ByCat Lafuente/Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 9:50 am EST
Ever consider the reasons you're still single?After all, these days, there are more ways than ever to meet potential romantic partners. For one, you can swipe left on a variety of dating apps on your phone and instantly be connected to a match. If you're a fan of live music and nightlife, you might prefer to head out to a trendy bar to evaluate your prospects. Perhaps you prefer to simply be patient and see who you might meet through friends, which is a perfectly viable option. And if you're old-fashioned, you might leave it up to your family to identify a prospective life partner.
But just because there are so many ways to meet people doesn't mean there aren't any singles left out there — quite the contrary, asBeyoncé tells it. So you're definitely not alone if you're a bit flustered trying to find your forever person, as it isn't always easy. To that end, we spoke to dating and relationship experts in order to find out what you might be doing to hinder your romantic progress.Read on to find out why, despite your best efforts, you're still single.
You're still single because you are too far into your "masculine energy"
It might be tempting to tell a date all of the reasons you're successful out of the gate, showing them what a catch you are. But that might make you come off as too "masculine," or overly focused on yourself and your accomplishments, according to licensed professional therapist Anita P.Stoudmire, owner and founder of Better LoveMovement. "While it's perfectly wonderful that you have a great career or you own your own business, it's never cool to lead with your education or accomplishments on a date," she told The List. "If you were on a job interview, sure, but it's dating." So slow your roll a little. This could be why you're still single.
Instead, see if you can let things move more organically, and let your intuition be the guide. "Focus on connecting with him on a basic 'Do I even like this guy enough to kiss him?' level and leave the rest to biology," she continued. "Once the guy has determined that there is chemistry between you, then you can show him all the many ways that you are wonderful to be with, including what you're most passionate about."
You're still single because you've been busy bettering yourself and your career
If you're a student or a working professional with lots of ambition and a nose for opportunity, that can take up a significant portion of your time, according to relationship expert Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date. "Statistically, women of this age are still single because they are busy bettering their lives: pursuing advanced degrees, focusing on their careers...and thereby learning about themselves," she toldThe List. There's nothing wrong with that!
However, when you're finally able to fit dating into your schedule after a gap, you might be a little rusty at the game — which might be the reason you're still single. "These successful women feel bad about not having pursued dating, to the point where they might downplay their achievements," Lee continued. "Having been out of the game for years, they lose confidence and feel aged out." So don't forget to be self-assured, ladies!
You're still single because you're not playing up to your physical strengths
If life were a rom-com, the odds might be better that the perfect mate will find you and declare his love for you no matter what state you're in. But until As Good as it Gets becomes a reality, you're going to have better luck on dates if you put some effort into your appearance, according to Anita P. Stoudmire, founder ofBetter LoveMovement. "Let's face it, men are visual creatures and while sloshing around in baggy sweatpants and no makeup works great for you and your roommate, most men are reeled in by curves and softness," she explained to The List. "This doesn't require you to show everything you have; it's actually sexier to leave something to his imagination." Fair point!
So Stoudmire recommends you put some real thought into what you wear and how you accessorize on date night if you're tired of being single. "Find your best physical feature and play it up," she continued. "He should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is NOT hanging with the guys tonight!"
You're still single because you have low self-esteem
Another thing that can really hamper your dating prospects and relegate you to unwanted solitude is low self-esteem. If you don't think you're worth anything, you're going to have a difficult time believing that you're worthy of love, according to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. "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," she penned in an article in Psych Alive. She added, "Our lack of confidence leaves us giving off signals of not being open, creating a catch 22 in the realm of dating."
Additionally, it can be hard to put yourself out there if you struggle with self-worth, which makes dating difficult and could be why you're still single. "Some struggle to make eye contact or are reluctant to scan the room for who they might be attracted to,"she continued."When they are drawn to someone, they may fail to pursue their strongest attractions for lack of self-esteem." That can really make the missed opportunities pile up!
You're still single because you are approaching dating with a goal-oriented mindset
There's nothing wrong with being frank about what you're looking for in a relationship when you create your dating profile or during casual conversation. But being overly-focused on the end result, rather than sitting back and letting the experience happen, might be sabotaging your prospects, according toA Good First Dateco-founder GraceLee. "Dating is not about getting what you want," she shared with The List. "Dating is about opening yourself up to new people, learning about yourself and if you're compatible." And that takes a willingness to go with the flow.
Additionally, if you're just looking for someone who checks off every box on your wish list, you might be missing the greater point of dating altogether. And that could be why you're still single. "It's about fit," Lee continued. "And in order to understand fit, you need to understand yourself." So make sure to keep an open mind next time you get a match on Bumble, rather than go into the experience looking for a spouse.
You're still single because you date blindly
It's always good to keep an open mind when it comes to dating, as you never know what opportunities might come your way. To that end, don't be afraid to go a little out of your comfort zone, and don't be overly stringent when evaluating potential partners.
But that doesn't mean you have to go on a date with every single person you match up with on Tinder or that you have to throw your standards out the door. That could be the reason you're having trouble finding someone, according to love and life coach Kelly Ann Garnett. "You're still single because you date blindly,"she explained to The List."You know that you want to be in a relationship, but you aren't clear about who you want to be in a relationship with. And you aren't clear about what you want to experience in the relationship."
Instead, have a clear idea of what you want and expect in tandem with keeping an open mind. That will help you narrow your dating pool to better fits for you.
