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Why Are You Still Single?

Practical Advice for Women to Read Before You Start Dating

by Giselle Aguiar

Let’s start with your excuses. Before you jump into the dating game, you need to overcome your own reasons for being single. Here are some of the more common ones. Admit to yourself that at least one or more of these apply to you and you’re off to a good start.

Yes. I’m proud to say I’m self-sufficient! I’ve survived by myself for this long – I can keep going. I don’t NEED anyone.

Good for you! But if this is you, I’m sure each time you watch a TV show or a movie and there’s a nice couple falling in love, this thought goes through your mind – “I wish that were me!” That happens to me also when I attend a wedding. God did not intend for us to be alone.

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."…. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. ~ Genesis 2:18 & 24

Single people are becoming the majority in the U.S. According to and the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2006, 50.7% of households were maintained by unmarried men or women. (Note: this does include couples who are cohabitating).

You’re either never married or suddenly single (one day you’re married, the next day you’re not). Whichever your situation is, you’re still single.

Being single doesn’t mean you’re in a constant state of mate finding. You’re free do what you wish, go out with whomever you wish; pursue your own goals and your own personal growth.

Since childhood, we all have been trained for married life. Girls learn how to cook; boys learn how to fix things—all in preparation for marriage. So why would anyone choose to live alone? Societal norm is to be pared up—to marry and have children. When I was in high school, we had a neighbor lady who each time I saw her she would ask me, “So when are you going to get married?”

One time I actually said, “Never.” (I think I jinxed myself!)

These days, many children are products of divorced households living with one parent and they see marriage in a different way. However, for the majority of the Baby Boomers, their goal in life was to have a career, get married and have kids.

Singlehood is thought of as a temporary situation until we marry. Anybody who hadn’t married by the age of 35 was thought of as a person who could not attract or hold on to a mate.

Why are single women in their 40’s and 50’s called spinsters and single men the same age called confirmed bachelors? Was it okay to be a bachelor, yet inappropriate to be a bachelorette? Author Dan Brown in Angels and Demons (Simon and Schuster) describes his character, Professor Robert Langdon: “...he already had three loves in his life—symbology, water polo and bachelorhood—the latter being a freedom that enabled him to travel the world, sleep as late as he wanted and enjoy quiet nights at home with a brandy and a good book.” Men know that being single is fun.

Breaking the Habits of Single Living

I admit it—I clean my home for company or when I just can stand it anymore. But, my cleaning habits were different when I had a roommate. I had to be considerate of the other person and of course, the work was divided 50/50.

Living alone, the dishes go from the dishwasher to the table to the sink. They rarely see the inside of the cabinet. (I'm working to break this bad habit). I come and go as I please and only have to worry about my cat. I’ve been living alone, independent, self-sufficient and with my own lifestyle for a very long time. Compromising is not going to be easy, but I figure if I love him and understand him fully, then it won’t be that difficult. The benefits of having a companion should outweigh the compromising.

You Need to Enjoy Your Freedom

While living alone, you have a unique type of freedom: you are free to manage your time and your life the way you choose. Coming to terms with your singlehood is like climbing a mountain. Once you’ve reach the top, the view is magnificent! Whether you’ve been single all your life or you’re “suddenly single,” whether you are actively seeking someone to marry or are happy with your single status, you need to become your own person before you seek the companionship of another.

Boost Your Self Reliance: Self-reliance is a crucial ingredient in a successful life alone. It’s wonderful to know for certain that you can take care of yourself. In having to depend on your own resources for your personal security—in not depending on others for what can only come from you—you realize that your abilities are a huge foundation of reassurance and fulfillment.
You find that no one else can give you the security you can’t supply yourself, and there is a wonderful sense of personal strength in knowing this.

So, why should I get married? I’ll lose my freedom. Ah, but you’ll have new and different freedoms to explore once you’re married.
Here are some other excuses:

I bet there a lot of you in this boat. I’m guilty of two of these at the same time! (Check out this article that I blogged about – Out of Work Bachelors) These are self-image/self-esteem excuses. You need to feel good about yourself; you need to like yourself, before you can expect anyone to like you. Now if you went through what I did in the fall of 2008 (Read my blog: Up the Down Escalator), you do need to seek help from a doctor, pastor or just God Himself.

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." ~ Matthew 22:36-40

Love your neighbor as yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can you love your neighbor? Before you can find Mr. Right, you need to become Ms. Right for that potential mate. We can jump from one relationship to another, but until we find peace within ourselves and like ourselves, we won’t be able to find and sustain a healthy relationship with someone else. You need to be confident in who you are before you can start searching for someone.

