Single is NOT a Four Letter Word
Updated: Aug 17
Breaking the Stigma: The Power and Joy of Living Life on Your Own Terms
Let’s set the stage. You had a break up and have been single for a while now. You’re having dinner with friends and suddenly you’re ambushed. “Are you seeing anyone?” “It’s time to get back out there!” “What dating apps are you on?” Suddenly people are saying ‘single’ like it’s a 4 letter word. You aren’t seeing anyone, don’t want to be, and the idea of being on one, much less several, dating apps seems less appealing than dental surgery. The idea of texting “on my way babe” to someone seems an insufferable task. The thing is, no matter what your friends, family, or most media outlets say, it is completely valid to choose to be single.
In singledom there is a big difference between being lonely and being alone. For some people being single means being lonely. Full stop. The time alone is fraught with questioning self-worth, heartache, mindless hours on dating apps, and disappointments. But for those who choose to be single, that time can be fulfilling and enriching. Being alone doesn’t automatically mean you’re lonely. There are real benefits to being single that a lot of people don’t realize or talk about.
Being single creates the opportunity to develop your passions. Being in a relationship is like having an intense hobby. It takes time, energy, and schedule coordination. What if you took that time, energy, and scheduling coordination and shifted it to picking up an actual hobby? Now that you’re single, you have more free time to take a class or join a group. You didn’t before because your boo was off work that night so you always hung out with them and your extra cash went to date nights. Now, though, you have a chance to explore and develop things that excite and fulfill you.
Being single gives you extra “brain space.” Now that a partner’s schedule, “favorites”, and expectations aren’t in the forefront of your mind, that extra brain space gives you the chance to think about what you really want. You can ask yourself how you feel about different parts of your life. Take time to reflect on your relationships, career, goals, and, ding-ding-ding, YOU. Building your relationship with yourself is powerful.
Being single increases your health and improves relationships. Research shows that single people generally experience less stress, have better sleep, work out more, and have deeper platonic relationships. Not taking someone else into consideration all the time can decrease stress and pressure. Just think how you would sleep if you aren’t picking a side of the bed or adjusting your bedtime for another person. A good night of sleep can work wonders. Time alone can go towards building and strengthening relationships with a more diverse group of people. When you aren’t taking someone else into consideration you can do things how you want, when you want, where you want.
Being single leads to self-sufficiency. When there isn’t someone else to do something for you, you have to figure it out on your own. Problem solving is based on learning and creativity. You end up learning more, getting creative, and improving your skills with things you may have done before. You don’t have to do everything yourself, though. Bribing a friend with pizza and beer or finding a good handy-person is also problem solving.
So, let's recap...
Top 3 Reasons Why Choosing to Be Alone Can Be a Positive Experience
1. Opportunity for a self-discovery journey
Being single gives you the chance to focus on your personal growth and development. You can explore your passions, learn new skills, and work towards your goals without any distractions. So, embrace the single life and invest in yourself to improve your overall well-being.
2. Say goodbye to stress and hello to a healthier you
Being single can have positive effects on your mental and physical health. You'll have less stress and pressure from a relationship, which can lead to better sleep and improved physical fitness (you know, because you have the time to move your body in ways that feel good to you!).
3. Embrace your independence and rock your self-sufficiency
Being single can help you become more self-sufficient and independent. You can learn new skills, problem solve creatively, and strengthen your relationships with friends and family. So, put on your independent pants and build a supportive community around you.
Real talk, though, choosing to be alone doesn’t mean that you are never lonely.
Feeling lonely happens no matter your relationship status. Being single is a skill. Just like any other skill it can be a little uncomfortable and difficult when you start. If you aren’t used to being alone or getting out of your comfort zone it can be hard at first. Spend some of your time looking into local events, researching classes to take, and checking-in with friends. You don’t have to have a partner to go to a show. You can go solo for the night or blast out an invite to friends. It is mutually beneficial. Everyone can feel closer, bond, and have a good time. It also acts as a great motivator. There is accountability to actually go to the event and then you have proof that you can plan things alone, do things with friends, and still feel connected.
It is important to remember that being single
doesn’t mean you can’t have companionship or connection. You can still casually date, and have hook-ups or lovers. If you want to be in a committed relationship you can do that but it isn’t an expectation. Cliché as it is, though, date yourself. Be sweet with yourself. Buy yourself a present. Wear something sexy. Romance yourself in the bedroom. Plate your food at home. It’s okay to be single. Sometimes it’s even pretty great.
The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships published a study in 2015 that found that single individuals have a stronger social network and more close friends than those in relationships. (Reference: Hall, J.A., & Zhao, J. (2015). Cohabitation and romantic involvement among single mothers. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32(2), 143–167. doi: 10.1177/0265407514530383)
A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2019 found that single individuals generally have better mental health than married individuals, particularly in terms of depressive symptoms. (Reference: Burgoyne, C. B., & Burgoyne, R. E. (2019). Relationship status and mental health: Are there differences between single and partnered individuals? Journal of Marriage and Family, 81(4), 890–904. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12568)
A study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in 2018 found that single individuals tend to have better sleep quality than those who are married or divorced. (Reference: Lee, H., & Waite, L. J. (2018). Spousal characteristics and sleep in mid- to later life adults. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(1), 55–70. doi: 10.1177/0022146517751261)
A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology in 2014 found that single individuals were more likely to engage in regular physical activity than those who were married or cohabiting. (Reference: Orth, U., Erol, R. Y., & Luciano, E. C. (2014). Development of self-esteem among midlife women: A longitudinal study of stable marriage, marital disruption, and singlehood. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 945–953. doi: 10.1037/a0038180)
A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine in 2017 found that being single was associated with lower levels of stress than being in a relationship. (Reference: Roelfs, D. J., Shor, E., Davidson, K. W., & Schwartz, J. E. (2017). Losing life and livelihood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of unemployment and all-cause mortality. Social Science & Medicine, 194, 11–20. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.10.024)
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