Sex + Dating

Things People in Relationships Need to Stop Saying to Single People

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Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Against all odds, I've made it to 35 without getting married, impregnated, or doing the big, official "move in" with anyone.

Miraculous, I know!

And while I'd be perfectly happy to be wildly in love and co-planning a future, please understand: I LOVE being single. It's an absolute gift to live life on my own terms, and to not have settled for a love interest who wasn't the right fit.

What's crappy about all this, is people think I'm single by accident: like I'm just sitting here pining away, waiting for someone to whisk me off my feet. People in relationships regularly reassure me, ask pointed, personal questions, and offer unsolicited dating advice... presumably so I don't live out the rest of my days terrified, baby-less, and alone.

Single ladies, you know it's true. Here are the most annoying lines people put us through on a daily basis.

"People are probably intimidated by you"

Otherwise known as, you come across as too strong/self-assured/overly educated. Why on earth would an appropriate partner be intimidated by a capable woman? Anyone who is, shouldn't be in the running, right? So why are we even bringing this up?

"If only [insert name of a distant ex] could get their shit together, they'd be perfect"

So the truth is, single ladies don't keep their exes in a revolving turnstile on the off-chance one partner with whom there were irreconcilable differences "fixes himself" and we can trot off into the sunset together.

Partners break up for a reason. Rarely is that reason (and all its accompanying baggage) resolved by some time apart or soul-searching. I spent my 20s working through garbage with the wrong partners and trying to make things work that wouldn't. Then I grew up.

"Who are you going with?"

To the bar, movies, restaurant, or friend's wedding. On vacation. Somehow, the fact I can go anywhere alone is out of the bounds of rational thought.

Reply, "No one," and you're met with this zinger:

"You're so brave."

Can we please do a bit better with our current expectations of women?

"I should set you up with my other single friend!"

Based on... ?

"What's going on in your love life?"

People are as comfortable asking me this as they are asking about my day. But for some reason, when I ask how their sex life is going with their husband or wife, they clam right up.

"I'm so happy I'm not single / I'm so happy I'm married"

When I do make the mistake of talking about the hijinks of a recent date or misadventures of a Tinder match gone awry, this is the stock response I get. 

Very supportive.

"I'm just living vicariously through you"

Cool, since my personal life is totally here as a source for your entertainment.

"Just have someone knock you up so you can have a baby before it's too late"

Oh my god...

"You can always adopt"

... I know?

"You're so lucky -- it's like impossible for me to stay single!"

Ugh. We've covered this one.

"You need to stop sleeping with people you go out with"

OH MY GOD please. A woman's right to sleep with someone is as much her choice as whomever she sleeps with. If both people want to do it, I don't see how that makes one of them less dateable.

I'm all for working the intrigue and slowing things down so you can get to know someone. But guess what?! Taking things slow -- or not -- is a personal choice.

"I can't imagine having to use a dating app"

I don't really see the value in telling people, all of whom are at wit's end with using dating apps, how much aversion you -- who have never had to use one -- have for them.

Thanks?

"You'll find someone!"

Good, because this fruitless treasure hunt spent wandering the earth in desperate, solitary pursuit of a man is getting sooooooo exhausting.

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Nicole Caldwell is Thrillist's Sex & Dating editor and actually really enjoys traveling alone. Follow her musings on Twitter: @nicolemcaldwell.