How To Respond When Someone Asks You, "Why Are You Single?" - How To Win a Man's Heart

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June 15, 2016

How To Respond When Someone Asks You, “Why Are You Single?”

# 1. Are you attaching a strong judgment towards your relationship status?

Kristen Brown

The reason why answering questions regarding one’s singledom causes so much strife is because the single person usually has a strong judgment attached to his/her relationship status. Unless or until the single takes the time to do the work around his/her false belief, this question will never get easier.

But alas! There is a way…

A large percent of empowerment work requires undoing the ties we have with our false beliefs. When we get serious about our well-being, we become willing to locate the places inside of ourselves that make us feel ‘less than’ and we find a turnaround statement that is as true or truer than the original, defeating belief.

Any negative belief we have will not simply just disappear with a sprinkle of pixie dust and a wish on the wind. Our beliefs are forged through experience, societies “rules” and judgment. With that being said, our actions/emotions follow our minds/thoughts and the best forward movement is to change the painful belief into a positive, empowering, truer statement.

For example:

False Belief (lie) – I am single and that means I am unlovable, not good enough, unworthy and/or less than all the coupled people.

Turnaround (truth) – I am single because I am taking my time finding my right match. I am unwilling to settle for just anyone to appease my ego or societies beliefs. I am valuable and the person I choose will value me as equally as I value him/her.

Once we have our turnaround statement, it is now crucial to repeat this verbally (or in your mind) every time the defeating thought enters. Allow yourself to fully embrace and embody the new belief. Let it sink in and take root. Yes, it will take some time. Yes, it might be challenging at first. However, if you are truly serious about changing the way you feel, you must change your thoughts first.

Healing ourselves is all about taking radical responsibility for how and what we think. We are equipped with the ability to retrain our minds and think through the lens of love and abundance rather than fear or lack. In doing this, we are learning to honor our true essence. There is nothing in this life that cannot be yours if you are willing to change your mind about it.

Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.sweetempowerment.com

# 2. If you find yourself having excessive anxiety about the ‘single conversation’, this may be due to a broader pattern of anxiety about the way others perceive you

Brett McDonald

It is awkward feeling like everyone else is married, engaged or in a serious relationship and you are the odd man or woman out. People are single for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is because they enjoy the single life, or being in a relationship is not conducive with their larger pursuit of fulfillment. Other times, people have a hard time making relationships work and this keeps them bouncing around.

Whatever your situation, you can end up feeling like people are making judgments against you when they find out you are single. It is normal to fear judgment, we all do for a lot of different reasons. If you find yourself having excessive anxiety about the ‘single conversation’, this may be due to a broader pattern of anxiety about the way others perceive you.

We all have anxieties about being judged or getting cornered into uncomfortable situations. Challenge this anxiety by reminding yourself that everyone in the room has some issue or another that creates discomfort. Everything from the way we look, our religious viewpoints, “What do you mean you are a stay at home mom?”, “What do you mean you work full-time when you have two little kids?” ” So why don’t you drink?” “Wow, you’ve gained a lot of weight.” “Wow, you’ve lost a lot of weight, have you been sick?” “So you’re on unemployment…how did that come about?” The list goes on and on. Bottom line, you might be the only single person in the room but you are certainly not the only one who has issues they would rather not discuss in depth. Also, remember you don’t owe it to anyone to explain your choices or your life–it is not your job to make sure they understand you.

Let other people own their judgments. If that doesn’t work, try changing the topic by asking the person if and how often they masturbate. People usually back down after that.

Brett McDonald, M.S., LMHC – www.thedragonflyretreat.com

# 3. Follow the 2 tips below

Amy Sherman

Desperation reeks. It’s a fact. People who are desperate repel other people. Part of it has to do with issues of low self-worth and low self-esteem. Your attitude or your body language may be shouting out that you are uncomfortable being single and confused about what to do.
The good news is you can change all of that. It’s an “inside” job to create the best possible you and it’s not as hard as you think.