Self-esteem is unconditional love for who we are as we are. It isn’t about being perfect. Having good self-esteem is about accepting ourselves in our imperfect, human state. If we were perfect, we would be God. We need to accept ourselves, as we are, imperfections and all, even if there are things we’d like to change. We can try to make those changes, but if we set levels that are impossible to attain, we will not succeed.

Think of it this way, the Creator God made you and God doesn’t make junk. Receiving love from others starts with loving yourself. If you don’t love and think well of yourself, why should someone healthy love you? If you don’t love yourself, what will motivate you to set high standards about how partners treat you?

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I think one of the reasons I took an eight-year hiatus from dating was that I felt I was not good looking enough. I have always struggled with my weight—especially after I turned 40.

Our society’s obsession with having the perfect slim, fit, muscular or proportionate body makes me sick. (Especially each time I read a man’s ad that had “slender” as his top priority.) I remember one guy that joined my service actually put when I asked him to describe his perfect mate—“A Christian Sandra Bullock.”

Don’t strive to be gorgeous. Good looks are skin deep. Instead, work on staying healthy, which will translate into a more realistic beauty. Eat healthy, love and respect your body, not because you need to take off a few pounds. Concentrating on having a healthy lifestyle looks good on all of us. Respect yourself.

The majority of the brides that met their spouses through my service were not exactly “model-types.” If you’ve ever looked at the wedding announcements in the paper and said, “I’m better looking than she is. Why can’t I find someone?”, then you need to take a better look at yourself and become aware of your “good qualities” and learn to enhance them. Remember that Billy Joel song, “I Love You Just the Way Your Are?” Someone out there will love you for who you are. You just have to be patient and go hunting.

If you are a person who likes yourself, you will be more appealing to a partner. You can work on your self-esteem while you are in a relationship. But if you are still single because of a lack of self-awareness and self-acceptance, then none of the dating strategies and techniques in the world will be very useful to you. Change from the inside out.

Respecting yourself helps build self-love. Looking good means being well-groomed, having good posture and radiating confidence. It can mean finding an individual sense of style that works for you.

Are you gainfully employed? Even if you’re in a job that you don’t like, if you are striving to get something better, then it’s OK. Times are tough and people will understand as long as you do your best in whatever job you have. If you're unemployed, please be actively seeking employment. That looks better than being a couch potato all day.

If you’re still trying to “find yourself,” you really need to know what you’re looking for in yourself before you start looking for someone.

Look at your life.

If the answer is “yes,” to these questions, then you’re ready to date. Even if you don’t have all of the above, you can work on it while you look. For instance, you may not have family living close, but you may have a church family that doubles as a great circle of friends. You may be living with family or friends while you save up for the perfect place. That’s OK. What’s important is that you’re happy with who you are and your current situation.

All things are difficult before they get easy—you need to keep at it. Believe in yourself. Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses on thorns. (Do the latter.) Remember, God knows all of your faults and loves you anyway. But, never cease exploring new ways and methods of improving yourself.

How about these excuses:

If finding your soul mate is important to you, then you have to make it a top priority. Maybe it will take something like a younger sibling getting married before you are pushed into action.

Dating is time-consuming. It takes time to browse through Internet dating sites, to attend singles groups or events.

(Ladies, think of it like finding the perfect little black dress—you go from store to store having a specific style in mind, you find a few that look decent, are affordable, then you go to the dressing room and try them on. The ones that don’t fit you put back on the rack and try on some more. Eventually, you’ll find the one that fits perfectly, makes you look good and feel good. You have to be patient.)

Sure, sometimes miracles and “chance meetings” happen. But they are rare, and you have to be open, ready and willing to recognize the person that God may place right next to us.

Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford—face it, ladies, we are spoiled. But as we get older, we realize that a man doesn’t have to be drop-dead gorgeous to be attractive. You have to look at him and say, “Well, he’s not so unattractive.” You think, “I can see myself waking up next to him.” (After marriage, of course). It’s OK to have certain top priorities—what you need in a mate —and we’ll get into how to identify them and choose between the “needs” and “wants” in the next chapter. But, yes, we can be too picky and you’ll learn how to recognize when you’re asking for something that doesn’t exist. (Read: Life is not a Love Song).

Are you shy? All of us are a bit shy at times. Shyness is just the fear of meeting people. You can overcome shyness. There are many places to meet people, not just online. (Check out the Singles Blog for Where to Meet People Coming Soon.) I’ll show you how to find the Christian guys amidst everybody else. Believe me, they are out there and asking, “Where are the good Christian women?”

Don’t be afraid of appearing too needy. As women, we can wait on the man to make the first moves. Just give them space. Think before you do anything that may make you look desperate. Get advice from a friend. Ask them, “What do you think? If I say this or that or do this or that, will that make me look too anxious?” Turn fear into faith.

Commitmentphobia has reached epidemic proportions. Never before have so many people fallen in love only to find themselves heartbroken after an intensive romance with a person who can’t make a commitment or doesn’t want to get married. What’s the point in dating someone who doesn’t want to get married when you do? Even if at the very beginning of your relationship you both agreed that you want marriage as the ultimate goal, you may notice that the “exclusivity” stage drags on and on with no obvious sign of commitment. My “rule-of-thumb” time frame, especially if you’re over 30, is six months. If after six months you both still feel the fire and passion you did when you first met, then it’s time for the engagement. And it’s OK to ask, “Where is this relationship going?” if it has become stagnant. (Read Commitmentphobes)

You are the commitmentphobe. Committing to a relationship is risky business. You need to allow yourself to be known—this is a part of intimacy—opening yourself up. You open your heart and you risk breaking it.

Before you can commit to someone you must be committed to yourself; to who you are and your goals in life. But, two lives are becoming one. You will have new goals and a new direction. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your personal goals. You may just have to mold them to fit your new situation. I’ve heard many stories of women who gave up their goals of going to college and having a career to get married only to find themselves unhappy years later and they end up divorced and finally going for what they wanted all along.

Life is not a romantic comedy—though it may seem like one sometimes. Fantasy is one thing, reality is something else. Make sure you know the difference. Even though you are not absolutely perfectly matched, you must accept each other as you are and not try to change your partner.

Relationships and anxiety go hand in hand. You can be anxious because you fear rejection, because you feel crowded, because you fear for yourself, because you worry about those you love. It’s a sign of care.

This is your typical fear of failure. I admit it. I truly feel I messed up a good potential relationship when I lived in Miami. I really will never know for sure. A mutual friend told me it was his problem, not mine. So, I just chalked it up to lessons learned—don’t take anything for granted and don’t assume anything. Each time I get into a new potential relationship, I keep saying to myself—“This is a good thing you’ve got here. Don’t mess it up!” And I am wary of how I act to make sure I don’t blow it. Again, I depend on a good friend to run e-mails by her before I send them out and to make sure I’m not too demanding or negative. What if you do blow it? You need to realize what you did, learn from it and move on. (And don’t do it again! But sometimes, we never learn, do we?)

I took an eight-year hiatus from the dating game and each encounter afterward was a learning experience. I made the mistake of casually mentioning on the fifth date with Prospect #3 (name withheld to protect the clueless) that I had gotten “winked” on one of the online sites by a guy from Wisconsin. I thought it was funny considering I’m in Florida and indicated at the time that I am only interested in men from Florida. Apparently, Prospect #3 took it to mean that I was not interested in him and I was still shopping around. Now, we had at no point in our short relationship ever discussed being exclusive. I assumed that he also still had his profile on Yahoo Personals and that it was OK to see other people. Was I wrong! After two more dates, I asked him why he was afraid to touch me. He hadn’t even held my hand or kissed me on the cheek.

Nevertheless, I learned to keep my search experience private. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt the relationship. I admit it, I blew it and I won’t do that again. Prospect #3 and I went our separate ways. By the way, it’s perfectly all right to see more than one man at a time until you get to the exclusivity stage with one of them. Choosing to become exclusive must be a mutual decision. (Read: What is a Soulmate).

Before you hit the dating scene, you need to say goodbye to your ghosts. Having “no baggage” is something that is beneficial as you prepare for a new relationship. The past is past. It happened, you learned from it. Let it go. Take a deep breath and move on.

Oh, boy! God made men and women different. It’s a fact of life. God made us different so that we would complement each other. We just have to learn to live with it. If we were the same, life would be very boring.

I tried this for many years and it hasn't worked yet. I was hoping that Mr. Wonderful would walk into my church or office, the sky would open, angels would sing and bells would ring. No such luck.

Or I’ll be sitting at home watching television and the doorbell will ring and I’ll fall madly in love with the pizza delivery person. Sure, miracles do happen, but why wait? Remember, God helps those who help themselves. You need to put yourself in situations where you have the greatest possibilities of meeting Mr. Wonderful.

It’s Time to Stop Hiding Behind Your Excuses

Unless you’ve made up your mind to be a confirmed bachelorette, you need to set your mind to the fact that, “I AM GOING TO FIND MY SOUL MATE.” Say it out loud… “I am going to find the Love of My Life.”

This is now a TOP priority in life. Obviously, you’re going to go to work each day, go to church, go to meetings and live your normal life, but you will now have a different mind-set. “I no longer wish to be single…” SAY IT. “I want to find my life-long mate.”

"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8

Some more sage advice: