and distinguish them from the nice-to-have qualities. By all means, hang onto the dealbreakers. But be willing to consider someone who has all the must-haves but few (or none) of the nice-to-haves. It could be they’ve got qualities you’ll enjoy even more.
5. Your self-esteem is low (and not just because you’re single).
Low self-esteem has a way of making itself known. It shows in how you dress, your eye contact and facial expressions, and your bearing — as well as in what you say out loud.
And as you may already have noticed, healthy self-esteem is more attractive than unhealthy self-esteem (i.e., one that’s either too high or too low).
Actions to take: Take steps today and every day to cultivate healthy self-esteem:
- Make a list of moments when you felt proud of yourself.
- Find ways to express your unique style (not someone else’s).
- Make time for things you’re good at and that you enjoy.
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6. You’re quick to despair of your chances with someone.
Dating is competitive. And you can’t win them all. But you only need to win the one that matters. And the people who don’t choose you (at first or ever) shouldn’t make you despair of meeting someone who will choose you.
Actions to take: Think of those who don’t choose you as “practice” dates for the one who’ll be worth all the hassle and heartache. Get clear on the kind of person you’re looking for, and keep striving to become the kind of person you want to be — for their sake and yours.
7. You’re used to being single.
Being in a committed relationship will mean giving up some of the freedoms you enjoy as a single person. And while you’re open to adapting (for someone worth it), you might subconsciously be sabotaging yourself to hold onto the perks of bachelorhood.
Actions to take: Identify the things you love most about being single. Then identify those things you want to have with a loving partner. Be honest with yourself about what matters most to you. If you want to retain control over your finances, for example, find someone who wants to maintain separate accounts.
8. You keep telling yourself, “I’m fine on my own.”
You believe you could be happy as a single person. After all, you don’t need someone to make you happy. So, you stop trying. But one day, you catch yourself thinking, “Life is good… But it would be even better if I had someone amazing to enjoy it with?”
Actions to take: Be honest about what you’re hoping you’ll have with a loving partner. What do you value the most about being in a committed relationship? And until you meet the right person for that, what could you do to make each day more meaningful?
9. You make rules based on past disappointments.
You had such great chemistry with the last person you dated, but it didn’t work out. So, now you tell yourself you’re not dating anyone to whom you feel strongly attracted. And you date a string of people with whom you feel zero connection.
Actions to take: Your chemistry was never the reason that relationship failed. So, get rid of rules that blame the wrong thing for the pain you’ve had to go through. Your past relationships don’t define your present or future ones. Let there be magic.
10. You’re just too busy.
You have so much on your plate. There’s precious little time for dating, let alone for a committed relationship with someone who will want to spend time with you every day.
You’d be cooking for two all of a sudden when for months, you’ve been making do with sandwiches and soup. And what if a relationship makes you bad at your job?
Actions to take: Time for some research. You need to ensure you have a realistic idea of the time investment required to maintain a relationship. Talk to someone you know who’s in a healthy, committed relationship and get some of your questions answered.
Secondly, ask yourself what you might be willing to give up or pare down to make room for dating and, eventually, a committed relationship with someone who’s completely worth it.
11. You’ve prioritized other things over relationships or meeting new people.
You’ve found your happy place, and it shields you from not only the drama of unhappy relationships but also the risk of heartbreak or disappointment.
Yet part of you still wants to meet someone who will be worth ditching those distractions and going all in. So, it’s time to sort out what’s really important to you.
Actions to take: Make a list of everything you want to keep in your life — everything you don’t want to give up (and I mean for anyone). Then make a list of things you’d be willing to give up to spend more time with the kind of person you’re looking for.
For now, use the time you’d save to make meeting that person more likely.
12. You need to let go of some things first.
There’s no room for an extra someone in your life because there’s barely enough room for you. Before you begin a serious search for a special person to share your every day with, it’s time to let go of the things that are cluttering up your life and holding you back.
Actions to take: Take one room at a time and sort everything in it into three piles: “Toss,” “Donate,” or “Keep.” The stuff in the “Keep” pile should earn its place — because you use it, you need it, or you love it. Ditch or donate the rest. It feels good.
And you’ll create room in your life for something you’ll love even more.
13. You haven’t met the right person.
I know this sounds cliché, but it could very well be that the main reason you’re still single is you just haven’t met someone who would make your life better than it is.
It doesn’t mean you’ll never meet the right person. But when you do, you’ll appreciate them all the more. And maybe that’s the point.
Actions to take: Keep an open mind when you’re meeting new people, but don’t be in a hurry to settle or to get to the next level with someone who’s “good enough for now.” Spend time every day on your personal growth, so when you do meet this person, you’ll be the kind of person you’d want for them.
14. You Travel a Lot
Do you spend less time in your home than in hotels across the country or worldwide? Are you unable to have a pet because you’re never home? Have you considered turning it into an Airbnb so it doesn’t sit empty all the time?
