Few words carry more loaded and polarizing emotions than “singleness.”
It’s a term that carries so much good, but it can be easily stomped down by a particularly idyllic rom-com or an evening of third-wheeling with your college BFF and her high school sweetheart. But even in those moments when we’re going solo on an entire box of chocolate on Valentine’s Day, singleness has some incredible perks to offer!
While society sometimes makes it seem like we have to find our “other half” to really start living, that’s not the case at all! That’s why it’s so important to remember everything we gain by being single. So let’s dive in, shall we? Here are seven ways our lives benefit from our singleness.
1. You have an opportunity to really get to know yourself.
Married couples who start out as high school sweethearts are amazing, but people often find it hard to grow into who they truly are while remaining attached to someone else who is struggling to do the same.
As Dr. Jenny Taitz, a clinical psychologist and the author of “How to Be Single and Happy,” told Time, singleness is the perfect time to set your individual “mission statement” and determine, apart from anyone else, what you stand for and who you want to be.
“Being single is the perfect time to reassess who you are and where you want to be in life,” added relationship expert Susan Winter. “What changes do you want to make? What classes, associations, or new attitudes would you like to develop? You now have the time and the ability to focus on the one consistent factor that will create the change you’re seeking — yourself.”
2. You have more brain space.
“Believe it or not, relationships are ‘mentally’ expensive. … Intimacy and partnership takes up a lot of space in our heads,” Susan continued.
As she explains it, relationships inevitably require extra headspace dedicated to worry (and even distress) over the other partner. That’s the case whether the issue is caused by conflict or stressors out of our control, such as health or safety.
As singles, something we may not often consider is how much extra brain power that leaves us to dream, plan, and pour our attention into non-romantic relationships with our families and friends.
3. You learn contentment regardless of circumstances.
Singleness is an opportunity to grow in the practice of contentment. Wishing our singleness away isn’t going to get us any closer to our happily ever after. Instead, it will cause us to miss the rich, full life that’s already staring us straight in the eye!
Start a new hobby, go on that monthlong vacation, or move across the country! Use this freedom as a gift that’s not to be wasted.
As Susan puts it, “Being single is an act of purging the clutter and making room for new thoughts (and dreams) to breathe and grow.”
4. You take more risks.
An experience that many of our friends who are “partnered up” may never relate to is the boldness and bravery it can take to walk into a large work event, wedding, or even a couple’s shower without a plus-one.
But that is where so much of our independence, self-sufficiency, and confidence comes from! We step out on a limb because we’re forced to, and then we realize it’s actually full of exhilaration, new relationships, and experiences we never would have had otherwise.
As a friend has said countless times, you never know what adventures you’re capable of until you’re willing to take off your comfort blanket, venture out on your own, and find out!
5. You have more time for other relationships.
In those moments when all you can think about are the many ways that your life would be more enjoyable with a significant other, we have a little food for thought to offer. One 2019 study showed that single people tend to have more active social lives than those who are in married relationships, and thus, our happiness meters are no different than that of an attached person’s.
Not only that, but being single also gives us extra time — and motivation — to put ourselves out there, expand our social sphere, and even tap into our creativity more often.
6. You can focus in on your health.
“Partnership can be wonderful,” Susan said. “We have someone with whom to share our ups and downs, as they do with us. But when we’re single, we’re required to focus on the areas of our lives that need attention.”
Without the added distraction of a relationship, we can dive into our deepest self-care, including our mental health, fitness, career aspirations, and financial independence.
7. You become more grounded.
In singleness, we learn to be more comfortable and at ease in solitude. Without always leaning on someone else, we also learn how strong we are!
“The best relationships occur when you have a good understanding of your needs, wants, and values,” said relationship expert and author Andrea Syrtash. “Being single allows you to focus on these things. Having this confidence and self-awareness will ultimately serve you in all of your relationships, not just romantic ones.”
Ultimately, if your singleness timeline isn’t following your intended timeline, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And it definitely doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong.
On the contrary, it means your current season of life is about much more than a relationship. It’s a chance to fill your days with spontaneity and risks, and to feel a richness that is abundant proof of just how complete you already are!
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