Do you actually want a relationship?

Many long-time-single people would prefer to be in a romantic relationship (dating or marriage). You may be very frustrated that you haven’t been able to find a compatible partner, whether it be for companionship, sexual intimacy, living together or having children.

But other people are actually more comfortable remaining single. Some people are aromantic so they wouldn’t enjoy a dating relationship. Some quirkyalone people would rather be single, focusing on their own priorities, than compromise their preferences within a partnership.

Preferring to be single can be a confusing situation because our society expects everyone to partner up. You may get a lot of pressure from family, friends, coworkers and even strangers: “Would you like to bring a date?” “How come you’re still single?” “Let me introduce you to someone.” “When will I get grandchildren?”

Maybe you have absorbed that social expectation, and mixed it up with your own personal plans for how your life should go. Maybe you’re hoping for more social acceptance by showing up with a date, and going up the Relationship Escalator to marriage and child-rearing and all the other expectations of adulthood.

If the stigma of singlehood is driving you to date, it’s time to step back from the dating app. Give yourself some space to feel your own feelings about relationships. Are you excited by or repulsed by physical affection? Are you eager to try building intimacy and inter-dependency within a partnership? Would you bother dating someone if your friends and family never knew about them?

If you realize that staying single would actually be more comfortable, you now have a different opportunity to show your maturity: declaring your independence from social expectations. Lead the life you want.


Alana is the organizer of, the founder of the Love Not Anger project, and the creator of the original "involuntary celibacy" support website in 1997. This post expresses her own views; she is not a mental-health professional or dating expert.
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