When we’re in a new relationship, we want people to notice. But when we’re single? Not so much. There can be a lot of stigmatism attached to a “single serving” existence. Someone who’s single “just can’t seem to settle down”—“can’t find the right person”—are self-centered, loners, or recluses.
The clichés about the single life run deep in our society, but the idea of singlism is changing in the eyes of experts. Scientists like psychologist Bella DePaulo are pioneering a new perspective. You can check out DePaulo’s book Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After and her blog “Living Single” for eye-opening and life-affirming insights about the perks to staying single.
Here are a few plus sides to being a party of one:
You don’t have to find a better half to be the best possible whole. As the saying goes, happiness is an inside job. Instead of looking to someone else to make you happy, you can find fulfillment in yourself, your work and your friendships. When it comes to your social life, there’s also the added bonus of never crossing a line with the people you talk to—you can really be “just friends” without having to explain yourself to a significant other. Studies show that married people are no happier, confident, or less depressed than those who are single. Being in a relationship probably won’t fix the things in your life that you already want to change.
We only have so much energy each day to invest in the things around us. When we’re investing in a loved one, we contribute less to ourselves. Being single means you have more time to spend on your passions, your health, and figuring out you. If you take a step back, you might find that there are parts of yourself that are being ignored while you’re in a relationship.
Alone Doesn’t Mean Lonely
Research confirms that single people are more committed in their friendships and involved with extended family. Rather than being out of the loop, they’re the opposite—singles have more emotional space to allow new people and activities into their lives. They’re used to making more choices and are oftentimes more independent than those who are married or dating.
The biggest thing to remember is that being single doesn’t mean you can’t find a significant other. Singlism isn’t a “syndrome”, but a way of life. When we think of it as a choice, and not a symptom, it’s empowering. And if you want to find the One, why not try out the single life as an experiment in reverse psychology? It’s usually when we stop searching that we find what we’re looking for.