Here’s how you do it:

1. It’s good to be open and honest to those closest to you.

If you are feeling badly about your current single status, having it pointed out by friends and family can really rub salt in the wound. So be honest and let them know that your single status is off-limits. It does not have to become a point of contention. Setting limits about discussions on this topic can alleviate stress and frustration. People are not mind readers, so I suggest you let them know how you are feeling about the subject. You might be pleasantly surprised by the understanding and support you receive. And if you don’t get understanding and support, let it go. There is nothing you can do about it.

2. Are you assuming you don’t have what it takes in this competitive dating world?

Are you feeling pressure from family or friends to be married? These insecure feelings may be reflected in the things you say, how you present yourself to others and how other non-verbal communication signals are interpreted by those you’re with. All of these make you not as attractive as you can be to a prospective partner and keeps perpetuating your single status. What you need to do is decide you’re OK being single. Let people know this is your choice and that the right person hasn’t come along yet. Be clear that you are comfortable with your single status and that being with someone for the sake of having a partner is not your idea of healthy relationships. In fact, you enjoy being able to do as you please, go where you want and invest in your own well-being.

Being single is not a disease, nor is it a permanent condition. Just take those unwanted comments in stride, knowing you are fine with yourself and because of that, able to attract another confident, special person into your life.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

# 4. First honestly assess whether you are single by choice or because of fear

Cynthia Pickett

One of the dysfunctions of today’s society is the continuous quest to be in a relationship. The philosophy that we are not complete, or validated, until we are mated is really co-dependent neediness in disguise. Common language used to hide the neediness is “I just want someone to share my life with”, or “I don’t need a partner I just like having some one around to do things with.” How we jump from one relationship to another, each time getting married while in the infatuation phase, it is no wonder the divorce rate is at 60%. As a whole we are a very needy, co-dependent society.

I too am single and am routinely asked “Are you on Match.com?” No! “What are you doing to meet someone?” Nothing! When I first started getting asked about my quest to find a mate, I felt a small twinge of “something must be wrong with me if I am not partnered.” I assessed whether I was not looking because of fear, fear of being vulnerable again. No. If the answer had been yes, then that would be a different area of healing that needed to occur before getting into another relationship.

Anyway, I questioned myself as to why I felt the initial pressure. I discovered there was still a part of me that needed validating from a man. My own neediness had not been fully healed. While healing my heart I began examining this coupling pressure, insanity really, that exists today. I have found that those who are the most concerned with relationship status are the most wounded. They are the ones who are afraid to be alone. Remember, everything we say and do is a reflection of what is going on inside us. No matter how they appear on the outside, those who are judging, pressuring, or routinely asking, are the ones who are afraid to be alone.

Now when people ask if I have joined a dating service and the question feels more judging than conversational, I consider the source and know they have just given me a glimpse into their pain. So I silently bless them and ask that they find peace all the while saying out loud “No thank you, I am good”.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com

# 5. Quality over quantity

Rima Danielle Jomaa

There is a social expectation that everyone is seeking love and that everyone should want to be in a relationship. Many people spend the majority of their free energy and time in pursuit of a partner and relationship, without stopping to think about what they truly want or learning to fulfill their own happiness first. When they first enter a relationship, these people may feel complete and resolute, however fleeting these feelings may be. The quality of the relationship doesn’t seem to be as important as just being in a relationship is, for some. Alternatively, there are many people who are not pressured by this social expectation to be in a relationship. They are content when they are or are not in a relationship, and are more concerned with the quality of partner they choose to spend their time and energy with versus just being in a relationship for the sake of saying so.

Whatever the reasons may be for not habitually dating, it might be awkward in social situations when the topic arises, especially when around numerous inquisitive couples or nagging family members. If I were single and someone asked me why, I would simply state, “I prefer quality over quantity, and I don’t date just anyone. I take relationships very seriously and I think it through thoroughly before committing myself to someone. My time is valuable to me. If I can’t see myself being with someone long-term, I won’t waste either of our time. I’ve yet to meet anyone worth my while, but I’m confident it will happen when I’m ready.” Then I would change the subject to something that interests me so the person gets the hint.

