Life

Why Am I Still Single?

It’s that time of year again. The Christmas decorations are down and the love hearts and roses have taken over. There is a section in every shop – and sometimes the whole shop – that is dedicated to Valentine’s Day and love and relationships and ew gross. To be honest, I really couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day, the 14th February is just that – the 14th February. I’m all for celebrating love but I don’t see the point in forcing it.

There are probably loads of think pieces out there about Valentine’s Day so I’m not here to talk about that – go read those if you want to get angry about consumerism and capitalism. I’m here to talk about my singledom. It is now coming up to my 5th year anniversary of being single and it’s just hit me that that is A LOT OF YEARS. I didn’t really think it had been that long – just a year, then a couple years, then a few years and now FIVE YEARS. Not that I’m complaining, I am in fact a very happy single person – I’m just curious.

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I broke up with my last serious boyfriend in April 2011 on a bench in Paris (romantic right?). Don’t worry, I know he survived the heartbreak because he’s actually married now (found out on Facebook). Since April 2011, I have not had another serious boyfriend/partner. Yes I’ve dated people, yes I’ve slept with people, yes I’ve really really really liked a couple people and yes I’ve had my heart broken but nothing has lasted more than 2 months in the last 5 years. And I’m going to figure out why.

I’ve had a good think and I’ve come up with 5 reasons as to why I’m still single…

I am a commitment-phobe

Right after the break up I was scared of any kind of commitment. I was 19 years old and about to start university – I wanted to experience everything! But it wasn’t even as logical as that, I genuinely got scared. In the first year after the break up I dated a bunch of people and the moment it felt like it was about to get serious I ran away. Sometimes literally. After that terrifying year I calmed down a bit and felt more relaxed about the idea of meeting someone I would want to commit to. Even though I still haven’t managed it, I’ve definitely put myself out there much more and allowed myself to be vulnerable. I think now I’m only scared of commitment because I’m not used to it, I’m completely out of practice. How does a relationship work?

I am fickle

This is probably my worst trait when it comes to dating. I am so fickle. I get bored easily. I need to be constantly entertained and surprised. I also fall for people really quickly and my emotions are (usually) monogamous so when I start to fancy someone new, those feelings replace the ones I had for whoever I was dating (sorry). I like the unpredictability and spontaneity of my love life. I go on a lot of first dates. If we just text for ages after I’ll get bored and move on. Sorry not sorry to all the people I’ve ghosted.

I am fussy

Oh boy do I have standards. One of the reasons I came out of my commitment-phobe stage was because I said I’d be happy to commit if the right person came along. And I’ve refused to settle for anything less than perfect. My friend’s will tell you that I have a “type” and if you look at a line up of photos of all the people I’ve dated you’d see that they are right. There’s just a certain look/style that I’m drawn to. But that’s not enough: they need to be a feminist but I’d rather not have to talk about it; they need to be ambitious; they need to be intellectual and intelligent; they need to be adventurous; they need to not take themselves too seriously; and they need to be a whole bunch of other things. And sometimes someone is all of these things but I’m just not feeling it you know? I’ve been told by my friends many times that I should give people more of a chance to get to know them. And even though that is a lovely idea and I should probably do it I’m also really impatient and just want to move on to whatever’s next.

I’m set in my ways

Being single for 5 years is a great way to get to know yourself. I have discovered so much about myself, my body and my sexuality these past 5 years and it has been wonderful. It’s been a very formative 5 years moving out of my parents’ house and to university and then finishing university and moving to London. Lots of chances to figure out who I am and what’s important to me. I also know how I like to spend my time which is working, seeing friends, doing leisure activities and travelling. I have my own life and the idea of bringing someone else into it and having to share my time, compromise and make sacrifices doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. I like to go to the cinema by myself in the middle of the day and I just go and I don’t tell anyone. If I had a boyfriend they might get upset that I didn’t tell them I was going or they might have wanted to see that film with me which would have meant we’d have to organise a time and place when we could both go which in my opinion is not worth the hassle. It’s the cinema, you’re going to be sitting in the dark in silence for 2 hours anyway.

I’m a hopeless romantic

Despite all this I am a complete softie. I have fantasies about grand gestures of love; of moving across the world to be with someone because that’s so romantic; of kissing someone passionately after having an argument with them. I’m definitely a victim of Hollywood love stories. But then to make things even more complicated, even though I fantasise about these things happening when anyone is actually romantic towards me in real life I pretend to gag and vomit because I find those situations really uncomfortable.

