September 25, 2017

Being Single—Own It/Love It

middleageladywithhatBeingSingleSingle? You are most definitely not alone. Singletons now outnumber married people in all age brackets. Admittedly, the stats don’t take into account unmarried partnerships, but the fact remains—people no longer live in panic or feel like failures if they are thirty and unmarried. Or forty. Or fifty. Or sixty. Etc. You get the idea.

Because there is no need to panic. We have finally evolved beyond the belief that a woman is hopeless and a failure without a husband and that a man can’t function without someone to “take care of him.” Please! We are all adults here. Single is an option, not a default.

Of course a meaningful and happy relationship is awesome and, for many, the ideal. But not because the alternative is lousy… cuz it’s not.

You may know someone a lot like Sandy. She had trapped herself in an unfulfilling relationship for many years. Smart enough to take ownership of her own situation, she also knew that getting out of it was up to her. When she finally did, all her fears about being single again after 20 years melted away. She was not lonely—in fact she had felt lonelier living with someone she was not connected to and did not love. She realized she could create a beautiful space wherever she lived—and leaving her marital home was less traumatic than she had expected. She could afford to live on her own—which she figured by crunching the numbers and creating a realistic budget.

She felt lighter and cleaner and happier.

When, upon occasion, Sandy felt sad or scared she took it as an opportunity to look inward and figure out what she was afraid of, what she wanted, and what she could do about it. Her friends and family were struck repeatedly by her glow, her positive energy, her calm. Ten months in, Sandy knows that a relationship will be in her future. When she asked me, “Don’t people live longer when they are married?” I told her, “Sort of. The research finds that people experience greater health and longevity when they are in a happy relationship. The key word there is happy.”

Whether you are decidedly single or looking for your ideal match (and not willing to settle for less than great), embrace your single life the way Sandy did! Here are some benefits:

Physical fitness. Singles tend to be more fit than non-singles. Maybe singles have the time to go to the gym or take long hikes because they don’t have to rush home to an awaiting someone, or maybe they do it for some future partner, but I like to think that singles focus on their fitness because they understand self-care. When you are single, you and you alone are responsible for taking care of you. The investment in yourself takes precedence over the investment in someone else (as it should even when in a partnership… what good are you to a partner if you are unhealthy?).

Job satisfaction. Interesting fact: singles are more fulfilled by their careers/jobs. Again, they look after themselves by devoting time to their own satisfaction, career goals, and finding and maintaining the ideal job. Singles also find it easier to change jobs without disrupting the lives of other people. 

Creative outlets. Singles pursue hobbies and follow their own creative impulses more than doubles! Do they have more time? Are they more in touch with their own needs and less worried about meeting someone else’s? For whatever reason, you are likely more fulfilled as a creative soul if you are single.

Support network. Often when in a relationship people lose touch with their support network, relying exclusively on the partner. (This happens more with men than women.) That is a shame, as “it takes a village” no matter how old we are. Singles do this better. They are closer with family and friends and maintain a great support network.

Travel. Let’s face it, hopping in the car on the spur of the moment is a lot easier when it’s just you. Or jumping all over that airfare deal, packing for one, and heading to the airport…. The freedom is profound. Singles just do it. They go where they want and stay for as long as they want.

Better sleep. Pure fact. Singles sleep better, more deeply, and longer. Cuddling is great but it does not trump a partner’s snoring….

Flexible scheduling. Whether it’s reading in the middle of the day or night, watching your favorite TV shows, going to bed whenever, waking up whenever, planning alone time, planning social time…. You are the boss of your schedule when you are single.

Confidence. Singles enjoy high self-confidence regarding their abilities to take care of themselves, their households, finances, etc. If you embrace your singleness, you become that sexy, confident person who is so irresistible to the opposite sex. Ironic, eh? For confirmation about how darned sexy confidence really is, check out my blog on the subject.

Most important of all, singles understand themselves well. They know their needs and are realistic about where happiness comes from. They know it is an inside game—happiness comes from within and we all (whether we are single or not) make our own. If you embrace your singleness, you will live with clarity. You’ll know what you can expect from someone else, what you need, and what you won’t accept. For you, being single beats being in an unfulfilling or damaging relationship. You don’t want a relationship just to be in a relationship.

When you look for a relationship because you WANT one, not because you NEED one…that’s the key. Take all that you learn by being single—from self-care to spontaneity—with you into your next relationship. You do not have to give that stuff up. Find your fulfillment, contentment, and happiness within yourself and any relationship you enter into will have a leg up. Trust me on that.

 

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