Rima Danielle Jomaa, MFT – www.CostaRima.com

# 6. Make them understand that being single at any age is a choice for some, a loss for others

Dr. Randi Gunther

Being single is very different in certain phases of life. Eighteen to thirty-year-olds in our current society are busy millennials who are finding their place in the world, career-wise, relationship-wise, spiritually-wise, security-wise, and dream-wise. Those in society who hang out with “early marriers” who want their families before the age of thirty are pretty focused on finding someone with the same goals, but many others are postponing marriage, if at all, and families, if at all, until they get a better concept of who they are and what they want. In addition, many women over thirty are harvesting their eggs for future prospects or for having children without the necessity of traditional unions, or very willing to use a donor age if they feel too old to produce a healthy child with what they have left.

So, ask someone in that age range about being single and they’ll tell you all that is happening that is resulting in that semi-temporary state, usually without any remorse, discomfort, or shame. They may even wonder why you are asking the question at all and look for your hang-ups, especially if you are over the age of forty.

It becomes a different issue when a woman hits her late thirties and a guy his early forties. Now the evils of society step in and pressure these poor folks into why they are not “settled” down. Many of the marrying types are taken by then, for good or bad, and aren’t back on the divorce auction block as of yet. So many men I know have even been looked as askance as to whether they are even looking to ever tie the knot, or are hiding a different gender preference. Women who aren’t sure about ever having children can’t comfortable confess that decision without some people wondering why they should have the pleasures of sex without the responsibilities of parenthood. Again, it depends on the age and attitude of the asker.

After forty or fifty, people are rarely asked about their single state, except for the occasional, “What’s it like not having to be responsible for someone else all the time?” The kind of life any of those people are living and their attitude towards it predicts pretty much how people will approach them. If they are sad, bitter, resentful, pessimistic, and otherwise negative, some people will see that as due to their single state. If they have many friends, lead a great life, are into fun and interesting things not normally available to families, people may even envy them.

Many people, later in life, have either always been single or end up that way, often for reasons they can’t control. There are many situations that can’t be predicted like illness, financial setbacks, necessary moves where one has to start over, or loss. People are naturally tribal. If older singles have those deep and moving social connections, they often happily substitute those for intimate one-on-one relationships.

So, the crucial issue is not your single state but the nature, reason, and substance of the person who is asking at all. How has their experiences of being single or pair-bonded affected them? Do they feel genuine curiosity, pity, envy, concern, or just busy-body nosiness? What kind of person would ask someone they didn’t know that kind of a personal question? And, if it is someone close to the person, why wouldn’t they already know?

Being single at any age is a choice for some, a loss for others. There are so many variables at play that it is far more important to care about the person as a whole than whatever category they may fit into.

Dr. Randi Gunther, www.randigunther.com

# 7. Follow the 3 tips below

Alisa Ruby Bash

Being single is not a disease, although some people can make you feel otherwise. As the leader of a singles empowerment group in Los Angeles, and a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have been privy to shocking accounts of how well meaning friends/family can make singles feel extremely uncomfortable. If you are reading this and you are single, you probably know that being interrogated about why you are STILL single never feels good.

I can remember attending a friend’s beautiful engagement party, feeling awkward that I was the only single woman there, and having another married acquaintance ask me how it felt to be 30 years- old, and still single? Guess what? It sucked! I had wanted to find the right person for so long, but had been looking for all the wrong things. Oddly enough, after getting food poisoning from the party, and ending up in the emergency room the next day, I had an inner shift that opened me up to finally meeting the right guy. I realized that all that really mattered was finding someone who would treat me with kindness, and always be there for me in good times and bad. I ended up meeting my husband a week later online. He also happened to be a physician in the same ER I had been to the week before! My husband had written to me several times over four years on an online website, but I had never replied. The moral of that true story is that when we are truly ready and open to love, the Universe has a funny way of opening our eyes to what is around us, and helping us make new choices.

In the meantime, the following tips can help empower you when people ask you why you are still single.

