If you’ve ever wondered “why am I still single?” this one’s for you.
Not too long ago, being single over the age of thirty was a shameful stigma. This is still true for many parts of the world. My Mother grew up in a different country and in a completely different world than I did. Her story is not mine to tell, but I hope one day she tells it here on the blog. When I was born, my grandmother was in her late thirties; I was lucky enough to know all of my great grandmothers except for one.
Here in Los Angeles, most of my girlfriends don’t get married or have kids until well into their thirties. Many men I know in their forties and fifties are having their first child or they have young kids. In other parts of the country, people get married and have children much younger. I love connecting with all of you around the world and learning about the cultural differences within the big cities and small towns of my own country, as well as others.
As of two years ago, for the very first time, unmarried people in America surpassed married ones by .2%. – making ours the most unmarried generation in recorded human history.
The reasons for this could be anything. Yes, we are collectively waiting longer to marry. Yes, it’s easier now to get a divorce than it was a generation ago. Yes, the online culture has now given us so many choices and distractions, it’s harder than ever to focus on finding “The One.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re someone who really wants to fall in love, get married, and start a family or if you don’t know exactly what you want right now.
Whatever the case may be, we all want meaning, intimacy, and connection. And as time goes by, if we feel like we’re doing all the right things – putting ourselves out there, evolving, improving, and are STILL single…
It’s devastating, it’s confusing, and it’s unfair.
You start to think that you’re just unlucky in love. And you reside in that awful tug-of-war-land-of-limbo where you’re constantly going from having to psych yourself into embracing your single status and not succumbing to the pain of “something missing” – despite being the kind of person and building the kind of life that classifies you as a catch.
So, if you’ve dotted every self-reflective “i,” crossed every relational “t,” are exhausted, and asking yourself “why am I still single?”….
Let’s make some sense of it.
In the past, when I would try to make some sense of the “why am I still single?” question, I ran into a lot of problems.
Because I had failed so many times relationally (and endured a lot of pain, broken trust, and suffering as a result) and because I had built a life that I thought, negated the possibility of ever having to wonder “why am I still single?” …
I felt like I had paid my dues.
I felt like I deserved what seemed to come so easily to everyone else. I had been through so much and now, it was my time and my turn. I deserved it.
As I’ve said before, failure of any kind is not a precursor to success or a sign of anything good to come. Failure feels like you’re living a nightmare. It makes you feel sick, powerless, worthless, hopeless, and suicidal – emotionally, spiritually and in some cases, physically. There’s nothing glamorous about it and it will never be a sign of anything better around the bend.
And as painful as it is, failure is a gift that can take you to heights beyond your wildest dreams. AS LONG AS you view it as what it’s always meant to be: an experience. Failure is an experience that is meant to be felt through and experienced – not diluted and passively avoided so that it can fill your self-fulfilling prophecy of “I’m not enough.”
Failure only becomes a curse when you view it as a definition. And you’ve allowed that false definition of you to spread like a virus into the database of your self-esteem and the hard drive of your relational belief systems.
In trying to make sense of “why am I still single?” most of us assume that our biggest obstacles to love are outside of ourselves and therefore, not really in our control.
And in all of our attempts to find answers, we finally arrive, emotionally and intellectually drained, at some very ignorant conclusions…
- That there really are no good men/women out there.
- That we can’t attract any good ones because we aren’t enough.
- That by now, all the good ones have already been taken anyway.
- That men really don’t like women who are more successful than they are.
- That women are just gold diggers.
- That we’re too old – our time has passed.
- That everyone in our past who hurt us and couldn’t see our worth was must have been right.
- That the only nice men/women out there aren’t attractive (this is the biggest joke of them all and is so much more about the beholder’s distorted vision and low self-esteem than it is ever about the attractiveness of the other person).
And the list goes on.
At some point though, most of us will come to the conclusion that we just haven’t met the right person. So, we put the blame on our careers, our obligations, our creative pursuits, and busy schedules. We do this all while secretly fearing that maybe we’ve never actually been the right person – pointing to our past fake friendships, relationsh*ts, and childhood trauma as evidence that a great relationship just might not be in the cards for us in this lifetime.
Yet, all of these notions have one thing in common: They don’t provide an answer for “why am I still single?”
And they leave us powerless to manifest the loving and fulfilling relationship we desire.