If you’re always on the road, you may not have the time to foster a relationship.
Actions To Take: If you want to settle down, making room in your life is necessary. If you cannot slow down because of your job yet want to find a partner, looking for someone who understands your schedule is the way to go.
15. You Don’t Know What You Want in a Partner
If you’re still unclear about what you want in a partner and relationship, the chance of finding one that works diminishes. People who find themselves in this cycle typically go out on a lot of dates, but they all peter out fairly quickly.
Actions To Take: Assess your previous relationships objectively. Why did they fail? Were there any red flags you ignored? Dissecting why things didn’t work can help illuminate what will.
16. Your Lifestyle Isn’t Conducive To Partnership
You may want a relationship, but your lifestyle may not be conducive to one.
The reasons are infinite, but common reasons include something as small as being alarmingly messy to as large as you have an unaddressed substance abuse problem.
Actions To Take: Do you only eat cereal? Are you a hoarder? Do you not believe in showering more than once a month? If your lifestyle falls outside the Overton Window, and you have a strong desire for a partner, you may need to reign things in — or find someone with the same quirks.
17. You Don’t Enjoy Sex
People talk a lot about the wonders of sex and how to make it more pleasurable. But some folks simply aren’t big fans. Tilted uteruses can make sex highly uncomfortable for some women, and being asexual could also be a factor. Some individuals are looking for an emotionally intimate partnership instead of a physical one.
Actions To Take: You have two options: learn to enjoy sex more or find someone who also isn’t big into physical intimacy.
18. You Have an Insufferable Personality
Maybe we’re not supposed to acknowledge it, but we genuinely want to help — and sometimes, that means facing your own faults. Are you arrogant? A blatant hypocrite? Or maybe you’re the kind of person who dumps friends because they don’t make enough money or enjoy enough status?
It may be challenging to acknowledge things like this about oneself, but worth the effort. You’ll be happier and build better relationships.
Actions To Take: Head straight to a therapist who can help you unearth past traumas causing you pain. Nine times out of ten, a personality issue is related to something that has happened to you. Also, self-development work can support your counseling sessions.
19. You’re In the Wrong Place
In many ways, your act is together. You’re fine with the logistics of your life, and you’ve done the hard work required to become a fully functioning adult, including confronting your shadow self.
But you’re in the wrong place and having difficulty finding the right lid for your pot. Maybe you’re an avant-garde artist living in a rural farm community or a 4H enthusiast smack in the middle of downtown Manhattan.
Actions To Take: It may be time to move. Look for jobs in places that may prove more profitable romantically. Or, try a long-distance relationship. With advancements in video calling, LDRs are much more manageable these days.
20. Your Taste in Partners Needs an Upgrade
Is your picker damaged? Do you frequently find yourself in relationships with people more suited for Dante’s Ninth Circle than on your arm? Some people are born with a broken romance radar. It’s possible to fix, but doing so requires effort.
Actions To Take: First, map out patterns in your previous relationships. Then, go for something different. See what happens!
21. Subconsciously, You Don’t Want To Be in a Relationship
You think you want to be in a relationship. On the surface, it feels that way. But is your subconscious aligned with your conscious thoughts? Sometimes, we sabotage opportunities because underneath it all, we don’t want the thing for which we’re outwardly striving.
Actions To Take: Try mindful meditation. Focus on marrying your conscious and subconscious minds. Journaling can also help uncover if you genuinely want to be in a relationship or if singledom is for you.
How Do You Know If You Will Be Single Forever?
Just because you’re still single at this point doesn’t mean you always will be. It could be you just haven’t met the kind of person you’d want to spend the next several decades with. You’re not alone in that.
But how can you ensure you won’t be single for the rest of your life? Some of the following tips should sound familiar:
- Keep an open mind while meeting new people (or considering a date).
- Volunteer or lend your time and energy to help those you wouldn’t usually meet.
- Find ways to meet a variety of people and get out of your comfort zone.
- Know what you want and don’t settle for less, but keep your standards reasonable.
- Keep red flags in mind, so you don’t waste precious time on toxic people.
- Keep working on your self-esteem, education, and personal growth.
If you want to meet someone badly enough, you’ll find a way. It might take you outside your usual social circle or your habitual route.
Chances are, the person you most want to meet is waiting for you — outside your “normal.”
Why Are You Still Single?
Now that you’ve looked through the most common reasons you’re still single, which one stood out for you as the best fit? And what will you do today to improve your chances of meeting someone wonderful?
Make it your goal to cultivate the best conditions for meeting the kind of person you’d want to spend more time with.
- Join a book club.
- Spend more time interacting in a favorite social media group.
- Sign up for “Events and Adventures.”
- Volunteer to serve people in your community or another one.
- Take a part-time job that involves customer service.
Whatever you do, don’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing and wait for it to finally work. Your time is precious — and the same goes for the person you want to meet.