1. The most important thing to do is create a strong support system. Surround yourself with other fun, single friends. Make sure you socialize, take classes, travel, enjoy your work, and spend time with people that make you feel loved and appreciated.

2. Have your answers ready. Why not take it as a compliment if someone asks why you are still single? Obviously that means they think you are a pretty great catch. Confident and happy singles do respond like that. “I’ll take that as a compliment, “ is a good answer. Or how about, “ I don’t want to settle and I haven’t met the right one yet.,” or “ Why aren’t you single?” is another good response, confident single clients have used.

3. Enjoy quality alone time. Later in your life, you may not have that luxury. Pamper yourself. Meditate and visualize your dreams coming true. Enrich your mind. Go shopping. Most importantly, show yourself the love that you are hoping to give and receive later.

Alisa Ruby Bash, LMFT – www.alisarubybash.com

# 8. Respond in a respectful manner and be as honest as you can possibly can with yourself and others if you choose to

Dr. Giselle Leon Jimenez

Bridgett Jones gloriously wore the single girl badge of honor in her first movie. Everyone awkwardly asked her : Hey Bridge , how your love life ? … Ms. Jones always responded in a clever yet respectful way. Explaining your state of single hood might be embarrassing, uncomfortable and sometimes it might feel awkward to have to elaborate on this very private issue. Being single is sometimes a choice, in that case, only you can decide what and how to explain your personal preference. Not everyone deserves an explanation about your personal love choices. If you choose to be single, make yourself count for that decision and wear your single hood on your sleeve. There really is no shame about it.

The same emotional rule applies to those who can’t find a mate. There is no shame in not being able to “couple up”. Again, the world does not deserve a memo about your love status. Dealing with intrusive questions is definitely a very stressful situation as you may feel judged by family and friends. If you choose to disclose any information ; respond in a respectful manner and be as honest as you can possibly can with yourself and others if you choose to. Leave the details for yourself, not everyone needs to know you had ten blind dates and none worked out. Cultivate an air of mystery around the subject, again this is a very personal and private matter. Becoming isolated and ashamed of your single hood will not allow you socialize and be open to new relationships. Being single is not a disease and does not make you less human than a person who is in a couple. Enjoy your single status until it lasts; there is a lid for every pot.

Dr. Giselle Leon Jimenez – www.leonfamilytherapy.com

# 9. Remember that no one can make you feel badly without your permission

Loral Lee Portenier

In the U.S., as in most cultures, we are socialized to grow up, get married, and raise children. This is the norm and the unspoken rule. And most people do not like it when someone breaks the rules.

If you are single, for whatever reason, you have broken the rules and many people will feel the need to respond to this. Some will say, “Lucky you.” The rest will say, “What’s wrong with you?”

But NO ONE gets to control how you feel about yourself. So here is a key to keep in mind when dealing with concerned and/or impertinent questions and remarks aimed at your relationship status. Their comments are a reflection of them, not you.

As humans, we act as a mirror for each other. We see our own beliefs and insecurities, our own strengths and challenges, in other people. In this situation, if someone is happy and content in their relationship, they wish something similar for all the people they love and they try to “make it happen.” They have the best intentions, but can be inappropriate in both their remarks and actions. An example of a response you can make to these types of people might be, “Thank you for caring about me. I know you mean well, but I’m not in the mood to talk about that right now.”

Other people are less innocuous. They may be jealous of your freedom and will try to bring you down, or they may feel superior and try to help you see your own inferiority. Understand that their remarks are a reflection of them, not of you, and respond appropriately. For instance, impertinent and rude questions and comments can simply be ignored, with a pointed look, a smile, or a turning away. You can ask a pointed question in return, such as, “Did I ask you what you had for breakfast?” Or, “Are we going to discuss something else or do I need to leave now?”

Finally, to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, remember that no one can make you feel badly without your permission. You are walking your own relationship path and are not required to answer to anyone.

