Myths about being single: Busted
As Americans marry later in life, more are spending significant amounts of time being single. For people who want to be in relationships, this can sometimes feel frustrating. But spending some time being single is normal for most people. It can be an opportunity to get to know yourself and what you like to do.
Sometimes, single people feel stigmatized or like something is wrong with them. Stereotypes about single people include that they’re “single for a reason” implying they have relationship problems which make others not want to date them, “too picky” implying they have passed up opportunities to date great people because their standards are too high, or they’re “too desperate” and thus scaring away all potential mates.
Author Sara Eckel, who spent many years as a single person in New York City, has written a book debunking these myths called It’s Not You: 27 (wrong) Reasons You’re Still Single.
Eckel draws from her own experience of many years of single life. She writes that she believed many of the stereotypes about single people that float around our cultural consciousness.
Eckel decided to examine these stereotypes in depth and realized that people aren’t single because they are fundamentally flawed; after all, lots of individuals in committed relationships have problems they need to work on, too.
Eckel writes, “The myth that we’re 100% in control of what happens in our lives makes us extremely hard on ourselves, and single people especially, so eager to solve this riddle…are often willing to accept the premise that some fatal personality flaw is preventing them from finding lifelong love.”
Eckel concludes, “I have friends who are still looking, friends who are married, and friends who are divorced. The difference, I’ve come to see, is largely due to chance, rather than character.”
Eckel advises singles to “stop picking apart your personality and endlessly replaying the game tapes of your previous relationships…” so you can “tap into your own wisdom about who and what is right for you.”
This doesn’t mean that single people don’t have plenty of areas for personal growth and learning. It just means that being single doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
You can check out Eckels’ Modern Love essay for the New York Times here.
And here is her book.