How To Stay Single Forever: 11 Behaviors That Are Keeping You Single

There are countless reasons to celebrate being single: you can focus on yourself, learn about your needs, and have complete freedom in your life. But if you’ve been single for what feels like forever, that may be because you’re getting in your own way. If you want a relationship but can’t seem to have any luck in dating, you might be guilty of a few self-sabotaging behaviors. Here are 11 ways to ensure you stay single.

  1. You don’t make yourself visible. No one will date you if they don’t know you exist. That’s why it’s important to get out, meet people, and try a dating app or two. You may want to meet someone “organically,” but spontaneous love-at-first-sight is unlikely, especially in a world where everyone is busy and glued to their phones. Make yourself visible where potential dates are to increase your chances of meeting your match.
  2. You avoid making the first move. This is especially true for women dating men. Traditional rules say that men should make the first move, but those rules were also created during a time when women weren’t allowed to be empowered in relationships. If you find someone attractive, get out of your comfort zone and make the first move.
  3. You have unrealistic expectations. Do you have a list practically the length of a book, full of rules for your future partner? It’s good to be picky and have standards. But your expectations must also be flexible. Remember, everyone you meet is a person with their own lives, quirks, and imperfections. Just as you aren’t perfect, others won’t be either.
  4. You pursue unavailable people. You might be chronically single, never getting past situationships, because you keep falling for unavailable people. Sometimes, another person’s emotional unavailability can make them seem more mysterious and attractive. But be careful to not fall for this toxic charm. Instead, prioritize people who show a clear interest in you. If you’re the only one consistently messaging, setting up dates, or talking about the future, they’re likely too unavailable to ever start a real relationship with.
  5. You push people away. Even if you don’t really want to be single, you may be blocking yourself from ever developing an intimate relationship. You may find that the first couple dates are easy. But then, when things get more serious, you look for reasons to escape. You might nitpick their flaws or differences and use that as evidence to push them away. Another seemingly contradictory way to push people away is by being too comfortable with intimacy, rushing into commitment too soon. Being clingy from the start can push people away, too, because it comes off as hasty and inauthentic.
  6. You don’t make time for dating. You might love your packed schedule filled with hobbies, nights out, and weekend trips. But dating requires time. And if you don’t have time in your schedule to meet new people, you might find yourself staying single a lot longer than you expected.
  7. You’re not totally over your ex. It’s common knowledge that talking about an ex on a first date is a bad idea. But even if you’re not talking about your ex with people you meet, not being over your ex can sabotage your love life in other ways. For example, you might be comparing everyone you meet to your ex. Or you may even resist putting much effort into dating, hoping that your ex will eventually come running back. In order to start new, healthy relationships, you must first heal from your breakup.
  8. You constantly bad-mouth men (or your preferred gender). Sometimes, our words can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. And the more you bad-mouth men (or women, depending on which gender you prefer to date), the more likely you’ll start to only see them critically. Maybe you’ve been hurt by a guy before, and it’s easy to just assume all men are the same. But by assuming the worst, you might miss guys that could actually be good for you. A little complaining with friends is healthy, but make sure it doesn’t actually warp your view of potential partners.
  9. You’re not clear about your intentions. Are you playing hard-to-get? Do you avoid being clear about what you want? When you don’t directly state your intentions, it’s common to end up wasting time and energy on no-strings-attached hookups, when what you actually want is a serious relationship. Save yourself the stress, and be upfront about your intentions and dating goals early on.
  10. You’re focused on the wrong qualities in a partner. If you prioritize shallow qualities in people, you might never meet the one who you can connect with on a deeper level. Resist the urge to pursue people who look good on paper. This can keep you stuck in a cycle of going after the wrong people and remaining single each time. Instead, take time to get to know people more intimately. Focus on those who are easy to talk to, have similar values, and bring out the best in you.
  11. You don’t believe you’re enough. Sometimes, staying single can feel safe. This is especially true if you struggle with low self-esteem. You may not believe you’re worthy of having a relationship. But you have an amazing personality and unique perspective to share with others, as long as you let yourself. Though there’s nothing wrong with being single, you’re deserving of a relationship when you decide you’re ready.
Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo