Thanks to generations of cultural messaging, many people believe that being single automatically equates to being miserably unhappy. Society treats singleness like an obstacle to overcome — an unfortunate stop on the path to coupledom. But here’s the thing: Being single can be truly wonderful; in fact, some people actually prefer it.
There are countless reasons why a person might choose to stay single forever, and none of them have to do with being damaged or unlovable. Here are a few of the advantages to living the unattached life:
You Get to Do You
Single life is horribly stigmatized in society. Beyond the stereotypes of loneliness and heartache, single people are often depicted as having something wrong with them. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Social scientist Bella DePaulo is a bit of an expert on singledom, and her extensive research has found that single people are often happier, healthier, and more connected to their communities than their married counterparts. Furthermore, it seems that they also lead richer lives and experience greater psychological growth.
This may be because living solo means learning to do things independently. It allows you to spend time really developing skills and talents. With plenty of time for self-discovery, confidence and contentment are bound to follow.
And, without the responsibility and commitment that comes with a relationship, your options are limitless. You have the freedom to seize any opportunity that comes your way. You can sample the new or extraordinary, make plans without consulting a partner, and dive right into whatever life has to offer. Being single means doing whatever you want, whenever you want — within reason, of course.
Another great benefit to being single is you get to avoid all the pitfalls of relationships. Life without a partner means no going with the flow just to avoid a fight, no breakups, no divorce, and no codependency. Just pure, unadulterated you time. Speaking of…
When you’re single, you get really good at being alone — and that’s something a lot of people have a hard time with. As an introvert, I may be slightly biased when it comes to solitude, but for me, there’s just nothing better in the world than having some time all to myself.
Solitude is something to be savored. When you spend time alone, you can truly unwind. Not only does it allow your mind to rest, it also boosts creativity, concentration, problem-solving skills, and the quality of your relationships with others! You can read a book, soak in the tub, binge watch Netflix, try your hand at a new hobby — whatever you choose to do, you can do so blissfully uninterrupted.
Your Friendships Flourish
DePaulo’s research on singles revealed another interesting fact: single people have more friends than coupled people. Common sense would put this down to the fact that couples spend most of their time together, and in doing so, have less time to foster outside relationships. This isn’t always healthy, as we can sometimes put the onus of love, comfort, security, and other necessities completely on the shoulders of our partner. In reality, it’s far healthier to have a broad support system rather than to relying on one person for everything.
Having a great group of friends can be just as satisfying as being in a romantic relationship. Research shows that spending time with friends increases the levels of oxytocin (the bonding hormone) in women. This leads to stronger feelings of validation and comfort. It’s in this way that friends can become like family — someone you can turn to in times of trouble.
How to Handle “Advice”
When you’re single by choice, a lot of coupled people will do everything in their power to convince you to partner up. This is because society has impressed upon them that being in a relationship means being happier and healthier. They feel that being married (or partnered) is right thing to do — which means that being single (even happily so) is risky. This means you’re bound to hear a lot of well-meaning, but slightly insulting, advice on your lack-of-a-relationship status.
The best way to respond to this stereotype-ripe input is by pointing out what may be obvious to you, but not so much to them. Here are a few lines to have handy:
- Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely.
- Being single isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it has its perks (feel free to list a few of your favorite benefits to being single).
- I don’t need another person to “complete” me.
- I don’t need a romantic relationship to feel happy or fulfilled.
- I’m enjoying my life exactly as it is.
- I am not a project to be “fixed.” I am not broken.
And, if they give you one of the many misguided arguments as to why you should be partnered (i.e. “you’ll die alone”), feel free to point out that those are extremely selfish and inappropriate reasons to start a relationship.
Marriage and parenthood are not the be-all, end-all of happiness. You can exist as an individual and lead a joyous and fulfilled life. So get out there and prove those ridiculous stereotypes wrong. Pursue your passions, nurture your familial and platonic relationships, and live your life to the fullest. You have everything you need to be happy and whole within yourself.
Are you single? What are your favorite parts about being on your own?
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