With some people, it almost seems like an addiction: They can’t stop making excuses about why they’re single. As a relationship therapist, I hear some pretty wild reasons, too, but they all remain largely inaccurate. If you are someone – man or woman – who makes any of the following statements, it’s fair to say that you are blaming your singleness on the wrong factors. In fact, the savviest thing you can do is to accept that you’re single for reasons that are totally within your control.
“There’s no one to date.”
Now, let’s be honest for a moment: Sometimes it really does seem like a lot of the good ones are unavailable. If you’re an African-American woman, for example, complaining that there aren’t enough available African-American men, you might be right. (Consider the high rates of African-American incarcerations.) For African-American women, it truly is a little more difficult to find an available man. But for most men and women, it’s not statistics that keep them single – it’s making excuses. Open your eyes to the romantic choices around you!
“All the good ones are already married.”
Simply put, this one just isn’t true. Think about who you’re socializing with and the kinds of places you go. What you need to do is to join some organizations where single people congregate. The more people you meet, the more connections you’ll make that could lead you to your future partner.
“I need to lose weight before I meet someone.”
Blaming your singleness on your weight is common – but not so legitimate. Perhaps you’ve gained a few extra pounds or have a ways to go until you get back to your goal weight. It’s too easy to postpone dating because you’re not happy with your weight – you gotta fight those inner demons! Listen, what are the chances you’re ever going to truly love your body? Not that great, right? So don’t put off finding someone.
You may be hard on yourself and set high standards in terms of your appearance and body, but you should be able to find and function well in a romantic relationship whether you’re lighter or heavier. In all likelihood, you have created an ideal in your mind of what you will look like when you meet that new person, but don’t write the script before the future has even happened!
“I’m just too busy.”
Unless you’re sleeping in a new city every night, raising a handful of toddlers, or working so many jobs that you can’t afford a good night’s sleep, you have time to date. You might not love the idea of putting yourself out there and dating, but don’t kid yourself into believing that you don’t have time for it. Remember, making excuses will never help you achieve a goal. Perhaps you don’t have two or three nights each week to allocate toward dating, but you can probably find a few hours here and there. Time management is critical when you’re busy, so consider making a list of all your daily activities for the week and try to determine where you could make more efficient use of your time. It might help to set aside one part of the week – say, Saturday afternoon – for new dates, thus reserving the more sacred weekend evenings for your inner circle.
“I only meet people I like on vacation.”
Pop quiz: What does it mean psychologically if a person only meets people he or she likes when he or she is out of town for vacation or work? If you’re someone who tells yourself that all the good ones just happen to live in every other city or town except the one where you live, the likelihood is that you’re conflicted about whether you really want to commit and settle down. In general, men and women who always find The One when they’re out of town like the idea of having someone, but the day to day realities of a romantic relationship at home are stressful for any number of reasons: you’re still hurt from a previous relationship; you aren’t sure you want someone depending on you; or you get bored easily. Think long and hard about what I call your ‘geographic distortion.’
The only way to solve a problem – in this case, wanting to find a happy relationship – is to start with honesty. The most common problem-solving style I see in my clinical work is the tendency in men and women to approach one problem at a time. My response? No sale! Though it may feel more manageable to attack one problem at a time, coping well as an adult requires that you do a little bit toward a bunch of goals, all at the same time. Set several small goals that focus on your romantic life, such as, joining a new gym, starting an exercise class, volunteering for a charity, and taking a class at a local art center. Opening up your social environment can help you get back any mojo that you may have lost along the way, and these activities will take you out of your comfort zone and bring a little spice back into your life!
Dr. Seth Meyers has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve