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This book gives simple pointers that people usually overlook when considering unwanted protracted singlehood. It also provides insights into the question why am I single? And tries to change the focus of the reader, making him/her to do some introspection before facing the question again.


Submitted:Aug 14, 2012    Reads: 9    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


WHY AM I SINGLE?

40 points to ponder

Edward Obi

Introduction

The pull towards marriage is one that nature and nurture feeds relentlessly. As it is, most cultures have the institution of marriage ingrained in their society. Some of us find ourselves wanting to have that special someone in our lives. This desire is further heightened by the success of others in getting such special partners.

By age 30, some singles start fretting, some decide that being single is a lifestyle while others start asking the question, "Why am I still single?

This book gives simple pointers that people usually overlook. It also provides insights into the question and tries to change the focus of the reader, making him/her to do some introspection before facing the question again. That way, a faster and clearer answer will come forth.

One common mistake many singles make is that they mix up the issues of being the best you can be with changing yourself because of another person. While the latter is discouraged, the former is strongly encouraged. You should not change to please someone else or pretend to be who you are not. Instead, you should change to be a better you. Do something better, expand the range of who you are. The points following will help the reader to do this positively and with less friction.

There are some spiritual insights and pointers in these questions that force the reader to consider that angle. Today's social culture, despite its secularity, is not bereft of religion. Therefore we will do well not to neglect the spiritual

Single people as used in this book refer to adults who desire to have partners but do not have. They may have had in the past, they may even have been married before but they are now back to square one.

Some single people are in relationships that are 'heading nowhere' by their estimation. This group also consider themselves single people. Others are just teens and young adults looking to find that special someone.

No matter how many arguments are advanced for singlehood, very few people want to be single throughout their lifetime. As the saying goes "although marriage may have many woes, celibacy holds no pleasures".

1.

SCHOOL

Once a child is born, society starts channelling the child through the long tunnel of formal education. Most kids leave the home at six months for crèches and day-care after which primary school and then secondary school or high school or prep school follow.

Throughout these formative years, parents, teachers and guardians always find ways to communicate a warning regarding relationships. This they do with the best of intentions to keep the child on track and focused on his/her academic pursuit. This warning is however not balanced in the correct informative context that a relationship is good and healthy and serves a wholesome purpose in the life of a person.

So it is college after that and the expression of idealism and a search for a larger meal ticket and relevance in the society which takes the individual into post graduate school and just like that! Its 25 years already.

Of course for some, there might be brushes with the opposite sex along the way but people underrate the strength of training in the early years of a child. Therefore these brushes do not amount to much by way of lasting, wholesome relationships.

Individuals whose inclination are towards academic achievement are hit the most because by the time they become conscious of the lonely single feeling, they have already created the unhealthy balance that leads to dissatisfaction and frustration.

2

FAMILY ORIENTATION

Every family is unique and has its own values and precepts for guiding its members. Apart from the occasional rebel, or the general "teenage revolution", all the members of a family unit are usually prone to thinking and behaving in the same way.

Usually the parents come up with this peculiar orientation. It could also be generated by a particularly charismatic sibling especially the first child. But these principle or code of conduct might not necessarily serve any useful purposes for its followers. For example, a woman may tell her children that it is not good to date or marry before 25. Just because she didn't marry before 25 or for whatever reason. This actually affects the way her children interact with others and they may perpetrate such orientation to their friends and to their own children.

The orientation could be biased in terms of profession (a lady once said she won't let her daughter date a military man), race, tribe, financial class and religion.

The bottom line is that these orientations constitute limitations in interactions thereby constricting the chances of an individual doing away with the single status. For instance, a Christian is usually advised and trained to marry a Christian, preferably from the same denomination. Same goes for other religions.

3

DIVORCE

Divorce is an unpleasant reality in our day. And although many studies have been carried out with a view to curbing the trend, its occurrence has unfortunately soared.

Divorce that is the wilful termination of a marriage prematurely has far reaching consequences. Besides the emotional trauma and pain associated with such break-up, the economic dip and social embarrassment that results is usually unpalatable. Many couples have been known to get violent and aggressive to each other during or after a divorce. Also many kids have been known to become violent. One of the most dangerous consequences of divorce is its ability to be contagious. It gives off negative vibes to all who hear or witness it to start thinking in those lines. So friends of divorcees are likely to think of divorce as a way out of problems in marriage. Children of divorced parents are really scared of marriage commitments so much so that some do not even bother with it. Other children enter into relationships but unconsciously gravitate towards break-ups or divorce.

The divorced individual might just remain single. He/she might become a serial divorcee or as the case with a very little percentage, learn the lessons and stick to a partner. Divorce creates singles in direct and indirect ways such that for those directly hit by it (divorcees), the question should not be "Why am I single" rather it should be "why am I divorced" while indirectly, peers and protégées are affected and may likely display same orientation or will develop a morbid fear of commitment .

There is also a reluctance to marry individuals from broken homes especially in some parts of Africa as the general belief is that people from broken homes will find it difficult keeping a home. There are many reasons why couples divorce however, studies have shown that a lot of divorces will be averted if couples knew a little bit more about their mate before marriage.1[i1] This can be achieved by asking the right questions.

4

SINGLE PARENTS

Being a single parent is a tough job. Therefore it is safe to say that nobody really wants to be single parent. It must be either a result of circumstance uncontrollable or bad choices. Either way, a single parent is a single person with a child or children who needs someone to lean on. Unfortunately, these searching singles tend to lean heavily on their kids. This causes an imbalance both for them and the children if the situation is not checked.

The single parent sometimes sees no need to search any further for a mate and focuses on the child. Working to give the child a good life and devoting all energies to satisfy the child's needs and neglecting himself/herself. This might lead to an unhealthy relationship in the family or a difficulty in allowing the child to leave the nest and form wholesome relationships. The apron strings become chains and everyone is unhappy, dissatisfied and single.

In some parts of Africa, people are discouraged from marrying individuals from single parents and although this is unfounded, it's a reality people face.

5

POLYGAMY: THE DOWNSIDE

So you are from a polygamous home with all the 'perks' huh? Maybe there was too much hatred and fighting among the children and the wives. Maybe there was no quality relationship between your parents. Maybe you did not have time with your dad. Maybe you suffered social resentment and your mom alone took care of your financial needs and life in a polygamous family was tough. And now you cannot imagine yourself in a marriage.

The truth is you must not tread the same path. You can blaze a new trail in monogamy. Overcome your fear for the perceived ills of marriage and leave singlehood that you do not fancy.

As Socrates puts it -

"By all means marry.

If you get a good wife,

You'll be happy

If you get a bad one,

You'll become a philosopher.

6

"NICE PARENTS"

Ironically, children who have parents with good, near perfect marriages, find it hard to choose partners. This is because they look forward to having perfect relationships like those of their parents and this could constitute a clog in the wheel of getting hooked as their search for the "Perfect mate" somehow never yields the expected result. Their parents are used as a metre rule and anything that falls below that standard is usually not good enough for them and it is discarded. The consequences is being alone and living in a fool's paradise.

Although it is true that some parents have it going good in their marriages, it does not mean that they are perfect. They surely have their ups and downs as well as imperfections. However, they have mastered the art of dealing with the issues without involving the children thereby shielding them from that side of the marriage.

This has an adverse affect on the child's relationships afterwards because he/she does not know about conflicts, its resolution and the level of compromises couples make to preserve their relationship. These are best learnt in a home. The child should be allowed to see his parents angry, sad, arguing and making up. The child should be shown the flaws and how they are managed. That way, he/she can learn first hand, relationship management skills and learn to accommodate the shortcomings of others.

7

RELIGION

There are known religious persuasions that require their followers to be single and/or cults that make it a mark of piety to be single and not searching. We have already mentioned Christianity as one of them. Others are Buddhism and Hinduism and the very many versions of paganism found across the globe.

The point is, when a person steeps himself into these religious persuasions, it is difficult to get out of it. One might say he is no longer controlled by the religious beliefs but actions and life style patterns still tend towards the single lifestyle. For such people counselling with a view to "debrief" them is advised.

The other angle of this religion is beliefs. Maybe it is Karma, curses or punishment for sin or hexes by witches. It may be marriages to spirit beings or any other spiritualist or mystical belief. But if it is your reality, then it is a hindrance and it needs to be dealt with if you want to experience love, joy and fulfilment in a healthy relationship. Spiritual counselling will help.

8

PEER PRESSURE

Research has shown that peer pressure influences more than 50% of the decisions an average individual makes. Friends might create a class for us. Friends might decide to be single. Peer influence is ambivalent and its negatives can keep a person stuck in singlehood without wanting to be.

There are people, especially the phlegmatic personality types that give in easily to peer pressure and this may delay their chances of getting out of singlehood. For example your peers may suggest to you that a person is ideal for you. One or two of your friends may be married to such folks and may be showing off the perks. This puts you under pressure to do the same and also limits your options. So a good partner may come by and you would not notice just because he/she does not fit into the stereotype approved by your friends.

An example of this situation is where a group of guys decide that Latin American women are the best in world and they all make hellish efforts to go after women in that category. This is fallacious reasoning and will keep some members of the group stranded.

Also peers may decide to opt for the single lifestyle and steer an individual away from marriage. This is usual among men. These men settle for one night stands, flings and other non committal interface with the opposite sex. By the time such lifestyle takes its toll on them, they realize that singelhood was not their original intention and may be too late in the day to do anything about it.

9

CAREER

Career choices have a way of determining a lot of things in a person life. It starts from the time and energy you put into preparing for the profession. For instance, we know the long road to being a doctor. However, it is not so much of the career path as it is individual responses that determine a persons struggle with leaving singlehood. Some jobs do not give you enough time for yourself to be available to another. Others do not allow you to form and maintain useful relationships that will lead to marriage e.g espionage, itinerant jobs and the like. Also, some jobs demand isolation and this does not help either. For instance, scientists studying animal behaviour in their natural habitat. Of course there are exceptions where you'd meet a couple doing the same job but a person who gets carried away by career growth and career paths, promotions and raises and giving 110% commitment to their job, will rarely have the inclination to form lasting relationships.

In addition, careers that do not allow for such relationships are frown at by society as indecent.

10

FEAR

Fear is also reason why people are single. Fear in itself may be a healthy force as it leads to caution and reminds you to apply lessons learnt from past experiences of yours and others. However, the morbid overwhelming fear that freezes a person's will to do something is the bad type.

People are afraid of the unknown. They do not venture into relationships because they do not know how it would turn out and they are afraid it won't turn out well. Some others are afraid of commitments and run away when a relationship demands it. There is also a fear of rejection. Fear of past events repeating itself is also a reason.

A person who is stuck in singlehood because of these fears needs to brace up and go out there and tango. Life is generally about taking the opportunities presented. Refusing to take a chance because of fear of the unknown or traumatic past experiences, may keep you single for a long time. Relationship takes courage and people should know that courage is not the absence of fear, it is doing what you have to do inspite of the fear you feel. Counselling may be prescribed for persons facing such challenges.

11

PROCRASTINATION

Procrastination is a thief of time and time waits for no one. If there is something you have to do, do it already. If there is someone you want to ask out, ask today. In as much as timing is important in human relations, delay is also dangerous. People tend to put off meeting others for any reason they can find. They want to lose some weight, move house, gain some weight, change their wardrobe and countless other excuses in the book. Some tell themselves that the time isn't right yet. But the fact remains that until your stand up and go interact, you will remain single. Go meet people, go to gatherings, join a club, even go online. But don't do nothing. Don't put it off again. You are ready that's why you don't want to be single.

12

HIGH STANDARDS ARE GOOD

When searching for a partner, it is good to set high standards. It is good to establish boundaries and to determine and stick to your principles and ideals which you stand for. Your search ought to project your values and likes. However, it becomes onerous, impractical and unrealistic when these standards are not tampered with compromise, flexibility and consideration for those of the other person. Always wanting to have things your way and style is a deal breaker and you might end up alone again. So keep your standards and ideals but also accommodate those of others and be ready to tweak some of yours too.

Sometimes our standards have to be reviewed to ascertain the basis and if found wanting, they ought to be jettisoned. For instance, some ladies have the dream of marrying a tall, dark, handsome and rich guy. This standard could be traced to their bygone days as little girls reading the popular Mills and Boons romance series. Therefore any guy that does not fit into that stereotype is turned down. This should not be, your standards should be reasonable and realistic.

13

PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED

Being physically challenged creates a two way impediment to leaving singlehood. The first is that, you talk yourself down, you look down on yourself and determine that you don't deserve this person or that person. And this actually plays out for as a man thinks in his heart so he is. So physically challenged folks struggle with their self esteem and this hinders their progress in initiating or developing relationships.

