What is keeping me single?

I’m unhappy being single but I can’t seem to hold real life friendships let alone establish one strong enough to become something more. I’ve tried online dating. To be honest, the real denominator here is myself, but aren’t you supposed to be happy with who you are before someone can be happy with you too? I don’t want to change myself to please people, but I also don’t want to be lonely. I’m not even sure I /could/ change myself. What do you think, Fortune Cookie?


Find your equal.

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Hello Diner. I think you’re wondering what it is about you that is keeping you single and therefore lonely and therefore unhappy. You’re also asking how remove that obstacle–whatever that “something” is.

What is that something? You asked if you’re supposed to be happy with who you are before someone can be happy with you. That statement simply isn’t true.* Being human, there will always be some personal trait you don’t like. Your mate will have their own list–assuming they are also human. We Fortune Cookies are baked with a set process, but some of us still fail quality control. Perfection is a list infinitely long. These weakness seem negative, but without them you will never grow.

Personal growth is not just a weird quirk of being human; it is the human journey. Parents and teachers find that watching children learn is one of the greatest joys. Seeing your partner struggle, succeed, and grow is just as rewarding. Because personal dissatisfaction sparks that growth, you literally can’t be happy with yourself for the relationship to be fulfilling.

So what is that something? I see three possible culprits:

1. Self-fulfilling prophecy. We discuss in this Fortune that those who are insecure may be sabotaging their relationships. Since breaking that cycle involves altering perspective and not personality, it would be something you can change.

2. Relationship incompatibility. Studies show that similar personalities tend to be attracted to each other. [1] People sometimes wonder why the ones they desire don’t like them back even if the match seems perfect. The key words here are “tend to” and “seem.” Attraction is more than trends and a written list of ideals. Fulfilling either may not make a connection happen, however frustrating that is.

3. Not enough choices. Even if you reduce attraction to trends and lists, the probability of finding someone is mathematically small. In a dating pool of romantically available singles living in the same area, you still have to be lucky enough to find someone with similar personalities, matching gender preferences, and at an appropriate age. Add uncompromisable realities such as faith, desire for children, and physical preferences. Find a die with that many sides to imagine the luck you need to make a connection. There are a lot of factors beyond your control. Break ups still happen to beautiful, rich, and charismatic people. Just keep looking for friendly folks to join your game.

How do I remove these obstacles? As you can see, these three possible “somethings” can’t disappear on their own. More importantly, changing your personality to be more agreeable and pleasant (whatever that means) won’t help either. Diner, I don’t know much about you, but you seem at least introspective and true to yourself. Start there. Find someone with just as much perspective and integrity. Find your equal. Good luck, Diner. Truly, good luck.

 

Reference:

 

[1] Dijkstra, P., Barelds, D. P. H. (October 2008). Do people know what they want: A similar or complementary partner? Evolutionary Psychology. 2008, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p595

 

* Baker’s note: Customer service received feedback from a regular patron on different interpretations of what ‘happy with oneself’ means. The Cookie used it to mean “satisfaction” in general. This customer pointed out that you can be happy with your overall self, while understanding you’re not perfect. Either way, it highlights how elusive the meaning of “happy” is, and you shouldn’t worry about being in a specific mental state to find love. Your journey is your own, and there will always be ebbs and flows. For all you know, this potential mate could inspire you to see happiness from a completely new perspective.