Being Single Is Not A Punishment

Shani Silver
8 min readSep 24, 2023

Stop trying to suffer your way out of it.

Photo by Shani Silver, of Shani Silver.

You don’t deserve to be single. You aren’t single because of your “flaws” or your “incorrect approach” to dating. You are single because you haven’t met your partner yet, not because you haven’t “kissed enough frogs” to finally deserve a prince. Fate cannot follow a fault narrative, so please stop listening to people who tell you you’re single because you have work to do.

Punishment can’t fix something you never did wrong. I’ve spent way too much of my adulthood learning this lesson so I thought I’d help others cut to the chase. It’s the self-punishment single people keep partaking in, on the assumption that all this swiping, messaging, dating, and aftermath will all add up to something eventually. We think we can earn a relationship by suffering “enough” in dating culture, so we put up with the punishment of a broken system, thinking it will earn us love. But what if we always deserved love from the beginning? What then is the point of punishment?

This theory applies in plenty of scenarios (remember your shitty internships?) but here we’ll focus our efforts on singlehood and “finding love,” a phrase that only belongs in 90s-era romantic dramas where someone always owns a lake house. Let’s explore the trash notion that you can somehow suffer your way out of singlehood. Walk with me down this mental pathway:

  1. Being single sucks
  2. Dating is a nightmare
  3. Not dating feels like I’m not doing enough
  4. Maybe I should try more dating
  5. Oh god this really sucks
  6. Why is it always this bad?
  7. Mommy!
  8. I don’t understand why this is so hard, everyone else is finding someone, why can’t I find someone, why can I only find dating nightmares and horror stories that my married friends want to hear about at brunch?
  9. Haven’t I suffered enough? When is it my turn?
  10. Being single sucks

Familiar? If not, you’re free to stop reading this, and I’m very happy for you and the gentle life you do lead. If however this IS familiar to you, there are a few things we need to rewrite about the dating cycle itself, namely the fact that being single