You're still single because you aren't using online dating in the right way
It takes more than just logging onto OKCupid or Tinder to be successful at online dating, despite how easy these apps might be to use. So if you're not putting in the right effort, that could be contributing to why you're still single, according to Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date. "It's very common for people, not just women, to go online, have a terrible experience and cancel their account," she explained to The List. "The apps themselves reward engagement and consistent use, so this pattern works against the user."
So make sure you take the time to create a solid profile, and be patient with the matching and dating process in order to avoid any awful mishaps. "The terrible experience arises from not knowing what they're doing: a last-minute profile, endless texting and how they're showing up on dates," Lee continued. "The great news is that online dating is still in its infancy and for women who can use it the right way, there is a true advantage."
You're still single because you've been hurt in the past
Let's face it: Most people have been hurt in an intimate relationship at some point in their lives, whether romantic or otherwise. And in some cases, that can make people scared to get hurt again, rendering them resistant to getting close to people and thus still single, according to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. "These adaptations can cause us to become increasingly self-protective and closed off," she revealedin an article inPsych Alive."In our adult relationships, we may resist being too vulnerable or write people off too easily."
Over time, that defensiveness can land you in a state of perpetual singleness, even if you're not aware of it. "It isn't always easy to see when we have our defenses up," Firestone continued. "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." So if you're not single by choice, take some time to assess yourself to determine if your defenses are too high.
You're still single because you're bitter
Dating isn't easy, and anyone who's in the thick of it would be hard-pressed to argue with that. But there's a chance that your past experience might be why you're still single, according to Anita P. Stoudmire, owner ofBetter LoveMovement. "If you've been in your fair share of relationships and they didn't work out (God forbid you were cheated on or lied to!), then the chances are high that you still hold some resentment about that," she shared with The List. "Take the time necessary to heal and assess what went wrong with every dating scenario or relationship." You can do that on your own, or even better, with a therapist if you're able.
Stoudmire also recommends that you own up to anything you might have done in the past to sabotage the relationship as well, if that's helpful. "Most importantly, ask yourself what part YOU played in the relationship ended up the way it did," she continued. "Clear out the negative energy of exes past so that you can move forward with a sense of being truly happy on your own but hopeful for any future relationship."
You're still single because you've recently divorced and you aren't ready to dive in
Let's say you're re-entering the dating pool after the dissolution a long relationship, or even a divorce. Chances are you need to do some work on yourself before you're ready to date, or else you might bring too much baggage to the table, according to Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date. "Look, divorce is one of those life-changing experiences that can leave a lot of emotional scarring," she told The List. "When you force yourself back out there without taking the time to heal, the results are often disastrous." And post-divorce, that's the last thing you need.
So make sure you've processed everything you need to in order to avoid complicating your future partnerships. "For example, a client whose husband abruptly moved out devastated her," Lee continued. "In a subsequent relationship, she viewed every text as a potential rejection or reason to leave a very normal relationship." Yikes.
It might not be easy, but making sure you're truly ready to date again will pay off in the end.
You're still single because you are coming across as hard to please
Do you find yourself constantly regaling your friends with stories about first-date fiascoes or complaining about how lousy your ex was? If so, you're only human, as plenty of folks have had the same experiences. But according to Grace Lee, A Good First Dateco-founder, too much harping can signal that you're difficult to please, which isn't what you want to convey. And that just might be why you're still single. "After enough bad dates it's perfectly normal to re-enter the process with a hard shell," she revealed to The List. "The bad date stories are fun to tell but communicate to others that you're not putting up with anything."
Not only will that turn off potential partners, but also it might prevent you from meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right. "If you're at a dinner party and talk incessantly about your ex and why you're striking out, the others at the party will be less likely to introduce you to that great friend that could be a good match," Lee continued. And that's not something you want to miss out on!
You're still single because you won't succumb to peer and family pressures to "settle down"
We get it. The pressure from friends and family to find a nice partner and settle down can be a lot, even overwhelming in some circumstances. But there could be a very good reason why you're still single and not in a rush to find romance, according to relationship expert Adina Mahalli, a certified mental health consultant. "You're still single because you choose to be self-reliant," she shared with The List. "You don't depend on anyone else for your stability, sustenance, or happiness." That's not a bad thing!
Additionally, choosing to ride solo means you look inward to find fulfillment, and that can make you more desirable when love does come knocking. "You're still single because your education and career have taught you to live up to your own expectations and no one else's," Mahalli continued. "You've taken the necessary time and space to do it once and do it right when the time does come!"
You're still single because you're afraid of intimacy
You might just be afraid of intimacy because of past traumas, which is potentially why you're still single. That can lead you to sabotage your relationships and dating prospects, even if you don't realize you're doing so. "Our fears surrounding intimacy may manifest as concerns over someone 'liking us too much,' an understandably irrational reason not to date a person," Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., explained in an article inPsych Alive. "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." And that's not healthy behavior.
Of course, people have a finite capacity for intimacy, but, if you're really afraid of it, you're going to wind up pushing it away, subconsciously or not. "The reality is that most people can only tolerate a certain amount of closeness," she continued. "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."
You're still single because you're overly picky
If you've dealt with painful rejection at the hands of someone you really cared about, or had your feelings stepped on one too many times, that might cause you to be overly judgmental down the road and might be why you're still single. And according to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., that can cause you to pick potential partners apart before you really know them. "We may have unrealistic expectations for a partner or pinpoint weaknesses from the moment we meet someone," she shared in an article inPsych Alive. "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." And that can cause you to see yourself as settling for someone before you realize just how happy they could make you.
So in order to cast solitude aside, rein in the criticisms and open your eyes. "Ironically, initially we tend not to trust the people who really like us," she continued. "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."