Some people are single because they choose to be, or due to some circumstances of their lives.
However, some people are also looking for answers to the question “why am I still single?”
Hence, we asked relationship experts to share their insights.
Table of Contents
- You choose to be
- Your standards are absurdly high
- Your heart has been broken
- You have commitment phobia
- You keep choosing the wrong partners
- You keep comparing the next to your ex
- You have negative internalized messages about intimacy
- You want to be single
- You feel that settling is not an option
- You have issues in modern dating
- Healthy ways to meet people
- You don’t really want to be in a relationship
- You tend to self-sabotage
- You just have not met the right person yet
- You are burnt out from dating and breakups
- You lack accountability for your own life
- You subconsciously believe that “love equals pain”
- I love my alone time
- You have sought a soulmate with whom you will deeply connect on many levels
Relationship Expert, Instant Checkmate
Being single can sometimes feel like a scarlet letter. Family can be notoriously nosey about why there are no grandchildren and lay the guilt on pretty thick. Here is a list of some of the reasons that people are still single:
You choose to be
Some people waded through the dating pool enough to feel like it’s a lost cause. If you get stung enough times, you learn to stop poking the hornet’s nest. A sense of apathy can take over and these singles simply don’t care if they find a mate anymore.
Your standards are absurdly high
If you are expecting someone to ride in on a white horse and sweep you off your feet, you’re likely to still be single. The way that Hollywood Romcoms have depicted relationships is completely unrealistic.
It’s corrupted the way that people think love should look and feel. Believing the Hollywood narrative can have truly detrimental results for people who are searching for love.
Just because your boyfriend didn’t quit his job on the spot and sprint home in the rain while crying out your name after a fight doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care for you. Expecting life to play out like a movie is a huge turn-off and a rom-com mentality can be the cause.
Setting realistic expectations in a relationship is not only healthy, but it’s also absolutely necessary. You’ll never get to the chapel if you’re always finding fault in someone for not being a perfect movie version of a partner.
Your heart has been broken
This is an all too common theme amongst many singles. After being cheated on or abruptly dumped, sometimes it feels safer to close off your heart to more hurt. While this may be a solution in the short term, it could leave you feeling lonely later in life. While being heartbroken hurts tremendously, trusting that there are better things in store for you is a much healthier outlook to take.
After a rough breakup, it’s always a good idea to take time to heal. But don’t confuse setting healthy boundaries with an unhealthy excuse to isolate yourself from the world.
You have commitment phobia
A lot more men have this than women. There are a ton of reasons this phobia can take hold. Fear of making the wrong choice and being forever connected to a partner that you are unhappy with can make settling down nearly impossible. Commitment-phobes tend to be narcissists too.
Related: What Is Narcissistic Abuse?
Looking for the next best thing is more of a priority than building strong bonds with their current partner. Fear of vulnerability can make a commitment-phobe run for the hills too. If opening up to a person is less desirable than chewing on glass, then growing in a relationship is going to be very difficult.
Communication is key in a healthy relationship and if one partner is unable or unwilling to communicate, troubles will start to arise. You can’t have a relationship that’s based purely on the physical, you need to have that mental bond as well or else it’s not going to last.
You keep choosing the wrong partners
This happens all the time. People fall for someone who is just like their ex, or nothing like their ex (on the surface). For the most part, people play out roles in relationships and those roles are where they are most comfortable.
If you keep finding yourself with partners who are really needy, you might be seeking out those types to fulfill a caregiver or fixer role that you “want” to play. Taking a close look at patterns in past relationships can be very helpful for those who fall into this category.
Another factor is your family of origin. If you grew up in an abusive household, you’ll be more likely to find yourself in an abusive relationship. Gaining perspective on what’s running your show can help you to make better relationship choices in the future.
Dr. Casandra “Coach Cass” Henriquez
TedX Presenter | Love Coach & Matchmaker, Inspire Many
You keep comparing the next to your ex
The problem with most is that you don’t want to be taken advantage of. And because of this view, looking through what I call a tainted Love Lens, you choose to consistently compare your date to your ex. And when you see a slight sign of similarity, you run!
What if there was another way to look at love? Through a new “Love Lens”, viewing every situation as brand new. Allowing your date to be themselves and you accept them as such. Enjoying the dating process vs looking at it as a vetting/interview process.
Psychotherapist | Professor | Author | Speaker
You have negative internalized messages about intimacy
These messages usually fall into one of two categories. Either the single person believes that they are unworthy of intimacy (believing that they are not pretty enough, not smart enough, just not enough) or they believe that other people are incapable of providing the intimacy they deserve and desire (believing that people are inevitably going to disappoint them, reject them, and/or leave them).
When either of these messages is consistently reinforced over time, it makes the prospect of a committed romantic relationship increasing difficult to create and sustain.
Therefore, if a single person is to break out of this negative thinking cycle, they will need to purpose to internalize new messages about themselves and other people.
Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, KW Couples Therapy
You want to be single
Not every single person on the planet is desperate for a relationship. Some individuals understand the power of a season of singleness.
