It’s extremely hard because marriage is often discouraged today - even in the church!
Part of the frustration is that we expect more out of our fellow Catholics.
Also, it seems that people today are more non-committal or don’t know what they want (I had a lady in her late thirites admit that she doesn’t know what age of man she wants!), or they have been duped by the secular lesbian/feminazi career woman mentality that says that you don’t need to be married or have a family to be happy and fulfilled and that you’re better off alone - but many of those who promote that message also accept extra-marital sex. And the ravages of divorce are making people more skittish nowadays, too; the way to prevent divorce these days is to discourage marriage (instead of challenging frivolous reasons for getting divorced).
There is also a lot of bad theology out there infecting the Church, due in part to the “micromanaging God” theory (which goes against free will and leaves people unable to make a decision because they are waiting forever for that “sign from above”) and also to the incorrect (and dare I say HERETICAL) notion that only certain people are called to marriage (CCC says that the vocation to marriage is instilled in our very nature).
People also do not take male sexuality seriously and the fact that the male “clock” goes off much earlier than females (just witness the thrashing males got in the “going without sex is not the end of the world” thread).
Someone also said to see if you are being called to priesthood. Have you discerned that path?
Online dating - some swear by it, some swear at it. Me, I come from a time whne personal ads were considered something done only by those who couldn’t get a date on their own (an idea reinforced by my former Opus Dei circle leader).
Now, what to do?
Make yourself available. Be the best you can be (but please keep in mind that this is a lifelong process, and if everyone waited until they were compeltely satisfied with themselves, hardly anyone would be married).
If you’ve done all that and it still doesn’t work (and trust me, you can do all the right things and still wind up with nothing; after all, you can volunteer 168 hours a week - then what? there are no more hours of the week to volunteer), then you need to be more assertive - tell the naysayers to shut their pieholes and stop second-guessing your discernment and that if you felt called to lifelong celibacy you’d already be wearing a collar (I use that line myself - even to priests!). Push back when someone tries to con you with bad theology. Maybe that will inspire our leaders to start retooling the message from encouraging the single vocation to getting people to stop hiding and make themselves available. And don’t let anyone in the “Midol Mafia” tell you you need therapy - you are not at fault for pursuing marriage, they are at fault for faulting you in the first place!
For the record, I am a forty-something male who has no immediate family (having lost mine before getting into high school) and cannot count on the extended family to remain tight forever, and forsee more holidays spent rummaging through the freezer for TV dinners or checking if the local Chinese take-out is open. Getting married and having kids is the ONLY way I will ever have an immediate family. So, it probably hits me even harder than you.
And a word to the general public: the lady who organized the National Catholic Singles Conference said that women expect to be pursued. But when you start saying those 15-second sound bites like “in God’s time and not ours” or “it’s not God’s will for you”, do you know what that does to the male? It discourages him from pursuing and may shut down a shy guy finally coming out of his shell. So even if it is true, please keep it to yourselves; while your intention may seem noble, the “collateral damage” does more harm than good.