Okay, so we’ve seen the lists about things single people are tired of hearing. But let’s actually have a real look at the reasons why they’re still single.
One of the most interesting things about those articles like 24 Things Single People Are Tired Of Hearing to me isn’t necessarily the content of the articles. Sure, as a single guy, I’ve heard all of those things before. But for me, the more interesting thing is what happens in the comments section.
Comments on the internet are an amazing thing to witness. When comments are tied down to social media or needing an account where you personally identify yourself, they are usually statements of agreement, or tags of other people they know who have shared the same experience. But when they’re written in an anonymous setting, they can be downright ugly honest. They will usually list a lot of other things they’re tired of hearing, as well as describing how they’re going to slowly murder the next person who says any of them.
But what it really shows me is that singleness is something that people avidly want to talk about, especially when you’re single. My last post about some of my Observations as a Third Wheel got a pretty significant response to this end (in person at least).
And it got me thinking about why these statements affect people so much, and why people hate hearing them.
It’s because there are some real reasons why single people are still single.
So I thought I’d take a realistic look at some of these. And disclaimer, don’t get mad at me, this is written by a single guy, but I’m not afraid to have an honest look at our plight.
#1: Because we want to stay single
I’ll just get this one out of the way at the offset. Some people have no desire to get married. And so that’s why they’re still single. Just thought I’d address that point first.
But if you’re reading this, you’re probably the type of person who doesn’t want to stay single (or one of their friends).
#2: Because marriage isn’t as culturally significant any more
I’m not a big fan of the high divorce rates plaguing Western countries. Anyone who has experienced divorce or seen it happen knows what a painful experience that can be for everybody. And so I was encouraged to hear the divorce rates are going down.
But one observer I heard said that this is because the marriage rate is also going down.
Which seems to be the case. Not only are people getting married later in life, they’re often skipping out on it completely.
Not only that, the traditional model of “male as breadwinner and female as look after the kids” is not as normal any more. Women are more and more empowered and encouraged to seek employment and develop their career, and the idea of “settling down” to both men and women isn’t a very attractive proposition. Forming your own family isn’t as important an idea for men or women, and it is increasingly common for people to be career-driven above the desire to “find somebody”.
This is not necessarily a criticism of what has happened in our society, but it is an important observation to make.
#3: Because we don’t have as many pro-marriage/pro-relationship examples any more
Moreover from the previous point, because there are less people getting married, and more divorces, and more career-driven “don’t got no time for a love life” we don’t always have as many people pushing us in the relational direction. Even back as far as 20 or 30 years, there were much larger numbers of parents pushing their kids towards finding the right man or woman, or settling down and finding someone.
And sure, that still happens today, it’s just a little less common.
We’re also not as quick (as a society) to point to examples of couples we would like to be like. Instead, our tabloids are flooded with famous celebrities who are up to marriage number 3 or 4, with 5 or 6 lovers on the side. It doesn’t always inspire a civilization to move in this direction together.
#4: Because maybe we are too picky or fussy
Woah woah woah. Before you skip this one, let’s give some credence to what some people external to our lives have said.
I was very taken back to think about a comment I watched in a relationship seminar a few years ago, and it was this:
Being single is a choice
After everyone in the room stopped secretly wishing death on the speaker, they followed it up and asked “How many people here have had the opportunity to be in a relationship with somebody?”. Most people raised their hands. The speaker said, “Exactly. There was a person or people who you could have dated or married, but you chose not to.”
This is a really fair point, and probably why it looks on the outside like maybe we are too picky or fussy. The reasons that we didn’t follow through on the relationship opportunities we have been presented with may be completely justified or they may have been completely wrong. Either way, this is a fair point to consider.
#5: Because we haven’t made a move yet
If you prolong the wait, you might not get the date. A lot of people are still single because they honestly haven’t made a move regarding a person they are interested in.
For guys, it usually means they haven’t asked them out yet when they’re interested. Perhaps they’re still umm-ing or ahh-ing, or maybe they’ve written themselves off and don’t think they have a chance with the lady in question.
