Let’s all be real for a moment and face the fact there is often a lot of pressure from friends, family, coworkers, and others for a gay person to be in a relationship, especially now that marriage equality laws are on the books. In the LGBT community, as in other communities, finding the “perfect partner” is considered by many to be the holy grail. It’s not an especially fair or reasonable expectation, however, and some people who prefer the single life are left feeling compelled to defend their choice.
What’s to defend, really? Pressure and Hollywood fantasies aside, maybe, just maybe, it’s OK to be single. Being on your own doesn’t have to be a shameful or isolating story; instead, it can be a celebration of your growth and development as an individual.
Without further ado, here are five reasons why it’s good to be single and gay:
1. You have the opportunity to get to know yourself better.
As a single person, the opportunity to explore who you are and how you want to be in your world is an amazing luxury. There is no need to morph yourself to a partner’s ideal, and you have room to discover who you are, what you want, and what you need. As Oscar Wilde said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Being single offers time not only for introspection that allows you to explore aspects of yourself needing attention, but to actively pursue those things as well.
2. You are fully responsible for the big decisions in your life.
Change jobs, travel the world, or buy a new car, if you like. Guess what? The only person on the line for these decisions is you. This single-minded energy can be incredibly invigorating and empowering. When you make a life-changing decision on your own, it is a chance to build personal power and take responsibility for creating the life you want. And if the choice falls through or proves untenable? You still get to take ownership, learn, and grow from the experience.
3. You can spend more time with friends.
As a single person, friends are likely the most important part of your support network, right up there with family. Unlike family, whom you did not choose, your friends are the people you purposefully drew into your life to grow with, learn from, and have fun with. Cherish those relationships and nurture them so they flourish regardless of whether you stay single long-term. Let your friends remind you how much fun they are—and how much fun you are. Lean on them when you need to.
4. You can prioritize self-care without a hint of guilt.
As a single person, you likely have more time and energy to devote to taking better care of yourself. Whether it’s going to the gym, joining an activity group, attending yoga classes, or simply reading more for pleasure or taking long baths, the only well-being you have to manage is your own. Enjoy the extra “you” time—something many people in relationships envy—and use it to elevate your mood, reduce your stress, or develop rewarding new skills and hobbies.
5. You may become more resilient and confident.
Sometimes life gets tough and we start to doubt our choices and ourselves. As a single person, this energy can feel overwhelming and perhaps lead to lack of self-confidence. At the same time, you and only you are making the tough choices that must be made to survive tough times. When you face difficult choices head-on and get through them, unscathed or otherwise, you build resilience and confidence that you’re strong enough to face most anything.
All of the above, and plenty more that didn’t make the list, are reasons it’s not only good but exciting and invigorating to be single and gay. So when you feel the pressure from the world around you to find a partner and “settle down,” honor your inner voice and remember that the grass is pretty green on your side of the fence, too. Plus, you have it all to yourself.
© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by John Sovec, LMFT, LGBT / Gender and Sexual Identity Issues Topic Expert Contributor
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