My grandmother wonders when I’m getting married and giving her great grandchildren. She is worried she will pass to glory before that time comes. Other people in my life wonder why such a [insert some adjective that assumes one should not be single here] woman has not yet found an equally [insert another adjective that assumes one should not be single here] man. And the whole time I’m just like, “What is life?”

Dating in 2016 is HARD. And exhausting. With social media and the plethora of options, it’s difficult to know how people are dating nowadays. And it’s even more of a challenge because you never know if you’re meeting someone who has the same dating values as you.

Case in point: Jasmine and Billy meet on a dating site. Billy asks Jasmine on a date (in real life), they meet up, there is a connection, and they end the date looking forward to the next. After a few more dates, Jasmine really starts to like Billy. Sure, there are other men pining for her attention or asking for dates, but she’s made up her mind about Billy and that she would like to date him exclusively. She’s just waiting on him to make that move.

Billy does like Jasmine, but he’s also dating Kate and Felicia. Each woman has different things that he really likes and he wants more time to date them all to figure out which one he likes most, and perhaps begin dating exclusively. I use the word ‘perhaps’ because Billy is also thinking about all the other women he has the potential to meet the longer he stays single. And if he commits to one now, he may miss out on “the perfect woman for him”. The woman who has everything he physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually desires in his future wife and the future mother of his children. The woman he will bring home to meet his mother and sisters.

Weeks turn into months. Jasmine is beginning to wonder the infamous question, “Where is this going?” She wants to ask him, but doesn’t want to seem like she’s pressuring him. She believes that he will bring it up when it’s the right time. In the meantime, Jasmine is not seeing or dating anyone else because she doesn’t want any difficulties in rejecting or cutting anyone off when Billy makes that move. However, unbeknownst to Jasmine, that move couldn’t be further from his mind. He was juggling three different women and still open to meeting others. And in his mind, he is not being unfaithful because he has not committed to anyone. He is still a single man and can do as he pleases.

That is where I’m going to stop that story. The problem is that Billy is overwhelmed with choices and Jasmine prematurely eliminated all her choices in preparation for a decision she made without the security that Billy made the same decision about her. I’ve been in Jasmine’s position at least once. And it is the worst. You wonder what’s taking him so long and why he can’t seem to do what you believe is next in line after having several amazing dates with someone you have a mutually romantic connection with. To you, it’s simple. We like each other, being together is effortless, let’s be exclusive, let’s commit to each other, be boyfriend and girlfriend, and begin planning the rest of our lives together.

What’s even worse is when the people in your model relationship (parents in my case) are telling you how dating is “supposed to be”. Well how is that how it’s supposed to be when that’s absolutely NOT how it is? How long am I supposed to wait? I’m going to be 30 in a few years. I don’t understand. The fact that so many guys act like 5 year-olds in a candy or toy store when it comes to dating is irritating. What question(s) can I ask before I start actually liking the guy to figure out how he approaches dating? And not only that, how can I ask those questions and get an honest answer as opposed to one that he gives me because he wants to keep me around and he knows its what I want to hear?

And then it hit me. This is exactly why so many people settle. It’s because they get tired of waiting. Patience truly is a virtue in this modern dating game. It’s a game of Russian roulette with time. Will I ever find someone worthy? Do good guys/women even exist? Does the right man/woman for me even exist? Should I just appreciate who I have right now for the sake of having someone? All the questions. No answers.

Contrary to popular belief, being in a relationship or getting married is not some rite of passage that indicates a person has “made it” in any way, shape, or form. Broken and damaged people get married and have relationships, liars/cheaters get married and have relationships, and even socio-/psychopaths get married and have relationships. Whether they’re successful or not is another story. But the point I make to myself is: relax. I’d rather enjoy life and remain single however long it takes than to settle for someone my perception can blind me into thinking is perfect for me due to variables of societal or familial pressure, anxiety, or impatience.

I’m single because the only one who deserves me right now is me. And I’m giving 150% because I can rest knowing it will be reciprocated 10x over. I will always look out for myself before someone else will, so I’m secure that I have my back. I’ve done my due diligence and committed to my personal growth, so I trust myself to be my best self. I can provide for and take care of myself, so I don’t expect anyone else to. I love myself and show myself love daily in how I speak to myself, how I invest my time and energy, how diligently I work, how I nourish my body, how I feed my soul, how I allow myself the freedom to be who I am completely, and the list goes on. I’m at peace by myself and I value that peace beyond any human being. Until and if ever I meet someone who can match or improve the relationship I have with myself, I will continue to enjoy this romantic journey with life alone.

And it’s not that I necessarily enjoy the single life. I just choose to enjoy life while I’m single. This is a season we will all continue to cycle through until we figure out who we are and what we want AND then meet someone who has figured out the same. When you realize it’s only for a season of preparation, single life is actually pretty dope.