“Men are hard to find.” How many of us have heard that statement at one point or the other? It makes my skin crawl every time I hear it. It puzzles me because men are not hard to find. In fact, they are everywhere, even in places where you don’t want them to be. For example, hanging out on the street catcalling at women. I guarantee you, if you walk outside or look out the window right now you will spot at least one man. The statement also annoys me. It is the politically correct way of telling women to stay in unhealthy relationships because leaving will secure them a permanent spot in the dreaded Singles Club. Who wants to be alone when the tick of their  biological clock gets louder with every passing minute, hey? Who wants to be by themselves when their skin is threatening to loose its grip on firmness any second, hey? “Not me,” is what the peddlers of this – men are hard to find – statement want you to say.

A friend once told me about a relative of his who has pushed her daughter into a relationship with a questionable guy who had expressed slight interest in the daughter a while back. She keeps telling her daughter to stay and make the relationship work because men are hard to find. This is in spite of her daughter’s reservations and despite evidence that the guy is not invested in the relationship.

There are many daughters who find themselves in similar situations. They are caught between their own desires and those of a parent or guardian who believes that men are hard to find. Even in today’s society, there is still an underlying assumption that all women want to be wives and mothers. Throughout Africa, women deal with cultural impositions on marriage and motherhood. To desire to skip these two experiences is considered ‘unAfrican.’ How dare you not want that? Where else will you derive your value from? Once you decide you actually want to experience life with a partner, then it becomes “You need to stop being so picky. Men are hard to find.” Wanting to be with someone who respects and treats you right is “being so picky.” It is better to be alone than in a relationship where you are in a constant state of turmoil, in my opinion.

It seems that people are not only afraid of being single but also of knowing or associating with single people. As if it is the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. There is nothing wrong with being alone. It’s actually a good time to get in touch with and explore the truest version of yourself. I think, that is the only way you will know what you want and what you don’t want. What you can tolerate and what you can’t. What you can accept and what you can’t. What makes you happy and what doesn’t. What fulfills you and what simply drains you. Being alone does not mean that you are lonely. The two are not to be confused. There are also plenty of people who are in relationships but lonely. Having a companion does not automatically cure loneliness. I believe that you can’t be happy in a relationship unless you are happy as a single person first.

“Men are hard to find” will have you clinging on to false hope and putting yourself directly in harm’s way. Staying with a person because of fear that you will not meet someone else will not change anything. People can only give you what they have and want to give. You can’t will a person in to giving and you certainly shouldn’t be held emotionally hostage by maybes and what-ifs.

If you are in an unhealthy relationship you have to leave for your own well-being. If someone is cheating on you, walk away. Remember it is better to be a unicycle than a third wheel. Don’t hold on out of fear of not finding someone else, being characterized as a failure or criticism. Life happens. Relationships run their course. As my brother once told me, “You don’t have to spend forever with someone. Just a few good unforgettable years.” If the years aren’t good, save yourself.

To answer the question – no, men are NOT hard to find. Being single does not mean that you are weak or incomplete. You are not some crossword puzzle to be completed. Don’t settle for anything less than what you truly want because of societal pressure or the misconception that men are hard to find.

~Sometimes getting serious about relationships means walking away from good-enough, in search of can’t-live-without. No need to stay in a situation where you don’t get everything that you need.~