Three Takeaways: A Single Revolution by Shani Silver

Read this book if you’re single, dating, seeking partnership, “not looking for a relationship”, or just really tired of dating in general. Every single and non-single person would benefit from this. I think well-meaning friends who are coupled and have single friends should read this, too. The more that coupled people understand that singlehood is not some chronic illness, the better off our social gatherings will be.

Here are my Three Takeaways on Shani Silver’s A Single Revolution.

1. Dating apps and dating culture are not your friends.

I’ve never tried dating apps, but have friends who have. Silver likens dating apps to large, virtual bars. The truth is, dating apps are businesses. Their goal is to keep you on the app, just like any other social media app, to earn money. They will entice you to spend for “better matches”. They are not selling you a guarantee. They are not selling you the authentic, committal partnership you are seeking, because that requires leaving the app. And that’s one less paying customer.

Silver makes a fascinating point about dating culture. She says that some people feel like they need to date through a slew of bad choices as a price to pay. Struggling through “singlehood” throughout your 20s, 30s, or 40s is not a prerequisite to finding the love of your life. It is a scam, because you cannot buy true love. Stop trying to pay for it with wasted time with the wrong people. She also points out that successful love stories from Tinder or Bumble are a matter of sheer luck—anecdotal evidence, mathematical miracles. Spectacular, but rare.

In the book, Silver says “We’re expecting finding love to be hard because something as amazing as romantic love certainly must come at a price.” It has truth to it. It’s the message of every romance book, ever. I think the hardest part about finding love is accepting the uncertainty involved, especially regarding when and who.

2. You only “scare away” people who are wrong for you.

Dating or liking someone inevitably surfaces at least one insecurity in all of us. I tend to wonder if I talk too much, which is strange for an introvert. As I get older, I realized that people who are scared or offended by my authenticity are not people who should be in my life.

Do not ever diminish who you are for the sake of scaring some prospect away. First of all, being ghosted tells you everything you need to know about that person. Second, we should not have to hide or sacrifice parts of ourselves just to keep someone around. That sounds like a fresh new hell I’d rather not acquaint with.

As Silver writes, “Who you authentically are will not be scary to someone you should be spending time with; it will be the very thing that draws them closer.” Any man who finds my intellect, laughter, athleticism, or financial stability intimidating can find the door. What is the point of being in a relationship in which you cannot be yourself? Add that to the list of fresh hells I do not ever want to be in.

3. Singlehood is a meditation room.

I have failed myself and my relationships in countless ways. One of those ways was not taking the time to truly consider and commit to what I wanted in a relationship. Sure, I did that for a partner, but not for a relationship. Instead, my ideals molded around the partner I already had, as if it were some shadowy afterthought. That was a disservice to myself, my partner, and our relationship. And if I didn’t do that, the ideal was based off book boyfriends: Mr. Darcy remains the penultimate Man and that has not changed in the last two decades. That is why he is fictional.

Singlehood is not a waiting room. Plenty of internet advice says you should use this time to work or focus on yourself. That is true. But maybe singlehood is more like a meditation room. What A Single Revolution will tell you is that it is a golden opportunity to really understand what you want in a partnership, and why. Maybe you will come to the realization that you don’t even really want one, you were just chasing some pipe dream society bestowed upon you with the power of media and overly inquisitive family members.

Closing remarks

Don’t let dating compromise your identity or what you deserve in a partnership. Healthy relationships make you feel loved, accepted, and secure. If you’re texting someone who replies in three words every few hours, just remember that you’re far too interesting to keep vying for that person’s attention. Silver reminds us: “You deserve someone who’s excited that you texted them, someone who texts you back with coherent sentences or even (gasp!) responds by asking to see you. Or texts you first—imagine it! You deserve someone who doesn’t leave you with little attention crumbs and tons of questions. You deserve someone with whom you always feel like you’re on equal and firm footing.” I want to shake all my single female friends into sense with the wisdom of this comment.

And if you start worrying about time, I’ll leave you with one more excerpt from the book: “Once you age into a space where women are no longer as desired for their youthfulness, beauty, or ability to procreate as they once were, does that mean you’ve been single for a woman’s “forever?” I wonder what a man’s forever is.”

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check out my Three Takeaways on Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, or The House On The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.


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