For many single people, February is one of the least exciting months of the year, what with Valentine’s Day and all the emphasis on having a significant other and showing off your love for all the world to see. This means that a lot of people who are single find themselves sad and depressed during this time of year, but as professionals from the online mental health service, Talkspace, note, being single might not actually be so bad after all. In fact, there are ways that being single may actually be advantageous over being in a relationship.
The therapists at Talkspace understand that during this time of year, or at times when you are feeling especially lonely or vulnerable, hearing something like this is likely to fall on deaf ears. But, if at all possible, actually read on and give what is being said a chance. These things are backed up by mental health professionals and research, giving them a lot of credence and value.
As many will invariably point out, there is a lot of research to the contrary that shows that being in a relationship and having children have all sorts of positive impacts on your life. While this is certainly true, it does not preclude there being any positive utility associated with being single. As Talkspace professionals point out, there is a lot of evidence to support both conclusions.
With more single people in society than ever before, it stands to reason that we are living in an epidemic of unhappiness, but research also doesn’t bear this out either. In fact, what some research has shown is that there are actually quite a few positive benefits to the single life.
One area of life that Talkspace professionals show can benefit from being single is your capacity for self-improvement. Whether you want to pick up a new hobby, learn a new language, go back to school, or in some other way improve your lot in life, being single allows you to focus entirely on yourself and on your goals. When you are in a relationship, and especially when you have children, this type of self-work may simply not be an option due to familial obligations.
The ability to be creative can also be improved by being single. As Talkspace professionals note, much art is a solitary process, whether it is writing or the visual arts. Having lengthy periods of solitude give you the personal and mental space to explore ideas and creative endeavors that you might not otherwise have the ability to explore. Some of the world’s best art was created by people who literally sequestered themselves from society, their friends, and their families, so as to be able to produce their works of genius.
Being single can actually improve your ability to connect with others in the realm of friendship. There is a lot of research that shows that single people form and maintain social relationships better than people in committed relationships and that have children. It is easy to understand why this is easier for single people, as they do not have the commitments and obligations that a parent or someone with another person to worry about have. For many people, this is highly freeing and they have come to the conclusion that they prefer platonic to romantic company.
Another interesting perk of being single that Talkspace notes is that people who are single are more likely to be physically fit than people in a committed relationship. And this is true even of people who aren’t looking to “play the field.” The reasons for this are multifaceted, but the research seems to indicate that single people have an easier time focusing on themselves and thus are more likely to be physically active and to participate in things like group sports. People in committed relationships are far less likely to participate in a community or team sport than single people.
Finally, there is some research that shows that people who are single may be more productive and successful in their work lives than married people or those in committed relationships. Again, it seems like the reason for this is that when you are single and do not have to “answer” to anyone else, you can choose what you focus on. If what you choose to focus on is your career, you are more likely to be successful. This does not mean that only single people are successful, of course, but that being unattached makes it easier for a person to focus on their own goals and drives.
Nobody can definitively tell anyone else that they are objectively better off single or in a committed relationship. However, we too often focus on the benefits of being in a relationship and fail to touch on the varied benefits of being single. Especially at this time a year, when we are focused on romance and relationships, it can be really beneficial to take a look at the upsides to being single and to use it as motivation for being a better and happier you.