Secondly, the reaction of some folks to the physically challenged leaves much to be desired. Some treat them like freaks while others patronise them. Some people treat them like objects of charity. Some think they are cursed. In some parts of West Africa, physically challenged individuals are abandoned or ostracized. This is a practice that is being fought by Non Governmental Organisations and Churches. However it remains a reason why some people are single. While some physical challenges are very extreme, most are not so and the challenged individual has enough spirit and function to be in a healthy relationship and should take the chance. Many physically challenged folks are married and living normal productive lives, therefore being physically challenged should not stop you from living your life to the fullest with a partner.

14

VIRTUAL REALITY

The advent of the computer age has changed the social dynamic in human relationships. There is now such a thing as internet dating, cyber sex. Cybersex?!!

People are glued to their computer screens, black berries ipods, ipads, phones and every conceivable new age gadget that gives you a reason to be alone.

All these virtual environments when overindulged becomes unwholesome and create false appetites and desires. There should be a balance to these things. Go to a real gym sometimes instead of playing a video game. Go for speed dating sessions; meet real live match makers near you. Reach out to your neighbour. Try and balance reality with this cyber craze. People should learn how to decipher what is real and what is not, believe it or not, you are not an avatar.

15

SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION

Why are you still single? Well, have you considered how straight your passions are? Have you considered how different your sexual desires are? Think about it. The average person out there does not appreciate being watched while nude or while in any sexual activity. So if your thing is voyeurism then you need to rethink that. Or better still go for treatment and counselling. There are many other sexual dysfunctions that people may well call reprehensible. There are sadists who get sexual satisfaction from physically hurting members of the opposite sex. There are paedophiles. Enough said. There are flashers who just constitute a nuisance. There are strange fetishes that put people off.

People who practice such lifestyles and intend to leave singlehood for marriage should seek counselling and treatment. Those that think they can find partners with same appetites will soon find out that these strange passions are not exactly relationship tolerant and that deep down, they desire the regular bouquet.

16

ATTITUDES

It is no novelty that your attitude in life determines a lot. This covers relationship too. If you have an "I don't care" attitude or a laid back disposition towards leaving singlehood then you might not just leave. You can't be passive. You can't give up! Be active and optimistic! Don't give up. Be cheerful and kind. Develop a 'can do' attitude and build healthy relationships. Don't be critical, cynical or sarcastic. Be open and flexible. Try to be cheerful but don't be pretentious. Don't allow worries and fears to blackout your emotions. You need for your heart to be colourful and attractive.

Stop being vulgar and obnoxious, a person giving to unrestrained bursts of anger is not going to make anyone happy. Uncontrolled anger is a turn off for most people.

17

DISCIPLINE

Create order in your life. People who are organised and purposeful tend to be very attractive. As humans generally, purpose and order are virtuous characters people like. So take out time to develop your goals and habits and pursue them as systematically as possible. Create routines where possible and follow through with projects. Try to be goal oriented and actually focus on achieving those set goals.

Don't stop. If you falter, pick yourself up and keep on going. That is discipline. That trait would be needed in relationships and marriage. Another aspect of discipline worthy of mention is loyalty and fidelity. Unfaithfulness, promiscuity and disloyalty are not one of the strong points in any relationship. Get a grip.

18

HEALTH

Your health is an asset that puts you on a good footing to leaving singlehood. It can also be the liability that leaves you stranded there. Bad health as a reason for difficulty in getting a partner will be discussed in 2 parts. The first being illnesses that restrict your social life physically and secondly unhealthy habits that turn off people.

Certain illnesses make their sufferers unavailable for the "boy meets girl" experience. Unfortunately, these illnesses do not quench the desires of their sufferers to be involved in relationships. This creates a very frustrating situation for those concerned. For instance, chronic sufferers of the sickle cell disease (SCD) have difficulty maintaining relationships because they are always sick and under threat of death especially in areas with poor medical attention to sufferers of the said disease. They also find it physically difficult to socialize and surprisingly, they are stigmatized. People living with HIV also have the stigma challenge. Other named syndromes also create impediments for their sufferers as regards relationships. However there is hope in the fact that with a positive attitude, people have been known to breakthrough the barriers and get married.

