Whether you’re consciously uncoupled, living it up as a single woman or trying to find solace until you meet the right person, there are plenty of benefits that come along with living your life free of a romantic relationship.
Although being single may be difficult sometimes—especially on Valentine’s day when the media seems to push the concept that you aren’t truly ‘complete’ until you’ve found a significant other- it’s the perfect chance to reassess who you are and where you want to be in life, giving you the freedom to learn, grow, and explore, without any of the guilt associated with taking time for self-care.
Single and independent
Indeed, the ability to be on your own without becoming lonely is a skill. It takes time and practice. But it is one of the greatest learnings a single person accomplish.
It’s an act of purging the clutter and making room for new thoughts and dreams to breathe and grow – says Susan Winter, an internationally recognized relationship expert and bestselling author. – Believe it or not, relationships are mentally expensive. Intimacy and partnership take up a lot of space in our heads. Even though much of this is happening unconsciously, there’s simply a lesser capacity for individually focused thought.
A study flagged by social psychologist, TEDx Speaker and author Bella DePaulo shows that being single is something that has got better not only over time but with age, too. Autonomy, in particular, is the number one contributor to happiness.
People without romantic partners are often stereotyped and stigmatized – she says-. But if you go by how they really feel about their lives, rather than how other people assume they feel, the story of single life looks very different. Over time, historically, single life gets better and better. And for individuals, as they age, satisfaction with their single lives gets even better too. Maybe having a romantic partner was once relevant to feelings of loneliness, but it is not so relevant anymore.
Without having a partner to answer to, the world opens up. You’re more likely to take risks and have adventures and have more novelty within your journey. You can take that big career leap when you want to, or book a life-changing adventure on a whim. You’re more open to acting on your gut. Also, you tend to have the knowledge that comes from having always solved your problems, either alone or aided by friends. So when new dilemmas pop up, you know from experience that you can handle them. This provides a sense of assurance and maybe keeps you calm when things get rough.
Single but not lonely
It may be difficult to organize your life around friendship in a world that’s built for couples. However, deep, intimate connection isn’t only found in romantic relationships. It can be created with many people, provided that you’re ready to take initiative and show vulnerability.
We may be single, but rarely do we spend those years without a coterie of girlfriends – explains author Rebecca Traister-. We may not be growing up within the context of our marriages anymore, but we are not alone. Women become each other’s de facto spouses: We practice habits of sharing and intimacy; we urge each other to be stronger and sharper, to get better jobs, and to accept no less than just and healthy relationships.
Social scientists Natalia Sarkisian and Naomi Gerstel, while exploring how ties to relatives, neighbours, and friends varied among single and married American adults, have also found that singles are not only more likely to frequently reach out to their social networks, but also tend to provide and receive help from others more than their married peers. In fact, being single doesn’t necessarily need to be synonymous with being lonely.
Researchers are pretty clear that happiness is more about how you spend your time and your mindset than if you are in a relationship or not – writes Dr Jenny Taitz in her book ‘How To Be Single And Happy‘-. After all, you can be lonely or depressed and still be coupled up. Living a happy life is a combination of doing meaningful activities, having social support, and practising mindfulness.
Remember: no partner completes you. You need to be a whole, happy person on your own before sharing your life with someone else. Also, single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others. Instead of trying to live up to other people’s expectations and focusing on what you’re missing as a single look at the opportunities in front of you. All you need is to adjust your perspective.