For some of us nearing our thirties, there is mounting pressure from our friends, families and general society to settle down. We are pressured to abandon the freedoms of single life, and start laying the foundation for our futures.
Magazines boast headlines detailing how to find the perfect guy, and dating websites guarantee to connect us with the right partners. The values of being single, on the other hand, are tougher to sell.
I’ve spent the majority of my twenties without a romantic relationship. In that time, I’ve gone through the motions of not having time for love, wondering why nobody found me good enough to love, and finally, loving me.
These are the six reasons why choosing a single life – temporarily or permanently – is important for your personal growth.
1. You have time to work through your issues.
We have all experienced hurt in our lives, particularly while interacting with family, friends and spouses. In fact, the stress we endure in toxic romantic relationships can even negatively affect our physical health.
Unfortunately, we take those issues and our limiting beliefs into future relationships.
Choosing a single life allows you time to sort through your emotional baggage and make the changes you need to lead a happier life. It also helps you to avoid repeating the patterns that led you into unhealthy relationships in the past.
In addition to the mental and emotional healing that occurs, there is the opportunity to work on your financial stability. You will have time to clear your debt, expand your savings, and invest in your future. Thus, if you choose to commit to a new relationship, you will do so with healthy perspective and good credit.
2. Your dreams become your focus.
Healthy relationships are based on trust, love, communication and support. Yet, even the most understanding people expect their spouses to compromise so that both their needs are fairly met.
As such, your life goals may be delayed or rewired in the give and take of love. Your dreams often take a secondary position to our dreams as plans to start a family postpone your wish to travel the globe, for instance.
When you’re single, however, your desires remain in focus. Without the need to compromise with anyone else, you can direct your energy toward achieving what you want when you want it.
3. You activate self-reliance.
As children, we rely heavily on our families for emotional support. As we grow older, we turn to our spouses for what David Richo calls the Five A’s: Attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance and allowing.
However, in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra states we can cultivate these values within our own lives. He refers to it as self-referral and says they are available through self-reflection.
You don’t need a someone to remind you of your beauty or validate your every opinion. Rather, you can do those things by activating self-reliance and being your own cheerleader.
A single life is one in which you discover who you are and what you are capable of without leaning on others. Most importantly, you realise you don’t need anyone to complete you because you are already whole.
4. You can explore your sexuality.
Imagine you have a sexually conservative partner who refuses to try new things. No matter how you frame your desire to attempt different positions, roles or locations, your spouse refuses and offers little compromise.
Sexual frustration can lead to resentment in relationships as tensions build without a resolution that satisfies both partners. Of course, much of this can be avoided if we know what we want and communicate it early on.
A single life gives you the space to explore your body, attractions and fetishes. From casual encounters, you learn what you like as well as your limits. Furthermore, if you rather do the work on your own, there are a range of toys, adult sites and literature to guide you.
This is especially important for LGBTQ people whose sexual practices go beyond the duality of heterosexual norms. For instance, a sexually versatile gay man has very different roles to play from a heterosexual man.
5. You can make new connections.
There are many things you may not get to try in a relationship, including making friends with people your spouse considers inappropriate. Being single, on the other hand, means you don’t need anyone’s approval.
This is especially important for persons with jobs requiring irregular hours and making connections with new people. Club promoters, musicians and even journalists typify this. Unless they have an understanding partner, they will encounter tension at home.
A single life will give you the opportunity to expand your horizons without worrying about neglecting or upsetting a partner. Truly, the only person who can limit your experiences is you.
6. You form a relationship with you.
By learning to enjoy your own company and understanding what you want, you start the process of loving yourself. This personal relationship helps to change your perspective on love as something you share instead of seeking it in others.
Whether you choose to be single forever or until you feel ready to share your life with another person, get comfortable with you first.
Consider this quote I learned from Tracee Ellis Ross!
“Right now, can you make an unconditional relationship with yourself just at the height you are, the weight you are, with the intelligence that you have, and your current burden of pain? Can you enter into an unconditional relationship with that?” – Pema Chödrön