The second part of the health impediment has to do with habits and lifestyle. While it is agreed that there are exceptions, it is safe to say that everyone loves a clean member of the opposite sex or a clean partner. As earlier stated, orderliness attracts. A regular bath is a good habit. Some people have very poor bodily and oral hygiene; body odour, bad breathe, haggard looks, uncut nails, ungroomed hair and beards. The list goes on.

Being a couch potato is not admirable either. Some exercise and fitness won't hurt. Please don't mistake this for losing weight. Being fit doesn't necessarily mean slimming down. Smoking, excessive drinking and bad eating habits does not come off as attractive too. And some of these bad health choices may make you fall sick and limit your chances of meeting a desirable partner. Don't count on meeting a nurse. Using psychotropic substances and criminal behaviour is reprehensible too.

19

PHYSIQUE

We all have our preferences in choosing a partner. There are also stereotypes that sometimes guide these preferences. It is a fact that some body types and physique find it a little more difficult than others in finding partners. If for example, you find that you are a giant, I mean Yao Ming giant-like level, chances are that there may be no giant around your vicinity who would fancy you. Although you may have friends of normal size, that special one may not be easy to come by. Unusual body types are difficult to cope with for women because men are all about looks and the stereotypes are guiding what they call "beautiful" . Little people find it a little difficult getting partners. Also, plus sized folks may experience some discrimination but it's nothing a positive attitude cannot handle.

20

SPEECH

Whether it be language, stammering, accent or speech defects that causes poor pronunciation, communication is the life line of relationships and so a lot of nuances have been built around the phenomenon. If a person does not talk to you in a language you understand or love, you may be put off or get upset. An accent may equally be a source of worry and the person affected may become subject to derision.

Inability to articulate or pronounce correctly may keep you uncomfortable and the feelings that stuttering and stammering evoke is not what is easily figured out. But I dare say that it is a cross between irritation, pity, mockery, fear, disgust and the like.

Now lets turn the tables of supposing you had one or all of these speech challenges, will you still be top choice for your mate? No you won't. Your self esteem would be beat down a notch or two as people are not in a hurry to look past the speech problem. A little speech therapy can greatly improve all the above mentioned impediments.

Another issue worth considering under this heading is the use of curse words and swearing. Some people consider it "cool" swearing and cursing at every given opportunity. However, swearing and cursing are generally considered to be a sign of immaturity, bad upbringing, indecency and signs of a foul temper. It is a put off for a lot of people. There is no use having perfect speech and then using it to swear, curse and say coarse things. People in this category may consider renewing their minds and speech patterns through reading positive books.

21

ILLITERACY

Many educated people I know will not want to date or marry an illiterate. I think it is because of the intellectual incompatibility. The difference in world view and ideology, problem solving and conflict resolution strategies, general reasoning, disparity in social circles and general attitude may be too wide for such persons to carry on such a relationship.

However, I have also noticed that many illiterate people don't mind dating and marrying literate and educated people. Now that's a big one. Who is narrow minded now?

Well, the point is, illiteracy has many ills and it is only natural for people to avoid it. The good news is that illiteracy is not irrevocable. You can change your status and intellect today and increase your horizon. You will surely meet more people than you know now.

22

IT'S A BIG WORLD

Proximity is a strong factor in creating relationships. Doctor date doctors or nurses, bankers date bankers (or tellers), lawyers date lawyers (or paralegals), Executives date their secretaries, people date their neighbours, as well as classmates and people that you interact with regularly in the course of your daily activity. That is simple right? NO

Human behaviour is not that straightforward. Some people don't like anyone they see regularly in their routine lives. Others, by their preferences, have found themselves in the "wrong" side of the globe. I know a boy in Port Harcourt, Nigeria who always wanted to marry a native Okiniwan lady in Japan! What are the chances?

The world may be small but not that small.

A tip to such people is to move or migrate to the place where you like its people. If you love doctors go work in the hospital or visit regularly, see?

23

I WANT TO BE SINGLE

For a group of people, the reason why they are single is because they want to be single. Maybe they haven't admitted it to themselves. Maybe they have. But their disposition and choices show what they want. And its singlehood. Some may have resigned from searching while others have allowed some fear to get the better of them. Others are actually truly better off unmarried and single and will find personal peace, joy and fulfilment only in singlehood.

