Paul, why are you single?
This question has been posed to me a few times. It takes a couple forms.
There is the aggressive one I choose to lead off this piece. Sometimes if I am
lucky I might get the more euphemistic, “why have you not met someone?”.
However, the worst is when the question becomes a statement, “you will one
day.” These thoughts are disappointing to me. I am not mad that people ask. I
am always willing to share my poorly thought out philosophies. This blog is
digital evidence of that truth. I am frustrated that after so long it seems
people remain unwilling to accept that I just want to be a one man show. Yes,
truly I live a pityingly misunderstood life. It is not my place nor desire to
tell you what should be meaningful in your life. Do not construe this post as a
criticism of your philosophies or actions. Consider it a statement or
explanation of my beliefs so that you might better understand my thoughts.
Some words must be spent to provide the reasoning by which I approach this
1. We must not allow ourselves to be swayed by emotion. Only consider what
can be proved. While it is true I can articulate my current emotional state I
have found it very difficult to show cause and effect between an action or
event and an emotional response. The only success I have found in describing
this relationship (an action creating an emotion) is for the basest of emotions
such as sadness or anger. I have not been able to quantify some of my more
complex feelings. Given that there are some instances where I cannot tell how
an action will make me feel, I must treat my emotions as untrustworthy. To put
it plainly, since we cannot base our actions on nondeterministic systems we
must discard such untrustworthy mechanisms. Consider only the systems that
produce consistent results.
2. I can only act upon my own experiences. I have never been in a
relationship therefore it is difficult to judge the actual value or mechanics
of one. I must act as if I know all that I need, because I have no other
information. Relying on other people’s experiences can be flawed as other
people are not me and therefore do not share my thinking process.
Goal Based Reasoning
What is the goal of a relationship? If you enter a relationship (dating) it
must have a defined end objective. For most that would be marriage or at least
long term cohabitation. The period of dating in this case can be seen as an
evaluation by both parties as to the relative qualities of the opposite
partner(s). Qualities here will be defined as the character, ideals, goals, etc
that a person holds as important. The process of dating exposes these qualities
and the involved parties determine what parts they are willing to accept and
what parts they are not willing to accept. If the parties involved determine
they have enough qualities in agreement a marriage is produced. Therefore to
date is to consider the other partner(s) for marriage.
I do not want to marry, so I do not want to date, so I am single. Why do I
not want to marry?
1. A marriage is static. Consider this popular notion of love locks. The lock symbols an
unbreakable vow. A perpetual commitment. I am unwilling to make such a
commitment. I have made many bad decisions because of my unwillingness
(stubbornness) to change. I will not subscribe to any agreement that could
never change. Paradoxical yes, but that is the state I find myself in.
2. A marriage is continued social contact. I do not do well when I am in
constant contact with people. Regardless of relationship after about two weeks
of close contact I find myself unable to stand others. I have not found an
exception to this rule.
3. A marriage is complete and total trust. To accept the contract of
marriage is to accept the parties involved have complete trust in each other.
This is an obligation I cannot meet. I trust people to the point where failure
of that trust can do me a minor amount of harm. After that point I have never
4. A marriage is ownership and control. Remember the lock example? Marriage
is a lock in that it implies ownership of the parties to each other. Locks are
used to protect owned things. How many times have you heard the phrase “they
belong to each other?” It implies deep devotion, but it represents ownership.
Ownership manifests itself in the form of control. A partner(s) being able to
exert some degree of influence over the actions of another. This is not the
ideal state of existence. I do not wish to be controlled, even in the smallest
degree, nor do I wish to have or exert control over another.
I will ignore an explanation of possible benefits as the negatives I have
presented, in my determination, are greater than any possible benefit. Now, let
us consider the outlying case: a person pursing a relationship with a goal
other than marriage. This case is also important to consider as it too has
suggested as a possible course of action for me. Two questions to guide our
analysis: What are the possible benefits of this agreement? Why are these
benefits not sufficient to convince me? People pursing this type of commitment
are looking for continued, long term, emotional/physical connection with a
partner(s). I said I would ignore arguments based on emotion, but this
pervasive theory must be addressed. I do not see any downside to this
arrangement (as long as we apply the above boundaries to it), but I have no
need for it. People have often attempted to justify my need for such things by
asserting that an arrangement of this type will satisfy some nebulous emotional
state such as desire, love, companionship, etc. I do not see the benefits of
such things. I am aware of no emotional deficiencies in my character and thus
have no need to seek out ways to address the lack. Put simply, I have not felt
the need for such things nor do I desire to alter my current state. It is true
that some people find comfort in such pairings (grouping), but I do not think I
would have the same result.
Let us summarize. I have no need to pursue the goal of marriage/long term
commitment because the end result (the goal) is of no value to me.
How afraid are you?
I must regrettably consider that my reasoning has been unduly influenced by
my fear of the unknown or by some other deficit of character (stubbornness,
jealousy, arrogance, your choice). I admit to trying and failing a number of
times to fulfill my purely rational ideals. This contradiction may be occurring
here and may be contributing to my reticence. How can I tell if this happening
or not? The first prerequisite of my reasoning is the belief that I can
successfully divorce my rational thoughts from my emotional thoughts. If I have
failed at this goal my reasoning is wrong (partially or fully). Therefore, I
must investigate my feelings regarding the matter to discern if they have
affected my reasoning.
1. Am I angry at rejection and seek an alternative explanation? Hard to
judge if I have actually been rejected multiple times or just assumed the worst
end result. My ability to gauge intent in others is poor.
2. Am I too stubborn/arrogant to change and try such things? This is
definitely possible. I have acted irrationally before because I was unwilling
3. Am I jealous of others? Also possible, but I think less likely. Past
experience indicates I care very little about what others have. Perhaps this is
4. Am I afraid? This explanation is the most likely case. In the past I have
definitely been adversely affected by fear.
Not much of a conclusion to be drawn here, more of a halfhearted shrug. I
have had great difficulty in understanding my emotional system which is why I
try so hard to divorce myself from emotions when it comes to decision making. I
can only say for certain I may not have been successful in this regard.
I have already wasted far too much of your time on this drivel, but consider
one last point. Despite all this I still confess a certain temptation. I know
and have proved to myself that such fancies can only result in disaster, but
perhaps I am mistaken. Am I really willing to sacrifice such experiences? For