Single and Dateless? That’s okay!

He turned and locked eyes with me, slowly leaning forward. To my shock he kissed me, right on the lips.

Horrified, I raised my hand to tattle on him, but the teacher had her back to me and led us out to recess without noticing my indignation.

Yes, my first kiss happened in kindergarten while standing in line to go outside. I had a little boyfriend that year. However, he wasn’t in my class the next year, so that was the end of our romance.

If I had known he would also be my last boyfriend and would give me my last kiss, I might not have tried to tell on him.

Single and Dateless

Whenever people ask what makes me unique, I always want to say, “I’ve never been on a date.” Not too many women can say that.

In the course of my life as a single woman, I’ve had one awkward set-up in college and one blind date a few years ago. I still cringe when I remember the college set-up. It was a dating outing (thank you conservative Christian college) and I told my friend if she asked out this guy who’d become an object of fascination for us, I’d go on the dating outing, too. With…someone.

She summoned up the courage to ask the guy out, which left me panicking. I was very shy and awkward with guys and there was NO WAY I could ask out one I actually knew. So a friend set me up her co-worker. It was perfect- she asked and he agreed. As for me, we only talked with each other once before the official dating outing. It was sooooo strange. Can I just say, eighteen years have passed since then and I still mentally shiver every time I think about it.

The blind date went better, I think, but he never called again.

And that’s it! My stunning roster of dating achievements.  

While I joke about it, it’s also probably the darkest, most painful aspect of my life-

Forget not having a boyfriend. I’ve never even been asked out. I’ve never been kissed (other than in kindergarten). Not one man, in the whole of my existence, has exhibited interest or attraction on any level.

That can be a hard truth to live with.

I’ve written about my dateless existence before, and I’m not sharing it now to make you feel sorry for me. Instead, I share in the hopes that some other woman will read this and say, “Me too. I’ve never dated either. I thought I was the only one.”

I also want you to know where I’m coming from when I make the following statement:

It’s okay not to date.  

Yes, that may sound radical, but it’s true.

We may feel like we’re walking alone, but don’t let that push you into making a dating mistake.

It’s okay not to date.

Singleness can wear on you. It can tear at you, drag you down, and make you feel so, so alone.

But we’re not alone. And even when it’s painful, we do not have to be defined by a dateless existence. 

What I mean is this: Just because you’re single, that doesn’t mean you have to run around endlessly trying to get men to notice you. You don’t have to stock up on books with the latest information on godly dating or developing more faith until you meet Mr. Right. You don’t need to post provocative pictures on social media or choose a church based on how many single men attend there.

You really don’t have to feel compelled to be online, trying every dating site available.

I’ve always said that I feel like people equate singleness with having a serious disease. They immediately want to “fix you.” These helpful people yank any available male out of the woodwork; they enthusiastically tell you about their third cousin who’s “really sweet” and then they pat your arm and say, “You can’t afford to be too picky. After all, you’re not getting any younger.”  Most helpful of all… everyone looks at you innocently and says, “Have you tried online dating?”

The message is always the same- you have to be dating! If you’re not, why aren’t you dating? You should have been dating yesterday!

You hear their message so much it starts to sink into your brain and impact your thinking until you begin to believe there is something wrong with you. But a man can fix it! Suddenly online dating seems like a great idea. There’s only one single guy at your church and he’s twenty, so it’s online or nothing, right?

When you do go online you immediately meet a guy who says women must only wear long dresses that go up to the collar bone with sleeves to the elbow and skirts down to the ankles (that’s a true story). You don’t agree with his position on dress, but hey, after all, you can’t be too picky, right?

And so you start dating a guy who’s totally wrong for you but you keep hearing everyone chanting that you’re not getting any younger so you decide to go for it.

I have seen this scenario played out with so many women. They attach to men they know aren’t right for them, but they are pressured into feeling like they have to be with SOMEONE.

(Side note: Please know, I am not saying online dating is bad in itself. I’m just saying it’s so easy to feel pushed into something you don’t necessarily want to do. Time and time again I’ve seen women go with the wrong guys simply because they think there won’t be anyone else.)

There are so many things worse than being single.

So I’ll say it one more time: It’s ok not to date. You don’t HAVE to be dating anyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being content where you are, looking to God to bring meaning and purpose to your life.

There is nothing wrong with you if you’re not dating.

That’s a hard-fought conclusion I’ve worked hard to arrive at. It’s a tough mental battle to believe singleness is God’s plan, and a good one, but it’s so true. Stop trying to “fix” your single life and learn to enjoy it. There are so many amazing opportunities available only to you.

And if you are dating, don’t let anyone push you into a relationship you’re not absolutely sure about. I don’t care how many times your grandmother sighs and wishes for great-grandchildren.  Don’t tie your value to your dating status and definitely don’t attach yourself to someone you know isn’t right.

You are worth more than that.

This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of a single life. It’s all right to be single! Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

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