You Don’t Owe Anyone An Explanation For Being Single

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I’m 23 years old and I’ve never been in a relationship. Reread that sentence if you need to; most people need to be retold, or convinced, or something. That’s fine; I know it’s rare. I usually get the once over look and then, “Really?” Yes; yes really. All of this is before they realize that I’ve also never been kissed. Still, none of it tops the reaction I get from my doctor when he asks if there’s any chance I could be pregnant.

“Nope.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep.”
“Well, some people don’t realize they can get pregnant doing what they’re doing.”
“I know how it works; and I’m still a virgin.”
I smile politely during the typical quick glance over my figure.
“Oh… Really? You’re sure?
Trying not to chuckle, I wonder how we could still be having this conversation. A little while later the nurse returns with my lab results, and the doctor nearly congratulates me, “Well, you’re not pregnant!” I give up.

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I don’t mind being honest with people. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve never considered any of this to be something I didn’t want people to find out about me. It’s not a disorder, it’s not a curse, and it’s definitely not a problem.

Now, there are a lot of misconceptions that come with the territory of being unattached as long as I have: 1) I’m afraid of commitment, 2) I have unrealistic expectations, and 3) I want to be a nun.

Let me just offer a blanket “No” to all of that. People want to make it more complicated than it is, trying to figure me out and uncover what’s really behind all of this. It’s not like that. For me it’s common sense:

I will not be in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship.

That won’t get you any closer to finding love. I’m not “missing out on valuable experience.” I’m not living less of a life. I’m avoiding heartbreak with good people that I don’t love. I don’t see people as mere “experience” to benefit from, I see them as individuals, seeking love, same as I.

I’ve seen what happens to people who rush in and out of love, who compromise themselves in the hopes that they can pick up the slack later on. Why shoot for the sand instead of the stars? There’s always the risk that it won’t work out, even when you move slowly, but what makes you think rushing or compromising will help the relationship?  Some people stubbornly ignore the dissonance in the relationship because they desperately want each other, against all odds, against all reason. “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Okay, Rod, so does that somehow gloss over the incompatibility and skip right to happiness? Good luck with that.

We just want to be “happy”. The common hope is that we will find someone who will make our loneliness go away, but that’s not how all of this works. That should not be the goal. A relationship should be based on love, not avoidance of feelings we don’t want to feel. Being single is not the same as being alone. I know people in relationships who feel alone. Loneliness is an accessory quality that exists independent of our relationship status. We need to be careful not to use someone we care about as an excuse to avoid the source of our loneliness. Why do we feel empty? Why is it we don’t feel whole? What are we missing? It’s not romance, I’ll tell you that; it’s definitely something else. Relationships are beautiful and good, but when we use them to avoid confronting ourselves and our issues, it’s only a temporary fix. It may distract us for a little while, but the feeling of belonging won’t last (even if the relationship does) until you can address the source of the problem.  But I don’t have to convince you of this; that resurfacing heartache will speak for itself.

I’ve seen what happens to relationships that build their foundation on the pursuit of happiness instead of the pursuit of God. There’s a lot of confusion when times get hard. What if you’re not happy anymore? What happens then? Well, if love is all about achieving some sense of happiness, I suppose you would leave that relationship to pursue it elsewhere. But it would help you to learn, sooner rather than later, that happiness isn’t guaranteed us; and, this doesn’t make life automatically miserable, it just makes life real. You can jump from person to person, through fleeting moments of pleasure, and find you’re no closer to achieving happiness than you were before.  You will never find a relationship devoid of trials, worry, or frustration; all of that comes with loving someone, but all of that is more than bearable if you share a mutual love and respect for one another.

If you build your relationships on the pursuit of happiness, and you consider happiness to be the absence of all dissatisfaction; I’ll accept your definition. You’re looking for someone to please you, to flatter you, to offer you only good feelings, on your terms, with no problems, no issues, no drama. Minimal effort involved for you. You want it to be easy. You want it to be pleasurable, uncomplicated. You want it to be everything you want, all the time. That’s not love, that’s not even a relationship, that’s pornography. Love takes more than that. Love requires a real relationship, within the messy and imperfect beauty of reality.

Love begins in a real relationship with a person who you are willing to sacrifice yourself for. In love, though there be trials, frustrations, and anxieties, there is an abiding joy that supersedes the current circumstance, because you love.

When you love someone, you are affected by what they do and by what happens to them. It is a sacrifice to feel for someone, to remain vulnerable in your concern for all that regards them, but this sacrifice is more than endurable, because you love.

So don’t rush in. They say that’s what fools do. It takes time to know who someone really is, and to know who you become when you’re with them. It takes time to discover who you should spend the rest of your life with. If you’re single, be single; in time, you won’t be anymore. There’s no need to explain. It’s fine and it’s good. Instead of being preoccupied with all the worries of searching for love, focus on surrounding yourself with good people; the rest will figure itself out.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “You Don’t Owe Anyone An Explanation For Being Single”

  1. Beautiful. And just to remind you–you’re not alone. I’m also a happy single 23 year old virgin who has never been kissed, but even more than that, I am a beautiful, precious daughter of God (cf Isaiah 43:4).

  2. well said!! I was 28 and always single, never kissed. My life to that point was full of richness, generosity of time, education, and… well, life. Now I am married, and the journey of learning grew me incredibly. I am so very glad that I was more mature and prepared for developing a real, rich relationship built on life lessons I learned. May I never forget the values in being an individual – single or married.

  3. This is the best wrote article I’ve ever read on the subject. Thank you so for sharing. Keep using your the gift of writing to say what needs to be said!

  4. Wow! Encouraging…..am 37yrs, still a virgin and I love the Lord…..may God strengthen you dear. I love my life and God and that keeps me going. God has also blessed me beyond my expectation. I believe in love and I know God is preparing me for someone extra special.

  5. I know this is a long read, but here is a sermon on the subject of Virgins and their worth, the worth of greatness in our society. Shamefully you don’t hear much about male virgins, congrats to the ladies of this post.

    From a sermon On the Dress of Virgins by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr
    The more numerous her virgins, the greater the joy of mother Church

    Now I wish to address the order of virgins. Because their way of life is more exalted, our concern for them must be greater. If we compare the Church to a tree, then they are its blossom. Virgins show forth the beauty of God’s grace; they are the image of God that reflects the holiness of the Lord; they are the more illustrious members of Christ’s flock. They are the glory of mother Church and manifest her fruitfulness. The more numerous her virgins are, the greater is her joy.

    To these virgins then I speak and address my exhortation, out of love rather than any sense of authority; and I do this without claiming the right to censure them, for I am among the last and the least and fully aware of my lowliness; I do it rather because the more anxious and concerned I am about them, the more I fear the devil’s attack. For it is no idle concern nor vain fear that takes thought of the path of salvation and keeps the Lord’s life-giving commandments.

    They have dedicated themselves to Christ, and, renouncing the pleasures of the flesh, have consecrated themselves body and soul to God, in order to finish a task that is destined to win a great prize; they should not strive to adorn themselves or give pleasure to anyone but the Lord, from whom they hope to receive the reward for their chastity.

    Virgins, persevere in the way of life you have begun, persevere in what you are to be. For you will receive a glorious prize for your virtue, a most excellent reward for your chastity. You have already begun to be now what we shall all be in the future. You already possess, here in this world, the glory of the resurrection. You pass through this world without the world’s infection. If you persevere in chastity and virginity, you are equal to God’s angels. Only keep your profession of virginity strong and inviolate. You began your way of life courageously; now persevere without faltering. Seek right conduct as your adornment, not jewelry or attractive clothing.

    Listen to the words of the apostle Paul, God’s chosen vessel, sent to announce the commands of heaven. Paul said: The first man was made of the dust of the earth; the second is from heaven. Those who are made from earth are like him who was on the earth. Those who are of heaven are like him who is from heaven. As we have borne the image of the man who is of the earth, so let us bear the image of the man who is from heaven. This image is shown forth in virginity, purity, holiness and truth

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