This is a timeframe where you want to work on self and make sure you are whole: emotionally, financially, spiritually, and mentally before bringing another person into your world.
You feel that settling is not an option
Some may say that your standards are too high. However, I say that you understand your value and your worth. You understand that it is better to be single than to compromise and settle just because people think you should be in a relationship.
Don’t allow societal pressures, your biological clock or your age to force you into something that is below your standard.
Adina Mahalli, MSW
Certified Relationship Expert | Family Care Professional
You have issues in modern dating
Dating in the modern era has become very impersonal and objectifying. While swiping through a dating app like Tinder, you aren’t looking at the pictures like they are people you are looking at them like a commodity, not a healthy way to start a relationship. You judge someone off of one photo and then if you match with them you are dependent on your messaging skills to close on a date. Not an easy feat to accomplish.
So you go to a bar to try and meet someone, also not a healthy way to start a relationship. Being half inebriated and just looking for someone to sleep with, there are not many successful relationships that have started from a bar.
In short, you may be looking in the wrong places.
Healthy ways to meet people
Meet someone in a sober, honest, and comfortable setting
Go to a park where people are slacklining, go to a yoga class, a cooking class, or anything that has you interacting with new people in a comfortable environment.
Don’t be afraid to get rejected
Dating is a numbers game. You will get denied, shut down, and/or ghosted more than you will be received positively. It doesn’t feel great to get rejected but it feels worse slowly dying alone. Ask the person for their number and give it a go.
Get a dog
It may sound cliche but the benefits you receive from a dog will help you find someone. A dog will get you out of the house and out of your regular routine. Routines can be healthy but they can also be very isolating. Having you only frequent the same places over and over not exposing you to new people.
The dog park is a great place to meet other single people. Having a dog to take care of can be a hassle but it also can add a lot of joy to your life. No one wants to date someone who is miserable. Having a dog will show positive character traits like an ability to commit, compassion, and responsibility. Things others are looking for in a partner.
They also make you way more approachable, no one will walk up to a stranger on the street randomly. Also, tons of people will approach someone with a dog and ask them if they can pet them.
Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, ATR
Licensed Psychotherapist | Marriage and Family Therapist | Owner, Create Your Life Studio
You don’t really want to be in a relationship
Maybe you feel safer on your own? Maybe you grew up in a home where you learned to be self-reliant, where you had to count on yourself, and now, this is how you move through the world.
Intimacy is something we learn how to do through our primary caregivers. If your primary caregivers were focused on survival, they may not have given you the mirror neuronal structure that babies require to develop empathy for self and others.
Addicted parents, parents who are struggling with their own mental health issues, financial pressures, or parents involved in domestic violence often do not have the emotional regulation skills necessary to help their babies develop healthy attachment, which is the basis for being comfortable and able to tolerate true intimacy later on in life.
Find a good therapist who can help you learn to tolerate being close with another human being, and learn how to share authentic feelings within a safe container. It will serve you far throughout your life.
Learning how to be close to others is social and emotional skill. If you grew up in an invalidating and chaotic environment, you must practice being close with others in relationship to learning to tolerate intimacy.
You should not jump from the shallow end to the deep end of the pool when learning to swim, and you must not jump from acquaintances to intimate partners in a relationship, either.
You can learn to become closer and to share your authentic feelings in safe and healthy ways. Start by slowly developing some friendships in real life, not just on the internet. Invite someone to get coffee, or to have lunch. Build from there. Baby steps help you to slowly and steadily build a relationship and tolerate closeness.
Shame researcher, Dr. Brené Brown, says that you should “only tell your story to those who have earned the right to hear it.“ Practice trusting your new friend with little bits and build slowly from there. Once your new friend has proven trustworthy, you may feel safe to share a little more about your authentic feelings.
Building relationships take time. We learn how to be close, first with our caregivers, then with our siblings, then with our friends. An intimate partnership is a graduate school. Practice being close with your friends first, there’s time for true intimacy with a partner once you have mastered the necessary intimacy skills along the way.
Intimacy is a learned language. We learn it in relationship with others. You are not stupid or unloveable if you don’t speak intimacy if nobody ever taught the language of intimacy to you, any more than you are stupid or unloveable if you do not speak Mandarin if nobody ever taught that language to you.
Dr. Wyatt Fisher
Licensed Clinical Psychologist | Marriage Counselor, Christian Crush
Some of the top reasons someone may still be single is because:
- You’re too picky and you feel no one is good enough for you.
- You’re not picky enough so your standards are really low, which makes you date people with no chance of real compatibility long-term.
- You’re looking for love in the wrong places, such as bars, for long-term relationships or you’re not looking at all and expect a relationship to just happen.
- You have unresolved trauma from your upbringing that makes you self-sabotage relationships before they get serious.
- You’ve been hurt in past relationships so you avoid intimacy and commitment.
- You’ve neglected to care for yourself on all levels so others aren’t drawn to you.
Dr. Laura Louis
Licensed Psychologist | Couples Therapist, Atlanta Couples Therapy
People are still single for the following reasons:
- They are attracting people who are unavailable emotionally and physically.
