Love and Relationships

Single by choice: Why some people prefer not to be in a relationship

Ysa Abad
Single by choice: Why some people prefer not to be in a relationship
'I think people should stop assuming that just because I’m single, I’m always on the lookout for a possible partner,' says 20-something Jane

May itsura ka naman pero bakit single ka pa rin?” “Hindi ka ba takot na tumandang dalaga?” “Taas siguro ng standards mo kaya wala ka pang jowa.” “Wala kang kasama sa pagtanda niyan, bukod sa mga kuting mo.” “Hindi ka mayayakap ng diploma mo, kaya humanap ka na ng cuddle buddy.” 

These are just some of the unsolicited comments made by relatives and friends to people who are not in a relationship. When you’re single, there’s a misconception that you clearly have issues to deal with.

But that’s not always the case. 

“Being single isn’t always driven by a drastic heartbreak or this hatred or disbelief in romantic relationships,” Jane, a 25-year-old artist, told Rappler. “Sometimes, it means that we just want to focus on ourselves. No other dramatic explanation. It’s just the way it is.” 

Content with being single

“I like being single. And every time I say that, friends try to push me to go on dating apps,” Jane went on.

Growing up, she was often asked if she’d be bringing someone along to their family dinners – especially when her younger siblings started getting into relationships. “Akala nila nung una, tinatago ko lang ‘yung relationship. Tapos nung parang naniniwala na sila na wala talaga, may mga hirit na baka may mali raw sa’kin, ganyan,” she said. 

(At first, they thought I was just being secretive about my relationship. But when finally they started to believe that I didn’t have anyone, they joked that maybe it was because there’s something wrong with me.)

Her parents were high school sweethearts and still “blissfully in love” even after 20 years of marriage. “I believe in love, naman. But it’s just frustrating how some people can’t understand that I am utterly content with being single. Sometimes, I have to explain that I don’t have a warped perception of love. Because that’s always where their train of thought goes – something must have happened for me to be not interested in relationships,” she said. 

When she tries to explain that she’d rather commit to her art business first, some of her friends remark that she could juggle her work and relationship if she tries hard enough. 

Pero ayoko nga subukan (But I don’t want to try!). I’m happy with where I am right now. I’m ambitious about my career and I can’t manage to divide my energy by committing to a relationship I don’t even want in the first place. I don’t think I’m missing out on something and I can’t even imagine where a partner would fit in my life right now.” 

Jane also emphasized how these comments are often addressed to her and other single women in their family, but her male cousins don’t get as much jesting. “Madalas, compliment pa kapag single ‘yung lalake eh, kesho hindi raw nakatali. Mas malaya raw kapag bachelor. Pero bakit kapag sa’min na mga babae na, kasalanan raw namin.” (Usually, single guys are complimented for being single, since they’re said to have more freedom if they’re bachelors. But for us single ladies, being single is somehow our fault.) 

“There’s always this judgment that our singleness is caused by us being unwanted. We’re often pressured to partner up as if there’s a timeline to be in a relationship. I could always date when I’m older, or when I’m in the right mindset for it. But as of now, I love my independence,” she said. 

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Not settling for anything less

The judgment against single women was what drove Zelle, a 29-year-old events organizer, to initially second-guess her decision of leaving her boyfriend of four years.

“We’ve been together for a while. I got used to us doing things together that when I wanted a way out, there was this fear of not being capable enough to do things on my own,” she said. 

But she knew that it was time for them to break up. “We were already starting to become toxic towards each other. There’s always misunderstandings; our fights keep on piling up. I knew then that I’d rather be happily single than be unhappy in a relationship.” 

After their split, she heard comments that it was her fault she was unlucky in love and that she was lonely and unhappy. But she chose to focus on healing instead. 

“What I like most about being single is that nobody’s controlling me. I don’t have to ask permission to do things that I want to do. I don’t have to be accountable to anyone else,” she said. 

For her, living without a partner has given her several benefits such as freedom, independence, and stronger relationships with herself and other people. 

“I’ve grown to be more independent and self-sufficient, and that’s empowering. Now that I’m living on my own terms, I can’t just let anyone take that away from me again easily,” she said.

If it happens, it happens

“I think people should also stop assuming that just because I’m single, I’m always on the lookout for a possible partner. I’m single and I’m not interested,” Jane said. “It gets tiring when friends offer to set you up on dates because they want to ‘help’ me. Choosing to be single is different from just seeking out a relationship [just to make it] happen.” 

She continued, “At this point, if it happens, it happens. It will be a happy coincidence. But right now, I’m happy with where I am with my life now. And if I get to eventually share it with someone in the future, then so be it.” 

Zelle said that while she’s not opposed to going back to the dating scene, she realized that being single or not is no longer a big deal for her: “I’ve learned to be more appreciative about the things that I can do alone. I realized that being single doesn’t mean being lonely and it’s not a reflection of your character.”

She added: “I’m pickier on who to possibly date, and I’m unapologetic about it. I’ve worked on myself and I know what I want. I won’t be with someone who won’t make my life better. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards and there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re not in a relationship.” – Rappler.com 

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