I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the responses/comments on my FB wall when I shared this article, "Are Single Mormon Women "Screwed"? the other day. I truly believe these words, as I commented, "I don't put much stock in any one reason why we, as Mormon Singles, are in a dating "crisis". All you need is one person and I see it happening all the time. #istillbelieve." The truth, however is that while I still believe in love and marriage it does seem difficult to date these days.
I get asked all the time why I am still single and feel instantly caught by the question. If I tell this truth, that I hardly date at all, then the person asking feels sorry for me or the need to validate me and then say something trite like, "you're so great it will happen for you." If I tell the other truth, that I'm pretty happy single, then they usually choose one of two responses. "That's right just live your life, be happy, and it'll happen when it does." or "Maybe you just need to put yourself out there more and be less picky."
I would just prefer that no one ask me why
I'm single and avoid all of the above
So here are five of the real reasons why I think Mormon singles are struggling in this dating "crisis". These are from my experiences and opinions and in no way an exhaustive list.
1. We Are Picky
Watching the people you love the most go through terrible divorces, awful abusive relationships, and lowering their standards to feel loved and not lonely is incredibly heartbreaking. It's not wonder we, as singles, are picky! Many of us want Temple marriages and along with that comes worthiness, commitment, obedience, and much more. This mean we are looking for someone with specific qualities--thus being picky.
We want someone that not only makes us feel safe and happy but that we are attracted to as well. This makes it hard to just line us all up and match us together. We can see couples that are miserable together and don't want anything to do with this kind of love. We know marriage isn't perfect but we'd like to at least start off believing we got a catch.
2. We Compare & Compete Instead of Working Together
I don't really understand why we, as singles don't protect and care about each other more. Why we aren't looking out for each other--trying to work together for love. Instead, it seems we compare ourselves to others, we call "dibs" or "territory" on people that aren't ours to own. We're competitive instead kind. There seems to be a scarcity of good Mormon singles left so instead of working together we trample each other on our quest to not be so lonely.
I keep waiting for some kind of Mormon Dating App that is basically singles setting up other singles with their friends that are single. Like nominating your top favorite girlfriends with your guy friends' top favorite dudes. We know our great single friends but rarely think, he/she would be awesome for you-know-who b/c we are actively looking for people to date ourselves. I think maybe we'd have more success this way. Someone figure this out please...
3. We are Tired
Seriously though, I have been actively "dating" now for 19 years--ugh just the sight of that number makes me want to take a nap! We are tired of "putting ourselves out there", getting rejected, spending money, coming up with great date ideas, and the list goes on and on. We are still doing all these things b/c no one has come up with a better idea but let's be honest--we mostly hate it.
Most of us singles have full-time jobs, part-time jobs, work for non-profits, volunteer at incredible organizations, own homes (that need work), take care of children (or nieces/nephews),working on hobbies/talents, go shopping, get groceries, etc. We have full lives and then we are expected to "put ourselves out there" by being social. It just is hard to find the time/energy sometimes.
4. We Want to be in a Healthy Relationship
Mostly Mormon singles I know don't believe in soul mates or even finding the "right" person. They are wanting what everyone basically wants in a companion. We want to be with someone who is healthy mentally and spiritually. I can't tell you how many people have told me to just "settle" or "lower my standards" in order to get married. This is how I feel about those two options:
It's hard enough nowadays to navigate life, religion/spirituality, health/fitness, jobs, responsibilities, family, etc. while being single it makes sense that adding another person (or more if they have children) into the mix is going to complicate things. This doesn't mean we aren't up for the challenge but it needs to make sense and feel right.
5. We Can't Seem to Get on The Same Page
I remember a time when dating was just getting to know each other and have a good time (just lunch kinda thing). Then it got all complicated by what appeared to be needy people who put too much thought into why people asked out certain people. Then dating become a sort of game where you had to chase or balance the "I like you" with "I don't like you too much". Then we went through that "Close you cupboards" stage. You can imagine that dating would complicated when the roles or who does what gets all jumbled.
For ever person that tells me that I should start asking guys I'm interested out there is another person who says that is a terrible idea. Some people say I am intimidating and others say I don't get out socially enough. It's a sort of damned if you do and damned if you don't sort of world. All that second guessing, over analyzing, self deprecating, and so forth causes a lot of noise and confusion in the dating world.
Next time you want to ask me why I'm still single--stop.
Instead just tell me how awesome I am for still be in the dating scene and believing in love!