Every time I get questions from the readers or podcast listeners, there’s always one question that’s guaranteed to be there, “Why are you still single?” Which I always jokingly equate to, “What’s wrong with you?”
In 2016, I wrote an article called “5 Reasons Why I’m Still Single”. I was 29.
Let’s have my 32-year-old self give it a revamp, shall we?
*Bonus: I can then refer anyone who asks that to this page and save myself lots of time. Hi, People I’ve Referred to This Page. Hope you’re having a good one.
If you’d like to read 2016 me talking about why she was single, check it out here. Still some solid thoughts in there. Otherwise, let’s dive in.
The 5 Reasons I Was Single in 2016
- I haven’t met the right person yet.
- I’m in no rush and have no interest in settling.
- I prefer to avoid unnecessary drama.
- I decided to focus on myself for the time being.
- Because I’m supposed to be, until I’m not.
All in all, still some valid and general reasons.
I think my perspective has shifted in a big way since that first post. I sense some fear in there with maybe just a sprinkle of overly logical reasoning being applied to something that requires an equivalent emotional approach to be effective.
Even that sentence was overly logical. I can’t help myself.
I remember my state of my mind at that time. My guard was up in full force and I was so concerned with the changes I needed to make in my work and my self that I was nervous about the concept of allowing someone in to rock the boat on my already turbulent sea of evolution.
I was subconsciously very resistant to a relationship. That can’t have helped the cause, am I right?
Honestly, the question of why any of us remains single for any extended period of time could be as simple as my statements above…or infinite in ways we wouldn’t even want to begin to start listing.
Holy introspection, Batman. Let’s not get lost down that rabbit hole.
So, let’s change the question to something more interesting: Instead of, “Why Are You Still Single?”, the question can become, “What Are You Really Looking For?”
Something we’d all do well to ask ourselves when it comes to relationships and, hey, just in our lives in general. Might as well move forward without a blindfold on, ya know?
Now, this question of what we’re looking for is most often boiled down to the “classic” items for the ease of a quick answer and to sound normal.
“I’m just looking for someone nice, funny, honest, kind, and that I think is super hot.”
Yeah, buddy. Who isn’t? They’re definitely true (laughter and kindness score high with me), but they’re also just the beginning.
What I’m Really Looking For
- I’m looking for meaningful interactions and communication.
I feel more alive and satisfied when I’m getting to know someone on a deeper level, through honest conversations, fun experiences, weird experiences, boring experiences, and all the rest. It’s the connection that makes everything worthwhile. Not everyone wants to go there.
Whether with the people in our lives or what we choose to spend our lives doing, if there is no real meaning or depth, we’ll always wonder why we never feel truly satisfied and constantly find ourselves looking for distraction and placeholder interactions.
Which we all do. If I had a nickle for every person laying in bed right now, eyes glazed over, bored-swiping through Bumble, I’d buy Bumble myself and profit off of our mass distraction.
I’d also buy an Italian espresso machine. But, that’s neither here nor there.
- I’m looking for someone that’s as excited about me as I am about them.
So many relationships seem to be built on one person being more into it than the other one or willing to put in more effort than the other just to hold the thing together. Not ideal in the long run, yeah?
Being excited to spend time with someone goes a long way. This includes the regular nights hanging out in sweatpants to the dressed-up nights out. The sexual attraction. The moments when you’re both hangry, but trying to hold it together. Ya know. The fun stuff.
Maybe this could also be “I’m looking for someone that’s as appreciative of me as I am of them.” That’s a fun way to put it. Someone write that down.
- I’m looking for passion.
Not just the sexy time kind (that’s a given). I mean I’m attracted to people that have a real passion for something in their lives. You probably are, too. Look at the way a person’s eyes light up when they’re excitedly telling you about something they’re into. It’s gotta make ‘em at least 30% hotter.
Whether it’s their work or a hobby that they always make time for or maybe even just some sort of beautiful outlook on life. It’s all passion. Having an outside passion is necessary to maintaining a sense of self in a relationship and I think it plays a solid part in the maintenance of attraction.
Other things that maintain attraction: small shows of affection and smelling good. Dior Sauvage literally awakens primal instincts in me that require control. But, scents are subjective. Find out what your lady likes.
- I’m looking for someone that I can support and that will support me.
Partners, baby. In a very genuine way that’s not meant to limit their potential, but to help encourage it. And vice versa.
This one plays into the desire that we all have to feel needed and wanted. You gain just as much, if not more sometimes, from supporting someone as you do from feeling supported. It’s good to not focus on ourselves 24 hours a day.
Until you find your person, maybe get a dog. Maybe a parakeet. Maybe a houseplant. Anything that gives you the chance to take care of something that’s not yourself. I have a dog and a cactus. The dog is doing well.
- I’m looking for peace of mind.
No unnecessary drama to go through because the line of communication is solid and our minds are decently mature. No playing games because of insecurities. Just the person I can be at ease around with no judgment. Deep sigh, am I right?
I was listening to Dr. Phil’s podcast with The Jonas Brothers yesterday (stay with me here) and the brothers were asking for advice on how to deal with the potential issues that could arise from them getting back together as a band. As part of his response, Dr. Phil brought up the fact that he’s been married for 42 years and one main reason why this has been possible is because, while they can disagree and make mistakes, they’ve agreed that:
“The relationship will never be the stakes for which we are playing.”
What a great way to put it. So many relationships these days (friends, family, dating, etc.) are based on the fact that one argument can end it all.
They hit a little turbulence, immediately think it’s time to start heading for the emergency exit, and are readying their parachute along the way.
I’d prefer to keep my seat belt on and order another glass of wine to make it through the high winds once I’m settled on that plane, know what I mean?
Another great point was made on “Red Table Talk” (a show hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her mother, and daughter) by their guest, Jay Shetty. He was talking about how he and his wife deal with their disagreements:
“When we are fighting, it’s not me vs. you. It’s us vs. the problem. If we don’t see that we’re a team, whether it’s a problem, person, or situation that we’re versus, then we’re gonna lose every time together. We either win together or lose together.”
Mic drop. That’s lovely.
So, all in all, this mentality just doesn’t have you jumping haphazardly into relationships on the regular.
To some, this is a list that they could easily adopt as the definition of what they’re looking for. To others, it could seem like too much to ask for.
The great part is that you can make your own list. Then, you get to take your list and do the best you can. Flexing when necessary and fortifying when needed.
I think the right person for me will be looking for the same things and we’ll work on maintaining that together. Not in perfection, but learning along the way. You can’t just pick up some “Instant Ideal Relationship” right off a shelf. We gotta have that seed of potential, grab a few ingredients, and then do some cookin’.
One very different thing about this list is that it’s so much less guarded than the last one. It’s focused and open rather than based around holding people at arm’s length.
At the end of the day, you can always take it back to #5. We gotta trust the process.
But, it’s good to toss these ideas around, look at how my priorities have changed over the course of the last 3 years, and have a better idea of what I need to keep my eyes peeled for.
“Keep my eyes peeled for.” What a gross phrase. Who came up with that?
And, more on topic:
What are you really looking for?
If you enjoyed this post, check out a few more, or head straight for the audio and listen to the podcast.