Single forever and can't figure out why? Maybe it's because nobody is telling you the truth. Here's the real reason you're single.
Relationships are hard, and although your mates mean well it's hard to be harsh when somebody is upset. Which is why when we want a dose of reality or relationship advice we turn to Rosemary MacCabe, who always speaks the truth...
Men are, without exception, the single biggest topic of conversation among my female friends – whether it’s those we have (for now) or those we haven’t. The single girls talk Tinder, date outfits and being stood up. While those in relationships gripe about sports obsessions, bad jeans choices and lack of excitement – but it’s the former category that gets more airplay. Because despite the prevalence of online dating apps, sites, singles nights and friends who are just dying to set you up, that’s the hard part: finding a man you’d fancy going for a drink, never mind open-mouthed kissing or supermarket shopping, with. So why haven’t you met anyone and, if you have, why doesn’t it pan out?
1. You’re stuck in a rut
We all know, from the relationship advice doled out at every juncture, that couples get stuck in ruts – Friday-night cinema dates, before-bedtime- missionary sex and non-stop wedding talk – but did it ever occur to you that it’s just as easy for singles? What do you do on nights out? Do you and your girlfriends get dressed up to the nines and seek out the newest, coolest hangouts (that’s The Ivy on Dawson St RN) where you do several circuits of the room and talk to strangers (of both sexes) or do you go to the same old-man pub in the same skinny jeans and sit in the same corner making the same old jokes? You won’t meet new men in old hangouts.
2. You’re not being smart
If your type is a 6ft 2in rugby-playing accountancy whizz and your favourite man-hunting tool is the internet, you may need to think again. As a general rule, the more alpha the male, the more traditional his own mate hunt is going to be. By that same token, if you fancy bumping uglies with a beardy creative type who loves indie music, the Harcourt Street stretch is not going to be of much use – he’s unlikely to be dragged to Coppers as easily as you are.
3. You’re not being realistic
These discrepancies bring up some big questions: if you’re a tech-savvy woman with a love of all things online, maybe you need to fish in a deeper pool. Similarly, if you love nothing more than dancing to Rihanna in your imitation Louboutins, chances are that you’re not going to have all that much in common with your bearded indie-music fan. We all have fantasy men – but sometimes they’ll have to stay in fantasy-land. Look at the couples you know: do you think he was her fantasy man before she let him convince her?
4. You don’t break the rules
Not the dating rules (we’ll get to them later), but your own rules. Everyone has a super-picky friend. You know the one: she’d never consider dating a man who comes in under 6ft, doesn’t own his own house and isn’t ambitious. Chances are, she’s one of your favourite wing women because she’s single (duh) and you don’t compete over the same men. How do you think she’d fare if she relaxed her rules a little and opened herself up to conversations with short renters? The point isn’t that she’ll end up with someone she doesn’t fancy (or even respect), but you’ll never find your prince without kissing a fair few frogs on the way.
5. You’re just not ready
If you’re hung up on an ex or, worse, still bruised and broken from your last relationship – which You’re just not ready If you’re hung up on an ex or, worse, still bruised and broken is entirely possible, even if you wouldn’t give him the time of day any more – there is every chance that you’re not ready for a new relationship. And that’s fine; hang out with friends, kiss strangers, take up a new hobby or do a big spring clean (of your life, Clueless style). Just don’t embark on a new relationship if you’re still in “all men are evil” mode. It can’t end well.
6. You break the rules
Now let’s talk dating rules. I hate myself for writing this, but one of the best books I ever read – in terms of dating at least – is Jess McCann’s You Lost Him at Hello (I know, I know). McCann’s entire thesis is based on the idea that, if you run after him, you’ll never know if he was that into you to begin with. Not exactly groundbreaking, but it’s a fair point; if you want to know if he’s going to text you, don’t text him first. If you want him to take you on a real date, don’t sleep with him on the first night. You may end up disappointed when he never texts and obviously didn’t want that real date, but at least you won’t be wondering if it was all you.
7. You don’t try hard enough
Look, we all imagine that, when we find Mr Right, we’ll know – and so will he – within seconds. It won’t matter if we’re looking distinctly dressed-down after a bad day at work, nursing a vodka in the corner, with a face like a smacked bottom; he’ll still fall for you. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no: he won’t. He’ll fall for your smiley friend with the brushed hair and the sexy dress. First impressions are everything, and while it’s totally okay to have an off- night, try not to have too many.
8.You try too hard
This is a tough one, because it’s often glaringly obvious but those of us who try that little bit too hard just can’t help it. “Of course I texted him – I was thinking about him; it’s nice!” “Why wouldn’t I wear my sexy heels to the cinema? I want to make an effort!” But it relates not only to number six (why not see if he makes an effort too?) but to the fact that turning up to the cinema dressed like you’re going to a black-tie dinner can be, well, a little scary for the simple man. Next thing, he’s thinking, he’ll ask you on a weekend away and you’ll think you’re moving in. (I did say simple.) Try to play it cool, at least for the first while.
9. You pick the wrong men
It’s all very well having a penchant for bad boys, but if you’re on bad boy number four and wondering why he never calls you, rarely asks you out and sometimes doesn’t even bother turning up for dates (Justin Bobby much?), it may be time to recognise a pattern and break the cycle. By that same token, dark, brooding types with troubled pasts (known in popular circles as baggage) are romantic and interesting in the way that listening to The Smiths is romantic and interesting – put that baby on repeat and every song starts to sound the same. Change the record.
10. Sometimes, being single is awesome
There are some of us who genuinely enjoy being single: you don’t have to consider anyone else in your day-to-day decision-making; you are free to meet (and greet, or reject) new men at every corner; you can plan for a future that is truly an utterly yours, without the influence of a Mr – or, indeed, a Mrs. Being single can sometimes be the most fun period of your life, as long as you are determined to make the most of it, and try really, really hard to avoid looking at your friends in relationships with a grass-is-greener mentality. You know what really helps? Ask yourself if you’d go out with her man, knowing what you do from your(undoubtedly oversharing) friend. The answer, nine times out of 10, will be a resounding no. See? You’re better off.