For me, the biggest barriers to finding true love were internal rather than external. It was so much easier to keep thinking that the issue was an external one because then, I didn’t have to focus on the one person I avoided the most: myself. Once these obstacles were identified, it’s not that I was ecstatic being single, it’s that I was okay with where I was in the present moment. There was a sense of calm and an “I got this” kind of peace. The panic was gone. I realized that I had much more control than my fears and insecurities lead me to believe. This is why they always say you find love when you’re not looking, least expecting, and you surrender to what is.
Surrendering isn’t about “giving up the fight.” It’s meeting the universe halfway by making the decision to no longer view it as a fight. It’s making the committed decision to clean up your contradictory side of the street and in turn, start attracting what you exude.
When it comes to “why am I still single?” here are some of the most common internal barriers:
Festering resentments that disable your ability to be attracted to anyone that doesn’t trigger you into validation seeking.
If you’re still struggling with unresolved feelings of hurt and anger, it’s probably for good reason. He did lie to you. She was incredibly selfish. Your Dad did give you conditional love. He was cheating with his ex. You didn’t deserve that. Yet, here’s the thing about resentment: Whenever we find ourselves still ruminating about what happened, we can’t give our pain a purpose and thus, aren’t able to use our pain to help us learn from our mistakes and propel us into dignified action.
Make the decision now to compassionately understand your part – instead of wasting more time trying to empathize with hurtful behavior from sh*tty people.
Bottom line: Look to understand and own your part clearly. That way, you can identify the contradictions that you need to clean up going forward. In doing so, you will begin to trust yourself again, uphold your boundaries, and build unconditional confidence and self-respect (the kind that attracts emotionally available men/women).
Burn/Flush Old Agreements. Literally.
Another one of our biggest internal obstacles in answering “why am I still single?” has to do with the prior agreements we’ve made that are limiting what’s possible for us to manifest relationally. I learned this from The Four Agreements, by: Don Miguel Ruiz.
The agreements you’ve made with yourself serve as intentions that will subconsciously influence your actions and choices for years after you’ve made them.
“He was my soulmate.” “I’ll never love like that again.” “I always get cheated on.” “I’ll never find a replacement.” “His ex really was better than me.” “This happens to me every time.” It wasn’t until I really took some time to think about the agreements I had made that I realized, many stemmed from my parent’s divorce when I was a child. Every weed has a root and that was the root of the weed I kept cutting down my entire life to no avail.
Bottom line: Make a list of all the weeds – the old agreements you’ve made with both yourself, your family, and the people you’ve loved over the years. Next, identify the root. Examine the extent to which that list no longer serves you, rip it up and either flush it down the toilet or throw it in your fireplace/a bonfire (just BE CAREFUL, BE SAFE and do so with caution). The point is to experience the catharsis of physically rejecting these limiting agreements by tearing up the list and then literally, watching it perish.
Turning The T-Shirt Inside Out
Looking back, when I was struggling with an answer to “why am I still single?” I attempted to avoid that question through really bizarre means…
Instead of turning inward, I would continue to date men that on a surface level, were COMPLETELY different from exes of mine or one of my parents. The problem was, I failed to act on the recognition of the red flag common denominators that they shared.
This was just as idiotic as having a t-shirt that didn’t look good on (or even fit) me, turning it inside out, and thinking that it not only fit and looked GREAT… but that it was a totally different shirt.
Bottom line: You’re smarter than this. Being ignorant is one thing, but there is nothing more damaging than knowing better in the moment of not doing better.
The reason we are attracted to potential is that it gives us an opportunity to “show them what we got” and be “good enough” to hopefully turn a turd into a bar of gold.
Potential isn’t sexy. If what’s in front of you has great potential and nothing but confusing, ambiguous mixed signals in the present moment… how is that sexy?
You’re not a project manager for emotionally and relationally confused adults nor are you blind to an inside-out t-shirt. You’re someone who deserves a whole.new.wardrobe. You just have to believe it.
In your current relationships, notice who you’ve been giving your power away to (including that cynical audience in your own head) and begin to set appropriate boundaries. The other party may not like it, but he/she will either exit or adjust – either way, you win.
This is how you build unshakable self-love, which is imperative to attracting a quality partner. When you have a high-quality relationship with yourself, you’ll never settle for relationships that give you any less of the love and respect you are already giving yourself.
+ If you need further and more personalized help, please look into working with me here.
Natasha, everything you wrote is sooo true. The self-limiting stories and the resentment parts are the things I struggle with the most. I’ve been trying to break free from them for a year now, and you’ve just given me the tools I’ll need for that. Thank you for this wonderful life changing post??
