Scrolling through Twitter on International Singles Day (Nov 11th), I found myself underwhelmed. Save for the companies wielding their capitalistic swords to benefit from yet another group – Singles – there was little online umph surrounding this lifestyle. Even when I took it upon myself to throw an impromptu Twitter Party to celebrate those who go solo, the disenchantment continued.
I hoped that this inactivity was two-fold:
- The result of my very last-minute planning!
- Our consciously uncoupled community were attending some secret single society soiree, that us coupled folk know nothing about!
Truth is, I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed much celebration surrounding singlehood. In fact, as I eagerly waited online for some proof of life, I came across disheartening research. Single people are some of the most stigmatized in our society, even more so, single parents! Letting this information sink in, I started to recall stories from close single friends of mine. After disclosing their relationship status (or lack thereof), they too have been met with looks and patronizing responses of pity, sorrow, and accusation.
“Oh, poor you.”
“I’m so sorry, sweetheart. That must be lonely.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone soon enough.”
“You’re just too picky.”
These remarks imply that the single person is both unhappy in their singledom, and proactive in their search for a relationship. Neither may be true! Neither may ever be true. And, regardless of societies historical favouring of coupled people, there is an ever-growing number of solos. I will leave it to experts, such as Dr. Bella DePaulo, to share the reasons for such an incline, and take this opportunity instead to offer three reasons we should be celebrating those who go solo.
You see, creating space for people to live the best version of their life on their terms, is a catalyst to…world peace? Okay, okay, that may be going too far, but at the very minimum, it’s a starting point to something better.
1. They’re Called “Consciously” Uncoupled for a Reason
In a recent article, Dr. DePaulo shared that “half of unpartnered Americans are not interested in finding a partner.” Here is an excerpt from that article:
“Last year, Pew published a report about the romantic interests of single people—those who were not married, not living with a romantic partner, and not in a committed romantic relationship. Based on a national, random sampling of Americans 18 and older, they found that 50 percent of those single people are not interested in a committed romantic relationship, and they are not even interested in a date. All that hand-wringing about marriageability is of little relevance to people who just aren’t interested in marrying or even dating.”
The reason I find this particularly exciting is that it exemplifies the circumventing, if not total rejection, of conventional ideas surrounding love and relationships. What this says to me is more of us are unabashedly forging our own paths, rather than adhering to traditional ones.
2. They Are More Social
Contrary to what’s portrayed in romcoms, single people aren’t just binging tubs of ice cream, thinking “maybe today will be the day I find someone.” Don’t let the word “single” confuse you into thinking they pass the time alone. In fact, single people often have the strongest relationships with friends and family members. According to Life Intelligence:
“[Single people] are more likely to frequently reach out to their social networks. Specifically, 44% of singles are socially involved with their neighbors in comparison to 23% of people in relationships, and 70% of singles actively make time to socialize with their friends as opposed to 25% of married people.”
Looking at my own circle of friends, it’s easy to recognize that the uncoupled ones are more active socially.
3. They Are Physically and Mentally Healthier
George Strait’s, “She Let Herself Go,” comes to mind as I write this. You see, there’s the myth that once married (or in a long-term relationship) people tend to relax into themselves. Guess what? It isn’t a myth. In every article I read about singledom, research exemplified how single people generally have healthier habits than those married or in long-term relationships.
“As the time availability perspective suggests, work and family roles curtail time for exercise. Married adults spend less time on exercising than unmarried adults. Although the number of children is not related to time spent on exercising, having children under age 5 is negatively associated with exercising. Long hours of employment are also related to less time spent on exercising, although the effect is small.” – Journal of Marriage and Family
Additionally, single people tend to be more independent and connected to the self. As John Kim states in his article, 3 Reasons Why Being Single Could Be the New “Finding the One:
“When you’re in a relationship, you’re less motivated to examine the ‘black box’ of what happened in your previous relationships. You’re in something new now. You’ve run from the crash. You’ve moved on. That door has closed. So the chances of you fully processing and taking ownership of your part in the expiration—learning and growing and becoming a better version of yourself—is exponentially lower. Especially if you’ve jumped into a new relationship shortly after the old one, which most of us do.” In other words, those who are consciously uncoupled have more opportunity to explore and find their authentic self.
…Wait, What About the Sex?
To add to the healthy minds and bodies, single people have better sex. In this study, “results suggest that higher sexual satisfaction is associated with less desire to marry.”
During my single days between past relationships, this applied to me. Not only was I more adventurous and engaging in more sexual experiences with a variety of partners, I also felt freer to explore on my own. Because there are so many wonderful pleasure products available these days, single people don’t even have to leave their homes to enjoy the benefits of exploring their authentic self.
Is Singlehood the Right Answer?
So long as we continue to honour ourselves, and stay loyal to our own truth, the greater our life experience will be – with or without romantic relationships. After a tumultuous long-term relationship, I found myself single and devastated. As I navigated that singledom, I discovered that the source of my pain had little to do with the loss of my boyfriend, and more so to do with the loss of self. Singledom became an extraordinary place of healing for me, and self-discovery. Without that moment of aloneness, I wouldn’t have recognized the distance I put between me and myself, nor how damaging that distance had been to my self-esteem.
As the saying goes, it is better to be alone than with the wrong person. It’s better to feel at peace with yourself than unsettled anywhere else.
Until next time,
Fuck well, friends!