It's OK to Stay Single
One of the hardest parts of being single is the societal expectation that you will eventually not be single anymore. It is very easy to let yourself get caught up in this expectation, and even to let it pressure you. Many people who have been single for an extended period of time feel that they need to find a relationship. Often these people actually do not dislike being single, but feel like they should be in a relationship. They force themselves to go looking for love because other people tell them to, not because they are ready to be at that stage in their life. They end up pressuring themselves into a relationship that, for one reason or another, is not what they need at that point in time. This can cause a variety of problems.
Many people end up settling, because they figure they have found somebody they can be relatively happy with, and they need to get married. This pressure to be married leads to a proposal to someone that they may not be ready to be engaged to. This can happen for a couple of reasons. Some people are very set on marriage. It is easy for someone who has always wanted to walk down the aisle early in life to fall in love, and convince themselves that they need to marry this person. And some people are right. Some people meet their ideal match early in life and live happily ever after marrying them right then and there. However, it is easy for someone who is set on being married to talk themselves into proposing even if they are not ready.
Once you're in a relationship, take it at your own pace.
Another similar danger is the pressure to get engaged when a couple is together for an extended period of time. When people have been together for years, both society and the people in the relationship begin to wonder what comes next. While marriage is the logical next step for a couple in love, it is important to be sure both parties are ready for this decision. If one of you is hesitant, it is better to wait to be married, and let everyone wonder what is taking so long, than to get married and risk whatever is causing the hesitance harming your marriage in the future.
But if you're ready, go for it!!
It is important to note that some people are ready to be married and settled down at a young age. This is not a criticism of those people. However, it is important to be sure that you are indeed ready before looking for that special someone to settle down with. Do not look for a significant other because you feel like you should. Look because you want to, because you feel like it is where you want to be heading with your life at that point in time. And when you do find someone, be sure that they are the someone before you let anyone tell you it is time to settle down with them. Just because you have dated for a long time does not mean it is time to be married. Do not let society pressure your expectations for your relationship, and most importantly, do not let society make you pressure yourself.