Even though being single for a long time may seem like a bad thing, it’s really not. Society teaches us that we are “doing life right” if we are in a relationship, but the truth is, if you’ve been single for a while, you probably have your priorities straight, you know what you want/need in a relationship, and you’re not going to settle for a mediocre partner.
Recently, Redditors discussed how they handle being asked those dreaded questions: “How long have you been single for?” and “When was your last relationship?” And even though the responses varied, it was clear that there’s no shame in putting yourself first.
Lots Of People Out There Have Taken A Long Break From Serious Relationships
There are many single people out there who are either actively dating but haven’t found a relationship that sticks, or who have been single for a long time with few dating experiences.
And even though there are so many negative connotations associated with being single (like you’re sad and lonely), in reality, being single for a long period of time has lots of benefits and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Being Single For A Long Time Is Not Baggage
Being single and being in a relationship are simply two different states of being. Even though there are upsides and downsides to being single, there are also upsides and downsides to being in a relationship.
Being single for a long time can mean you maintain your standards and refuse to stay in bad relationships because you know your worth. You might also actively choose to stay single based on life circumstances or to spend time focusing on yourself.
You Don’t Have To Justify Your Singleness
Try not to get defensive when you get the “when was your last relationship?” question. Usually, people are just asking to make conversation.
And if they try to press for more details when you’re not comfortable sharing, a simple “I haven’t met the right person” is usually sufficient.
There Are Lots Of Advantages To Being Single
Being single for a long time means that you’ve spent a lot of time working on yourself and learning about your priorities and needs in a relationship.
You’ve spent lots of quality time with yourself, which could lead you to make better decisions when you do start dating again.
How Long You Have Been Single Shouldn’t Make A Difference
It’s normal if, deep down, you feel kind of embarrassed if you have never been in a relationship by a certain age.
This is because we’re taught that it’s abnormal and negative. And honestly, you should never feel ashamed about your past. It shouldn’t change the way you date or stop you from putting yourself out there.
You Have Your Priorities Straight
Being single for a long time is a sign you are not willing to sacrifice, even for short-time pleasure (like always having a date to a wedding).
You’re looking for the right partner instead of just settling for someone because you don’t want to be alone.
Explaining Why You Haven’t Dated In A While
Reddit user harrohamtaro decided to ask the users of r/datingoverthirty how they explain to someone why they haven’t dated in a while.
They titled the post: “People who have been single for a long time—how do you explain to your date?”
Some Dates May Be Alarmed
The Redditor explained that question seems to come up a lot during first dates: “‘How long have you been single?’ And I see the alarm in their eyes when I say: ’10 years.'”
“There are reasons I could articulate, of course, but not to a near-stranger on our first meeting. It seems too intense to me. Just want to know how does everyone convey their situation gracefully without making yourself sound like a red flag?”
“Just Be Honest”
“I think if [it] were to come up in person I’d just be honest and say I’ve had a couple of shorter things that didn’t work out (and sometimes give a bit of detail about the last one) but ultimately just haven’t met the right person.”
“I’ve got an easy out for the last 2 years because work + pandemic just made dating near impossible for me anyway. If that’s a red flag or a warning sign for them, fine, I’m not trying to convince someone to date me.” —ellef86 / Reddit
Confidence Is Key
“I explain my reasons for being single with confidence. […] I used to try to be funny and evasive about why I’ve never been in a relationship, it never worked.”
“I was met with awkward laughter as a polite albeit uncomfortable response to my non answer. Now, I just say it as it is: ‘it wasn’t a priority for me at the time, I preferred to focus on my studies and work. But now I know I’m ready for it and looking for someone who’s ready for a committed long term relationship.'” —Conscious-Moment-930 / Reddit
“I Haven’t Met The Right Person”
“‘I haven’t met the right person’ always works well for me. And if asked how long have I [have] been single I just say ‘a long time’ or ‘so long I forgot’.”
“Usually people are just trying to make conversation so there’s no need to go into it further.” —MsCrys00 / Reddit
It Shouldn’t Be An Acceptable Question To Ask
“This is the dating equivalent of ‘why do you have gaps on your resume’ and I think it’s an absolutely bizarre concept. I dated a while. Then I stopped. Then I did again. Then I stopped for a long while because you know, life. Then I started again.”
“What’s there really to ‘explain’? I don’t get it.” —tobiasshankara / Reddit
“I’m Not Ashamed Of My Past”
“Honestly. I’m not ashamed of my past. If that’s enough to make someone turn tail and run, they weren’t the one for me. Anyone who gives a damn about you will ask why. They’ll listen to your answer. They’ll ask questions.”
“If it’s an answer they can accept and understand, it means they also accept and understand you.” —Casper_Kneller / Reddit
“The Reasons For Me Not Dating Are Legitimate For Myself”
“I’m 31 and never been in a relationship, apart from a brief thing when I was in my early 20s. I know that the reasons for me not dating are legitimate for myself, and I wouldn’t change it. But now it gets to this point when I don’t want to hide it.”
“Because essentially I need someone I’m dating to actually understand where I’ve come from/my experience etc.. but I don’t know how [to] convey this. Honestly though, I think if its the right person and you feel confident telling them, they’re not going to run. They’re going to respect it.” —rory9879 / Reddit
The Importance Of Telling The Truth
“I had this same question asked of me (8 yrs in my case) a couple of dates ago. I said that I don’t try very often and just haven’t connected with anyone. Which is true, but I’m not sure how it comes across.”
“Then the last date asked how long I’d been online (dating). And I said a few days, then she said ‘that makes sense.'” —Indefatigible_moose / Reddit
It’s Not A Red Flag
“Started seeing someone who has been single 12 years, he told me he was focusing on his career and helping raise his kids.”
“It didn’t strike me as a red flag because he has a great job, just bought a home in a really cool town, and has two grown kids who seem awesome (haven’t met them yet).” —timebomb_3 / Reddit
The Single Life Is A Good Life
So, these Reddit users agree that there’s nothing wrong with being single for a long time.
Even though it can be hard to answer if you’re outright questioned about it, you can respond however you want to, and you only have to go into detail if you choose to do so. And if your date reacts badly to your answer, then they’re probably not the one for you anyway.