At this point it is fair for me to state a fact here that I don't think lots of single and searching folks wants to hear.

Not every one will get married. It is a fact. Am I asking you to resign? No! Not at all. I encourage you to give it all you've got. But it's not a do or die affair. Happiness and fulfilment comes from within therefore married and single people alike can be happy and fulfilled in life.

24

ROLLING STONES

A rolling stone gathers no moss. In the context of relationships and marriage, this age old saying is very instructive. The chapter addresses people who are single because they are restless and switch partners incessantly.

They get bored quite easily and wish to go to another person and incidentally, they cannot bear to be alone too. They are usually shallow on purpose so as not to get too attached to leave because from the onset they already intended to leave.

This sad part is that they too need the warmth and stability of a relationship in marriage. However they are rolling against their good. One must apply discipline and perseverance in the dull moments of relationships. If you cannot endure the worst of a relationships, do you think you deserve the best of it?

25

CHILDHOOD BLUES

Events of a person childhood surely affects the person's adult life. People whose parents walked out on them may have commitment issues. Children who were in foster homes may have problems adjusting to other people and situations. Molested kids may become violent and prone to molesting others. Where are we going with this?

Some adults may have had childhood experiences that causes them to be afraid of commitments or have sexual dysfunctions.

Try not to let your childhood experiences stand in the way of your happiness.

Counselling may help you to readjust your mindset in order for you to have meaningful and lasting relationships.

26

TRIBAL AND RACIAL CAGE

Many people have found themselves in societies or communities that frown against marriage to certain tribes and races.

In Nigeria for instance, tribalism is almost institutionalised. Its funny how from childhood, a person is told what tribes are "good" and what tribes are "bad".

They grow up with this notion and when they grow up and find love in the said "bad" tribe, they become stuck because they can't close the deal.

Some don't even bother giving the "bad" tribes or race a chance and so they are stuck in the self constructed cages of prejudice. Creating limitations for yourself is a reason why you are single.

27

UNEMPLOYMENT

Some people have low income jobs and some just have no income and no job. These unemployed folks may have never worked or may be unemployable.

Maybe an ex-con or a person who was dismissed from previous employment. In any case, the person who is unemployed and not earning a dime. That does not mean he/she does not need to be loved or to be in a relationship.

But since love is preferably served with financial icing, it is impossible to convince a prospective mate of seriousness to commit.

Many people are of the opinion that girls are gold diggers and follow the scent of money to find love. However, I think that it is an unfair generalisation because everyone seeks financial security in life. These days you see women in the work place bringing bread home. Sometimes, even more bread than their male partners. The trend now is that men look out for women with high earnings or prospects of high earnings and women do just the same.

Where does this trend leave the unemployed? In all cultures, we all know how embarrassing it is for a lady to take a unemployed man to her folks and introduce him as her intended. Although it is not so embarrassing the other way around, it is fast becoming so.

So are you single because you are unemployed? What can I say? Take heart and get a job! Scratch that. Be gainfully employed because the recurrent expenditure in a relationship and marriage demands the steady inflow of adequate cash.

28

THE DEMOGRAPHIC THING

We have approximately 7 billion people on earth. Some statistics have put it precisely at 6.602 billion as a 2007 with a ratio of 49.65% as female. Therefore by this statistic in every 10,000, sample size, there are 4,965 females and 5,035 males.

Now this chapter is not about the stats. Sure there are either more males than females or more females than males in a given geographical location. The result is that a gender will surely suffer when pairing starts. And this affects both male and female. Some ladies find themselves in settings where all the men are married, too old or too young while some men find themselves in places where the only ladies available are older women or not desirable. Once again, you may just have to migrate. There is someone someplace.

29

AIDING ADULTERY

Are you so desperate that you couldn't resist the charms of a married person or you didn't know he/she was married? I really think the ignorant may be excursed. But for those out there who are dating the married, you are just generating bad consequences for yourself and at the same time helping to destroy another marriage. Your happiness should not be built on the sadness of another. And that is why although you have the attention of the married person, you are still single and lonely.

Unwholesome relationships such as adultery cannot quench the thirst for intimacy with another in marriage. The sooner you stop and retrace your steps the better for you.

