Are you sick of the question, “Why are you single?” You, too, may be wondering why you haven’t found someone yet. You have a fulfilling career and amazing friends, but can’t seem to find that special partner to share your life with.
As a dating coach and relationship therapist, I work with singles who want me to help them figure out what’s wrong with them or what they’re doing wrong. After several years, I’ve noticed consistent themes with my clients.
If you do any of the following, it may be keeping you single.
1. You have little to no dating etiquette
We’re busier than ever and our time is precious. Things like not confirming with enough notice, keeping your date waiting and canceling last minute can be a turn off. One of my clients was left waiting for forty-five minutes while his date was still getting ready! Emergencies happen, but these types of behaviors are disrespectful and some people may not be so understanding. A first date is the time to make your best impression, because sometimes you’ll only get one shot.
2. You play hard to get
Dating nowadays is tough. Most people look for signals that their interest will be returned. If your date is looking for a meaningful relationship, they will lose interest if you play hard to get. And if they’re insecure (and who doesn’t have insecurities?) your behaviors may reinforce that you don’t like them, so they give up pursuing you.
3. You don’t make yourself available
How you act and your environment can play a role in your single state. Common behaviors that make you appear unavailable include going out in groups, being on your phone and not smiling or making eye contact with people. When you’re out and about, dress so that you feel confident in case you have an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone. When you’re at the gym or a café, stay off your phone and make eye contact and smile. People are scared of rejection so do what you can to look approachable.
4. You’re too dismissive
Your date’s too short, you think they’re awkward, or you find out they still live with their parents. Maybe you’re not sure if you think they’re cute, but you still enjoyed their company. I do want you to be attracted to your date, but for some, attraction can grow. And first dates can make anyone nervous! Not everyone will bring their A-game on a first date, and it takes time to get to know someone. Try not to make judgments too quickly without getting to know the full story. Give people a chance. If you’re unsure, see them at least one more time.
5. You’re inflexible
An important trait of making a relationship work is being open and flexible. Chicago singles are notorious for upholding the city/suburbs boundary. For example, you find out your potential mate lives in the suburbs, so you never want to see them again. The problem is not that your date lives in the suburbs, but rather your inflexibility. Singles in the suburbs know they’re at a disadvantage, and my suburbanite clients are willing to drive into the city for dates. A few of my clients even said they’d move back into the city for the right person! Be open to possible solutions to what you see as a problem.
6. You’re scared of getting hurt
You find fault with your dates, looking for things that are wrong or that you don’t like about them to avoid them hurting you first. The reality is that being hurt in dating or in a relationship is inevitable. You can hurt your partner’s feelings even when you don’t mean to do so. Keeping your distance, not allowing yourself to be vulnerable, hiding behind a wall, etc., will keep you single forever or a satisfying and intimate relationship out of reach. You’ll also get rejected. Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. Dating is about finding a mutual fit, not having everyone you go out with like you back. If you liked your date, initiate contact again but don’t take it personally if they don’t respond. There are too many variables that could’ve played a role that had nothing to do with you.
7. You waste your time
You want a relationship, but you keep someone in your life who doesn’t make time to see you regularly. Some of my clients have kept people around for months and even several years with the hope that it would turn into a relationship. If they go MIA for a few days, you get last-minute invitations, or you’re not getting consistent contact, move on.
8. You give up too early
You go online, have one bad date and delete your profile. You meet a couple of jerks or jerkettes, think all people are like that, and you swear off dating. Unfortunately, you will have bad experiences and meet people you don’t connect with, but giving up is a sure way of keeping yourself single.
9. You think there’ll always be someone better
Everyone has their faults, personality quirks and hot button issues. You won’t find a problem-free relationship. As you date, figure out what you can live with. One date will be chronically late, one will drink more than you’re comfortable with, another may want more alone time than you prefer, you’re big on cleanliness and they aren’t…and on and on. Relationships aren’t about finding the perfect person, but about dealing with your differences respectfully and what you can accept.
10. You believe you’ll find love when you least expect it
For the majority of people, this doesn’t happen. It’s a passive approach and can keep you single because you don’t put forth the necessary effort. Just like anything else in life, like developing friendships and getting ahead in your career, you have to work at it. Same with love; it won’t just fall into your lap because you don’t expect it to. Be proactive and view every day as an opportunity to meet someone.
If these 10 reasons are keeping you single, it’s not too late to change them in order to find love.
Anita is the owner of Relationship Reality 312, relationship therapy for Chicago couples and singles. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, specializing in date and relationship coaching, infidelity, high conflict couples, and pre-marital preparation.