- They want to date others who are not interested in getting into a relationship at that time.
- They ignore initial red flags, thinking that they can change the person. As a result, they are setting themselves up for disappointment.
Stephen and Sonji Millet
Motivational Speakers | Life Coaches | Founders, My Blisstopia
You tend to self-sabotage
Many of us are afraid of being hurt, yet again. We project the past into the future and assume that the outcome will be the same when we open our hearts. This is called catastrophizing; viewing a situation as worse than it actually is.
Catastrophizing is a form of self-sabotage
To prevent the hurt, we short circuit the relationship. We dump them before they dump us or engage in behaviors that we know will cause the other person to end the relationship.
Self-sabotage is a learned behavior that comes from within. We are so used to the dysfunction that we think it is the way relationships work. We lack the tools to adequately create a more life-affirming blissful relationship.
Here are two things you can do to stop self-sabotage:
- Gain information on how to have a successful relationship.
This will reprogram our thoughts and beliefs so that we can start implementing positive relationship behaviors. This may include reading relationship books or talking to successful couples.
- Leverage your past experiences in relationships by accurately assessing what your contributions have been to the dysfunction.
A relationship coach can help you create a list of what worked and what did not work so you can identify and address issues that trigger your self-sabotage giving you the opportunity to self-correct.
Matchmaker | Dating Coach, Saw You At Sinai
You just have not met the right person yet
When people ask me about whether or not they should change how they present themselves on dates, what impression they give off and if they should tone down their personalities down, be more outgoing, dress differently and etc, the truth is while first impressions are extremely important, the person you marry is going actually love and value and appreciate everything about you, the good and the bad.
You are burnt out from dating and breakups
You get to a point where you are so burnt out from dating that you do not allow yourself to let your guard down and let someone in and give them a chance. There is no point to going on a date if you go in saying this is just not for me, this is not a match. It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you are burnt out, you need to self-care, take a break from dating, give yourself some “me” time and perspective and date again when you feel ready.
Love Coach & Matchmaker | Founder, Issy Living
As a dating coach and matchmaker, I always ask people why they think they are still single. 90% of the time people say, “Well I just haven’t met the right person.” Wrong! I know that when you are the right person, the right partner will fall in your lap.
Relationships take up an enormous amount of space in your life. They take effort and energy. They often trigger your past pain and trauma. Not only will you be faced with your own issues, but you’ll also be faced with your partners as well. It’s a beautiful process, but you have to be in the right mental place to take on a real relationship.
You lack accountability for your own life
It is the number one reason people are still single. If you are still single, and ready not to be, it’s time to do the work on yourself to be the right person for yourself and to be the better person in the relationship.
Stop searching externally and begin the process of looking inward. Redirect all of the energy you are using swiping and chasing people back into your self-development and I guarantee the right person will show up for you.
Relationship and Wellness Coach, Feeling is Healing
By the time we reach adulthood, around 95% of our life is controlled by our subconscious mind. Only around 5% is controlled by our rational, conscious mind. This means that consciously we may desire a relationship, yet our subconscious is causing us to behave in such a way that prevents this from happening.
You subconsciously believe that “love equals pain”
Often these beliefs originate in childhood. The person may then act in such a way as to avoid relationships and intimacy. Other subconscious benefits of staying single could be freedom, independence and escaping rejection and judgment of others.
The way to resolve these blocks would be to uncover the limiting beliefs that are stopping us from having a relationship. We would then acknowledge how the belief has served us.
For example, holding the belief that “relationships are dangerous” could have served us by keeping us safe from being hurt. Once the conscious mind has acknowledged the subconscious pay off of having this limiting belief, it is then easier to let go of that belief. We are then able to attract a relationship in our lives.
Speaker | Success Coach | Radio Host
I love my alone time
The easy answer is as selfish as it will sound. I have never felt lonely in my life. I do a lot of things as a solo entrepreneur. I have multiple things that I do for my businesses, plus work a third shift job, author and radio show host.
I love to date, but I’ve always seemed to give more energy, time and effort to my the businesses and when I have my downtime, I love having it alone. I am very ambitious and it was a divisive factor in most of my past relationships.
Don’t mistake me for saying that I don’t want to be in a relationship. Now in my forties, it becomes more of a constant thought than ever before. I love the thought of being in a relationship where she is excited to see me and much as I am to see her. Don’t care if she is the older, younger or same age. Color doesn’t matter to me.
I think I have always known that I will know who she is the minute I lay my eyes on her at the right time. Or shall I say God’s time for me? I have a funny feeling that I will put all my energy, effort and most of all heart into the relationship of the woman that God chooses for me……when the time is right.
Anahid Lisa Derbabian, LPC, MA, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor | Life Coach, Help Me To Heal
You have sought a soulmate with whom you will deeply connect on many levels
You seek to be understood for who you are and to connect emotionally, physically, and even spiritually with another human being. You realize that you can just find someone, anyone, with whom to exist. Yet, you want the real deal, that right feeling, and you believe it is possible.