Why I am Single AF? Hint: None of Your Business

I have a confession to make, I am 36 years old and I have never had an official “boyfriend.” Yes, you heard that right, I write articles about date ideas in Columbus, but I am single AF. And do you know what often comes when people I do not know learn this fact — judgement. The first question I’m asked is, why? Because automatically people assume something must be wrong with me as the reason for why I am single. There are many reasons, I’m sure, that I could contribute as answers to this question (like living in Orlando for eight years). But my question to you is, why is that even a question to begin with?

Child holding baby
Insert collage of me holding all my friends babies here.

The thing is, we Ohioans have been born and bred to grow up, get married, and have a family. It’s just what happens. And I’ll be the first to tell you this has been a dream of mine since I was young. My dream job was to be a stay-at-home Mom (I mean, what’s more midwest than that) and build a house in my parent’s backyard to live with my family. But, I soon grew up and realized I also wanted to travel the world, and not hold back on my own dreams. So, I didn’t.

Single AF
Visiting Venice, Italy in 2014

Even though my parents were never divorced, I realized right away that having a college education and a job would be good to have “just in case” the scary D word ever happened. So, I went to college (looking back I probably could have focused a bit less on my studies, but you live and learn), got my degree, and explored the world. I worked at a summer camp in the Poconos, studied abroad in London, and extended my college experience by doing the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World after graduating. I then got my masters degree, while working a 10pm-2am shift at the JcPenney Call Center and then returned to Florida to be a teacher. It would take forever to list everything I did while down there, but let’s just say, I had TONS of fun.

Single AF
While it wasn’t the Buckeyes, UCF tailgates with friends was one of my favorite things to do.

It wasn’t until I moved to Florida, that I actually started to prioritize dating. Up until then, I just had my eye on reaching my goals. I had everyone telling me different things like “it will happen when it’s meant to happen” or “you’re still so young, just have fun” or “don’t settle.” I kind of wish people didn’t say them because then I might’ve looked at dating a bit differently. Anyway, by the time I was ready to date was the time when all the dating apps started. On Match.com I was stalked by creepy old men (seriously, the same guys would message me each time I signed up again), on Tinder I was often sent inappropriate messages, and when Bumble came around, well most of the profiles were “fake” at that time. Plus, with the apps based on location I was getting all kinds of people vacationing because I lived so close to the theme parks. I had the best success meeting people in person. I even once went on a date with one of my Uber drivers! The guys I dated just never ended up being “my person.”

Fast forward eight years and I’m back in Ohio, where my singleness stands out like a sore thumb. In Florida, I at least had other single friends to bear the struggle with me, but here literally everyone I met was coupled up (and I love them all!). The midwest life had never been so apparent.

Lucky for me all of my single Florida friends enjoy traveling too! So I get to see them often. Vinales, Cuba

But again, I ask, why do we ask the question “why are you single?”. All of my friends could tell you that I would be a great person to have as a girlfriend. They also might tell you I’m too picky, but I’m allowed to be. The thing is, looking back on all the life I’ve lived I am lucky to have lived that life. I have so much to offer someone because of those experiences. However, what I’ve learned from this life is not going to be communicated in an app. And most of the time, you can barely get a first date. If you are lucky enough to get a first date, you’ll most likely be ghosted by the second.

Stephanie Patterson Creative
Drinking 7venth Son beer at the 7venth Son Brewery in Tampa, FL. Photo by Stephanie Patterson of Stephanie Patterson Creative

So, I challenge you, all the single people of the world, NOT to automatically ask the question “why are you single?”. This implies there is something wrong with that person. Also, there will never be a clear answer for it. Instead, I challenge you to ask questions that will allow you to get to know this person on a deeper level.

And don’t ghost!!! But, that’s an entirely separate topic.

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