So there you have it. You’ve properly gotten a look at the inner workings of my head… or heart. Maybe 2016 will be the year I find love…? But as you’ve seen I don’t think the odds are in my favour. Are you single or in a relationship? How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Let me know in the comments.

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37 Comments

  1. I’m single, always been. I noticed that now even my parents are kind of expecting me to get a boyfriend, or at least a crush. I haven’t had a crush on someone for almost a year, but honestly, i don’t see why that would be a problem, or the reason of my unhappiness.

  2. The sentence “I have my own life and the idea of bringing someone else into it and having to share my time, compromise and make sacrifices doesn’t sound all that appealing to me.” Explains why I am quite happy being single.

    Just wondering, do you get asked about why you’re singe all the time, friends and family always ask me like there’s something wrong and try to reassure me that I’ll find someone to change my mind. Maybe I will but Im quite happy as things are haha!

  3. I’m nearly 21 and I’ve only had two serious relationships (I saw only… that’s quite a lot considering I’m nearly 21)! The first was when I was 17 and it was a disaster from start to finish. Very emotionally abusive, messy, and just a for my mental health.

    When I went off to uni at 18 I was firmly determined that I wasn’t going to look for a boyfriend or get into a relationship. But within 3 days of being there I met my now-boyfriend (who is 5 years older than me, he is a mature student), and we really hit it off. We’ve now been dating just over 2 years, we live together, and it really feels like ‘the one’ relationship (not that I believe in only one ‘one’). It’s a good relationship, one where we’re good at being independent and doing our own thing, but existing together.

    As for Valentine’s Day, it’s not like a mega big deal for me. My birthday is two days after so I don’t really see much point in doing anything massive for Vday. I think this year my boyfriend and I are going to go out for brunch, and then he’s gonna cook dinner and we’ll have a movie night.

    petticoatsandpatriarchy.com xx

  4. I’ve been in a relationship for 2 years and I still don’t like Valentines day, like you said it seems forced, there’s nothing romantic about gestures you feel like you HAVE to do. I just don’t celebrate it!

  5. I feel like I’m exactly the same and it could be a more common predicament than we think. The hopeless romantic in us constantly wants to find that ‘one’, and I’m sure you do as I do, look at other couples with a hint of envy, thinking that their relationships are perfect. But in truth, not all of them really are. Many of these relationships have flaws, many of them are nothing like they they seem on the surface.

    I also thought about the phrase “We don’t choose whom we love.” (GoT reference yay). Could it be that we try too hard to choose the person we want to be with, making our own criteria, instead of just.. letting it happen?

  6. So I’m 30 most of my friends are planning on settling down or are already married with children, and in some cases coming up to a second marriage :/

    But me well what do I like to do? I love to travel, meet new people and get myself out there and make a name for myself. You are never too old or too young to do anything and you are only as young as you feel. Sure I love spending time with people and getting close with them (who doesn’t) but I love my own company too.

    Never go out looking for love, I’m a strong believer in letting love find you.

  7. I’ve been in a long term relationship for the past eleven years* and now I have a baby.

    *What I mean by “a” long term relationship is actually two long term relationships that overlapped because we were polyamorous at one point. We’re now monogamous because polyamory and open relationships in general are fun but exhausting and we don’t have time any more.

  8. It’s been 5 years for me too, almost. I’ve never really had a serious relationship because I’m only 17 and a half right now, but the first proper relationship I was in was awkward, forced and on and off for 8 months – he was very manipulative and just an all-round dick. It wasn’t really serious because I was 12/13 at this time, but it was what I class as my first and only real relationship. I’ve always been awkward around people, especially dating, but I have “dated” and have had flings people in the past 5 years. I’ve found out that I like girls and that I also like a particular kind of people. Not so much look wise, but someone who can understand me, my limits etc.

  9. I am 23 next month and its been playing on my mind for a while now that I have never been in a serious relationship…. like everr! :S The longest thing I had was like 2 and a half months and for agess afterwards I thought I could consider that as ‘serious’.
    I guess I just used to be really closed off or didn’t know how to talk to girls i liked.
    Plus I can totally relate about the commitment thing. I really like the idea of commitment but at times when it comes down to it I freak out.. or at least I used to.
    like you I am quite happy with singledom as it where but would like to have a relationship soon haha.. take it as it comes I guess.
    I really like the idea of using singledom as a benefit to really get to know yourself. And you’ve had a really good five years it seems which is great. 🙂

  10. I am single and I don’t really like Valentine’s Day. I am only 16 years old, so I think, I don’t really have to be in a relationship, but the imagination is nice to have one… But when I see the couples on the street while Valentine’s Day, I could puke (In a funny way) 😀
    But I really understand your five points, really logical to me, because I know some people, who are feeling the same, maybe not every point but some of them!
    I would like to hear, what you are doing on Valentine’s Day!

