Michelle (M): A reader commented that many people can tell whether a mate is the wrong one from the start, yet they remain in the relationship! Why? For many reasons: loneliness and insecurity; believing that the relationship is the solution to their problems; external pressures to get married; and thinking that “he will fix me” or “I will fix him.”

Women are especially guilty of all of the above. Why is this so? One of the reasons is that our society is built for two. Although statistics say that there are more single adults than married adults, everything around us is designed for couples.

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Try taking a vacation, one to a room. Everything is priced and promoted as “double occupancy.” Go to a restaurant and eat by yourself, and see people look at you as though a single diner is a rare creature.

Darwin John (DJ): Receiving a wedding invitation that says, “We have one seat for you,” makes me think at times, but it is not enough to push me to marry simply because of that. I enjoy quite nights with a book and coffee to keep me company. I relish doing random acts of kindness, without having to explain to anyone why. And I want to spend time with people whose company I genuinely enjoy. Is it a perfect life? Nope. But am I happy? Yup! Sure, I understand. This state of life is not for everyone, but it works for me. For now.

If ever I decide to change this, it should be based on my sense of reason. Of course it can be influenced by others. But marriage is a commitment that’s solely made by the one who chooses to wed. It’s the person who will live this promise for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

M: Churches and our society have strong beliefs in the family, but this tends to produce an unfortunate and unnecessary counter message: “You have to be married to be okay.” How many of those who are single have to cope with family members who ask “you’re not married yet?” or get comments like “but you’re so pretty. What’s wrong with those guys in Cebu?,” the implication being that if you’re pretty, you certainly should be married.

DJ: I am no stranger to comments that are bordering along the don’t-you-think-something-is-wrong line.

I have a nice job. My dream house is about to be finished. I’m stable, but some people still think I’m incomplete until I get married. I think if I’ll do that, then I’m finished. Seriously, the best gauge is to see which state of life makes you a better person.

If the imperfect person you love inspires you to be the best that you can be, go ahead and get married. But if you find yourself in a relationship that makes you lesser than what you ought to be, think long and hard before making that permanent [decision].

M: We should really reflect on what we truly value in a relationship. Don’t try to be who you think Mr. or Ms Right wants you to be, because if you embellish the real you, then when you do get a date, you’re starting off on a weak foundation.

We have to trust our gut feelings about the people we go out with. For example, if someone exhibits behaviors that just don’t sit right with you, politely excuse yourself and leave, because for some women who don’t walk away when they first get that feeling, they start making excuses [in defense of the man]. Then the second date turns into a third, and a fourth, and suddenly out of boredom, or trying to be polite, you find that you’re dating the wrong guy. And probably get married to him, too.

DJ: There are many reasons why people marry or stay single. There are good reasons and bad reasons, and neither kind can certainly predict the outcome.

The best thing you can do is to pray, listen to others, seek guidance then decide. It’s a choice. And you have to decide through your own reasons, because if it fits, then it’s right.

(E-mail us at ssinglestalk@yahoo.com)