If you’ve been single for a while, you know that it can be a life-affirming experience. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want—things like drive cross country or pull a starfish right in the middle of the bed. However, as much as you enjoy feeling confident, free, and independent on your own, sometimes you can’t help but crave a connection with a special someone to share life with.
So that’s when you say, “Okay, I’m ready to give dating another whirl,” and join a few dating apps and start going out more. Then it’s weeks, even months later, and you’re still not meeting anyone you’re really clicking with. And if one date does manage to squeak by, your compatibility isn’t enough to keep the connection going. It seems like no matter what you do, things fall flat.
Now’s when you begin to think you should go on a permanent trip because the closest relationship you’ll ever have is the one with the person who delivers your takeout every Friday night. It’s official: you’re going to be single forever.
Do you ever feel like this? If so, here are some helpful things to keep in mind when you feel like you’ll be single forever.
It’s Okay to Feel Lonely
Just because you enjoy being a lone wolf doesn’t mean you’re not lonely sometimes. Loneliness is often mischaracterized as neediness, and if you’re someone who’s been single for a long time, you might have an embedded knee-jerk reaction to the word, “neediness.” After all, you’ve built a successful and thriving life on your own. You don’t “need” anyone.
While that might be true, feeling lonely is not only normal, but it can also be a good thing. It’s our heart’s way of telling us that we crave connection. Humans are built for relationships, after all. While loneliness seems to rear its ugly head the most when we’re single, keep in mind that it’s often the thing that forces us to go out and seek companionship. So if you desire a relationship, lean into the loneliness. It’ll help you get clear about what you want and how to go about it.
I hate to break it to you but if you want a life partner, they’re not just going to show up at your door (unless, maybe, your true love is the person who delivers your takeout after all). In order to find love, you must take some sort of action. Maybe it’s setting up an online dating profile, or joining various sports or activities, or even signing up for a new gym. In order to attract new prospects, you must put yourself in new situations. While doing these things doesn’t guarantee you’ll meet a match, it does increase your chances more than staying at home with your cat.
It Takes Work
Most people don’t want to hear that finding love takes work because it zaps the romance out of it. While it’s true that when you meet your right partner, the courting and dating phase should be relatively easy and organic, the truth is, when it comes to attracting that right partner in the first place, you have to do some initial inner work.
You need to ask yourself some deep, soul-searching, even painful, questions. Like, why are you repelling and rejecting available people? What types of people do you find yourself attracted to and why? Are you skipping over people who are commitment material for a casual fling? Do you actually take the time to get to know someone or do you have a record of ghosting someone after the first date? What are your emotional blind spots? For example, do you have a fear of trust and intimacy?
Getting to the root of these questions, whether through introspection or therapy, will help you gain the clarity you need to move your love life ahead.
Love Takes Time
Mariah Carey said it best, “Love takes time.” Sometimes. Sometimes it’s instant and you just know. But most times, it isn’t.
Love grows. Getting to know someone takes patience. Building trust and intimacy takes time and commitment. Most people confuse lust for love, letting feelings and emotions get the best of them before they are truly ready to commit to another—and before they’re even sure just what love means to them.
Love takes reflection. Love means sharing experiences with another—and not just sex.
Love takes courage. Love means setting boundaries and thoughtfully reaching milestones. Rushing into love usually ends up in disappointment and heartbreak. Sp take your time when it comes to finding true love. Your heart deserves it.
Remember: being single isn’t a death sentence. Have fun flying solo. Book an impromptu trip. Starfish in that bed. Revel in the fact that you don’t have to compromise with or answer to anyone. Enjoy meeting and flirting with new people. Don’t get caught up with how you wish your life should be, and become more present with what it is now and how you can make the most of it. Cultivate new hobbies and friendships, and keep living your best life.
While sometimes it feels like you’ll be single forever, especially if you’ve been single for a long time, it’s important to know that everyone’s timeline is different. Acknowledge your desire for a partner and do the inner work, and in the meantime, have fun, and enjoy falling in love with yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be attracting new people, including that special someone.