30

IMMATURITY

Maybe you are too young to be married. The legal limit of your country is instructive in that regard. But maturity isn't all about age. Some folks just keep acting immature and this puts off potential partners. You have to learn to control yourself and act maturely.

Don't be childish and become overly dependent on anyone. Don't live with your mom till you are 40! Don't be unnecessarily jealous. Dress your age and speak coherently and logically like a purposeful person.

Another act of immaturity that has kept you single is assumption. You assume they don't love you. You assume they love you. You assume everything! The essence of communication is to bring to the open the thoughts and intentions of the mind. Assumptions are not good for human relationships. Communicate openly about what you want and think.

31

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

There is no acting like homosexuals don't exist anymore. Gay men and lesbians are coming out everyday and there lies the first problem. Many people live most of their lives struggling with whether they are gay or not. This keeps them lonely and yearning.

There are many views about the psychology of the gay person but we will not go into the why's and how's of being a homosexual. Instead I will say here that the stigma, disdain and hate shown to homosexuals are what keeps them from expressing themselves early in life.

Secondly, many countries don't allow gay marriages while others have outlawed the orientation.

That answers the question. Some people are single because they are not allowed to marry. This is frustrating to some and counselling is strongly recommended.

32

CHILDREN

So you have children and you are not married, so what? Well, that's why some people won't commit to you. Basically people don't like fighting for attention so in this case it a sure thing, that your kid(s) will have your attention.

There are other undefined reasons why people don't rush to a person with children but I think some men consider the financial implication and the thought of raising another man's offspring.

Also the effort needed to bond with not just you but your kid(s) is not what some people would call attractive.

So what do you do? Children are gifts from God. Don't look at them as anything else. So focus on your kids. Anyone who loves you and your kids and is able to bear the emotional burden involved will not mind at all. In fact, some people want their prospective partner to be tested fertile.

33

SEARCHING IN THE WRONG PLACES

You are single because you have been searching in all the wrong places. You may also be looking out for all the wrong things. A strip club is not exactly a place to find love and marriage neither is a brothel.

It is absurd to go to church in pretence searching for a partner. Porn sites and other wanton dating sites will serve you no useful purpose. Surely you know that inside your room is not the right place either. You have to go out there and mingle. Socialise and be nice to people.

Get involved in community projects and join or start support groups and clubs. Meet the dating experts or match maker in your area and get advice. Talk to family about the situation. You cannot be stuck in singlehood if you don't want to.

34

DEATH OF A PARTNER

The death of a partner is a very traumatic and painful loss to bear. While some grieve and get over it early, others find it hard to get past that relationship.

They still see themselves in a relationship with the deceased partner. This hinders the living partner from moving on with life. Although many claim to have moved on and are now in need of a relationship, they subconsciously resist any advancement from the prospective partner.

They feel guilty as they see moving on as unfair to their dead partner. This is especially so where there are children involved. They also feel betrayed by the death of their partner and therefore find it hard to let themselves love, trust and commit to a new partner because of the fear of a reoccurrence.

With this psychological posture, not much progress can be made in any relationship. A genuine effort to grieve a loss and get closure on the past relationship must be made. Also, counselling is advised.

35

STATUS

Are you a celebrity? Politician, guru, royalty, heir to zillions of dollars or TV personality, then you may find yourself in the "single and searching" corner longer than you really want to.

Generally, the status here might demand that you interact with only a certain kind of people. This is either directly or indirectly.

For royalty, this may be a direct requirement. The blueblood is now restricted in his/her search for love. Another problem arising from status is the fact that people without financial cares in life have a heightened need for emotional satisfaction. Hence, their search for "true love" gravitates towards "the perfect person" and anyone that falls short of that description does not qualify. However, we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect person, therefore their search usually ends up in futility and frustration.

Also, they would feel better if they are sure that the prospective partner is not drawn to them because their wealth or status. What surer way to ensure that than to marry a person of higher or equal wealth or status right? Not completely right. A person might love you and still need your wealth and status. It is a mutually exclusive situation. Just be yourself and keep an open mind, you never know.

36

VISIBILITY

If there were to be a rule book on getting a life partner, the first rule would be visibility. You need to be visible to others; you need to be seen.

