Being single gets a bad rap. Far too many people think of it as temporary pit stop on the road to being properly coupled up. But for plenty of us -- especially those who are divorced or moving on from a long-term relationship -- being single isn't just a relationship status, it's a choice we willfully make.
That's why we sat up and took notice when a conversation broke out on Reddit Monday asking people to explain why they're single. The responses were as varied and complex as you'd think. Taking a page from that thread, we decided to ask our readers on Facebook and Twitter the same question. Below, we've rounded up some of the most interesting responses.
1. "I'm single because I'm not going to settle. I haven't found a mate who has captured my imagination and is fully his own person."
2. "I'm single because it's a choice and because I don't need someone to validate that I'm an amazing, caring, beautiful woman."
3. "I find it hard to imagine there's a man out there who's mature and awesome enough to take on me and my four kids. He'd have to have a big heart. My focus right now is to raise my kids as best I can and work to pay our bills. I'm not averse to meeting someone who is worth it, I just don't have the time or energy to look for him at the expense of my kids or my job."
4. "I need to work on myself more before I can actively look for a partner. I'm not going to establish high standards for someone else and not for myself."
5. "I realized I have a pattern of loving emotionally unavailable men so I've hit pause."
6. "I've yet to meet a woman who has made me think, 'Wow, being with them would be better than being single.'"
7. "Because I have everything I need to be happy and whole with myself."
8. "Honestly, I am just too lazy. Relationships take effort. I don't try to call, text, or any of that. I've started talking to guys, but realized that it required more time than I wanted to put forth and then I just stop responding."
9. "People as individuals are wonderful in small doses, but I wouldn't want anyone around me all the time."
10. "I just haven't met the right one yet and I'm not willing to play the 'I have a man although he isn't worth diddley' game."
11. "Gosh, there are too many reasons to count. I will tell say this, though: I would never consider marriage again unless he was my very best friend first. Otherwise, I'm good being on my own."
12. "I know now what I didn't know then. I'm more selective. For the time being, I'm focusing on me and growing spiritually, emotionally, mentally. I'm not planning to be single forever, but I'm not rushing or forcing it, either."
13. "Every person I meet or date is still a boy. It's hard to find someone with relationship experience they've actually learned from. It's even harder to find people who know what they want and who won't run away when life throws them a curveball."
14. "There's just been too many disappointments in my love life. I'm beautiful, smart, and most importantly, happy being single."
15. "Why am I single? Because I have this fear of letting a man in, watching my daughter grow attached to him, and then having the relationship fail. My daughter does not need to feel the pain of having more than one man abandon us. So, in short, I'm single because of my my kid."
16. "I want control over my own life and money. Being single means I don't have to explain what I buy or how I spend my time."
17. "I find it hard to be happy alone. If I cant be happy alone, I know I'll never be happy in a relationship."