Do you ever feel like everyone in your life is already in a relationship except you? Do you find yourself wondering why you still haven’t found that special someone despite being such a good catch?
There are a lot of reasons why some people stay single. You may be attractive, successful, charming, or financially well-off and still struggle to settle down because of certain circumstances in your life that keep you from finding the right person for you.
With that said, here are 6 of the most common reasons why some people stay single:
1. You Don’t Have a Sense of Identity
One of the most common reasons why some people find it so hard to find a partner and make their relationships last is because they don’t know themselves well enough yet. If you’re still unsure of who you are or what you want in life, it’ll be harder for you to know what you want in a partner.
Some people search for love as a way to fill the emptiness they feel inside of themselves, mistakenly believing that being in a relationship will make them whole. But the truth is, you can be in a relationship and still feel lonely, because that emptiness you are struggling with is likely due to being disconnected and isolated from yourself, not from others. Renowned psychologist Erik Erikson even believed that without a secure sense of identity, it would be extremely difficult to form a healthy relationship with someone else (Eirkson, 1981).
2. You Have Unrealistic Standards
Knowing your own worth and respecting yourself enough not to settle for less than what you deserve is definitely a good thing. However, you should be careful not to set the bar too high for anyone to climb. If you’ve been searching for that special someone for a long time now and no one has even come close, there’s a possibility that your idea of a perfect partner simply doesn’t exist.
The truth is, nobody is going to have all the same interests and passions as you, or immediately know what to do or how to act around you. Movies and books can often give us unrealistic expectations about love and romance. Seeing all those perfect relationships online may also be making it hard for you to settle down. On the surface, everything seems great and effortlessly easy, but in reality, it takes a lot of dedication from both parties to make a relationship work.
With that said, you should take the time to re-evaluate your standards and figure out whether you are asking too much from your potential partners, and if so, set your expectations more realistically.
3. You’re Still Heart Broken
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised with how many people still struggle to understand that you can’t start dating someone new when you’re still hung up on your ex. You might think that getting over someone means finding a replacement for them, but rushing into things is never a good idea. This is why rebound relationships don’t often work out.
No matter how much time has passed — whether it’s been weeks, months, or even years — you shouldn’t be looking for a new partner yet if you’re still nursing a broken heart from your last failed romance. Instead, allow yourself all the time you need to heal and truly let that person go. It may do you some good to get comfortable with being single for a while before you put your heart on the line again. After all, studies have shown that recovering from a breakup can lead to tremendous self-growth and improved quality of life (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
4. You Don’t Have the Time to Date
Another reason why you might be struggling in your search for romance is that you are simply too busy to be dating right now. Whether it’s your career, your academics, or your personal life taking up a lot of your time, it can be hard for you to find someone when you’re preoccupied with so many other things at the moment.
It’s perfectly fine if being in a relationship is not one of your top priorities right now, especially if you’re still young. Nonetheless, if you’re really serious about wanting to settle down with someone already, then you should make a few adjustments to your schedule. Don’t pour all your time into your work or school, and set aside some time for yourself and your social life. After all, who wants to be with someone who never has any time for them, anyway?
5. You’re Afraid of Commitment
According to Robert Sternberg’s famous “Triarchic Theory of Love”, commitment and intimacy are fundamental elements of a lasting relationship, along with passion (Sternberg, 1986). Perhaps the reason why you’re still single right now is because you only want the thrill and excitement of new love and don’t think you’re ready to be in a serious relationship quite yet.
It’s okay to be afraid of commitment, but you need to understand why. Is it because you’re scared to be vulnerable and open yourself up to others? Or is it because you don’t want to feel trapped in a relationship with someone else? Are you afraid of rejection and abandonment, so you leave to deny other people the chance to leave you? Or do you simply not believe that a relationship is meant to last?
Until you figure yourself out first and understand why it is you’re so afraid of commitment, you will only continue to drive people away and never move forward from the courtship stage of dating.
6. You’re Single by Choice
Finally, of course, the reason why you’re still single may be because you want to be. Maybe you value your independence and don’t want to be tied down yet. Maybe you want to focus on other aspects of your life first. Maybe you’re still sorting out your own issues and trying to navigate your way through life. That’s okay.
Whatever your reason may be, it’s good to be honest with yourself about what it is you want and don’t want. You don’t need a relationship to be happy. Take everything at your own pace. As long as you make sure that this is really what you think is best for you right now, then by all means, enjoy your life being single.
In the end, a relationship is a want and not a need, and you should want it for the right reasons. If you want someone to save you or take care of you, or you’re not happy with yourself and your life, rushing into a relationship is not the answer. On the other hand, if you’re too busy with your career, still pining over someone else, or dating too aggressively, you won’t attract the right kind of people.
Once you understand why it is you’re still single and what you can do about it, only then you can start to connect better with other people. This makes it easier for you to find someone who’s a good match for you, fall in love with them, and make your relationship last.
- Erikson, E., & Erikson, J. (1981). On generativity and identity: From a conversation with Erik and Joan Erikson. Harvard Educational Review, 51(2), 249-269.
- Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction (Vol. 55, No. 1, p. 5). American Psychological Association.
- Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological review, 93(2), 119.