The negative stigma around being single does more harm to your mental health than actually being single.
Culture has made "being single" this inevitably negative status to avoid and escape as fast as possible.
The longer you're single, the easier it becomes to assume there's something wrong with you, that you're unlovable, that you're falling behind, etc. Those are natural feelings but they're worsened by this cultural stigma and questions like "why are you single?"
We need to reframe what we think about ourselves and our relationship status.
There’s no getting around the fact that as you progress into your late 20s, 30s and beyond there is 100% a social expectation that you achieve certain milestones.
That pressure is inevitable and nothing I say can remove that from the equation.
But consider something...
Of all the things you might regret in your life, do you think your single years will be one of them?
I write about this a lot and I've talked to countless married couples of all ages, parents, grandparents and older generations. I have NEVER heard anyone say they regret being single.
There are plenty of things they do regret but being single is NEVER one of them.
The regrets I DO hear are staying in toxic relationships, putting up with people who are beneath a standard, NOT taking advantage of being single, and thinking that a relationship is everything in life.
That's literally the opposite of what you might be stressed out about right now, isn't it? I don't blame you. It’s easy to feel you’re falling behind. The odds are stacked against you - social media, friends, family and culture itself has set predetermined timelines for you.
But have you challenged the pressure you feel?
Would you say the following is true about the vision you have for your future partner?
They love themselves. They know what they stand for. They have their values, their dreams and their personality locked down. They have confidence, they walk with their head up and they’ve learned from their past.
Now think about yourself.
To make those things your reality... that person needs to be YOU.
Cliche line: a healthy long lasting relationship needs to be two "whole" people coming together - not two halves coming together, not two people with no sense of identity coming together. It needs to be two people who have put in the work themselves. Individually. Alone.
Right now YOU have that exact opportunity.
For every failed date, relationship that ended or frustrating period of being a single... you are literally building yourself.
Is that incredibly cheesy and overly optimistic? Yep.
Is it true? I sure think so.
Right now you're finding your confidence, you're realizing that some people simply do not deserve you, you're figuring out what your love language really is and you're learning what your attachment style is.
How could this be a time you'll regret?
How could you ever possibly regret being able to do what you want, become who you want and figure out what you want?
There's pressure, yes. There's expectations yes, but do you buy into it? Being single doesn't make you a failure and it doesn't mean you're falling behind.
What do you lack right now? A partner. That’s it.
You’re not broken and there’s nothing to fix. You are single - at this point today - But you’re building your own definition of happiness and fulfilment.
In that sense you might be alone but that doesn't mean you can’t have the most amazing fulfilling and growth oriented years in your life.
Because in the near future you’re going to find someone who's doing the same. You're going to find someone who is working just as you are to become full. And you'll join together. And you’ll avoid all the BS of two halves coming together.
Isn’t that a happy realization?!
The work you’re putting in today is literally going to save you so much emotional and energetic frustration in the future. You’re going to find someone and you’re going to be on the same page. There won’t be any “I'm not looking for a relationship, I don't know what I want, I don’t know how to communicate, etc.”
Wouldn't you agree that sounds amazing? Well, then this time can't possibly be a time you'll regret.
When you make THAT your resolve I think you'll find yourself with a much more positive interpretation of the question "why are you single?" and all the accompanying pressure and expectations.
That is always going to exist but you can choose to not allow it to affect your view of yourself.
This is not a time you'll regret.