Updated: Mar 16, 2022
We asked you, here’s what you rate as the 3 worst and 3 best things about being single.
We’re geared to live in a world for two. Whether it’s spending a fuck tonne on engagement parties and weddings, buying a house and needing two incomes to score that loan, couple dinner packs or the dreaded Christmas table discussion (“Are you seeing anyone rn?!”), many aspects of life reinforce that having a +1 is the way to go.
So how does it feel to be …*single*?
Esther Perel has said that singledom can feel like either “loneliness or freedom, and while they seem to be juxtaposing, of course, the two are interconnected”. Let’s break this down a bit further to understand the highs and the lows of the single life.
1. Compulsory Coupledom
Possibly one of the most persistently annoying things about being single - is the pressure others put on you to ‘couple up’. Enter: compulsory coupledom, this is one of those sneaky patriarchal and heteronormative structures and as Eleanor Wilkinson describes; “traditional ideals about romantic love are still present”, meaning that “there is still an underlying assumption that everyone desires to be in some form of romantic relationship”. This assumption works to create abject others—those who do not conform to the traditional and conservative ideal of a ‘mate for life’ partnership.
2. Where’s my next hug coming from?
Being an abject other can be really difficult, especially when you do actually desire to be in a relationship. Intimacy and touch can be very important to people, it's a way to connect, feel pleasure and co regulate. Being single often means an inconsistency of intimacy, which can leave people yearning for physical connection that isn’t fully satisfied by self-touch.
3. The dreaded timeline
As we can’t pause time (yet), many identify there’s an increased pressure to find that mate-for-life partner. This can feel particularly overwhelming for those who want to have kids someday.
Yes, being single has its challenges – but there is SO MUCH we can celebrate, love, relish in!! There is so much to celebrate about being single—Increased freedom, room for creativity, cultivation of other relationships, flirting with a stranger, bed space, excelling in careers and time for self. This is only a tiny snippet of the many wonderful aspects to living single, here’s the top three pro’s you identified.
1. Freedom to focus:
Freedom is a big one – freedom to do whatever you choose to do. Whether that’s decorating your apartment how you like it, having ice cream for dinner or taking that 6-month trip to Europe that you always said you’d take. In fact, I asked my followers whether singledom makes them feel ‘free’ or ‘lonely’. Of the 2000 respondents, 58% chose ‘free’, revealing the commonality of feeling the pros of singledom. For some, relationships aren’t the be-all and end-all. Career, friendships, seeing the world, skills – there are many other important things in life that can benefit from this freedom. When single, you may be more likely to take risks, explore new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone to experience growth.
2. Capacity for independence:
Single life means doing what you want, when you want. It gives you the total choice of how you want to spend your time. Learning a new language? Sure. Catching up with old friends? No prob. Wine and PJs at 4pm on a Saturday? Godspeed. Put simply: You do you. There's also opportunity to focus on other relationships, such as with friends, family or colleagues, allowing them to expand their definition of soul mate and find those things and people that fill their cup.
3. Being a BIG ol flirt:
Many singles love the ability they flirt, date or have casual sex with whomever they choose to. When we put a poll out on instagram, 65% of respondents currently in a relationship stated that they do sometimes ‘miss being single’ for the opportunities to flirt with others. Flirting is fun! It makes you feel alive, sexy, turned on! And when you're single you can flirt with anyone you wish!
We must remember that singledom is a choice. Esther Perel says that,
“We tend to think of being single as a matter of being alone rather than a matter of choosing the types of relationships we want to be in – including the relationship we have with ourselves”.
Now it’s time to make your own pros list. Think about what you love about being single and try to think of ways you can bring those things you love into your own life, single or not. It’s hard work, unlearning the tropes portrayed through Disney princesses and rom-coms that certainly wouldn’t pass the Bechdel Test. But ultimately, figuring out what you truly desire, beyond just what’s expected of you, is the work we all need to do.