Five Lies People Tell You Why You Are Still Single
When I skimmed through my single years, I had family, friends, colleagues and even cute guy that I met in the bar who would not hesitate to ask me “You are smart, attractive, funny and such a wonderful girl – but why are you still single?”
It’s like I needed to explain to everyone. That if I was not single by choice, I’d better able to come up a diagnosis for the concerned strangers.
Maybe there were many reasons, maybe there were no reasons. My question is, why are even near strangers so often compelled to demand answers?
I am not sure if it’s only happened to me, but I definitely fell into many lies that are directed to single woman all the time.
Something Is Wrong With You
I felt that I had to confront all my issues because there must be something ‘wrong’ with me with still being single.
I scrutinize myself in and out including my own flaws and inadequacies. Maybe I was too needy, or too independent? Too desperate or too picky?
Maybe what I need to do was to develop my confidence, to expand my soul, being financial stable so that nobody would pity me when I told them I am still single.
I traveled the world with friends, had the most fun on my business trip, and walked into parties full of strangers with a confident smile. See how happy I am? How perfectly together I am?
But my love life was still none existed at all.
In the meantime, friends all around me fell in love like there was nothing to it. They found the one, fell in love, got married and had babies.
When my friend called me that she will be engaged with a guy that her parent introduce to her. I felt bad for the sound of insincerity in my voice when I said: “I am so happy for you”. Then I spent 30 minutes wondering why my new date never called back. Suddenly I felt this familiar self-pity that I have for myself – why is it always someone else?
How can that possibly happen? I was the one who read all the books? I was the one who confronts all my issues and fixes them.
I was not sure why but somehow, I believed If I fixed all my issues, fulfilled all the checklist, live my life rich and interesting as possible, I would one day be ready to attract a life partner and be a wonderful wife.
It was like study so hard for the exam, only to see others pass with flying color without any effort.
So instead of saw me as a lovable human being, everyone else including myself saw a girl who was flawed with issues need to be fixed.
Now that I am married, I finally found a man who loves me and you know what? I still have all these issues with me. And he still loves me despite I can be quite cranky and neurotic, he still loves me even though I still do not have a fulfilling career. I still do not look a bit like any model in the magazine and he still loves me anyway.
What if the only reason you’re alone is you just haven’t met him yet?
And there is nothing you need to change. You are perfectly lovable, exactly as you are.
Of course, it is great if we can live our life as rich as possible. But do it for our own sake, not as a mean to polish our life resume or to reassure yourself of our own worthiness.
We are already worth. There is really nothing to prove!
You Are Too Picky
I don’t know how many times I have been told by my friends and family that I was too picky. I started to wonder if my standard indeed too high. Oh well, I didn’t have salary requirement – I wasn’t looking for a man to support me. I bought my apartment, I have decent career and salary. I didn’t look for someone who is tall and handsome.
I only wanted to find a guy who delights and surprises me as much as my friends do, but I also had chemistry with.
What really happen was, when I went out for a date and the guy was fine – he was sensitive and asked thoughtful questions. He made me feel good and careful not to make any criticism of me. But for whatever reason I was not feeling it..that’s it!
There was just no chemistry.
Hence I was too picky.
When I was single I did every work by myself. I made the investment decision on what financial instrument to buy. I paid all the bills. I decided whether I should rent or buy an apartment. And when I decided to buy an apartment, I had to take care the down payment, legal fees, agent’s fee all from my bank account that I worked so hard for. I booked my flight to travel, search for the best fare
I am not saying that marriage is easier. I can guarantee you being married to a jerk who does not want to help with house chores or not hands on with kids is labor intensive.
But that’s precisely why we must be picky in choosing a husband. Because being married to a wrong person is really a hard work. Sharing a life with someone who doesn’t care about your well being a definitely a challenge.
You are Too Smart
When I told my parent that I want to study for MBA, my dad said NO immediately without giving me any reason.
My mom secretly told me that my dad worried that I would have a hard time to find a husband if I am too smart. I know it sounded really old fashion, but in general, I felt incredible invalidated by my career and educational ambitions because society still believes that a woman’s worth is more based on who elbow she clings to.
