You Can’t Suffer Your Way Out Of Singlehood

Shani Silver
8 min readFeb 1, 2021

Dating doesn’t care how much you’ve swiped.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

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. For our purposes here I’m speaking of self-punishment, as our parents no longer have jurisdiction. 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, so we put up with the punishment of a broken dating culture, 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 let’s 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. Take my hand, but don’t because pandemic, and 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 doesn’t actually suck and you don’t have to date if you don’t want to. It isn’t talked about much, but even if you don’t date, you’re still allowed to meet someone. It’s still possible to meet someone just…in life, because we’re all…