Dr. Loral Lee Portenier, www.sacreddreamscoaching.com

# 10. Be honest and people who care about you primarily want you to be happy, so it’s important—for you and for them—to be clear that being happy does not depend on being in a relationship

Dr. April Lok

My favorite response to this question: All superheroes are single! 🙂

All kidding aside, it can be difficult to field questions about your life choices, especially if you ask yourself the same questions from time to time. To tackle the issue of relationship status, first consider this: Do you want to be in a relationship? There are many benefits of being single, including control over how you spend your time and your money. When someone asks why you’re single, you can redirect the conversation to the passions you’re free to pursue: career, hobbies, travel, faith, checking off your bucket list…

But what if you really do want to be in a relationship? You can still enjoy your independence, but you don’t want to drum up how much you love being single if you want someone to fix you up!

If you are single and hoping not to stay that way, chances are it’s for one of two reasons:

1. You’re not ready. Maybe you’re still healing from your last relationship and learning from what went wrong. Maybe there are things you want to work on, such as being kinder, less critical and controlling, or standing up for yourself so you don’t let someone else control you. It’s important to address these if you don’t want to repeat old patterns. As the saying goes, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Unless and until you change the types of partners you pick and the way you treat each other, you’re likely headed for more heartache…and sooner or later, being single again.

2. You haven’t found the right one yet. Maybe you have done a lot of work on yourself and become the kind of partner you’d like to have, but you simply haven’t found someone with the qualities you’re looking for. You’re not willing to settle just so you can settle down.

It’s okay to be honest about these things. If you’re brave enough to be single, you know that it’s better not to be in a relationship than to be in a bad one. There are plenty of people who are in relationships who are unhappy—and plenty who are single who are quite happy. The people who care about you primarily want you to be happy, so it’s important—for you and for them—to be clear that being happy does not depend on being in a relationship.

Dr. April Lok – www.doc-lok.com

# 11. Realize that you really don’t OWE anybody an explanation

Sally Leboy

“Why are you still single?” That anyone would ask that question in this day and age is disheartening to say the least! The question of course suggests that there is something wrong with being single. Outside of a very close friend or family member, nobody is likely to come up to you and ask, “Why are you married to such a jerk?”

While our culture was founded on the institution of heterosexual marriage, a lot has changed. That may that still the norm, but it’s only by a small margin. Increasing numbers of people are choosing to remain single or co-habit, and the divorce rate is very high. And we have made tremendous strides in recognizing the validity of marriage between any two consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation. I like to think that as a culture we are growing up, and as a result we are becoming more inclusive and less judgmental of alternative life choices.

Still the institution of marriage is deeply embedded into our collective psyches. We still fantasize about the perfect wedding, the perfect partner. Somewhere within most of us lurks some equivalent of a white picket fence. Marriage has meant children (that’s the other obnoxious question: “When are you two going to have a baby?”) Historically marriage and reproduction was essential to the continuity of our species. In other words, the urge to couple and settle down is probably a very primal urge. Parents want grand kids, and we still seem to feel that something is missing if we don’t walk down the proverbial aisle.

We feel, not we think. All of the above is an emotional response, strong no doubt, but possibly at odds with our thinking selves. If we think about it, there may be less reason to automatically plan to marry and procreate. At least in the developed world, women are no longer dependent on the protection of men. While women may still be striving for economic parity, in general women can take good care of themselves, even with a child. Over population may be the single biggest underlying issue that we face as a species. A very good argument can be made for the decision to not have children.

So the question as to why you don’t have a partner (or a kid) is pretty knee jerk. I’m of the opinion that anyone who wants a partner badly enough can find one. It’s just that most of us have a lot of life choices, so we tend to want the right partner and at the right time. So when asked why you don’t have a partner, I’m tempted to suggest something flippant and possibly rude. But we’re all too mature for that! How about, “My life is very full and a partner isn’t my focus right now”. Really you don’t owe anybody an explanation!

Sally Leboy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

# 12. Follow the 3 tips below

Sharon Huey

If you’re not in a serious relationship, you’ve probably come across the question “why are you still single?” Though the answer might come with good intent, most of the time it comes across as frustrating, annoying, and downright nosy.