I had friends and family member who tell me they just didn’t get it. I am smart, pretty, funny..why am I still single? Have I tried just to act dumber? Maybe in this way, I would find someone if I didn’t act like me.
My husband said the smartest girl is the girl who knows when to pretend to be dumb.
Whatever he said, his action shows otherwise. I know how proud he was when I taught all his MBA group with some accounting techniques that they can never get it from their professor. How proud he is with my past achievement and how much he supported me when I wanted to embark something new in my life.
You’re Too Old – Time is Running Out for Me
When my husband (boyfriend at that time), introduced me to his parent for the first time. His mom’s first concern is whether I would be able to give them grandchildren.
I know it’s a valid concern, particularly for Chinese culture. And not only his mom, I had the same concern that time might be running out for me too.
I remembered attending a seminar by a gynecologist who explained how female age is important when considering probability to getting pregnant. He described in detail how increased infertility rates with aging are so well documented and apparent in our society.
I remembered sitting in front of a naturopath and asked this question to him. In his most kind tone he answered, “my mother gave birth to me when she was 42, is my nose crooked?”.
Age is but a number. Marriage is about readiness and preparedness to take responsibility with another person.
You Don’t Love Yourself Enough
Did my failure to ‘love myself’ mean I was unable to love another?
Was my failure a result of my commitment phobia that is cleverly masked as really wanted a commitment?
Did I feel unworthy and show it so obviously that low self-esteem to every man I met?
I was told to love myself, believe in myself, feel good about myself. The only problem was how am I supposed to feel good and high when I actually feel like shit?
When I was single, there is a compulsion to present the shiny, high-self esteem version of myself. It’s what I have been told attractive to the opposite sex. Oh well..perhaps it also helps maintain my dignity in a world that can be quite harsh toward singles.
The problem was, in my effort to prevent anyone from pitying me, I often ended up being very hard on myself.
You see, I could spend days and weeks if not months on why I get jilted and contemplating all possible reasons why that guy didn’t call me back, or why he never think of me as a girlfriend material.
Or I could be extra nice to myself – get myself a very pampering massage and retreat in a spa, take lunch in a park after that, buy beautiful dress that I always dream of and watch my favorite movie again and again,
Which do you think would make me more likely to date again?
Now Here is the Truth
After all these years of self-doubting whether something was wrong with me, I finally found out that I was still single not because I was too picky, or I was too smart, or I was afraid of commitment, and definitely not because there is something need to be improved on me. I was and I am as good as anyone else who found their partner and got married.
And whether I found a partner and get married or not, the basic goodness of me had always been there.
Happiness was there the whole time. The only difference was, I was so fixated about the type of happiness I wanted, the happiness that made me feel normal.
I love my life with my husband now, but I also see now that my life was just as rich and as real when I was single.
I complained how it took forever to find “the one”, but in the process, I was meeting many other people.
I felt suck about weekend and holidays when I had no plans, but those time was the time I spent whole holiday and weekend indulging in my favorite Korean drama or read my favorite books until midnight.
Spending as much holiday time as I like in my parent’s house without having to worry about dividing my time with my family like now.
I complained about coming to the empty house, but I had the time to read a great book, pamper myself with a hot bath and put on beauty face mask after that.
I felt sad that no one checking up on me if I was working late, but it also means nobody complains that I spent time in front of my computer as long as I want. My schedule was completely my own and I owe nobody my time except for myself.
It meant I can spend as much time as possible with my parent, friends that I care about, and visiting my sisters in another country anytime I felt like to.
It also meant took 3 months’ unpaid leave to study new language in a foreign country and meet many new friends and enjoyed the new experience.
It meant quit my job and backpack to Europe for few months and came back home to look for a job and started all over again without much responsibility to worry about.
It meant visiting my friends who were on a long business trip and enjoying their luxury apartment more than herself. You see, our friends are like our family. When you don’t have a significant other, your close friends shared your heartbreak and joys.
Although those experiences were often born out of discomfort, they were also some of the best times of my life where I had the most freedom, independence and untapped potential for growth.