The world is full of people who are not married, but who are unwilling to admit that they're single. They have lots of rationale behind their denial. Here are the big ones:
I'm not single, I'm just not married yet.
I'm not single, I'm dating someone.
I'm not single, I'm looking...sometimes actively.
I'm not single, I have kids.
I'm not single, I'm divorced.
I'm not single, I'm widowed.
Really? Does your 1040 have all those boxes? Mine doesn't. You can tell the IRS that you're single, but you can't tell anyone else?
There's obviously genuine pain behind the denial in many of these cases. I understand that sometimes people deny that they're single because they don't feel single. But I don't believe that singleness really has a feeling. Loneliness has a feeling, but singleness and loneliness are not interchangeable terms. Some of the loneliest people in the world are married.
Often I think people deny their singleness because they're afraid of how others will see them if they admit to singleness. It's not just in the church that people sometimes think singleness is something that needs to be fixed. It's in our culture, too, even a culture where the percentage of single adults is quickly approaching 50%.
A lot my readers are married. When you run into a single friend, how often is your first question along the lines of, "So are you seeing anyone?" Do you have any idea about the message you're sending when that's your first question? You're telling your friend that their value is found in another person.
I wish I had bookmarked the comment so I could put the link here, but I saw something a few months ago a woman had written about that line of questioning. She said when she was younger, people would ask, "Who are you dating?" Then it became, "Are you seeing anyone?" Later it became, "Have you met anyone yet?" Now it's more like "Wow, cute shoes!"
While I didn't write that, I do seem to get complimented on my shoes a lot. You know what? It's liberating to reach the point in life where you don't feel apologetic about singleness. And it's always nice to be complimented on cute shoes.