Where I come from, young people do lots of dating. They date and they date, just like their parents before them. Then they date even more. These youngsters find their dates in bars and clubs, through friends, at school or with the many dating apps now available. Some of them find love and form relationships, or have relationships that are based on a certain need other than love, but that are still fulfilling.

Dating works the same as in other walks of life: do a lot of it and you gain self-confidence, and become better at it. If dating is something you can be ‘good’ at, it implies that some part of it is rewarding. Otherwise you would not put so much effort into it. It implies dating is a skill you can fine-tune, and if you are good at it, you will walk away with something. What that something is, is different for everyone: A good experience, some fun in the sheets, several more dates with this person, making a new friend or maybe it blossoms into something nice and steady.

Where some find their mate along the way, sooner or later, a lot find them very late or never. As frightening as this potentiality may seem to many, not anyone is to blame here. No one told them that this would happen. It was not written in the stars. Is this scenario the reason why people date then? Because they are scared this will happen to them, they improve their chances of finding that person and at the same time kill time up to this theoretical possibility. Seeing dating this way, it seems like some kind of an everlasting limbo that one finds him or herself in. It passes the time, like watching a movie, and can be as pleasurable. But in the end it will not leave you with anything substantial. Only if you are lucky.

There are a lot of the young and not that young living these kinds of lives. I call it ‘the everlasting single life’. Dating can be exciting, and one can lose themselves in it. Especially when you are young. Guys and girls alike feel that their youth should be celebrated, so they try out as many different partners as they can. Along the way, a few of them settle down. They found a mate, or got too tired of this game and settled down with someone that felt the same way. In general, women and men try out partners for different reasons. Guys do it casually with no set goal in mind, and women do it to find the best partner to raise kids with. But for these everlasting single people, time is in the end their enemy. The ‘good guys’, whom are trustworthy and don’t cheat are starting to be taken, while the guys that are left are seeing that there are too many women to pick from, so why ever settle? As is ingrained in the system of the human male, when there are many partners to choose from, he will find it hard to settle for one. So women start to realize: “Are there any more good, honest guys left?”.

Females have a need to settle down after a while. Sooner than guys do. It is biological. With age, they become less appealing. So around the time they want things to get serious, the guys that are left are at that age that the cards are stacked in their favor. Especially in big cities, where the amount of women to choose from seems indefinite. So are there winners and losers in this game? And who are they?

If you are a member of this tribe of everlasting single people, it does not feel like there are winners or losers in this game. Everyone is neither winning nor losing. It is a life lived in limbo, leading nowhere. Because now that a lot of people are living this kind of life, this has turned into the new normal and there is no one judging you or blaming you. There is only you feeling sorry for yourself. The predicament is a very lonely one.

The people of the tribe of steady relationships are living a different life, apart from the society of singletons. Society offers them a different kind of refuge, and they do not always meet in the same places. Everlasting single people live detached lives, stay alive on one portion meals, feel not especially bound to one thing or the other, especially the other sex.

There is no anchor holding them. Societies with large portions of singletons equal those where there are not enough women for all the men. Like Chinese or Indian society. In these societies men are forced to lead single lives because there are not enough women. The women still available have very high standards that not everyone can keep up with. Apart from the lack of women, there are many similarities between these two kinds of societies. Both women and men lead lives that are strictly geared towards achieving personal success. Everything is for the self. There is no greater good, apart from maybe parents one has to care for, which is not always the case.

Are people meant to live detached and everlasting single lives that are only geared to achieving personal success? The answer lays with these people themselves. Are they happy with the lives they are leading, or do they strive for something more? Do they want to be a part of something greater? Do they want to form a bond like their parents might have? Is leading a life like this a personal choice, or a sign of personal failure? Only they themselves can answer this question.