Growing up during my dating years, I was chronically single. I say that like it was a disease but that’s how it felt then. In college, the other girls on my wing were going out on amazing dates, and I was the lonely soul sitting in her dorm room, watching The Bachelor, crying her eyes out on Valentine’s day. From age 17-25 I was wondering why men were avoiding me like the plague. What was so wrong with me, that I couldn’t even land Mr. Right now?! And after years unintentional learn-by-doing research, I feel I might have a few tips to throw your way. While I’m not a relationship expert, I’ve been a very single girl while be wedding photographer for 10 years (www.alealovely.com). Given that Valentine’s day is just around the corner, I might have 8 reasons why you’re still single.
#1. You’re the baddest bitch…
…in the most complimentary way possible. You are an independent, go-get-life-by-the-horns kind of girl and nothing will stand in your way. You have plans and direct paths for how your life will go. It is NOT something to change about yourself – it just going to take the right guy to catch up. You’re picky, with good reason, because you deserve the best! But, in my experience, this meant that I was also aggressive. It’s hard for girls like us to kind of lean back and “see where things go”. We want results and we want them NOW! I’ve found that this kind of takes all the fun out of a relationship, especially for the other person. Relationships take time and should be fun, not a mark to check on your life’s checks and balances. While in your own life you take control of every situation, not having that control can be irritating for those who don’t have the word patience in their vernacular. You’re probably the kind of girl that would make lists of the character traits you wanted in a man at some point in your life. While it’s great to have goals, people aren’t made by lists. They all have strengths and weaknesses, and if you have that level of expectation, you might dump the guy as soon as he doesn’t meet one of your points on your list. You treat a relationship like a job interview, and while other things in life are great to take this approach like career, large life decisions etc.– people aren’t one of them. No one can have every trait YOU want, but you can have every trait you want to work on. Spend time working on yourself and that will attract someone that is up to your standard.
#2. You’re desperate.
Desperation is a stench people can smell from a mile away. I have been this girl for a large chunk of my single days. I didn’t know my worth, so I was super eager and making exceptions for every possibility. Making yourself very available shows the other person that you don’t value yourself… and then they won’t attribute value to you either. You’ve heard “nice guys finish last” and I don’t believe that phrase for one second. Every girl wants a nice guy but you’ve probably also heard girls say, “He’s TOO nice.” Well lets break down what that actually means. It’s probably means he’s too available. He’s at your every beck and call and there essentially is no chase, it’s almost annoying…it’s not attractive. Now you can see it from the opposite angle, if you’re doing that as well, guys don’t dig that. Everyone wants someone or something they can’t have. No idea why this is wired in our DNA but… there’s desire around something not being so available for you. This is why “hard to get” is even a thing. Instead of being desperate for someone to give you a chance, start making yourself a little less available and maybe they will make you the priority. Being a doormat ain’t the way to his heart honey. The girl that the guy wants, is the girl that would be fine with out without him. Being desperate equates to being needy. He doesn’t want to be your whole life, he wants to contribute to it – it’s too much pressure to be responsible for your self worth or happiness. So don’t act like he’s the end all be all, have fun doing you and if he notices great and if not, know it’s not your last chance at love.
#3. You’re always “The Friend.”
I hate the term “friend zone” because it’s used negatively to insinuate that interactions between opposite sexes are built for one purpose, essentially to get laid. That’s not the case but for all intents and purposes basically you are always in the friend-zone. Men think you’re hella fun, and treat you like one of the guys. While you might think that’s a great thing ( and it definitely can be – for friendship!) If you’re into him, it might be tough for them to see you as anything other than a sisterly figure. Growing up, I was the girl that always had a ton of male friends, way more than girlfriends. I would sit in the lobby with the basketball team watching college basketball, and blended right in. Hanging out and having fun, but always hearing about all their girl problems or I was the one asked to hook them up with my other girl friends. I was never the one they were interested in. While male friendships are a wonderful addition to any girls life… if it’s the guy you like, be leery of making yourself available in that way. I would unintentionally tone down any sexuality because I wasn’t comfortable with that part of myself then and thus very easily wasn’t thought of as a potential interest. Like for example, a sexy sense of humor or just the most basic flirting. I was super awkward in that area, so I was more comfortable being “guy” funny. While it made me super likable and a front door into the man cave, time after the time guy I was hanging out with every weekend was just hanging out with me because I was “cool”and not because he was into me. I’m not saying that romance can’t bud out of that, but in my experience, we got super close, but I was like a best guy friend that had better advice. ALSO being surrounded by a bunch of guys makes it really tough for anyone to come in! If anyone was interested, you basically have like 10 big brothers built into your life and you know how scary that sounds. If this is you, be aware of how you are presenting yourself. You don’t have to stop being a “Guys girl” but if there’s one guy you’re into make it clear that you’re into him before he can never see you in that way.
#4. You hate yourself.
Ever hear the phrase “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member“? You’re that person. Any guy that would actually find you attractive or interesting, you start questioning his worth. He likes you so he must not be any good. You think you’re not pretty, skinny, smart, cool, stylish, whatever enough. You’re always bagging on yourself, explaining why someone’s compliment isn’t right. ” You look great today!” “Oh no I don’t, I was up all night, do you see these bags under my eyes!” pointing out your flaws left and right, instead of saying thank you. That gets old really quickly and self hate is extremely unattractive. You have to first love yourself before anyone else can love you. You need to get to a place where you know you ARE enough and that whatever it may be that makes you “you”, makes you insanely beautiful inside and out. At the ripe age of 31, it’s the first time I could look myself in the mirror and say “Hey, you sexy beast, you’re beautiful” and mean it. It’s really tough with the media kind of always pushing in our faces that the unattainable is what is most desirable. Hell Instagram is built on that. How many times do I need to scroll through and see another hot girl’s freaking six pack or fantastic Kardashian inspired ass. It could make anyone feel pretty dumpy. But comparison is the thief of joy, and without joy and loving yourself, your light is dim. Light your fire and others will definitely take note.
