Hands up who knows what we’re describing: a common problem affecting men and women (but mostly women) for decades; those who suffer from it experience shame and sadness and the worse they feel, the more the condition is exacerbated; there are clinics and support groups to help combat it as well as millions of books and specialists with their own designed programs to rid sufferers of the condition; if it goes on too long sufferers could experience anxiety, self-doubt and even depression. No wants to catch this particular condition and everyone wants to cure it. What’s the condition? Being single.
But let’s hold on just a minute here. You’re 100% not a faulty human being if you’re single and it’s time to forget about where you should be relationship-wise in your life. Of course there are obvious benefits to being coupled up – security, someone to grow old with, a partner to have children with and, last but not least, love in your life. But that’s not to say that being unattached is a problem. In fact, here’s a whole heap of amazing reasons to stay single or to be happy with your single life! Because, let’s face it, when you’re happy with your life you’ll attract the person who’s right for you without even trying.
1. You are in charge of your happiness
Generally speaking, people in relationships assume or expect that their partner will meet their needs or that they’ll take care of certain things or you can figure out problems together. But when you’re single you don’t have that other person. Which means you have to be more responsible for your own well being. In fact, one of the frequent causes for relationship issues is from those misplaced expectations – the expectation that you and your partner should be doing things to make the other person happy. If you’re single you very quickly realise that things won’t happen unless you make them happen yourself. This way single people have to be more conscious of what they need and they develop the resources to create their own happiness. Something which will be invaluable for when you are in a relationship.
2. You have a strong sense of self
One of the risks of being in a very close relationship with someone is that your sense of self can merge with your partner’s. This can happen to the extent that you lose sight of who you really are. It’s why so many people feel the need to ‘find themselves’ after the breakup of a long term relationship. This is less likely to happen when you’re single. Unattached people have a much better sense of who they are – solitude in life and experiencing things unselfconsciously can make you realise what defines you as a person and what brings you happiness. This can benefit you when you do embark on a new relationship though – in order to give selflessly to a partner, you have to be pretty secure in your own identity first.
4. You’re able to avoid feelings of loneliness
Loneliness can definitely become a dangerous source of stress but it’s not entirely true that single are lonely and those in relationships are not. When you’re single and feeling lonesome you would normally invest time and effort into more people (such as friends or family), thereby strengthening your support system and helping to ease any lonely feelings. It’s easy when you’re coupled up to expect your partner to be there to ward off any loneliness you might be feeling. But that’s not really fair on your partner. But single people with a strong support network will come out on top here and when they do embark on a relationship. This brings us to…
5. You have richer friendships
We’ve all seen this one in action and it doesn’t get any easier to not roll your eyes at the situation. Couples always hang out more and more with each other and less with other people. Research has shown that single people are far more attentive to their siblings, family, friends and neighbours compared to coupled up people (regardless of how long they’ve been together. And this can be a problem in the long run. Lacking social bonds is as bad for your health as smoking, one study suggests, leading to those with fewer close friends having a 50% chance of being more likely to die within the seven and a half years after the study, regardless of age. Yikes. Having a support group of family, friends and acquaintances provides so much more support than if you invested all of your emotional capital into one relationship – your partner. Plus, the more effort you make with the people in your life, the fuller your life is and the happier and more resilient you are! Which sends us to the next point which is…
6. You’re more resilient
You’re pretty tough. You’re making your own way and thriving in a society and community that values coupled people. Regardless of how amazing your support system of family and friends are, you’re probably handling stress better that someone with a partner. To add to this one, the RAND Corporation, found that the single wounded military servicemen and women were less likely to have symptoms of PTSD, be more successful at overcoming injury or illness and less likely to have emotional problems (such as depression) or physical problems (such as obesity) compared to those who were married or divorced.
7. You’re in charge of your own routine
You don’t have to compete with someone else’s schedule to control your time when you’re single. This means you can create a routine that works for you. And studies have shown that people with structured schedules (consistent meal times, bedtimes, workout schedules and events) have a better quality of life and higher chances of staving off mental illness. Which leads to…
8. You’re more likely to be (and stay) in shape
9. You’re sleeping more soundly
10. You don’t stress as much about money
So, this Valentine’s Day, don’t beat yourself up for being alone! Take another read of the above 10 points and realise that hey, right now, you might even be better off!