Youthful exuberance; tainted tongues; revealing clothes and arrogant punks; hands held, reaching for more; sweaty bodies behind private doors—the spring of youth in its full, noisy transience.
Oh life, is it a curse or a blessing to be single? It seems those around me are getting into relationships as quickly as Sonic on steroids. Even worse, as a guy infused with my culture’s toxic masculinity, it seems embarrassing and even shameful to be single.
After a couple of bad dates, awkward conversations, and painful rejections — here I am single, somewhat lonely, and envious. Where did I go wrong?
If you’re here to look for potential solutions to singleness, this article might be of some use. But if you’re looking for complete answers and magical-whisk-away-the-emptiness-in-my-heart-pills, then this article is not for you.
I’ve been single my entire life. It’s awkward as hell to admit this in a public setting. Writing this and showing it to the world (assuming somebody actually finds this article), is pretty embarrassing as well. But no matter, life is life, it is what it is.
But first, please let me indulge myself. I have a few ideas as to my singleness. First, I was never a good person. I’m trying to improve now, but back then, man… I wish I could go back in time... Second, I prioritised other things. Studying was at the top; relationships and fun were secondary. Third, maybe I was too picky. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a few girls interested in me but I rejected them. Fourth, perhaps I chased for those out of my league. Hence, rejection followed. Fifth, I was just unlucky; life is life. Last, maybe I just didn’t put in enough effort. I never could last more than a few days using OkCupid and Tinder. The insincere texts, ultra-superficiality, and constant swiping just burned me out. Online dating is hard.
The thing that bugs me the most is that although there are single people around me, those single people have had a relationship before. I haven’t. So, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is terribly real. When guys start talking about past relationships and girlfriends, I die a little inside.
Life is life. Some win, some don’t. Regardless, life moves on. Failing at love; flunking a test; feeding your addiction; becoming a human version of a slug; embracing depression as an old friend… Life is life.
Dealing with singleness
It’s easy. Just keep your mind occupied. Just kidding, it ain’t that easy. But what worked for me was finding a goal. I aim to publish some of my manuscripts. I haven’t been successful so far (life is life), but, as long as I don’t give up, that’s going to be my life’s driving force.
Other ways to deal with singleness:
Spirituality: Meditation, understandably, is over-prescribed. But the thing is, at least to me, is that it works. Sit down, download an app (I recommend Black Lotus https://www.blacklotus.app/ or Waking Up https://wakingup.com/), and try a session of guided meditation. It keeps you calm, grounded, and grateful for life.
Counselling: Life can be difficult. It’s even harder if your singleness is amplified by negative people, negative friendships, and mental illness. Seriously, don’t beat yourself up for feeling feelings. You’re human; life is life. Try a counsellor (I recommend BetterHelp https://bit.ly/3cWSqD5).
Exercise: I believe it’s easier to feel the weight of being single if your health is poor. Being fit, lean, or muscular will not only boost your self-esteem but the process of working out, at least for me, helps to take my mind off things—it’s a way to relieve stress. Moreover, being fit adds to your attractiveness, hence improving your dating game.
Abstinence: This point is controversial. Some guys defend the use of porn, others don’t. For me, porn amplifies the pain of loneliness and makes me feel worse inside. I feel that some guys use it as a substitute for dating and pursuing a relationship; porn, after all, numbs the pain of being lonely. I explain more about abstinence on my website at https://spritelywords.com/porn-addiction-and-nofap-finding-joy-in-abstinence/
A Dream: What is your life’s purpose? Have you found meaning in your work? What are you dreaming of? Go for it. When you do, you’ll find that singleness and the self-pity that clings to you will slowly fade. But what if you’re not sure of what to do? If so, I recommend trying out a hobby. There has to be something you’re at least mildly interested in. This article helped me find some pastimes: https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/hobbies-for-men/
A small, almost unimportant hobby—like a seed with no expectations whatsoever—can eventually grow into a mighty, colourful passion that you find endlessly enjoyable. I tried some boring writing courses on Udemy; writing then became a dream I am currently pursuing.
Nightfall brings gloom and isolation, but the morrow is inevitable: a new day, a new chapter, a new dream.
The stifling hole of fear of missing out (FOMO) and the evils of envy
I feel happy when I see couples. Singapore is in dire need of more babies, after all (underpopulation, an ageing population, and whatnot). But that happiness usually doesn’t last; it manifests into ugly, cringe-inducing self-pity and envy.
Have you felt this happen to you before? If so, join the club :(…
Honestly, there is no secret to removing envy. It’s part of the human condition. You think a monk doesn’t feel envious when he sees his buddy leave the monastery in a BMW because his buddy is actually a pretender? That’s a very strange analogy but you get what I mean… People are people. The best we can do is manage our feelings, but we’ll feel them nonetheless.
Hence, emotional intelligence is the way to go. Instead of crying and binging NetFlix with a tub of ice cream on your fat tummy, go for a walk instead. Feel how it is to breathe, to see, to live. The isolation, in nature, usually doesn’t feel so bad after a while. You’ll realise that being your own friend isn’t the worst thing in the world.