#5. You fall in love too quickly.
How many times have you said “He’s the one”? And after walking down the aisle and having a few children with him in your head you find out he’s a miserable jerk that you can’t stand. But you just spent 6 months planning your life with him and now what? You’re an optimist and make yourself vulnerable right away. These are not bad traits to have in general. You see the best in people and open up and thats what makes you such a beautiful person inside an out. But reality and a little bit of caution should play a larger role in this type of relationship at the beginning. It takes time to get to know someone. Everything is always great in the beginning, but new always gets old. When your optimism turns into making excuses or hope that someone is going to turn into what you had dreamed, it can leave you in a bad place over and over again causing an inevitable breakup. Maybe you rationalize why you are giving this person so many chances after they have cheated or treated you badly because you’re looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I did this with one of my (few) boyfriends. He was a jerk that cheated on me repeatedly and while everyone else was telling me he was doing so, I trusted him and let him manipulate me telling me the words I wanted to hear. I was so head over heels before I should have been, and because of this, I was left being stood up for my senior prom because he was out screwing another girl. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck… it’s probably a duck. If you’re someone that falls hard quickly and you know this about yourself, take more time to get to know someone before making all those plans. And you just can’t help yourself, before you that the plunge, travel with them. Roadtrips, multiple plane trips etc, Traveling is already hard and it’s almost the guaranteed way to get to know someone really quickly. The good, the bad and the ugly.
#6. You’re too negative/guarded.
Right off number #5 this one is the perfect segue. I know it sounds like opposites but there is a balance here to manage. If you’ve been really hurt before, it’s really hard to open up again and let someone in. Sometimes when you are too cautious, it doesn’t allow for the other person to get to know you and find the things that are most attractive about you. You keep them at a distance, fearful if they get any closer they will be like “the other guy”. While it’s good to be cautious, no one wants to pay for someone else’s mistakes. If you’ve heard yourself say “All men are the same” or ” All the good ones are taken or gay” or something similar – you have an idea in your head about this future person that might walk into your life, and they are already starting on uneven playing ground. Ideas are quite possibly the strongest things in the world. Once an idea is firmly planted, it’s difficult to prove that idea otherwise. You’re mad because you’ve been hurt, we got it. You have every right to have those feelings validated, but if you don’t want to stay single, you can’t hold on to those ideas forever. Maybe you’ve been largely rejected or maybe your husband left you for a younger woman after 20 years and now that’s shattered your confidence AND view of men. That shit hurts. But if you’re truly ready to find love, you can’t live your life in the past. We can’t treat people like someone else who has hurt us. I’m a firm believer that “What you think about, you bring about,” so if you think all men are dogs…guess what- all the men you see will be just that. No matter if they are or not, you’ve told your brain that’s what they are so the good men will all look unavailable to you and the real dogs will further reinforce your idea. So cheer up darling, this too shall pass and it’s time to stop believing that lie and give yourself a real chance again.
#7. You can’t commit.
While you’re waiting for Prince Charming to stroll down the road, you’re still looking around at the other possible suitors that might be available. It’s fun to play the game. You love the chase or being chased but when the fun is over…you get bored. Long term, while in theory sounds appealing to you, the reality is something deep down just isn’t ready. And while being ready is a very important part of it, having too many options can really cloud your view as well. I know many brides that have tried on a handful of wedding dresses and found “the one” at the first shop. And then I know other girls that end up trying on too many wedding dresses and it makes it really hard for them to choose just one. They become crippled by this and can’t commit. Same happens with people that have lots of people that want to date them. It’s not your fault people think you’re all that and a bag of chips! But you’ve have played the field for so long that now it seems impossible to choose just one. So you become very critical of each person that comes through, measuring them against past people or possible future ones. Relationships become analytical and racked with comparison. “Jake’s got a great job, is driven and he really makes me laugh but he’s not as attractive or passionate as Eric, but then again he’s a lot more thoughtful than Joey.” While being choosy is a great trait, sometimes having too many options will make it difficult to see the person in front of you for all the great traits they might actually have that you could be overlooking while checking out the rest of the fish in the sea. Try to focus on the person in front of you, one at a time and give them a chance as a whole person, not just a possible option.
#8. Last but not least! You’re single by choice.
You know the catch you are and you’re not in any hurry to get a ring on your finger just for the sake of status quo. You don’t feel the pressure because you’re busy loving life and aren’t worried about adding another person to the mix yet. When you do date, you’re relaxed about it and take the time to enjoy the other person’s company but you’re just not looking for anything serious right now. You know being single is not something to get rid of. Just simply a stage of life that will change when you’re ready.
And that’s it! Let me make it clear that when I was single it was all I was trying to get rid of so I know some of you will resonate with this. But being single is not a curse, it’s not a disease and nothing you should feel bad about. It can be an amazing time in your life for self discovery and growth. Amazingly fun times that will be considered “The good ol’ days” if you live them right and realize time alone can be a huge asset! Ask new moms 😉 While being married has amazing and wonderful attributes to life, you can ask any married person and know it’s not all daisies and roses all the time. It’s challenging to add another person to the mix and while you’re single, it’s the only time in your life you have a chance to focus on just YOU. If you wanna go to Europe on a whim by yourself you can! If you wanna go out and party with your friends till the sun comes up, you can! You can be spontaneous and selfish without feeling bad about it and quite frankly and that can be a lot of fun! Enjoy it! Don’t let any holiday make you feel less than the amazing person you are. This holiday was made up to sell cards… not to validate your self worth.
Love ya! Alea
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