I could spend all day listening to love songs like ‘Moonlight’ by Ali Gatie or crying over romance movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, but that doesn't mean I have any interest in a romantic relationship right now.
I’ve thought about the idea of dating and have come to the conclusion that I simply don’t want to do so. I also don’t even have the time for it.
One of the key reasons for why I feel this way is my faith. As a Muslim woman, I’ve always cherished the notion of getting married and maintaining my purity until then. In my religion, the Western dating culture is condemned since it may lead to many temptations, including sex, where you are in a state of extreme vulnerability. I believe this culture of dating has the potential to harm you in many ways.
Relationships outside of marriage can lead to terrible heartbreak, higher chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, children out of wedlock and so on. In Western dating culture, you could be making plans for a future with someone while they could have intentions of abandoning you.
But in Islam, relationships are meant to be formed with the mutual goal of marriage. Refraining from a romantic relationship when I am not ready to get married is only for my benefit.
I’ve always been taught from an early age to never date and I only truly understood why that was recently. I now believe that my decision not to date protects me from so much harm.
I’ve seen people around me in romantic relationships go through heaps of unnecessary pain and conflict that changed them completely. They started having difficulty opening up, became distrusting of others and thought the worst of the people they were dating because of past relationships.
That’s why I refuse to become attached to somebody who isn’t guaranteed to be mine forever.
The yearning desire many people my age have for romantic relationships is hard for me to comprehend. It can also be mentally exhausting and affect your self-development.
Kristina Schrage, a social sciences & humanities research council postdoctoral fellow in the sexual health and relationships lab at York University, explained that romantic relationships—and the desire to be in one—can affect your mental and emotional health. According to Schrage, we all have a fundamental need to belong and people gravitate towards relationships to feel fulfilled in this regard.
While romantic relationships can provide you with emotional and practical support, they can also be damaging to a person when they go wrong. Schrage explained that breakups can have a detrimental impact on a person, at least in the short run until they adjust to life without that person.
“The end of a romantic relationship is amongst some of the most painful experiences,” said Schrage. She also said by getting into relationships often, you can open yourself up to experiencing that pain more frequently.
Schrage added that some people don’t necessarily desire a relationship because they may have more social-avoidance goals, which is when people try to avoid negative interactions with others. They do this by minimizing drama in their lives and keeping away from tension or conflict.
Third-year Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) marketing student Iris Hernandez, said she has no interest in a relationship right now either.
“It’s mentally and physically exhausting,” said Hernandez, as she explained why discovering new romantic relationships is not a main priority for her right now.
Hernandez’s Filipino family would prefer if she didn’t engage in relationships as they believe it would interfere with her studies and hinder her ability to be a “good” student.
“There’s so much more to worry about than being in a relationship right now,” said Hernandez. And since she works part-time at Starbucks and is taking four courses this semester, a romantic partner is not on her mind.
Hernandez also says most times she’s interested in someone, they often do not reciprocate the same feelings, which also makes her believe that romance isn’t for her at the moment.
According to a 2015 article in Psychology Today
, people who set avoidance goals, which are objectives individuals set to avoid conflict, don’t reject the idea of a relationship but rather the messiness that comes along with it. People with a higher number of avoidance goals tend to be just as happy whether they’re single or taken, according to a Social Psychological and Personality Science
study published in 2015.
Monique Lucas, a registered psychotherapist and the director of Healing Roots Therapy
in Mississauga, Ont., said there are a lot of benefits to singlehood, such as leaning into more friendships and family relationships. Lucas also said there is often a push for people to be in romantic relationships but being single doesn’t mean you’re going to experience loneliness.
“Being single allows you to explore the things you like and figure out what your needs are,” said Lucas.
This is something that also contributes to my reasoning for not having time for a relationship. At the moment, I don’t have the desire to find my “soulmate” because I still need to work on myself before I commit to anything real. There is so much I lack in my life that I just don’t think I would be a good fit for anyone yet. Plus, I believe that relationships are the most beautiful when they come and find you unexpectedly and are not a result of aimlessly looking through apps like Tinder or Bumble.
A 2022 study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science
conducted experiments to determine what makes singlehood appealing.
Participants involved in the experiment indicated a top advantage of being single includes being able to focus on their goals, which allows them to further their self-development. The study found that single people are more likely to develop their skills and improve themselves since they have more unrestricted resources, such as time.
However, Hernandez said the lack of a romantic relationship in her life sometimes negatively affects her. She occasionally wishes that she had a significant other to rely on, especially when she sees happy couples on social media.
“The thought of a relationship sounds better than actually being in one,” Hernandez said.
Despite romantic relationships taking over social platforms, Hernandez remembers that the media doesn’t depict reality and that relationships take a lot of commitment.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship—regardless of what the couples we see on social media or the rom-com movies we watch want us to believe. What’s presented to us in these situations is almost never reality. At least that’s what I think.
This doesn’t mean that I want to be single forever, but rather, the Western style of dating is not for me. I won’t ever stress over the fact that I don’t have a romantic partner because that time will come when it’s meant for me.
And to whoever my prince charming is, I hope you’re not stressing either.