All my dates have ended in failure. I don’t find the girls who like me attractive. The girls who I find attractive don’t like me. My friends are happy with their girlfriends. I am miserable, I am—
Do you see how easy it is to fall into that pathetic hole of self-pity? I’m not trying to be toxic. Yes, feel your emotions, but eventually, you have to let go. Learn not to be a slave to your emotions.
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of steps you can take to keep busy and improve your emotional intelligence. Spirituality, counselling, and the most obvious one of all: socialisation. Go meet your friends more often; go to parties; go to events where you can mingle with others.
What if you have no friends? Well, then join a group. Volunteering events are a good way to socialise and at the same time, you’re doing something good for this world. You can also check out https://www.meetup.com/ to participate in events with like-minded people.
Additionally, if you’re religious, even better. There are plenty of religious activities available. Listening to your Imam, joining a Cell Group, visiting a temple with your family, etc. Such activities help to ensure your socialisation needs are met. Furthermore, talk to your God and pray; loneliness is nothing in the presence of your faith.
Furthermore, you have to understand this—you’re not defined by having a relationship. I know it’s cheesy, and people (especially men infused by toxic masculinity) will make fun of you if you believe in this. But, it’s the truth. What more can I say? You’re not any less of a person for not having a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You’re a human being with worth.
For those macho guys out there. Wake up! Putting your cock into a vagina isn’t going to change your life. Trust me on this… Life moves on… Life is life… Some of my male friends, although good guys at heart, are quite toxic when it comes to their masculinity. To them, having sex and being in relationships are what define them. I think it’s stupid and immature.
If you can’t even be comfortable and secure with yourself, rushing into a relationship isn’t going to fix your problems. Temporarily, it might. Then, what happens when you break up, are estranged, or take a break? Are you going to spiral into a deep depression? You bet.
“What do you dream of, my friend?”
“Love, I dream of love.”
“But you’re ugly.”
“…That’s okay. I’m sure there are ugly people out there looking for someone like me.”
Why not just go get a girlfriend/boyfriend?
I think this is something people like to say to single people. However, it’s easier said than done. Sure, some couples meet so easily you would think that they were in a rom-com. For others, it ain’t so easy.
I’ve tried dating apps and whatnot, but they just didn’t work out. And when you’ve tried for a long time without seeing much results, it’s easy to want to quit.
I’ve ditched the dating apps; I realised, a long time ago, that they weren’t for me. Currently, I’m just waiting till school starts to meet new people. But maybe dating apps are suitable for you. I don’t know, I think I’d rather just meet people in real life and ask them out from there. It just seems so superficial online, but hey, it depends on how you see it I guess.
Besides, maybe you’re comfortable being single for now, as am I. But you face some cognitive dissonance—having contradictory thoughts about wanting to be in a relationship yet not wanting it at the same time. Then I would suggest focusing on self-improvement.
At the same time, you shouldn’t completely forget about finding a relationship. Maybe take your time swiping on Tinder; have a couple of chats a week on various dating apps. Then, go out with some friends or find an interest group. I’m sure you’ll meet some new people that way.
Ugh, but what do I know? I am just a random dude on the internet. All I want to say is this—it isn’t the end of the world if you’re single. People who mock or treat you different for your singleness just don’t get it. Also, they’re quite daft.
Third-wheeling at the restaurant; love flutters all around me; no second glance from the waitress; no self-consciousness from the couples. Devoid of connection, I sit. Hoping…Waiting… And then realising I must be doing…
Fearing the future
I, too, am afraid I will never find someone. What if I carry on with life without ever finding love? Will my only form of physical intimacy be a bolster on my bed?
There is no answer to future worry—especially one so mysterious and unpredictable as love.
But what I can tell you is this: you can always prepare for the future. You can improve yourself. You can be better. You can make yourself more attractive to yourself, and others.
There’s also one more thing worth bringing up—standards. Sometimes, sure, why not just shoot your shot? But I think if you look like Jack Ma (minus the wealth), and you’re chasing women at the level of Aphrodite, then you only have yourself to blame. You ladies too. You’re probably not going to meet a guy who is >183cm, has the facial features of a K-pop idol, is a dancer and singer, and who can drive you around in a Mercedes.
Lower your standards. I, too, should do so.
I feel that you should be honest with yourself about how good-looking you are. A good way is to ask a blunt friend. And then ask a few more blunt friends. You’ll get your answer… And a lot of pain…
So, you know what to do. Focus on the now—change yourself for the better so your future will be brighter.
Do you see her? Her radiance is greater than a million suns. Her features are as sharp as the blades of the Shogun. Her charm unparalleled; even against the Kitsune. I wake, wanting to slumber again, but her face has become bits and pieces—fragments of a fading dream.
I hope you see that being single isn’t something to be ashamed of. I also hope you’ve found this article to be of some use.
Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
Goodbye. For now.