The real reason I am single

Bonjour, bonjour. It’s a rainy Monday here in London and I am feeling about as romantic as a cabbage. I’ve taken the last week off dating – no Tinder meet ups or even messages – and it’s been a relief. I actually think I’m going to delete Tinder – I don’t like it anymore. It’s a bit of a head f**k. I might just stick to the old fashioned way of hoping to meet someone in real life.

And weirdly that seems to be happening. A friend of a friend asked for my number in the pub on Friday night and earlier last week I got asked out by a guy on the tube. He might have been drunk – and possibly on a few other substances – but hey, it’s still nice to be asked!

Anyway, my light must be on or something.

It’s cool but I find the whole dating thing emotionally and physically draining. Physically draining because dating makes me drink even more than usual (I’m either drinking to take the edge off before the date, drinking more on the date or feeling hungover after the date) – and emotionally draining because dating brings up all the big questions that I usually ignore.

Like do I really want to meet someone? Do I want to have children? Do you have to get married and have children to be happy? Will I regret it if I don’t? Is the fact that it hasn’t happened by now a sign that actually that’s not my path? Or is my independence just a symptom of my fear?

These questions go around and around in my head. Arghh… the paralysis of analysis.

Anyway I really don’t know about the marriage and kids thing but over the last month I have realised just how distorted my views of men are. I’ve even started talking to a therapist about it (I’ll write another post about this later).

It turns out, from my spell on the therapist’s coach, that I don’t see men as ordinary people with good bits and bits, fears and insecurities, just like me, I see men as people who will laugh at me, reject me, hurt me and who don’t want me around.

Rationally I know that none of these thoughts are true – I have male friends who are the opposite to these beliefs – but in my gut that’s my reaction, which is why, romantically, I have built a brick wall.

For years I thought I didn’t have boyfriends because I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough, blonde enough. I now realise this is bulls*it. I didn’t have boyfriends because I was keeping them away because I was terrified.

Beliefs that I’d picked up over the years, but which I didn’t even realise were there, have informed everything.

It’s very easy to get into a rant about how there are no good guys left, how hard it is to meet people etc – but actually I think that’s rubbish. There are loads of good guys out there, just as there are loads of good women. I think that if you’re single for as long as I have been, there is always deeper stuff going on.

I’m not going to go into the various things that may have shaped my views but on the whole I don’t think I have good associations with what a marriage is and what relationships are like.

And I’m realising, more and more, that our beliefs absolutely determine reality. We get what we expect.

If we don’t think we deserve a good man, we won’t meet one. If we think that men will only hurt us, we’ll keep either meeting men who live up to that belief – or we’ll do what I’ve done which is to run away from it. If deep down we associate marriage with being trapped then of course you’re not going to let it happen, no matter how many times you’ve cried in the loos at being single at yet another wedding.

I’ve realised that unless we really look at ourselves, our deepest beliefs about relationships (picked up from childhood and later experiences) and what we think we deserve – then you can go on all the Tinder dates in the world and it’s not going to get you anywhere.

So that’s what I’ve gone back to. More navel gazing. Oh well, at least I can skip the hangovers…




9 thoughts on “The real reason I am single

  1. JohnW

    Hi Marianne,
    I think it’s “navel gazing” not “naval gazing”. Naval gazing is watching the fleet sail by!

  2. Kara

    Can I ask, who do you hang around with? Are you getting a real cross section of views in your life?

    I ask because you are wondering things like, Can you be happy without children, Will you regret not getting married/ having kids etc.

    It feels like you’re stuck in this groove that happiness = husband and children. That’s not the only way!

    Maybe find and talk to a good range of people who have done all different things (eg older and childless, our age and single, with children, thought having them but didn’t, and so on).

    I bet some will have regrets but most of them will have just made the most of life and are happy.


  3. Hélène

    Great post. Love these insights in particular : “the paralysis of analysis” (so true!) and “our beliefs absolutely determine our reality”. As you start to see that sort of stuff, I can’t imagine that you’ll be single for much longer – unless you choose to! To make genuine choices, not fear based reactions, is real freedom!

  4. Anne

    I think if you get happy in your own skin and just have fun men will come running. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and show it, if you have a happy fulfilling life then a man is just icing on the cake not to fill some gaping hole. I’m 59 and have been single now for 6 years and realise I don’t like myself when I’m in a relationship. if a great guy comes along that can take me as I am then great but if not that’s great too

  5. Zoë

    Maybe think of Feel the Fear for this month, Marianne. If you want to spend some time evaluating what you want relationship-wise in life, that’s valid and helpful. But if you’re resisting putting or keeping yourself out there because you’re scared of getting hurt (aren’t we all) or screwing up, or blahsiblah, then maybe you can combine the fear book and the relationship book into a powerhouse self-help mashup.

  6. Mary

    Great post – and one that’s provoked a lot of useful debate! Something Kara wrote has struck a chord with me, tho. Despite many people telling me otherwise, I certainly equate ‘marriage & chikdren’ with happiness. I definitely need to acquaint myself with other models of how to live a fulfilling life.


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