For girls, and this is opening a real can of worms, it’s not knowing how to go about communicating interest. Do you just sit around waiting all day for him to make a move, or is it okay for a lady to initiate a dating relationship? I think the traditional advice to women has been “put yourself in his way”, by being places he’s at and being interested in the things he’s interested in or by speaking encouragement into his life, but sometimes people aren’t even doing that.
In the words of We Bought a Zoo (big fan) – all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage.
People can’t hear your diary. They don’t know the secret longings, or even the fleeting interest, that you may have in them.
#6: Cause there really is such thing as getting lucky in love
P is interested in T. P has been interested in T for quite a while after hanging out with them quite a bit. P has not done anything to communicate with T. But one night, that changes.
Meanwhile, T has been on a few dates with A, D and M. T isn’t sure about D or M, and kind of liked A, but A is non-committal. While this has been happening, T has had some family problems come up and some challenges to her finances that have thrown things into uncertainty.
Into this environment, P finally expresses interest in T. T isn’t sure what to do and so says no. A while later, T reconsiders the offer after getting some things sorted out, but P has given up waiting and is now engaged to D’s brother. And now A has worked out what he wants. But T kind of now likes D a lot more.
…You get the point.
The timings and the circumstances of people’s emotional wellbeing and decision making are all over the place. Rarely are we ever on the same page at the same time. And so people say that you really do get lucky in love. To find a point in time where you and another are mutually interested and willing to give it a shot and not detracted by others and work out that this is a good decision based on both of your criteria and you’ve prayed about it and gotten good advice and and and and…. so many variables.
The beauty of two falling in love really has the appearance of chance. Cupid’s gambling table. When the dice both happen to fall together at just the right moment.
And that dance is hard and can take time.
This is probably one of the main reasons why most singles hate their married friends saying all those statement we hate. It’s because they found each other at a timing that was right for both of them, and it’s very easy for them to judge you when they haven’t fallen right for you yet.
#7: Because we’ve been hurt before
To be honest with you, this is the main thing I wanted to write about. This was the point I wanted to get to this whole article.
Because there are so many hearts that are still broken in our world today.
And sure, you may be single. But your heart is still spoken for. It may have been a few days, a few weeks, maybe a few months since something went wrong for you. It could have even been years and years of agonizing over an ex or a former lover that got married to someone else or an unrequited love that you just haven’t been able to get past in your life.
And every potential relationship decision you face from this point on is filtered through the one that got away.
That’s why it hurts so much when people suggest reasons to you that you’re single. It’s because you’re tired of them pressing the button that reminds you every single time of your hurt. You know why you’re still single but you haven’t faced it.
When Jesus was asked about whether or not it’s better for people to be married, He said that not everyone would be able to accept that statement. He pointed out that some have no desire to, some decide to remain single to pursue righteous purposes, and others He said “are made that way by other people”. Even Jesus admits that heartbreak may prevent people from pursuing relationship, and learning to love again.
They say time heals all wounds. I would like to argue that it doesn’t on its own. A wound untreated will fester and cause infection. Yes it needs time, but it also needs treatment.
Maybe it’s time to treat an old wound you have left unaddressed in your life. What does that look like?
Is there still a possibility of you getting together? If there is, have you done something about it? It could be a failure to either pursue or respond on your part, or perhaps a harsh word that needs correcting. If you have done everything you can and the person will not change their mind or is already spoken for, it may be time to let that future die.
That process isn’t always easy. It can take a while. It can take a lot of time in worship or prayer, seeking God’s healing in your heart. It can take talking to friends. It can take an awkward conversation to set things right.
But you don’t have to carry a broken heart around with you your whole life. And it shouldn’t be the reason that prevents something great from happening.
I’m wrapping things up a bit differently this time and would like to share one of my favourite covers in recent memory. Ironically this blog will be going live on Wednesday night so it’s kind of fitting.
So that’s it for this time around. What are some other real reasons why single people are still single?
Don’t forget you can follow Walking The Shoreline on Facebook, and liking/sharing/subscribing goes a long way to helping me continue to write these blogs and talk about things that people want to talk about.
May your heart find rest and healing wherever you find yourself.