God knows how many times I’ve been asked the “Why are you still single?” question. From answering “I’m just too busy” to “I still haven’t found the right guy yet,” I’ve eventually found the courage to brush off the question when I get asked.
Does that make me rude? I don’t think so; I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why I’m still single as if it were a crime or a sin. But just to put an end to that question, let me tell you my story:
When I was younger, I wasn’t allowed to date. My mom had this strict “no dating, no boyfriend” rule until I finished college and only then could I do whatever I want– move out of the house, get married, or have kids.
As the eldest among three girls, a lot was expected of me– be a good role model to my younger sisters, have straight A’s at school, be obedient and respect others. I remember being given an exact allowance just so I couldn’t hang out with friends after school, but enough to pay for my two-way transportation expenses and meals.
My dad was working as an Overseas Filipino Worker in Saudi Arabia then, so I was left with no choice as well. And whenever I would ask for extra money, my mom would always remind me that she still had tuition fees and bills to pay, and that I still had two younger sisters who were also studying. I became this “home-school-church-home-school-church” type of girl, whom I knew most people would find really boring, but eventually I learned to appreciate. Although, I do admit there were times I envied couples holding hands or sitting together at school, wishing I also had someone who could walk me to school, fetch me at home, go to dinner or see movies with, or just hang out.
Not once did I think of leaving the house or going against my mom’s rules because at that time, finishing college was my top priority. Right after college, it took me another two years to finally have a boyfriend. But it lasted only for 20 days. My second relationship lasted about a year and a half, which was an accomplishment on my part considering how short-lived my first relationship was.
I thought I’d finally end up with this guy, as he had already asked me to marry him. But I was 23 years old then; I wasn’t ready to settle yet. I also just got out of college, so I had to refuse him.
Sometimes I would ask myself, ”Should I have been married by now with three or four kids? But are there people whom you think you’re in love with but also don’t really see a future with?”
My last and most recent relationship was something I didn’t see coming. Only a few close friends knew about it because we didn’t officially become a couple, just almost.
I’ve known him since we were 18 years old and became the best of friends. He was someone I knew who would always be there for me, so I took him for granted. He was always invisible to me. Not knowing that someday, I would see him in a different light, which was after 20 years of friendship. I tried my best to hide my feelings by convincing myself he was only a friend, but all the more, I started noticing his good qualities, how good he smelled, how brilliant he spoke and acted, or how confident he was becoming every single day.
We started seeing each other every month and going out for dinner. But when I couldn’t fight my feelings anymore, I told him I was beginning to fall in love with him, but it was too late.
No matter how much we wanted to be together, we both knew it wasn’t going to work. He had already decided his path, a path he has seen traversing since he was a kid, and that didn’t include me or anyone else. So I had to respect that.
I was so heartbroken, but I had to move on and focus all my energies into my family, career, church work, and friends. Before I knew it, it’d been years and I haven’t been in a relationship since.
In time, I learned to brush off all comments and negative criticisms as to why I was still single, but I do admit I still get hurt sometimes. Am I really that ugly, picky, or intimidating to be single for a very long time now?
I know in time, that relationship, that husband, that marriage, and those kids I’ve been longing for will come. I just don’t really know when and how, so for now, I will just be content and happy with what I have. People spend so much time thinking about what they lack in life that they take for granted what they already have.
And if someday, after all the waiting is done and I still end up single, I have to accept my fate, because I know, I know God knows better than I do. He knows what’s best for me. In the end, it’s how we will live our lives that matter the most.