  11. First of all, let me say I love this, “I’m all for celebrating love but I don’t see the point in forcing it.” So much truth there.

    I have to say I really related to this post, I am 25, and while I am currently in a relationship I related to you talking about how wonderful it is that you have been single for the last 5 years because it’s given you time to learn more about things you like to do, aspirations, finding new hobbies you enjoy, traveling, etc and that is so very important. I feel that even though it’s wonderful to be in love it’s not necessary, and that when it’s the right time everything will fall into place. (Maybe that’s a little corny..) Plus there’s nothing wrong with being picky. Only you know what you really like you know? Hannah you’re amazing, and doing spectacular! 2016 will bring you great things. 🙂

  12. I’ll have my ‘5 year of being single anniversary’ next year (but who knows, I might fall in love before then hahaha). Just like you said, being single is such a good way to get to know yourself. In my 4 years of being single, I have finally started feeling happy and confident about who I am. This year I finally found someone who kind of ‘met all my expectations’, but I just didn’t ‘feel’ it. Let’s see what the new year brings us, Hannah!

  13. I don’t know what you’re doing. In the last line of your blog you put head before heart. Well that just about says it all. You can’t figure LOVE, its bigger than we are. You either accept it or stay single for the rest of your life.I have been single for two periods of 12 years in my life but NEVER in my twenties!! Be Worried! Having seen your content, I think that as well as being commitmentphobic you are a control-freak. Best wishes – Phil.

  14. I’m seeing a lot of paralels in our lifes..I’ve been single since 2011 too, my ex is now married and I’m a commitment-phobe who is very set and comfortable in the way I live my life and spend my time…you’re also the first person who thinks about going alone to the cinema the same way I do! it’s watching a movie…why isn’t it normal to do that on my own, when everyone watches movies alone at home all the time?? it’s just a bigger screen!!

  15. While I can see myself in most of the things you said, my problem is quite more than all that. After ending a serious relationship of almost 2 years, I have found myself single for 2 years. I have had crushes, but nothing that led to smth serious or even a sexual encounter. The problem here is that, while I’m perfectly ok with my situation, seeing that there hasn’t actually been someone I would like to be in a relationship with, people tend to blame everything wrong in my life on my singledom. They even go as far as pitying me, or urging me to not be so picky. The societal pressure to be with someone is what makes me feel uncomfortable with myself and even inadequate. My point in all this is that we need to stop treating singledom as smth abnormal that needs to be fixed and I would really appreciate it if you could make a video discussing that issue.

  16. You know, I went from dating quite a lot in my teens, to going single from age 17-21, then a couple of relationships, and now I’ve been single for 18 months again. And after my last relationship ended, I was so miserable, but a friend of mine snapped me out by saying that no-one should ever NEED someone else to be happy. No-one’s happiness should rely on someone else being there, to validate you or something. And she was dead right.

    Since then, I mean yeah, it’s a bit boring at times (probably because it’s not just been 18 months of single, it’s 18 months of NOTHING…like, serious question, how on earth do you even instigate a friends with benefits scenario, or just a hey, wanna hook up thing? haha), but overall I’m so happy with my life. I’ve done a lot of figuring out of how my brain works, and how my anxiety and depression issues before affected my thinking and previous relationships, and I’ve slowly built my self-confidence up. I’ve got a crazy life going on right now, a mix of working from home and freelance stuff that takes me over Europe (and maybe the world in the future!) so as you said, inviting someone into that world is pretty scary, and right now it’s more a case of, if you want to come and join me for the ride, hop aboard! But don’t do what I’ve had people try and do before – manipulate your own life to suit their vision of what a romantic relationship should be.

  17. I’m 36, been single for about 3 years now and really not stressed about it.
    I was in a 10 year relationship that sort of naturally ended and we’re still great friends but now live on opposite sides of the planet chasing our dreams.
    I’ve not even really dated since but it’s been on my mind a bit recently.
    While we were together Valentine’s Day was always treated as a bit silly but a nice excuse to treat ourselves to a fancy restaurant and get all fancied up. It also sat quite nicely away from our birthdays and anniversaries.