If we’re honest, most of us do not react very well when feeling this way. To not be caught off-guard and prevent sharing too much (or too little) about your life, here are five effective responses to three familiar situations.

1. For the person who talks about everyone’s business like’s it’s her business, it’s appropriate to be discreet, concise, and re-direct the conversation. You know, I’m looking for the right kind of someone for me, and I haven’t come across this person yet. This direct answer gives you control over the conversation and reminds the question asker that you know what’s good for you.

2. For people who you generally connect with, meaning who will accept your words for what they are without correcting or fixing, feel free to be honest but aware of that answering the question at the moment might not be the best time or place. Try a version of: That’s kind of a complex question to answer. For the most part I’m doing well/adjusting. I’d love if we could get together for coffee and have more time to catch up. This gives a positive signal to the question asker and gives you the time and space to share your experience in its full context without abbreviation.

3. And lastly, when you’re in a great mood, try your own twist on some of these:

• So…are you offering to change that? (with a wink and a smile)
• I wonder that myself. I’m pretty amazing, right?
• Actually, this is really just temporary. I’m holding out just long enough so my application for The Bachelor/Bachelorette goes through.

And really, at the end of the day it’s not worth your time nor is it your job to convince someone else that you are happy. Remember that know that no matter what answer you give they will never know the full context of your life, and let your confidence in your own words shine through.

Sharon Huey, M.S. MFTi – www.sharonhuey.com

# 13. Don’t be defensive and try to figure out why this question bothers you

Jacqueline V. Cohen

If you are single and at a social function, this can be a common question –often- a loaded one. I have been married for several years, but I remember how this question felt. I also hear a lot of frustration from my clients when they are asked this in social settings. So, how do you handle and respond appropriately when asked?

First, it is helpful to understand that, generally, it is common small talk like “So what do you do?” so you can expect it. Understanding that, for the most part, people ask out of interest for you can help you feel less defensive. Second, explore with yourself why this question bothers you. I think generally our response has to do with our perception of why we are single as being a problem.

Of course, it doesn’t help if after saying “No,” you proceed to hear what you should be doing to find someone or for example, “You are such a catch, I don’t know why you are single.” This response has to do with their perception of what you might be feeling since your answer wasn’t “Yes,” and based on their perception of what it means to be single. Now everyone is uncomfortable. However, I do believe that mostly people respond this way because they don’t want you to feel uncomfortable and they can’t tolerate how uncomfortable they now feel.

Point being, if you expect the question, you can plan your answer accordingly. A few examples are: “No, I am in between relationships right now,” or “ I am too busy with work to commit to anyone right now.” Remember, you don’t have to explain yourself that is your assertive human right. Lastly, remember most people aren’t trying to make you uncomfortable or judge you by your relationship status, even if what they are saying may suggest otherwise.

Jacqueline V. Cohen, LPC – www.therapymama.com

# 14. The best thing to do is feel comfortable and confident with who you are

Monica Burton

So when posed with a question about your relationship status; what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Anxiety? Maybe frustration? How about happiness or sadness? Perhaps a mix of emotions? Maybe you’re thrilled with the single life and can’t wait to share? Or, maybe you can’t believe you are being asked this question… again!

For many people, how we respond and how we feel are based on societal norms, cultural background, or family pressure. The most important factor to consider is how you really feel about it. If you could take a moment to tune out the pressure from society, family or friends; what are you really wanting or hoping for?

Many people are happy with being single and the stage of life that they are currently in. As a relationship therapist, I do emphasize the importance of connecting and having relationships; however nurturing the relationship with self is equally important and will actually help once you decide to have a committed relationship.

My suggestion is don’t avoid or withdraw if the question makes you uncomfortable. You have to live your life and connect with people both romantically and socially. If we stay in a place of fear, worry, anger or living up to other people’s expectations, then we don’t live our lives. The best thing to do is feel comfortable and confident with who you are, the decisions you make, and the stage of life that you are in right now. Once we regain our confidence then who knows what life will bring us.

Monica Burton, LMFT – www.monicaburtonlmft.com

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