Being single can suck sometimes. There are lots of singleton scenarios that will leave you rolling your eyes so hard that you can see the inside of your skull. As relationship expert and Badass Living editor-in-chief and founder Brenda Della Casa points out, you can be left out of couples events because it’s awkward to fly solo when the numbers are uneven. Also, you are often the recipient of unsolicited advice. “Have you been told that you’re ‘too picky’ or have you had your great aunt lament on how you should have continued dating that guy or girl you were not attracted to because they were ‘nice enough?'” Della Casa said to me. “It’s hard enough to find someone you are attracted to and share a value system and timing with, without being told that daring to have an opinion will have you dying alone!” Lastly, your friends will often try and set you up with someone else for no good reason other than the fact that they are unattached, too. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
However, as relationship therapist Audrey Hope explained to me, “Being single has so many advantages — some talked about and some hidden. We are a world so bent on coupling and marrying and living life by two that the good side of aloneness is often silenced.”
Here are things that single people like but may not be quite so vocal about.
You can Netflix and chill
Being single affords you the opportunity to fully enjoy your experiences and cultivate your own tastes and interests without tailoring or changing them for someone else. “It’s wonderful to be able to do whatever you want without checking in with someone else,” Della Casa told me. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to go on “your fifth bad date because you would rather Netflix and (really) chill,” she lamented. Hanging out with yourself and exploring personal preferences on your own time will ensure you know who you and what you want and like when you do start dating seriously, settling down, and sharing interests with someone else.
You get to be selfish, which isn’t actually a bad thing
Selfishness is often discouraged in our society. However, Hope thinks putting yourself first is a concept worth exploring when you are not operating within the confines of a relationship. “When you are single, you get to be selfish and self-centered,” Hope said to me. “Being selfish is a dirty word in our culture, but being single gives you the right to lavish yourself. No family in-laws, no guy/girl to pick up for, no guy/girl to care for and who might be expensive to upkeep. When you are single, you can think of No. 1 without excuse. That’s hard to admit, because selfishness is [considered] a terrible thing in our world.”
Additionally, you can really and truly love someone else once you’ve learned to love yourself. That’s a lesson you pick up by being selfish. Proceed to sing Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” at the top of your lungs.
You can eat crackers in bed
Sometimes, having no one to report to is liberating. It’s one less responsibility when you are adulting and overloaded with things to care about. Miss Kitty Stryker, a porn performer, sex educator, and consent expert, told me that “being single allows you to have any routine you like, without concern for a partner’s sleep schedule or personal preferences. You can eat crackers in bed, spread your legs out under the covers, stay up til 4 a.m. playing video game,s or go to the gym at midnight.” That basically means you have a lot of freedom to, well, do you without having to edit your behavior. “While a partner does not guarantee such an intrusion, compromise often comes with the territory,” she explained. It’s basically the freedom to have your own routine.
There is less emotional pressure
This is more subtle and more psychological, but it’s still a powerful reason that singles like their status. Stryker explained, “There is some relief from gender roles when you’re single that is harder to break free from when dating, especially for women. Being coupled often means some commitment to emotional labor that may never be acknowledged, which is exhausting.”
You actually like trying to find ‘the one’ on dating apps
Della Casa recognizes the irony of happily single people who diss dating services and apps yet don’t delete their profiles. “Everyone complains about Bumble and Tinder, but they all stay on it,” she revealed. But why users continue to employ these apps is indicative of a single person’s mindset, and guess what? It’s more than just a tool to assist them in finding “the one.” It’s basically Darwinian — enjoying the thrill of the chase without having an endgame.
“The fact is that it can be a lot of fun to have different kinds of dates with different people, so much so that I have heard more than one singleton express their desire to combine them all and make the ‘perfect’ boyfriend/girlfriend,” she said.
You can make impromptu decisions
When you are single, you are able to make impulsive decisions. “You don’t have to check in with anyone… for anything,” Della Casa said. It really frees the single person up to do whatever they please without waiting for someone else’s approval. “Want to take an impromptu trip to Australia? Dying to kiss the hot guy or girl across the bar? Leave your apartment in disarray? It’s no one’s business.”
Getting all of this sort of energy out of your system now is healthy, so it’s not pent up (and leaving you unfulfilled) when you do settle down.
