Feeling Pressured to Find a Significant Other? Here Are 5 Ways to Deal

03/19/2015 06:09 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

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As someone who has spent the vast majority of his adult life single, I like to think
I've come up with useful tactics for combating what seems like constant pressure to
find a significant other. At times, when it nearly breaks me, I'll remind myself of all
the reasons I'd rather be single than take up a hasty courtship with someone I'm not
certain about. While I'm all for dating and dating often, I'm also for reflecting on
what I want out of my dating life and honoring my answer. If you're like me,
faced with albeit well-intentioned outside pressure to leave your single life behind,
but just aren't ready to budge until you feel you've met someone of importance, here
are some pointers to help you stay the course.

1) Remind yourself that good things happen to those who wait

Once you hit your mid-twenties, your Facebook feed no longer provides the usual
litany of drunken photos and complaints about finals, but is replaced by engagement
announcements and snapshots of newborns (I personally loathe the ultrasound
photo. TMI IMO, ok!). Suddenly you feel the pressure of time. All these friends of
yours are transitioning into new stages of life, and here you are, single, eating pizza
in bed. It's important to remind yourself that everyone's life progress at it's own
pace. While we may think we can just fabricate big life transitions whenever we
please, my personal experience leads me to believe it's more effective to set your
intention and let life follow accordingly. Be patient. I promise you good things
happen when you wait for it -- don't force it. We all know how often relationships fall
apart and marriages fail. Wait until it feels right, not when the clock tells you it's
time. Your life is a very long marathon, not a sprint to the altar.

2) Take pleasure in preserving your free time

We hear it all the time -- your twenties are your time to be selfish and explore. As
someone whose dreams are constantly shifting, I am beyond grateful that I have
been able preserve some free time to actively pursue them (such as making time to
write these posts!). While it's right to be open to letting new relationships into your
life, I hold the personal mantra that spending time with me-myself-and-I offers the
most return. Sure, in the beginning of a new relationship, it takes a few dates to
sense compatibility. But if you begin to feel that the time endowed will not lead to a
satisfying relationship, consider chalking up your loses. You and your time are
valuable. Invest it wisely.

3) Consider all the negative relationships you've observed

We all have that friend -- whenever you see him/her out with their
boyfriend/girlfriend you think to yourself, "Really?" I'm not advocating judging a
relationship that you're not in. But I am emboldening you to pay attention to your
friend's relationships and how you interpret their emotional status to be when they're with a significant other versus when they are not. You may scoff at your friend's
obvious relationship of convenience, but consider all the factors that brought
him/her there. Life can be lonely and monotonous at times and as such, it's tempting
to find someone, anyone, to share these day-to-day struggles with. But unless that
person truly brings you joy and eases your aches, tread carefully. What may bring
temporary relief could lead to heartache down the road. Revel in your security and
self-confidence in your singledom. Surely, when you do enter a relationship, it will
be that much better -- because you will know you can handle life both with and
without someone by your side.

4) Redirect your energy into something new

It doesn't do anyone any good to dwell on what you don't have. Instead, focus on the
immediate opportunities available to you. Now could be your chance to throw all
your effort into that new project at work, accomplish your new years resolution
you've almost given up on or sign up for those art classes you've wanted to try. Take
that anxious energy spent lamenting on your single status and redirect it fully. I find
that I learn tremendously, gain the most ground and surprise myself with my own
abilities when I wholeheartedly invest myself in a new project. It really is the perfect
way to not give any of your negative thoughts even the slightest breath -- all your
emotional energy is busy being recruited for productive and exciting endeavors.

5) Reinvest in existing relationships

Being single is the perfect time to focus on all the good, quality, long-standing
relationships already present in your life. When we concentrate on who we don't
have, it's natural to downplay the support of all the magnificent, ever-present
people in our lives. Make a commitment to see your parents more, gather together
with your old college pals or reach out to that long-lost friend. I find that the further
I invest in strengthening all of these types of relationships, the more confident and
strangely, invincible I feel. When you know you have people who will stand by you
no matter what, you'll feel more apt to take chances and fight hard for the life you
want. Hopefully, in the future, you'll have that significant other who will also
provide this sort of enduring, trusted support. But it should never come at a cost to
those of your current allegiance. You shouldn't have to, or be expected to, decide
between the two.

Hopefully these pointers will help you think more positively about your single life.
Remember, it won't always be this way, so enjoy all the opportunities being single
affords you. Eventually, someone will recognize you for all the fabulousness you
have to offer.