Being Single is a choice. It took me a long time to accept that truth, but it is indeed truth. And more and more Americans are choosing to remain single (meaning unwed), forever.
According to a 2014 Pew Report, more than half of the adult population of the country is single. That could be due to divorce, widow/widower, or just not married yet, but the number is the highest it has ever been. Add in racial demographics, for example, African American women with a college degree or higher and the number of single women sky rockets to over 65% or more. It is the same for white and Hispanic women too. The more education a woman has. The less likely she is to get married.
Even more interesting, is that tens of millions of Americans over the age of 40 have never married or had children in their lifetime. This is a new phenomenon that started with GenXers (my generation born between 1964-1977). We are the children of the Baby Boomers. The most divorced generation in the history of America. So, I am not surprised that many of us are reluctant takers when it comes to love, marriage and commitment. I am one of that statistic, and although I wanted to be married and have a good size family, it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. My goal in this article is to help single people who want to be married or “coupled” get there. In order to start we have to dissect some of the reasons we do not have the love and connection we seek as singles. I think the path to wedded bliss lies in understanding why we have made the decision (conscious or unconscious) to remain single.
On Valentines Day there is no worse day to be a single woman. It is, of course, the day that roses, stuffed animals, balloons, chocolates, diamonds and flowers fill our offices, college dorm rooms, and homes. For the single woman, of any age, it can be very disheartening to watch all of your friends be bathed in such love, while you are still on your own. Every woman loves flowers. Every woman loves to be adored. Every woman loves to scream and giggle with her girlfriends as she shows off her new engagement ring. It’s what we do as girls. It’s our tribal ritual. It’s how we celebrate each other. But deep down inside every woman dreads forever being a “Bridesmaid” but never being a “Bride”.
Here are 10 reasons that I know have kept me single for way too long. I am still a work in progress, but if you can work through these issues in your 20’s, and 30’s, you can have the love you seek in your 40’s and beyond.
- Choice. Love. Coupling. It’s a choice. Whether conscious or not, we choose to be alone. Or coupled. Make love a priority. Make time for love. Make time to date. Make love a choice versus it being low on the priority list.
- Standards/Your Values: I am a Christian. I am celibate by choice (because it’s what my faith demands). It’s not an easy walk in a dating world where sex on day #1 is expected, but I walk it. It’s not being “stuck-up”. Or “High maintenance.” It means I want to be with someone who actually likes me. Wants to know me. Wants to talk to me. And yes, court me. And I want to give the same. I am not interested in being a side-chick, jump off or worse. I have a standard.
- Daddy Issues (or Mommy issues): If you have not healed your inner child. You will have a hard time loving and connecting with others. All of us has issues. But, core breakdowns in your first relationship with your father (for girls) and your mother (for boys) can wound us for life if we do not get help and work it out. Find the courage to get help. Get beyond your past. And make peace with it.
- Come Out of the House: Ladies being in a bathrobe, sweats or PJ’s and watching Scandal re-runs with your wine and popcorn is not going to bring Fitz or Jake to your door. You must come out. Stop staying in alone or hanging with your single girls at slumber parties, book clubs, etc. You have to dress up. Smell good. Look good. Be in good physical shape. And lighten-up. Laugh. Dance. Explore. And be seen for men to ask you out.
- Social Media-Online Dating Not for Me. Relationship by text is not for me. Relationship by iphone, ipad or website is not for me. I am simply old fashioned. I accept it. I am a woman of my time. I remember when men sent flowers, took you to dinner, asked you on a date, held your hand, kissed your cheek, won your attention, met your dad, respected your virtue. etc. Dating and courtship was this way for thousands of years in every culture. Now, we are in some kind of alternative facts dating reality. And many of us simply do not like the game, so we refuse to play it.
- Nursing Past Hurts Too Long: This one is where I lost a good decade of my life when I look back. We fall in love. We trust. In my case someone died suddenly. I was stuck in grief. Then you love again, and you get hurt by a truly unkind person, who breaks your tender heart in two and you just park in the parking lot of hurt. You lick your wounds. You stay stuck. And you don’t know how to get up from the hurt.
- Being Afraid to Risk Again: See #5 once we park in hurt, we often lose our courage to love again. To get back out there. We rest in our own company. We build walls and we gate ourselves IN. Never risking for love again. And we miss the blessings of new people, new loves, and maybe even the love of our lives. You have to risk if you want to be in love. Period.
- Dealing with Boys and Broken Birds: I wasted many years of my life putting “boys” back together and trying to make men out of them. Instead of dealing with whole men who wanted a whole woman. My men friends helped me get out of this trap. They taught me to stop dealing with boys who want you to fix them, build them, make them shine only to drop you for Barbie on the runway. These are not men, these are males masquerading as men. They look like men. But they are insecure, wounded, mostly mama boys who have been ruined by women who tolerate their antics and then make excuses for them. Leave these guys alone.
- Not forgiving yourself or others: You must forgive yourself for making bad choices in dating. And you must forgive those who hurt, rejected or used you in dating. Forgiveness brings the chance to love again.
- Get rid of your checklist: This one is huge. The check list is a trap. Throw it out. Open your heart. Dare to connect with someone older, younger, of a different race. Far away. Nearby. The only check list that matters is #2 never compromise your standards or values. Honor them and sooner or later your true love will manifest.