Dancing to “Single Ladies” might make you feel better about your current relationship status, but that doesn’t mean seeing happy couples all over campus doesn’t make you feel bad sometimes. Sure, there’s the freedom that comes with being single, but it can also take a toll on your self-esteem. However, there is so much more in life than just being in a relationship!
We had Carole Lieberman, M.D., Beverly Hills psychiatrist and author, weigh in on why never having dated anyone is no big deal.
You don’t have to feel like an outcast
It’s normal to feel like a bit of an outsider if all your friends have had relationships while you’re still single, but don’t let it get you down! You don’t need a relationship just because your friends have one.
“Sometimes it may seem as though the world is built for pairs – from the animals walking onto Noah's Ark to the couples waiting in line at the movies,” Dr. Lieberman says. “As frustrating as this may be, you shouldn't feel like an outcast if you've never been in a relationship. Your time will come.”
Erum Salam, a junior at Texas A&M University, says, “Even though I used to feel like a single loser around some of my girlfriends and their boyfriends, I now know that I'm just someone who thinks carefully about who I let into my life.”
There’s no need to feel different for not having a significant other in your life right now. Just because you’ve never been in a relationship doesn’t mean you never will be.
It’s okay to wait for “the one”
When it comes to your love life, patience is key. You don’t want to rush into anything if you’re not ready. “Although romance seems easy on TV shows and in movies, the path to true love is often filled with land mines in real life,” Dr. Lieberman says. “It is better to be patient until you find a guy who is worthy of your love.” Waiting for the right person doesn’t mean you’re too picky; it just means you know what’s right for you.
“I have yet to meet a guy with the same ambition and a shared outlook on life,” Erum says. “I’m confident I will meet him someday, and I'm in no rush to find him.” If you’ve set your own personal standards, stick with them! You’ll meet that person who fulfills every quality you’re looking for.
Having other priorities is important
Focusing on your future is not a lame reason for being single; in fact, it’s totally legit. Just look at Elle Woods! Not only did she become successful without a significant other, she found someone after she had a better sense of what direction her life was going in.
“Instead of spending your days and nights worrying about why Mr. Seemingly Right isn't asking you out or whether you will ever find true love, focus on making the most of other opportunities, such as doing well in school, planning for your career, volunteering, making friends and indulging in fun sports or hobbies,” Dr. Lieberman says.
Kathryne Davis, a recent graduate of SUNY Oswego, says her priority is her future. “I wasn't ready in high school and during college; I was trying to handle living on my own, plus trying to work hard in school,” she says. “I'm more focused on trying to figure out a career at this point in my life.” When you have a better idea of who you are and what you want from life, you tend to attract the right people.
Remember that there’s nothing wrong with you
It’s important not to blame yourself for never having dated anyone before. “I used to think something was wrong with me, but now I realize I have standards and priorities,” Erum says.
Remember that you’re not doing anything wrong. In fact, you probably have a long list of qualities someone is looking for; you just haven’t met that person yet.
As Dr. Lieberman explains, “It is not your fault that dating and finding love has become harder than it used to be. Just make yourself the best you can be, from your appearance to creating a successful and exciting life. When you are happiest with yourself, you will attract others to you.”
So, you’re single—who cares? You’re living your life for you, and there’s nothing more important than that. Don’t let people tell you that you’re too picky or bitter, or that you’re destined to become a crazy cat lady. Love yourself first, and the right person will drop into your life when you least expect it. In the meantime, enjoy being independent!