  18. I really identify with a lot of what you’ve said here. I recently did some introspection about why I am single and came to very similar conclusions. There is one thing you didn’t mention which is my biggest hang up however. I’ve become really caught up on the idea that a relationship ends either with a break up or long term commitment, I feel like this puts a lot of pressure on dating right from the start. I am massively afraid of hurting that person belong interest in them. It prevents me from even going on dates and ruins the excitement of crushes.

  19. I think you’ll find love when you make it a priority in your life. From what you said, you don’t really want a boyfriend. You’re enjoying being single, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Enjoy it! 🙂 Relationships can wait until you truly want one.

    Are you single or in a relationship?
    Single. I’ve never been in a relationship in my life. I never even wanted one until last year. I honestly thought I never would want one (I’ve changed). I finally felt something for another human being for the first time, and it’s nice to know I am capable of feeling that way… shame he didn’t feel the same way towards me. Lol.

    How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?
    It’s just a day. I’ve never celebrated it.

  20. Hi Hannah im a single girl too! And im fine with that! Sometimes my friends and family ask me and the boyfriend? Its time you have one! But in this moment in my life i think and belive i dont need one…im finishing my carrer and i start another one, i work and i spend my free time with my friends and family, i dont say i dont miss been in a relanshioship with a boy but i enjoy have time for my self… Im 24 i have time for search someone…i hope the times not fly jaja! Im sorry if i dont write very well my english its not so good! Grettings and have a great day!

  21. Actually I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years and married for 1. But the things you described in this article are really not rare! Your description of your ideal man just reminds me of my husband so you might not be impossibly fickle. Also in re independence, I totally still go watch a film in the middle of the day without an issue. Relationships are about enhancing each other’s life not taking over them! In short, the guy’s out there so if you ever felt like not being single it’d be fine 🙂

  22. Oh the relatability is strong in this one! I’ve personally been singel for about 2.5 years, but my last relationship was more about companionship and, yes, pretty good sex rather than a big passionate love! That I haven’t had since the big heartbreak of 2010. And I think my reasons for staying single are very similar to yours! I don’t have a specific “look” preference, but I’d agree with all the personality things although there’s also that ‘something’ which is just so intangible yet SO essential. I’m so comfortable in my own company that I won’t put the effort in unless it’s worth it. BUT, I can’t deny it, I’m lonely. It’s such a tricky balance!

  23. Hi Hanna Rick here . It’s great that you are going to wait for the right person . I myself have been single now going on twenty three years . That’s right twenty three long HAPPY years . I realalized way back when that I was not the marriage type . It was a battle with family and friends who kept telling me to find someone too share my life with . I just did not want that . You see I was twenty nine and just had my heart crushed , and I do mean crushed !!! Her and I have since reconciled for the sake of the kids and all is well . I had decided then that I would never give anyone that much control of my heart . In the end I have been able to go to places that I would not have gone too had I been in a committed relationship . I have had the chance too meet people such as yourself at Buffer Fest . I was able to follow my passion of photograph ( more of a hobbie ) and take some amazing pictures . I’ve had the time to work on a novel of fiction that I hope to get published in the near future and so much more . All this while just dating . So when people tell you to find someone and settle down , do as I did and laugh at them .
    Never settle for less then what you want in a mate because in the mean time your life is waiting for your next adventure . Go forth and have fun .

  24. I’m very close to being completely aromantic, but there were a few instances, when I was tempted by a romantic relationship. Once I even tried to commit to it. And it was very interesting experience that thought me a lot about myself, because apparently? Even if once in a blue moon I do fall for someone? I don’t want a relationship. Even if the feelings would stuck, relationships are just not my thing at all. Way too much trouble and not worth it for me. *shrugs*

    That’s said – I love Valentine’s Day. But I love pretty much every holiday, the more artificial the better. All the opprotunity to be nice and send lovely postcards to people is good in my book. Also – chocolate. <3

  25. I’ve been in a relationship for about 5 years now. But i dont feel like its forced, or that i have to sacrifice my time or the things i want to do because we both let each other do whathever the hell the other wants to. Its always easy because when we want to spend time together, we do, because we really want to. And when we want to go out with our friends or whatever, we do. We are both free and chose to be with each other. Also, he’s a feminist and a geek. I get you, i also get really excited when i meet someone new and they’re awesome, but at the end of the day, i like to know someone is waiting for a text or a call and that loves me and its always on MY TEAM, that’s what makes me stay.

