8 Reasons People Stay Single

cute_couple___rainy_c__by_chelsy1012-d5iwmoo

Clearly, some people are single because they choose to be. They are simply not interested in being in a serious relationship at this time in their life. Others are single due to the circumstances of their lives. However, for people, particularly those over 30, who are looking for answers to the puzzling question “why am I still single?”, here are some unconventional answers that lie within. When it comes to dating and relationships, you will get hurt, and no, it isn’t always your fault. But the reality is that we hold more power over our romantic destiny than we often think. To a great degree, we create the world we live in, although we are rarely conscious of this process.  We benefit from focusing on what we can control and not what we can’t. We can become aware of the myriad of ways we influence the reactions we get from others, even the negative reactions. So, the question for the single person looking for love is: what are the internal challenges that need to be faced?

  • Defenses:  Most people have been hurt in past relationships. With time and painful experiences, we all risk building up varying degrees of bitterness and becoming defended. This process begins long before we start dating, in our childhoods, when hurtful interactions and dynamics lead us to put up walls or perceive the world through a filter that can negatively impact us as adults. These adaptations can cause us to become increasingly self-protective and closed off. In our adult relationships, we may resist being too vulnerable or write people off too easily. If, for example, you were raised by parents or caretakers who were negligent or cold, you may grow up feeling distrusting of affection. You may feel suspicious of people who show “too much” interest in you and instead, you seek out relationships that recreate dynamics from your past. You may then choose a partner who is aloof or distant. It isn’t always easy to see when we have our defenses up. As a result, we tend to blame our singleness on external forces and fail to recognize that we aren’t as open as we think.
  • Unhealthy Attractions:  When we act on our defenses, we tend to choose less-than-ideal relationship partners. We may establish an unsatisfying relationship by selecting a person who isn’t emotionally available. Because this process is largely unconscious, we often blame our partner for the relationship’s failed outcome. We tend to feel devastated or hurt by the repeated rejections without recognizing that we are actually seeking out this pattern. Why do we do this? The reasons are complex and often based on our own embedded fears of intimacy. Breaking old patterns can cause us a great deal of anxiety and discomfort and make us feel strangely alien and alone in a more loving environment. These fears may cause us to hold on to relationships without potential or to feel attracted to people who aren’t really available, because they reinforce our negative image of ourselves, which feels more comfortable and familiar, albeit painful.
  • Fear of Intimacy:  Most of us profess that we want to find a loving partner, but the experience of real love disrupts fantasies of love that have served as a survival mechanism since early childhood… Pushing away and punishing the beloved acts to preserve one’s negative self-image and reduces anxiety.” Our fears surrounding intimacy may manifest as concerns over someone “liking us too much,” an understandably irrational reason not to date a person. Or we may punish the other person by being critical, even engaging in nasty behavior, essentially making sure we don’t get the loving responses we say we want. The reality is that most people can only tolerate a certain amount of closeness. We are defended about letting someone else in. In effect, on a deeper level, we don’t necessarily want the love we say we want.
  • Pickiness: Our own defenses often leave us feeling pickier and more judgmental. This is particularly true after we’ve had bad experiences, where we were deceived or rejected by a person for whom we had strong feelings. Many women start to have thoughts like, “There are no decent men out there” or “All the good ones are taken.” Men may have thoughts like, “You can’t trust a women” or “Women are all out to take advantage of you.” We may have unrealistic expectations for a partner or pinpoint weaknesses from the moment we meet someone. When viewing the world from critical or distrusting eyes, we tend to write off a range of potential partners before even giving them a chance. We think of dating certain people as “settling” without ever seeing how that person could make us happy in the long-term. A friend of mine felt closed off to a man who pursued her for more than a year. Although she saw him as kind, funny and smart, she convinced herself that he was “too into her.” She said he was too needy and was sure he would wind up getting hurt by her. She often stated that she just wasn’t attracted to him. The men she was drawn to instead tended to be unreliable and emotionally distant. She finally agreed to go on a date with the man who’d been pursuing her. What she found, to her surprise, was a high-level relationship choice, a partner with whom she shared a great deal of mutual interest, and, ultimately, genuine love. What hers and so many similar stories show us is that when we think we are “settling” for someone, we may not be settling at all. We may actually find ourselves in a relationship that is so much more rewarding than those we have experienced. Ironically, initially we tend not to trust the people who really like us, but when we give them a chance, we find that we’ve chosen someone who values us for who we really are, someone who can really make us happy.
  • Low Self-Esteem: So many people I’ve spoken to have expressed the same sentiment. They believe they want a fulfilling relationship more than anything, but they believe even more firmly that no one worthwhile would be interested in them. We all possess “critical inner voices” that tell us we are too fat, too ugly, too old or too different. When we listen to these “voices,” we engage in behaviors that push people away. When we remain single, it is not for the reasons that we’re telling ourselves. Our lack of confidence leaves us giving off signals of not being open, creating a catch 22 in the realm of dating. When they are drawn to someone, they may fail to pursue their strongest attractions for lack of self-esteem.
  • Fear of Competition: A lack of self-esteem often leads to fears of competing. It’s easy to put ourselves down in relation to others, especially when it comes to dating. When we meet someone we like, it’s all too easy to think, “He/she could do better.” When we see that someone else is interested in the person we like, we may be quick to back away. It is scary to take a chance and go for what we want, but when we do, we most often find it is well worth it to face our fears. We end up with a stronger sense of self, and we increase our chances of creating a relationship with the partner we really desire.
  • Isolation and Routine: With age, people tend to retreat further and further into their comfort zones. Modern women are more and more successful, accomplished and self-sufficient, which are all extremely positive developments. Yet as both men and women get more comfortable, be it financially or practically, it is also easier for them to form a bubble from which it is difficult to emerge. It can feel harder to take risks or put themselves out there. After a long day’s work, many of us may feel more like putting on pajamas and crawling into bed than going out into the uncertain and anxiety-provoking world of meeting people. The encouragement we feel to stay home or stay safe often comes from our critical inner voice. This inner coach offers self-soothing words, “Just stay in tonight and relax. You’re fine on your own. Have a glass of wine. Watch that show you like.”  It’s important to resist falling into a comfort zone and to repeatedly challenge the influence of our critical inner voice. Try taking action and making an effort to get out into the world, try new activities to discover new parts of yourself and what makes you happy.
  • Rule-making: As years pass, we often develop rulebooks for ourselves regarding dating. In effect, we put what we have learned “down on paper,” but what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in real life. When we act on rules based on our past, we can create a perpetual cycle of disappointing relationships. Staying open is one of the most important things we can do when looking for a loving partner. Yes, we might get hurt but when we stop taking risks, we reduce our chances of meeting someone we could really have a future with. Staying open and honest will lead us to find a much more authentic and substantial relationship. It’s important to fight the patterns inside us that hold us back from getting what we want. We can’t shield ourselves from the world or keep ourselves from getting hurt. We all carry flaws, and these vulnerabilities are especially apparent when getting close to one another. Thus, achieving intimacy is a brave battle, but it is one well-worth fighting for, each and every day, both within ourselves and, ultimately, within our relationships.

THANK YOU to: http://www.psychalive.org for the insightful article.


One thought on “8 Reasons People Stay Single

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s