You get to enjoy the art of courtship
Being single doesn’t mean you don’t go on dates. In fact, single people go on lots of dates, which preserves the fun inherent in casual romance, especially if you are not looking for someone or something serious. Della Casa said one of the best perks of being single is that “it’s all courtship, all of the time.” She furthered, “When you’re constantly dating casually, everyone always dresses and smells nice, kisses are hot, and there are no boring Friday nights sitting on a couch post-argument with your significant other.” The art of courtship works to your benefit the most when you’re single, since the opposite sex is working harder to impress you and potentially earn another date.
There’s no relationship anxiety
When you are in a committed relationship, it can be wonderful and enhance your life on personal, financial, and emotional levels. But you can also drift into that head space where you wonder where your partner is and what they are doing… all of the time or when they are not with you. Or you can find yourself feeling like the spark has faded, like the passion is non-existent, and like the romance has fizzled out, with no ideas, no time, and no energy dedicated to reigniting that flame. Not having to deal with all of that noise is incredibly freeing. “There’s something to be said not having to wonder what someone is thinking or doing when you’re not around,” Della Casa said.
You want (and have) personal space
Kristin M. Young of Living the Vows emphasized the value of personal space, which singletons might not want to admit. “When we think about marriage, it’s all about togetherness,” Young explained to me. “We love the idea of sleeping together every night and having someone to come home to. We think it’s so cute to see his toothbrush next to ours and his shirts in the closet.”
Then, reality sinks in.
Young furthered, “You think, ‘What if those shirts take up space that I could use for my new wardrobe? What if he leaves his jacket in the living room? What do we do when I come home to see him comfortable on the couch into his guy movie when I had plans to watch my girly movie?'” We start to feel suffocated and are thus reminded of just how peaceful singleness can be.
You like being lazy
Yes, the beauty of being in a domestic partnership means someone else shoulders half the bills, the housework, and the doldrums of life. But sometimes, one partner assumes more of that burden and singles don’t always want to give up their own laziness in favor of having to be someone else’s go-to. Young said committed people can be left thinking, “Dinner every night? Clothes washed and ironed? Helping you find your favorite tie? Hmmmm… I don’t know about that.” Singles might think that they will be bogged down with a lot more extraneous stuff to do once they link up with someone else.
Your heart is safer
You know the cliches. No pain, no gain. Big risks lead to big rewards. Relationships always present a risk to be hurt, disappointed, or brokenhearted. That’s life and love.
If you’ve just been through the romance ringer and are healing, there is nothing wrong with wanting to further avoid pain by remaining single for the time being. Dating and empowerment coach Laurel House told me, “Singles who have experienced heartache, who have been hurt, or who have survived unhealthy and harmful relationships feel safer alone. Their walls have been erected and there is a fear of letting anyone else in. It’s important that they take time to do the work and heal.”
She continued, “Beneath the pain, anger, and emotional wounds and scars is a real desire to connect, feel loved, and love again. Doing the work is truly what is essential. And that takes time, dedication, and effort. It’s hard, it’s scary, and it’s necessary in order to get out from under, over, and move on from, so that they can give themselves permission to eventually open their heart again in a healthy way.”
You don’t have to conform to societal norms
Hope also acknowledged that being single means you are not conforming to societal norms. She said, “You can have as many lovers as you’d like and are not hurting anyone. You can dare to live a life as you choose and enjoy the amazing road of being different and free. Being different and going against the norm can be so scary that men and women don’t admit it to others because they don’t even admit it to themselves first. Imagine not doing what everybody is doing? Wow, such a thought and so frightening.” It’s like walking a tightrope without a net. It’s equally terrifying and thrilling.
Life is what you make it, whether you are single or coupled up
Whether you are solo or deeply committed to another person, life is what you make it. It is perfectly acceptable to go through phases where you want to wear granny panties around the house, to not be accountable to another person who isn’t a relative or your boss, to come and go as you please, and to make the rules up as you go. You are also totally within your rights to decide that you want to settle down and share your life with someone else whenever the spirit moves you. You can also achieve a fair compromise with your partner when you enter a relationship that still allows you to enjoy some of the benefits of singlehood, such as indulging alone time. That’s basically how you know you are ready for a relationship — when you start thinking about how to share your life with someone and how to achieve compromise. But being single doesn’t mean you are lonely or can’t find a mate. Flying solo is a totally worthwhile and intentional lifestyle choice, too.