I’m going out on a limb here and saying that this is – quite possible – THE BEST COMMENT this site has ever received.
I’m 34 and have been single for five years (and I’m a woman, if it makes any difference). Even in my twenties, I always found it difficult to get into a relationship. In my twenties, men just wanted to sleep around, consequence-free. Now in my thirties, I find myself unable to find single men in their thirties as well! It’s just never been easy, so getting older hasn’t changed that. That part I have to laugh at.
I tried looking at myself critically. I did online research. I asked honest friends I trusted. They all said the same thing: “You just haven’t met him yet. It’s not you.” Let me tell you, I eventually became convinced I had problems that I didn’t really have. I read articles and talked myself into having trust issues, when in fact I have many friends and I really do trust them. I ascribed a lot of psychoses to myself to try to explain my being perpetually single.
In the end, I came to the realization that it WASN’T me after all; it was the environments I was in. I worked in bars for years, and they’re generally not a good place to meet people (unless you like hopeless addicts). Now I’m in college, and everyone is significantly younger than I am, and I have no interest in the young boys.
I also had very little sense of self. All this time alone has forced me to develop that sense.
As for standards, I decided they were raised to high, but not in the way one might expect. For instance, I didn’t want to hook up with anyone; I wanted to wait until I was in a serious relationship. But that’s just not on the horizon now, so I see nothing wrong with occasionally having fun with someone. It’s like telling yourself, “lighten up!”
I also ran the gamut of ideas for meeting people: online dating, speed dating, all that nonsense. All those methods cause is burnout, bitterness and depression. I learned to stay away from those methods, and any method involving dating en masse, because we humans are not meant to have so many brief contacts with so many suitors nonstop. It cheapens the act of getting to know someone, and reduces it to a product that has to be evaluated. That’s not romantic at all.
I believe the total number of “perpetually single people” is going to continue to rise with successive generations. It just seems to be where society is heading.
I tried to figure out how the “perpetually coupled-off” people become the way they are, what they are doing to maintain that coveted label, etc. etc. I honestly can’t find a reason outside of environmental ones. You simply have to be in places where there is a sizeable pool of eligible people to date.
So, really, as much as society likes to point the finger at single people as causing their own problems, the reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as with any other human condition. I recommend therapy and perhaps changing your attitude towards relationships. Don’t prioritize having a romantic relationship; treat the idea cavalierly. Until then, sleep around if you like and don’t take it too seriously, until a person who is serious about you comes along.
I’ve said this before: the less I focus on dating, the happier I am. When I log on to Bumble or OKCupid, I get this immediate pull on my heart