No other factor can come to play if you are invisible. Ways to be visible include:

- proper self grooming and hygiene

- dressing up smart

- being cheerful

- reaching out to others

- attending parties and social functions

- attending religious programmes

- joining decent social networks such as Facebook

- joining health/sports club

- joining social clubs such as Rotary club.

- humouring people who set you up for dates.

The list goes on and on. To quote a driving and road safety tip, "see and be seen". Project your personality and talent. Shine!

37

TOO OLD TO TANGO

Maybe it's been a series of failed relationships. Maybe you paid too much time and attention to school and career. Maybe you grieved a past relationship for too long. Maybe you just didn't have the finances early enough.

Maybe you lived a bad life in your prime. Maybe you were merely afraid and procrastinated too much. Maybe you were too choosy and just maybe you thought you were cut out to be single for life. But now, you have realised that you need someone special by your side. But you also think, you are too old for this dance. Stop that thought right in its tracks. It's never too late to seek happiness and fulfilment in life. Go for it, while there is still time and don't let age be another reason why you are single.

38

IT'S NOT ABOUT SEX

For a lot of people, relationship is about sexual gratification. They think a relationship has not begun if there is not sex. So if they meet a person who has a "no premarital sex" policy, they flip out and discontinue.

Also if there is any denial of their sexual needs for any reason, they seek for sexual gratification outside the relationship. The other side to this is that if also for any reason (be it age, drugs or illness) they are unable to perform their sexual acts, they feel inadequate and still leave the relationship.

Because of this sex oriented choices, they make bad relationship decisions and end up single and dissatisfied. There is more to humans than sex. People need to be loved, cared for, understood, respected and sex is an item in the buffet of a relationship.

39

MAYBE YOU ARE NOT SINGLE

In order to ask the question "why am I single?", you must qualify as a single person. You must be an adult who is not in any relationship. You must be unmarried. What happens these days is that people are involved in all sorts of "crutch" relationships and therefore find it hard to really be available for the real thing.

Maybe they get into these relationships as a result of protracted singlehood or maybe a habit that has stuck for a long time . But these actions do not portray the affected person as single and available. And we know that perception is reality.

These crutch relationships include

- Unwholesome attachment to a parent or a sibling

- Unwholesome attachment to pets

- Habitual and unhealthy use of sex toys such as vibrator

- Patronising prostitutes.

- Indulging "Friends with benefits" which is having sex with no strings attached.

- "Experimenting" another sexual orientation.

- Dating married folks.

- Dating the underaged.

All the above disqualifies you as a single person and makes it difficult for you to find a loving and fulfilling relationship.

40

SPIRITUAL ANGLE

There is no avoiding the spirit world in this matter. The spirit world is said to affect the workings of the terrestrial plain. Concepts such as karma which opines that whatever you sow, you reap could be at work in your life that is why you are single. Because we know that somehow, what goes around, comes around. So its for you to search your heart and figure out what you have done to deserve your present predicament. A very simple example is a prison inmate who is lonely and longing to be in a relationship. Chances are that he had done the wrong that brought him into prison inmate who is lonely and longing to be in a relationship. Chances are that he had done the wrong that brought him into prison in the first place and his loneliness is a direct consequence of his misdeeds. Also, you must necessarily consider the influence of astrology in the human psyche. If you go about patronizing palm readers, tarot cards, crystal balls, numerologists, horoscopes and witches or warlocks, do not be surprised if what they say come to pass in your life. Truth be told, these mediums foretell good tidings sometimes but when they do forecast bad weather in your life, the human psyche inevitably gravitates towards the doom prophesied.

Hexes and curses are a reality we must deal with in our day. So if you are cursed or hexed to the effect that you will remain single, you had best find a way to lift such a curse before trying to engage in a relationship.

Finally, there are those who have a spiritual call to celibacy. You know yourself, heed the call because chances are that even if you find a relationship, you will not find fulfilment in it.

CONCLUSION

Man is a social being and therefore he will always feel the need to interact. And even more, he will feel the need to be special and have someone special too. However, there are many obstacles to fulfilling this need. The good news is that the obstacles can be surmounted. And with information, counselling and wise application of these to his situation, he can make the transition from singlehood to having that special someone.

So don't give up. Remember to be positive and expect the best. It is note worthy that some people have done all the right things and are still single. For those in this group, the answer is patience. Be patient while doing all the right things. Something good will surely happen.





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