So happy it helped!! 🙂 and always grateful for our pain because it brought us together and through that, we turned it into Unf*ckwithable power. BIG love to you sister. xox
Natasha, I loved this, especially #1! I have really taken on the idea of being 100% responsible in the last few weeks. The results have been beyond what I could’ve anticipated: not only have I been actively communicating with family in ways I hadn’t before, but I also ended up calling an ex (who I’d previously cut off) and having a very open, authentic, and amicable conversation where I was finally able to express to him the feelings I’d had for him years before, that I had been too passive and repressed to ever say out loud. He appreciated my honesty, and opened up to me in turn. And I emailed another more recent one (who I’d also cut off, because apparently my M.O. has been to emotionally shut down instead of drawing clear and authentic boundaries) to say that I don’t think he is a terrible person – I just am taking distance and space for myself to process and take care of myself. In both cases, it didn’t feel like I fell of the White Horse – instead, it felt like I was finally taking back my power and riding off with it into the proverbial sunset. Like I was finally FREEING myself from years of suppressed emotions and self-loathing. The point of all this being that taking the time these last few months to understand my part in why my relationships haven’t been fulfilling, has been way more satisfying than wallowing in shame, blaming others, or falling back on old agreements. Love you, Natasha!
WOW!! yes, yes, YES! So happy for and proud of you Mimi 🙂 You did what was right for YOU, in light of having your own back and healthy boundaries.
Thank you for taking the time to share, for inspiring through your existence and vulnerability, and for being a part of this tribe. XOXO
One of your best posts. Honestly, your words have saved me and been an enormous source of comfort over the past year as I have recovered from the end of a relaionsh*t. There are not enough words to thank you. I have learned how to install boundaries with toxic people that no one taught me in my 37 years of life. When I miss him, I read this blog. Thanks again!
YAYYYYYYY 🙂 I am so happy to have helped/help but this was all you, Margot. Truly. There are not enough words to thank YOU for your love, connection, belief in me, and support. So happy for you. XOX
Thank Coleen 🙂 xo
How do you know exactly what I need to hear, exactly when I need to hear it??? “Thank you” will never be enough. I speak for this entire community when I say that we cannot wait for your book. ??
I just have to extend my gratitude. I stumbled upon your website today, and feel as though it must be a gift (you are a gift!) from the universe.
It is difficult to articulate how much your thoughts resonate with me, and how relieved I was to read your advice. I thought I was alone! Your blog was the final, cosmic slap in the face that I needed in order to put myself first, and “fold” as you say.
I was involved with a full grown man child who constantly asked me to be vulnerable, and then consistently proceeded to tell me that it was too intense (intense being- me: ” I’d like to spend more time with you. I miss you.” Him: “I’m really busy”…. Yet, every time I text him he’s with a friend… Am I needy ?….Wait…I literally haven’t seen him in months! Crumbs ). He once pushed me to say “I love you”, then pulled away completely. He has done so many of the heinous things you describe, and I have allowed it. For no good reason, because I’m intelligent, funny, kind, interesting, quirky, and cute AF. You helped me to distinguish between my part in all of this, and what clearly is the shabby behavior of a miserable narcissist.
Thank you. Seriously, you are a sparkling jewel
Being able to help, in any way, facilitate realizations like this is what I live for.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing, for being a part of this tribe, for connecting with me and my pain, and for being all that you are, L.
You are loved, supported, understood, backed, believed in, empathized with, and never, EVER alone. xoxo
I have been a reader for awhile but have never commented. I so needed this today. I have been struggling lately with understanding how am I this amazing but still single?? I live in Missouri, it’s the normal, acceptable thing to get married/have kids right out of high school. I am a mom but I am now 31, never married and feeling like the most unwanted person ever. I go through everything you wrote in my head about the self doubts and how I must not really be that great. Thank you for this post, for your blog. I never realized the men that are my “type” are emotionally unavailable until I found your writings. Now I am trying very hard to work on that quality within myself because I now know I am attracting it! I recognize it so much sooner than I did in the past in people and I have you to thank! I can’t wait for your book! Much love!!
Hi Lyndsea (what a beautiful name – I love the way it’s spelled),
Thank you for taking the time to comment (and for being a long-time reader!) 🙂 I’m so happy that this post served you. I KNOW you can get out of this and learn to be attracted to what’s good for you instead of what triggers you. If I can do it alone, we can do it together. You ARE doing it and will continue to teach people how to treat you through the quality in which you treat yourself.
I cannot WAIT to share the book with you 🙂 Love you too sister. xo
Natasha, I liked your post as usual. But I am not quite sure if I got it right.
