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The 21 most empowering things about being single that every uncoupled person needs to read



I’ve been single my whole life, so far. I’m nearly 25. For all the dating experience I’ve had, there’s never been a fully-fledged relationship, never someone that I could call a partner. Sure, there has been romance, flings, and even near-but-not-quite relationships along the way: there was the commitment-phobe, the one that moved away, the one that ghosted me, the one that tried (and failed) to gaslight me… my repertoire is plentiful, in the least abundant way. The innate skill I seem to possess for attracting the “wrong ones” has become a joke among my close circle of friends.

So it’s not that I don’t want a relationship. Like most people, I desire a (healthy) romantic connection. I trust that it’ll come one day too. Other people I’ve spoken to in similar shoes also at times feel a pang for partnership, even if their overall disposition towards their long-term singlehood is one of contentment. Humans seek out connections – it’s just what we do.

Over the multiple lockdowns we’ve experienced in the last 11 months, I’ve had time to mull this over. The pandemic has highlighted my singleness in an ever so bright light and it’s seen me deleted then re-downloaded Hinge, Tinder and Bumble about eight times over, each time with fresh hope that I might finally meet the “right one”.

But this doesn’t meet I’m unhappy with where I am right now. Being single isn’t synonymous with being sad, despite the pitiful attitude that can be directed towards single adults. People feel sorry for them or tell them they’re too fussy for their own good. Within that narrative it’s easy to forget that being single has its perks – lots of them. In fact, I quite like that my formative years have been spent single. Let me tell you why…

1. You’ve got freedom
No relationship should ever make you feel trapped, but it’s undeniable that being single means you have more freedom in your choices. There’s no one you have to prioritise in your decision making other than you. That’s a liberating feeling.

2. You can play the field and have fun

Playing the field won’t be for everyone, but having the choice to meet and talk to multiple people at once can be thrilling. I’d never advocate playing with anyone’s feelings, so only do this if you know the people you’re involved with are also up for no string’s attached fun. You reap what you sow after all.

3. Coupled up friends want to live vicariously through you

Usually for the reason above – so don’t shame yourself and enjoy it!

4. You get to truly know yourself
Being single allows you to figure out what makes you happy without a significant person’s influence over you. Take time and explore what calls you: book that event, join that club, take up that sport. Find what resonates with you – it might even bring you closer to someone new, romantic or platonic.

5. You can learn to be happy on your own

There is power in being content alone (not lonely). Getting there will serve you.

6. Once you master number five, you then make better choices around who you date

This is because you’re picking from a place of wholeness, not desperation. To quote Cher in a now viral 1996 interview: “My experience with men is great because I pick them because I like them, I don’t need them.” It’s a vibe.

7. You have more time for your career

Or whatever it is that you want to focus on. All that energy you’d otherwise put into a person can be directed at other things that bring you joy and support your future. I can safely say I’d have made less career progress had I been a in a relationship the last two years, so it’s not something I’d want to change.

8. You have space to heal

Endings bring new beginnings, but sometimes there’s a lag before the newness can start. It’s probably because you need to heal. Being single can give you the space to do just that and in your own time. Healing doesn’t have to take place alone, but it will be hard to authentically start again in a new romantic connection if the baggage is still weighing you down.

9. You’ll grow to be more resilient

It can be hard not having someone to lean on when you need it. Being single puts extra pressure on your support system and ability to steady yourself, but you’ll be braver and stronger for it. That resilience will feed into your life elsewhere – just watch. Someone once called me “indomitable”. It’s a trait I put down partly to my single status.

10. You’ll become resourceful

Without a partner, you’re forced to problem solve more independently. And learn to open that jar unassisted.

10. You’ll have opportunities to challenge yourself more
You might decide to travel solo or do something else that makes you grow. Think about the things that you’d be unlikely to try if you had a partner and take the opportunity to roll with them. Who knows, you might look back some years later – happily coupled up – and regret not taking the leap of faith.

11. You’ll value your friendships and family well
We all have that friend who disappeared off the face of the earth when love found them. An old study by Oxford University actually concluded that love costs you friends – two from your closest circle to be exact. You’re far less likely to take the platonic people in your life for granted if you’re single.

12. No one has a major influence on your emotions day to day

Being in the throes of a relationship can send you to wonderful highs, but also to horrible lows if it’s not healthy or there are issues like co-dependency at play. Day to day single life can be pretty consistent without an outside source making or breaking it.

13. You can put yourself first

You can do this without any sense of guilt. The emphasis is (and should be) on you.

14. If you choose to date, you’ll meet more people

Having exposure to new and interesting people is a great thing. It’s not just about having fun, and even if you don’t see them again the experiences can broaden your horizons. One guy told me about an open mic night event that some months later I went to and spoke at. I might have missed out had the seed not been planted by a stranger.

15. You’ll probably have some great stories

And from the less inspiring dates, you’ll likely have some funny tales to tell over drinks with your friends. I’ve had mine crying with laughter, several times.

16. You learn to have rich experiences on your own

Every once in a while I like to take myself out on a date. The last time I did this I went to an art exhibition that none of my friends were interested in and I then treated myself to a meal. Learning to do things like this comfortably while feeling genuine joy is incredible. It’s proof that you are self-sufficient and don’t need to outsource your happiness to a partner.

17. You can reflect on the past for better results in the future

By taking a moment to explore honestly with yourself where romance has gone wrong before, can you re-emerge in that sphere of your life more confident about your next move. We’re all learning and no one gets it right 100% of the time.

18. You’re not obliged to spend time with people you’d rather avoid

No weekends with the in-laws here.

19. You can save money (and invest it in you)

There are no big birthdays to spend on or expensive dates. The money you’d have put into someone else you can save and at a later date, invest it in you. We all know certain things are harder to do alone, such as buying a home. And if your love language is giving and receiving gifts, your single bank balance will thank you. (Not heard of love languages? Give it a Google and make that part of your number 18 activities).

20. You have the early stages of new love to look forward to (if you decide that’s what you want)

What a wonderful thing to have waiting on the horizon. Not everyone is so lucky to have that ahead, rather than behind them.

21. You can really practice and nurture self-love

We should all being doing this all the time anyway, regardless of a relationship. However, being single undeniably forces you to connect with this on a deeper level. You can be, feel and experience love without a romantic partner. Repeat after me: “I am love”.

Follow Tanyel on Instagram [link: https://www.instagram.com/tanyeledit]





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