If you are a woman and you have been single for a while, you might have avoided a few gatherings, in case, once again, someone would put you on the spot about your singleness and make you feel uncomfortable or less than.
After you read this article, that won’t happen again.
Because this discomfort, this shame you experience, comes from this one and only assumption:
I am a single woman = something is wrong with me.
And this is not true. This is a thought error.
And your friends who met a partner are not having absolutely everything right about them.
They are not necessarily the best at relationships either.
They are not even in a place to give you dating advices.
They just met someone and it worked for them, period.
Let me be clear, I am not saying you shouldn’t want a relationship and try to meet new people. I am not saying you should renounce it. I would always encourage you to go for what your heart desires, and who doesn’t desire love and partnership?
But what would happen if you would keep your yearning for a romantic relationship knowing there’s actually nothing wrong with you?
I am telling you: joy, freedom, and openness.
I know, we live in a society that is more on the single-shaming side. At least for women. And I want to give you some tools to reflect on all those moments when you are pointed at like you are the one with a defect.
But first imagine what your life would be like if you never thought, “What’s wrong with me? Why not me?”
If you would pause the things you hate doing but you do in order to fix “that thing that stopped you from finding a partner.” Like dating online or torturing your body with excessive gym and diets.
Count the money you would save, all this money you spend on compensating for your “not good at love” disease. Yes, I am talking about your money because this is the number one reason why there will always be articles, TV programs, dating sites, or the cosmetic industry encouraging you to believe you have an expiry date on the top of your head and you need to be in a relationship for you to stop having something wrong with you. It’s to have your money.
And it’s easier to shame single women instead of single men because we already have a history of having to be chosen in order to survive. If not us, our mother, if not our mother, our grandmother or great grandmother. It’s not that far.
Scientists have shown that trauma may leave a mark on a person’s genes, which can then be passed down to future generations.
Now that we are clear on that, I will give you my take on those moments when someone says something inappropriate that makes your heart sink. These are suggestions that worked for me and my clients. Feel free to contemplate them, adopt them, reject them, or be creative.
1. The dumb question, “Why are you single?”
Isn’t it amazing how it’s okay to ask such an intimate question to you and it’s totally inappropriate to ask about the intimacy of a couple.
A relationship has been put so much on the pedestal that it benefits from “inappropriate question immunity.”
First, I would say never reply to that question when you don’t want to. Never. And if you find silence awkward, you can always ask a question back:
>> Why are you asking? Is always good because they will have to justify why they ask.
>> Did you really ask me why am I single? Is already indicating that it’s not okay.
>> Do you think this question is appropriate? Is a good one too.
Another question you can ask:
>> Why are you in a relationship?
Once, I felt the person asking me if I was single was rude and asked:
How is your sexual life?
After I asked this, this person froze. I added, “You just met me and this question was so inappropriate.”
As a power and sexuality coach, I know sexless relationships are numerous and a lot of single people have more sex than some partnered people. It’s not a competition, but just to give a bit of perspective and break the myth of partnered = happy all good, single = sad.
You can customize those answers for the other dumb questions: “Are you dating?” Or, “How is your dating life?”
2. Your friends introduce you to a friend, you don’t like him/her, and they say, “You are too picky.”
This one needs you to educate your friends a bit.
First, single and desperate are too different things. Second, remember, single isn’t a problem to be fixed urgently—you have a life.
Being single doesn’t mean you will feel attracted to someone. And no, you don’t have to “try” to know; you know—you are the only one who knows how you feel.
If you feel the education bit will fly with the wind, you can directly go to:
So, you were not picky when you chose [enter the name of their partner]?
Usually it ends the conversation. I bet your friend’s love story didn’t start with, “She/he was available, so I had to try.”
3. Online dating
I don’t have data on this, but what I see resulting from online dating with my clients is a lot of damage to how they perceive themselves versus flourishing relationships.
So, I would recommend to do it only if you really enjoy it. For a very simple reason: during the time you are dreading it, you are not enjoying your life.
Again, if you feel obliged to do it, it’s because you think you have a problem to fix.
If you reframe, “I have a problem to fix” or “something is wrong with me” with “ I have a desire for partnership,” you will stop online dating or you will be able to do it without being affected by bad dates.
4. Working on yourself
I am a coach; I encourage you to work on yourself. But not to find your partner. I encourage you to work on yourself to expand, to experience more of your happiness, yes. You are good enough to be loved as you are without doing anything. As good as your friends when they met someone.
I don’t know if you will meet someone sooner or later. What I know is if you feel defective because you are single, it will make your life miserable. And I think it’s a waste of your precious time.
To the people from any industry who would argue you need the right mindset—and more self-love and self-confidence—I would still offer the only mindset necessary here is to get rid of the idea that you haven’t met someone because something is wrong with you. So, let’s clear that now. And building more self-love and self-confidence is great, let’s do it—but they are not prerequisites for you to find love.
Some people have found love being depressed, being successful, when they lost their job, were sick, during celebrations, or during wars. No rules is the only rule.
So for now, I invite you to make an experiment and invite these thoughts into your mind:
“I am single and I want (or not) a romantic relationship and nothing is wrong with me.
I am sometimes happy and sometimes sad. People in relationships are sometimes happy and sometimes sad.
The fact that two people committed to live together just have sex with each others and/or have kids is great. It doesn’t make their life more valuable than mine, their worth higher than mine.
The only difference between me and them is they met someone to have a relationship with, and I didn’t yet.”