I mean, I agree if you’re main point here is that you attract what you are. And I have been firmly conviced of that since my emotionally unavailable ex. After a deep self analysis I figured out he could get to me so easily because of my extremely low self esteem and lack of boundaries that I had plunged into without even knowing it. That is when it truly hit me. You attract the people based on how you are. So this has become a sort of “measure unit” for me. Like, if I attract this emotionally unavailable, then I must have given weird signals to the universe. Maybe I have to wok a little bit more on myself. But still, you know, my question is not “why am I still single?” because I can see that at the end, those I have been dating so far were not good enough for me, but “how do other people get theirs without that much effort?” Why do anybody else seem to find people willing to commit? People who actually want them? I have nobody back even begging me to reconsider my decision of cutting them off. They simply did not care enough. Should I go back to my answer? That it is not their fault but mine because I keep attracting those men that are not willing to commit? And how do I change that? How? Because I am really tired. Really I am. I am tired of trying and failing, over and over again. For different reasons, true. But at the end the only thing I keep thinking is that nobody is going to actually appreciate me and take the time to really know me and fall in love with me.
I am at loss. Sorry for the looooong comment
Love you and support you always lady
I love you too! What you are asking is a different topic than this post is about. However, it gave me a great topic for another post that I will try to write soon 🙂 Thank you so much. You are not alone in this <3 I feel and hear you. XOX
I cannot tell you how on point this was for me to read. I have been going over this very question in my head for the past few weeks. It’s been very difficult because the answers I cane up with were not very positive. I finally resolved that this is the way I’m going to live. Single forever. It’s all based on the fact that I was not enough for any guy. I tied my worth to their opinions and the eventual end of the relationship. I blame myself always even though the men had their share of mistakes. Cheating, drinking, wanting me only when convenient and so on.
You are correct in saying we need to just focus on our side of the street. I have been trying to do that and honestly, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to look at myself but I’m another way it’s necessary and I think a little brave instead of focusing on the guy. We can’t change the past.
I still carry pain like we all do but I can avoid pain a little bit by putting myself in check.
We our own worst critic. I am for sure but I’m going to take these words to heart. This post will travel with me!! It’s going up there on my mirror?
Thank you gorgeous for your words and taking the weight off my heart today.
Love you and I look forward to our visit someday soon.
Be well. ??? ?
I have been there too and am just so glad that this post was helpful 🙂
Yes – I used to do that as well. I would emotionally exhaust myself until I arrived at the conclusion that I simply was not enough and never would be. That is, until I started paying more attention to my own percentage/side of the street – in a PROactive way.
Not in a way to affirm the painful and self-sabotaging, contradictory belief system I had adopted.
It IS hard to do but it pays OFF. And I believe in and am so proud of you sister.
I cannot wait for that visit 🙂 Love you endlessly.
Your love, presence, and comments always mean so much to me, Linda. XOX
I have been an avid reader of your posts, and always suggest this page to my girl friends if they are struggling. I just got out of an on-again-off-again relationship with a guy and it scares me being single again. I believe he was a good guy, but because of the pain I carried from my past relationships I projected my insecurities and fears on to him. It got to the point where it became toxic cycle that he and I both contributed to. It’s scary knowing that I have to go back out there, because until him I had a history of choosing guys who would trigger me. But, I also know I am not the same person anymore, and I do not have to carry my past as a safety blanket anymore. This post reminded me of the importance of self reflection, and that I need to handle my pain in a more productive way. So thank you for your words <3
Thank you <3 Besides your happiness, success, and peace, sharing the blog with your girlfriends is the best gift you could ever give me. I'm so happy that this post was helpful.
I have been there and you are never alone. All my love to you soul sis. XOX
This blog literally saved my life. It’s like you know what’s going on in my head and heart.
Can’t wait for your book Natasha.
I am so happy and honored to help. You are never alone. XOXO
This is one of my favorite posts because I’ve been asking myself this question lately and it tends to make me feel blue. I’m guilty of coming up with 7/8 off those conclusions. However, after finishing this post I feel more hopeful, more empowered, and knowing I need to love myself more. While I know it won’t all happen overnight I’m going to make a consistent effort to put into practice what you wrote about because you’ve been right about everything else so far. I love you and your blog so much, they’ve completely transformed my life.
Also, I’m so excited for your book to come out! xoxo
I am a single man born in the wrong time zone, and it was just too very bad that i wasn’t born in the past since i definitely would’ve met a good woman and be all settled down as well. Women today are very difficult to meet, unlike the past it really was a lot easier back then. And i know friends that are having it very tough as well trying to find love today.