  26. 25, single and happy about it! I broke up with my ex partner 1 1/2 years ago and have only recently started dating again as I was so heartbroken. But at the moment, I don’t want a relationship. I’m doing my Master’s, travelling, seizing opportunities – I’m not interested in giving that up anytime soon! A relationship would make me feel less independent, and I’m happy I’m free to follow my dreams.

  27. I’ve only ever had one valentines day where I wasn’t single and that day was the biggest and worst disaster ever . So much so I don’t even count it, so in my mind this year will be the first time I am to actually experience a valentine. I’ve always felt relaxed towards the day and even this year I never felt like I NEEDED to plan something. Both of us said we would be happy enough just to chill out the day if we didn’t come up with anything fun to do.
    I think the idea of the holiday is really quite cute though and it’s nice that we dedicate a whole day for love and all them soppy things. And I do love all those funny valentine cards that circulate around the internet at this time!

  28. I finally found your blog! I’ve seen you pop up around the internet but I’m so happy I’ve found a space that’s completely yours. You write so concisely and with excellent humour and I can most definately relate to almost everything you’ve said. I’ve never had a relationship, but considering I’m in my mid teens, I’ll stay chill for now. I admire how real and honest you are, it is something I always strive for on my blog. You seem like a wonderful person and I hope you meet someone who will continue to make you happy.

  29. I’m turning 23 and last had a “boyfriend” when I was 12. I put boyfriend in air quotes because it was a six month period where I occasionally held the guy’s hand and went to the cinema – I say it doesn’t count. In the last few years I’ve fallen for a few guy friends only to have them not feel the same way which has sucked. What I have learned is to be honest sooner. The sooner you let someone know how you feel, the sooner you’ll know, the less time you have to harbour feelings and get attached and in the end it takes less time to get over. I see a lot of myself in you Hannah. I want someone to share my life with but I’ve gotten so used to being independent that I can’t imagine involving another person in all my day to day plans. I also fake-vomit at any signs of affection but in reality I think it’s overcompensating for the lack of romance in my own life.

    Last year I was abroad for uni and I must say I am so glad I was single then! I saw so many course mates fly back and forth to see their other halfs while I managed to cover most of Western Europe travelling solo! Now that I’m back home a lot of friends have graduated and moved away or gotten into serious relationships and are being less sociable which has been hard to adjust to.

    I hate valentines day and all the PR associated with it that makes you think your identity is in your relationship status. I don’t subscribe to this view but it’s hard not to be influenced by all the advertising. I have willingly offered to vacate my flat so my flatmate can have a special day with her boyfriend. This is the only time she’s ever asked me to do this so I can’t complain and I probably wouldn’t want to be around that anyway.

    For now I’m just going to focus on me and getting my degree finished. My thesis isn’t going to write itself! Plenty time for all of that after uni.

  30. I’ve been single since 2005, without mugh regret. I was always in long term relationships before then, searching for true love. A hopeless romantic who loved the idea of love (most likely due to an odd childhood).

    Then, in a deep depression, an ex, my first girlfriend showed up with her new fiance. They both spent days with me, trying to coax me into living. And they did, just not the way they meant to. I was unhappy chasing dreams, thinking that love could fix me, heal the shredded soul that life had blessed me with.

    In the bittersweet pain of being around them, I realized how good they were for each other. I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t. The girl who held my heart like no else since was happy. He made her smile, laugh, and glow. I loved her, and that’s what you want for those you love.

    So I truly let her go, and gave up on finding love. Love finds you I think, or maybe I hope. I suspect a bachelor’s life awaits me, and that’s my choice. But days like Valentines do emphasize the loneliness, and make you wonder.

  31. I feel like I just read emy diary, I’m pretty much exactly the same except I’ve never been in a serious relationship EVER. I just recently started an “open relationship” with a guy (he’s monogamous, I’m not) because I thought maybe that would work for me but I’m feeling very uncomfortable which was unexpected for me, and I’m just not “feeling it” with him, I only see him as a friend. So… who knows what’s for me? haha

    As for valentine’s day I’ve never cared for it,

  32. Well since the women of today are nothing at all like the past which certainly has a lot to do with it why a good man like me is still single today.

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