The Real, No-BS Reasons You’re Single in 2021 Despite Being a “Catch”

Just talk to anyone who is single. Or go onto online forums and subreddits related to dating and relationships. Basically, what you see are hordes of single “catches” who are mysteriously single. How can people who seem to have everything going for them – great jobs, lots of traveling, nice apartments and houses, and a lot of education – be single??

Well, here are the real reasons you’re a “catch” and still single.

And, I want to say that I get it. It can be frustrating when you’re looking for something but can’t find it, especially when you have a lot going for you. But maybe, just maybe, there are reasons why you’re single and still a catch. I’m going to try to be as blunt, but also as nice, as possible, so bear with me.

1. You Aren’t Really A Catch (Where It Matters)

Here is the simple answer: the metrics that make a person successful in life aren’t necessarily the metrics that make you a “catch” in terms of dating. So, you have a good job, own your home, have an education, and are polite and nice? Well congrats. You’re a good person, and contributing to society. But these things don’t play that much into attraction, especially for what guys find attractive, although women do tend to find these items more attractive as they indicate social status (keep reading for more on this).

So, as harsh as this sounds, in terms of dating, nobody cares that you have multiple degrees and just rose up the ranks at a law firm. In fact, the fact that you are going to be so busy could actually be a turn-off for many people.

So, if we are being realistic, what makes you a catch is being attractive and engaging. These two things are all that matter.

Let’s look at being attractive a little. Heterosexual men tend to assess attraction based on one question: is a woman physically good-looking? And, if we are nice and smart, we would prefer that you are as well, but you probably know plenty of smart and quality guys who are dating hot women who aren’t nice or smart.

Heterosexual women tend to define attraction more broadly, and it includes an emphasis on looks (largely a symmetrical face, muscularity, and being taller than they are), but also personality. So, a guy who isn’t as good looking can be a “catch” if he has charisma, is funny, or is in a position of authority or status (like a celebrity or her boss).

But, you may say, “I have all these things” (maybe you really don’t, but I’ll take your word for it!). So are you engaging?

rose thrown on the groundThis is very important. I define this as, are you actually willing to have the vulnerability necessary to form a connection. If you’re the type who swipes left on every person, or finds a little fault with every person you date, then you aren’t very engaging. This also includes people who don’t get out much, are socially awkward, etc. So you may not even have malicious intent; you just don’t come across as engaging.

2. You Are Too Picky (Or Not Picky Enough)

This impacts women mostly, but men are impacted too. If you look at swipe right rates for women, they are highly selective. Women swipe right 4.5% of the time. And, generally, at least with online dating, women tend to all like the same small group of men (the top 10% of men monopolize over half of female likes).

Why are women so picky? In many cases, women prefer not only that a guy is attractive, but that he should have greater status than they have. Census data shows this reality, which is that women tend to marry men of equal or greater status (whereas men don’t care). And, research shows even high-earning women marry men who earn more, and women don’t want to date men less educated than they are. However, as women gain more and more status in society (including being more educated than men), finding men who meet this attraction criteria is challenging.

This creates an untenable scenario, because there just aren’t enough of these “tens” available for exclusive, monogamous relationships. So, many women get onto online dating and swipe right on a few guys. But, other women are also matching with them. And, these guys are more than happy to “date around” and/or say what it takes to get laid, juggling multiple women at once.

And, this leads the majority of guys who aren’t getting any likes to get even more desperate and less picky. The result is that most men swipe right on most women (60+ percent). This feedback loop of picky women and desperate guys just makes women pickier and guys more desperate, until everyone hates online dating.

Guys could use to be pickier, and to stop being so thirsty, which is highly off-putting to women. So, guys, if you’re a “catch” and single, maybe you’re coming across too desperate.

Prior to online dating, average men and average women dated and seemed happy to do so, but online dating has changed this, and now people almost always shoot outside of their league and don’t give people in their leagues a chance.

And you may say, but “I deserve a college-educated (35% of men) man who makes six figures (9% of Americans), is over 6 feet tall (14% of American men), and is also single,” but you are looking at such a small percentage of the population that even if you find him, the likelihood he’s going to like you back is even slimmer.

Why does this keep you single? Because there aren’t enough “tens” to go around. So you may be a “catch” to someone, but you’re not giving that someone a chance.

3. You Are Too Afraid

Falling in love, meeting others, and being honest with what you really want all require determination, vulnerability, and authenticity. Unfortunately, you may be a “catch” but if you are afraid to take the risks necessary to meet someone, connect, and fall for them, then you’re always going to be single.

I have coached people who won’t date because of things that happened in high school, or because someone they dated hurt them deeply at one point. They were missing out on intimacy because of this fear.

While I am not saying that it’s always easy to overcome fear, many “catches” prefer the safety of being alone and keeping people at arm’s length rather than face the vulnerability that connecting with someone requires.

Mr. or Miss Right could be right in front of you right now, whether it’s when you’re working or exercising next to you at the gym. Yet, we are taught to be afraid of interacting with people we don’t know. I have even seen people sitting alone at bars swiping on dating apps instead of talking to the people around them.

Fear protects the ego but prevents real connections, so you may be a catch, but never get close enough to be “caught” because you’re too afraid.

4. You Can’t Compromise

woman holding iPhoneRelationships require compromise. Online dating has led to the fictitious belief that you can “put in an order” for someone with complete common interests. The reality is that to have a relationship you will have to compromise. Nobody is likely to share your exact interests, political viewpoints, or philosophy on life.

And, we live in a very divisive time, where it’s easy to get sucked into the pseudo-reality that is social media, which drives people to become even more outraged and divided. We have reached a point where many people refuse to even have a civil conversation with someone unless they agree politically. This divisiveness has led many people into isolation.

You may say “but I can’t compromise!!” Well, the social media companies are glad you feel that way, because you will likely keep commenting, tweeting, and posting your outage inducing diatribes on their platforms, making them more money, rather than practicing the humane traits of empathy and understanding that can land you a relationship.

Hey, it’s your life! If you’d rather be right and unhappy instead of seeing yourself as a flawed human who can compromise a little and get to know another flawed human who may see things differently, then by all means, be right.

5. Your Profile Is More Like A Bragging Resume

A client of mine told me he was so tired of seeing all these women on dating apps who have all these perfectly posed, model-like, photos combined with them traveling across the world and showing how important they are. Considering this guy was a multi-millionaire, I wondered how he, of all people, would complain about that. I should note that my female clients have also complained of male profiles who seem similarly inhuman.

The client I just mentioned told me he wanted to date someone who was human, and who was open to love. He didn’t want to date someone who came across as inhuman who would be both busy and gone all the time, or whom he’d feel as if he was competing with all the time.

And he made a great point. Nobody wants to commit to a god or goddess who will be too busy or occupied to have a real human relationship. Now, good for you if you are basically a god or goddess, and are busy all the time working and traveling and accomplishing things. Your profile needs to be very clear that you are looking for a connection not just showing off to the world how great you are. Getting a date is VERY different from getting a job.

Is your profile one that says, “hey, I’m a great and accomplished human being looking for a connection?” or does it just say “Look at me bragging how great I am.”

Now, let me end on a Zen question: is a perpetually miserable and single “catch” really a catch at all?

About the Author

David Bennett

David Bennett

David Bennett is a relationship expert, and has been a dating and relationship coach for over 8 years. He is listed in the top ten personal coaches for 2019, and is the author of seven self-help books. He has been featured in over 400 publications and other media appearances, including The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Men's Health, Bustle, Prevention, and Woman's Day.

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