Why I'm 23, Single, and Unable to Mingle

Hi! My name is Liv. I’m 23 years and I have not been alone my whole life. I have a family who loves me, great friends, and nice co-workers. These are all meaningful relationships in my life. But, if you ask my (insert random extended family member here), I am sad and alone. If you’re a person of logic, this might be confusing to you, so I’ll explain it. Basically, all of your other meaningful and loving relationships are actually meaningless and empty until you have a romantic one. Yes, you have friends, but you can’t really get joy from your friends until you have a boyfriend. Yes, you might love your mom, but how can you really know how to love your mom until you’ve loved your man? Well, I don’t have a man to love and my (insert random extended family member here) keeps asking why I am choosing this life of misery, and I’m tired of keeping them waiting. Here are all of the reasons why I’m 23 and alone.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Next week I will be dropping my 2020 To-Do list, in which I reveal that I’m trying to manifest some love for the new year. In the post, I list the three reasons why I am perpetually single: fear, high standards, and being a college educated black woman. Let’s dig in!

No. 3 I’m black and a woman and a I went to college 2x

You might be thinking this was a humble brag, but this is actually a huge L on my part. First and foremost, I messed up by being part of a statistically undersirable group: black women. About 6 years ago, OkCupid released their data on racial dating prefence trends, in which I realized that most men on that site don’t want to be with black women.

Of course, that’s a little bit of an over simplification. Most people in general date within their race, which is fine, but I do think that it is very telling that most men on the site across multiple races had a strong preference against black women and that was a trend that held up over time. The only group of men that did not have a trend of strong negative preference toward black women were black men, but it is important to note that they didn’t have a strong racial preference in general and are still relatively likely to be with non-black women (in fact, almost a quarter of them marry someone who isn’t black).

Now some of you might be reading this information and you may be confused, because black women are beautiful and awesome and are historically legendary. Like, go us! Go me! We are magical! Well, even though I know this and you know this, many people don’t. Throughout history, black women have been portrayed as rage monsters, welfare queens, Aunt Jemimas, and ratchets – you can watch this clip from Iyanla Fix My Life to find out more and get a hilarious education into why some men just hate black women!

Now this isn’t to say that black women never get angry or break the law or make pancakes or get up to ratchetry (like, don’t we all???). But it is to say that there is a vast cultural pool of knowledge that says that this is all black women are. And that’s simply not true. Unfortunately, that misguided cultural narrative is still so strong that it kind of makes some men not want to date me.

No. 2 I have high standards

In reason 3, I hinted that one of the strikes against me is that I went to college. Even worse, I went twice. While I was still in school, this was still a problem because I went to a PWI (predominantly white institution). I was mainly surrounded by white men, who, as we talked about earlier, don’t tend to like black women. Plus, my classmates were real bold and some of them were racist on and offline.

You’d think the problem would have went away after I graduated, but that kind of made it worse. I turned into a successful black woman and successful black women can’t ever find a man. Assuming the research from 10 years ago still holds up today, black women mainly want to date black men and if you’re a black woman with a degree, then you probably want a black man with a degree. But, unfortunately, more black women go to college than black men.

Personally, I’m not a black woman seeking a black man with a degree – but I do have preferences that are more likely to be fulfilled with a degree. I personally would like to be with someone who made a similar amount of money to me just for the purpose of our lifestyles matching. I also have very liberal values and opinions related to race and gender and while those don’t exclusively come from college, I do think that there are more opportunities to have experiences that push those boundaries in college.

In general, I just need to be with someone who is woke. And I’m not even the most woke queen. Like, I’m still sleeping on a lot of issues, but I can’t be with someone who is sleeping on all of the issues. And you might be thinking – date for the man’s potential and I hear that. But listen, my job is teaching. I get paid to do that. I don’t know if I want to also have a relationship that is also teaching anti-racism and anti-sexism. Like, I can teach a little, but I don’t know if I have it in me to tackle decades of unquestioned homophobia.

No. 1 Fear

The main reason why I’m 23 and single is because I’ve been single all of my life. I have a memory of being in middle school and having a note passed to my crush. He opened it and it said “Liv likes you. Do you like her? Check yes or no.” Not only did this boy check no, but he also turned to look at me as if I did something bad to him by liking him. He looked upset and disgusted. And then I looked down at my desk and wished that I could disappear and come back prettier and better and whiter.

To put things in perspective, I was raised around a lot of white people. Even when I attended more diverse schools, I was not in diverse classrooms. I have pretty much spent my life knowing that I was a black girl and learning from my peers that being a black girl wasn’t magical. This isn’t to say that no one ever liked me, but most of the time, the people who I was attracted to weren’t attracted to me and I was pretty sure it had to do with my skin (and my hair and my nose and pretty much all of my black features). And if there were people who liked me, I was too caught up in hating myself and my blackness to notice them.

Don’t get me wrong. I do think that it is good that I’ve been alone. I believe in the golden rule: you can’t love others if you don’t love yourself. And dating people when you don’t know or love yourself sounds like a recipe for mind games and manipulation. So, I stayed alone. I learned more about me and my blackness and grew to love it. I invested time and care into myself, worked hard, went to college, and did my best to have a drama-free existence.

Then, I looked up and felt ready to date and realized that I was very unprepared, because I was missing out on a very common experience. This is the fear that I speak of. I don’t mind that I have been alone, but it is an experience that I don’t see that often and because of that, I am self-conscious of others’ perceptions of that. While I know others like me exist, I don’t see them and it makes me feel like everyone else got this shared life experience that I never did.

And then people ask, well why were you alone? And I don’t know what answer to give them. “Because I didn’t think I deserved that?” “Because the men I like, don’t like me?” “Because men don’t like black women?” “Because I actually do have high standards?”

Or should I tell them the truth?

I really needed time to know myself and love myself and be vulnerable with myself before anyone else could think that they could do that for me.

Why do you think I’m single?

Thanks for reading!

Until next time, have an awesome rest of your day and an amazing rest of your week!

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2 thoughts on “Why I'm 23, Single, and Unable to Mingle

  1. So relatable! Ain’t nobody trying to teach a grown man basic emoathy and good politics! I also feel like in the last decade, thing got very trick, extra teicky. Fuckboys galore and datinf mind games…spare me.

    For me, mental illness also plays a big role.

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! I don’t have time for mind games! And I also think people forget to put themselves first! I think people confuse being alone and being lonely, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being alone to protect your inner peace, mental health, and mental energy!

      Liked by 1 person

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