When you’ve been dating for a while, and I mean seriously dating, like actively trying to find someone to spend your life with, you inevitably start looking inward. Or at least hopefully you do. Because when things don’t work out for so many years, with so many guys, you start to wonder; What’s wrong? Am I doing something wrong? Should I be doing something differently.
It starts with small, stupid things. The external things. (And you might think they’re dumb, but you’re lying to yourself if you’ve never thought something like this). Should I change my go to first date outfit? Are Saturday night first dates always going to end in one and dones? Are my black boots cursed? Should I join a prayer circle? And then hopefully you graduate to something a little more introspective. Of course, there are those people out there who could use a bit of self reflection, but I like to think, at least from my own experiences with my friends and guys I’ve dated, there comes a point when you take pause, look inward, and start to wonder if maybe you’re supposed to be doing something differently.
Should I be downloading apps? Should I be more open to people’s suggestions? Should I start saying yes more often or maybe stop saying yes so often? Should I give him another chance? Am I sharing how I feel? Do I know what I want? Did I already date the right person and not give him a fair shot? Am I doing everything I should be doing, and I just haven’t found the right person yet? Should I stop writing about my dating life online? 😉 Kidding.
And hopefully, if there’s something you think you can change–something you think might help–you try a new angle. But honestly, downloading an app, or being more open minded–doesn’t always get you more dates or make your dating life better. You can work on yourself, and sit through weekly therapy sessions, and get a new job, and be your happiest self, and still not find the right person. That’s life. That’s how it goes sometimes.
Which is why asking someone why they’re still single might seem benign, even complimentary, but really it’s just crushing. I know where the question is coming from. Maybe you think I’m great, and you really don’t get why I’m still single. But behind that thought is an implication that I must be doing something wrong. Behind the question is an assumption that I’m not doing everything I can. I’m not putting myself out there enough, not looking inward enough, not giving people enough of a chance. And the odd thing about the question, is that I don’t think the person asking realizes how many times I’ve asked myself the very same question. I promise you I think about it a thousand times more than you do. I’ve dissected every possibility in my head a hundred times, I’ve run through it with my therapist on a weekly basis. Your question isn’t novel or enlightening. It’s honestly kind of frustrating.
Because for anyone who’s been dating for a long time; for anyone who’s dated 100 people and goes out every night, or for anyone who waits every week for just one person to call with a name, it is heart wrenching when people question whether you are trying hard enough. And maybe I’m being too kind to my friends and my peers, but I really do believe that you get to a point in your dating life where you do some sort of introspection. Where you ask yourself; why am I not married? Why am I not in a relationship? Why haven’t I found what I’m looking for?
Because I’m trying. I’m putting myself out there. I’m opening myself up. I’m sharing my feelings. I’m trusting my gut. Do I ever doubt myself? Sure. But that doesn’t mean I think I’m doing this wrong. It doesn’t mean I think I’m single because I need someone to change the way I’m doing things. Advice, and help, and guidance is amazing. But sometimes I just I wish someone would validate my feelings. Sometimes I wish people would acknowledge how much this question consumes me, consumes my friends. How much we’ve questioned ourselves and tried to make changes. How hard it is to get to a place where you’re comfortable in your own skin, because everyone’s trying to tell you to be someone else. Sometimes it would be nice if someone would say, “I totally get it. This is hard. This is frustrating, but it’s awesome that you put yourself out there. You just haven’t found the right person yet.”
Of course I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I can speak for myself. I don’t think I’m doing something wrong. I truly hope I’m not. And if I am, well, this here blog post will be one SUPER awkward cold take for everyone to point to. So, you’re welcome. Here’s hoping you never have to use it against me.