Let’s face it: being single can be really hard! No matter your age, people are always asking, “So are you seeing anyone?” or, “Have you met anyone special lately?” Society at large seems to think there’s something fundamentally wrong with being single. There is also a prevailing (and inaccurate) perception everyone wants to be in a relationship or get married.
The truth is, being single can be positive and healthy for any number of reasons. Though it can feel lonely at times, it can be an empowering and healing experience.
Here are six signs being single is a good fit for you for the time being:
1. You Just Got Out of a Relationship
Take time to regroup. Jumping from one relationship into another may distract you from processing and grieving your recent loss. Whether you initiated the breakup or not, you will likely benefit from some form of healing. Give yourself the space to think about the meaning and lessons of your last relationship. You can come to conclusions about what you like or need (and what you don’t) in a partner, or discover, for example, you really care more about religion, intimacy, common interests, etc., than you had realized. This is the time to create an empowering message about why going through this experience was ultimately for the best.
2. You Need to Focus on Healing
After a breakup, family crisis, medical scare, or major life transition, people often need time to heal and focus on themselves. Being single allows you the luxury of focusing on yourself. If it makes you feel good to run three times a week, do it. If you’ve been meaning to do a class or try therapy, now you have the time. If you’ve been wanting to eat healthier, now you can focus on that. It’s an ideal time to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.
3. You Need to Work on Being More Independent
Sometimes in a relationship, it can be easy to develop dependence on the other person. Maybe you feel like you don’t know how to cook for yourself. Maybe you have no idea how to manage your money. Maybe you worry about who will fix your car when it breaks down or who will pick you up from the station if you need a ride. Developing self-sufficiency skills will prove to be helpful in future relationships, should you pursue them, because you’ll be choosing to be with the person rather than needing to be.
4. You Want to Be ‘Free’
If you have an itch for adventure and do not wish to be burdened by obligations, choosing to be single for a while might be best. If you have a desire for freedom, it’s a great idea to act on that before more obligations (financial, family, etc.) bog you down. If you’ve always wanted to travel to India, figure out a way to make that happen. Some people, especially in their late teens and early 20s, have more of an urge for independence than others. If the thought of being in a serious relationship or marriage feels entrapping for you, allow yourself some time to be free of commitments.
5. You Want to Put Your Time and Energy into Life Goals
You may have a hard time working on multiple goals at the same time, so focusing on one at a time may work better for you. Do you want to just focus on graduate school right now? Do you want to put all your time and energy into your work and try to get ahead? If working on a big life goal feels like a priority, give it all you’ve got and focus on dating later.
6. You Want to Get Married
You may be asking yourself, “How is being single going to help me get married?” Bear with me here. Many people waste time in dead-end relationships, believing “when someone better comes along, I’ll end this relationship.” That’s not generally how it works. If you’re not happy, everything you’re investing in who you are with now is taking away from the investment you could be making in developing yourself into a great catch or meeting new people. If marriage is your goal and you’re not feeling it with your current partner, then your time may be best spent on self-improvement, increasing insight, developing emotional self-regulation, and boosting your self-esteem. Being single also helps you re-set for a potential spouse. Think about what values and virtues are important for you, what you want from your life, and qualities you desire in a partner.
Being single can help you focus on much-needed self-care or allow the freedom to pursue life goals or interests. It can also give you the space to define what you want (or don’t want) from relationships. Being single doesn’t mean being a failure. It’s a choice that paves the way for better choices both now and in the future.
© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Mieke Rivka Sidorsky, LCSW-C, CST, therapist in Silver Spring, Maryland
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