Even I am guilty of saying this.
Let’s be honest, the assumption that there is an undesirable reason someone is still single is an easy assumption to make.
Because we’ve all known those perpetually strange folks who are socially awkward. Or those guys who never want to grow up and act like teenagers into their thirties. Or those girls who are super insecure and will date anyone and end up just being used. Or that guy who is stalkery toward women and creeps them out. Or that girl who is painfully shy and can’t even have a conversation with the opposite sex.
It’s hard not to judge someone when they are nearing middle-age and still single. You naturally just wonder what’s wrong with them. I get it. I do it. And then sometimes I wonder the same thing about myself.
What’s wrong with me? Am I unattractive? Am I awkward? Do I have a glaring flaw that I’m blind to?
But then I think of Reader and how she was socially awkward and not exactly the most attractive girl and yet she married WAY before I did. I think of other people who have numerous or significant flaws who have found love, people that you can’t help but raise your eyebrows when you hear they are getting married. I know this makes me sound pretty terrible but you know. YOU KNOW and don’t act like you don’t.
Your mom: Did you hear that So’n’So is getting married?
And just when you are about to process that So’n’So…SO’N’SO of all people!!!…has found someone who is willing to not only put up with but also tap that…THEN the thought hits you–
If SO’N’SO can find someone then what the hell is wrong with ME!!!!!!?
And then your thoughts and self esteem kind of do this:
Your mom is the bird but she doesn’t know it.
But then logic and reason eventually return and let you realize that So’n’So is marrying someone equally strange and it’s nice that most of the time there’s someone for everyone…even the quirky ones, and so there HAS to be someone for you (as if you aren’t quirky at all, right?). And also that you literally do not KNOW anybody and don’t get out of your bubble very much and also you have high standards and you are unique and so it’s going to take someone awesome and unique in a way that compliments you and it’s all going to be okay. You are happy being single. You won’t settle for less than God’s best. You are open and optimistic but also patient and enjoying the time you’ve been given with your friends and the people He’s placed in your life to minister to.
Shut up, Satan! There’s nothing horribly wrong with me. I’m just waiting on God’s timing!
And then you hear that people have been asking if you and your roommate are lesbians.
And then you do a little this:
And then feel John Watson’s pain and inform the messenger:
Because someone is single does not mean they are gay. Because they spend time with their best friend a lot doesn’t mean they are gay. It means they are single and they have a best friend. No one would think a thing about it if I was younger, but because I’m single and nearing thirty…oh I must be gay. Nope. Sorry. I’m interested in men. Women don’t do it for me. Thanks for assuming that about me.
Also, thank you woman who watched me grow up, for not trusting me to drive a van full of students because “Are you old enough to drive a rented van?” “Um, yes. I’m 28 years old and I’ve driven it before, and I’ve never been in a wreck and have been a responsible driver in the 12+ years I’ve been driving.” I bet you anything that if I were married this wouldn’t be in question (I understand I look younger than I am and that that is a good thing, but being treated like I’m irresponsible is really frustrating when 20-year-old married people get more credit than I do).
Married friends, thank you so much for assuming that I’m miserable and worthy of your pity because you are one of the blessed married people while I’m a poor lonely spinster. Thanks for the frequent consolation that he’s out there or that “we’ll find you a guy” when you actually have never set me up with anyone. But, you know, you seem to feel worse about my singleness than I do, so when it comes to your pity, thanks but no thanks.
People assume you are too picky, or you need to get out more. People assume all kinds of things and it’s hard enough sometimes when you are having to fight the lie that there’s something wrong with you that makes you unworthy of love without others speculating and accusing you, too.
That’s not to say that you “Shake It Off” as TSwift would say, because in reality it’s just not that easy. In reality it isn’t bad to question and examine yourself to see where you need to change, where you need to become the person that the person you’re looking for is looking for. But in the end what matters is what God knows about you and what you know about you. You persevere though it feels unjust, trusting that God sees you and truly does have a purpose for the delay. Trusting that you’re life is on the course He set and that is the course that will bring Him the most glory and in the end, you the most joy.
In the end I think “What’s wrong with that person? Why are they still single?” is a harmful way of thinking. Singleness is not actually tied to performance or favor or worthiness. It’s not something that needs fixing. Some single people are walking the path God has laid out for them. Some people are still single because they are doing it absolutely right.