Ah, singledom — the time in your life that’s filled with partying, late nights at the bar, and swiping through Tinder, right? If you’re single, you know what an average day in your life looks like. And in most cases, this picture just isn’t it. Chances are, your coupled-up friends occasionally lament their days of pure freedom that they associate with being partnerless. But now that they’re in relationships, they seem to have forgotten what being single is actually like.
Is every day a party in your single life? Probably not. And do you shed a tear every day hoping and praying for Mr. or Mrs. Right to come along? We’re guessing you have better things to do. Don’t worry — you don’t have to tell your coupled friends these truths yourself. We are here to dispel these myths for them.
1. All single people really want to be in relationships
Perhaps your coupled friends look at you with pity, thinking if you could just find that one special someone, everything in your life would fall into place. While there’s nothing wrong with dating, there’s also nothing wrong with loving a life without romance. The Pew Research Center says nowadays, the number of folks choosing to not marry is steadily on the rise. And this isn’t necessarily because they can’t find a mate — a lot of it is by choice.
Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D., notes to Psychology Today there are some types of people who report feeling just as happy being single as they do being in a relationship. These types of people have high avoidance goals, meaning they really hate conflict and will go out of their way to avoid it. Perhaps the single life is for you if you’re the agreeable type under most circumstances.
2. Singles are lonelier than couples
You might think being partnerless would cause you to feel lonelier than couples, but that’s not necessarily the case. Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., writes on Psychology Today that Michael Cobb’s book, Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled, makes some good points about why singles shouldn’t be pitied for being by themselves. As Cobb writes, “They may not be lonely — they may just want to be antisocial, or they may just want to relate to others outside the supreme logic of the couple.”
Guy Winch, Ph.D., also notes to Psychology Today that loneliness doesn’t always occur when you’re alone — it’s usually from feeling disconnected from those around you. In this sense, a lot of couples who feel estranged from their partners may feel lonely more often than their single friends.
3. Singles are too self-centered for a relationship
There’s this idea that runs rampant amongst coupled folks that single people are just too self-involved and independent to be in a relationship. While being single does allow you to do more on your own terms without compromise, that certainly doesn’t make the uncoupled a selfish group.
In fact, Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo, notes singles are more likely to give back to their communities and volunteer more often than married couples. Klinenberg also says they spend more time with friends and neighbors, too. “[T]hey’re not people who are self-involved, sitting on the couch just buying things on eBay,” he notes. “They’re really a crucial part of modern life.”
4. Singles aren’t as happy or healthy as couples
Society certainly favors the couple — after all, many people aim to find the love of their life and get married eventually. But if you’re flying through life solo, not to worry — you might be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling existence. The Telegraph reports that Dr. Bella DePaulo looked at 841 studies and explained her findings at the American Psychological Society’s annual meeting. She found single people tended to be happier, were less likely to be negative, and were more self-sufficient.
As far as physical health is concerned, a study from Health Psychology says those in happy relationships might be more likely to gain weight, as they feel comfortable around their partner already. And dating coach and sex expert Laurel House tells The Huffington Post being in an unhealthy relationship can lead to a variety of harmful eating habits. Being single, it seems, might keep you in better shape after all.
5. Singles are having more sex
Your couple friends might assume you’re hitting the town every night looking for a new hookup. You’re single, after all — isn’t that what single culture is all about? Though you have every right to flirt with anyone you want in the bar, we’re willing to bet you’re not on the prowl as much as couples think you are.
Dr. Laura Berman tells The Huffington Post that studies have actually shown married couples have more sex than singles, and their sex is also usually more varied. Perhaps this is because couples are more comfortable with each other and thus are willing to experiment. Whatever the case may be, there’s a good chance the couples in your life are heading to the bedroom more than you are.
6. Singles are in the minority
Your coupled-up friends would be right to think getting married was the norm if they were looking at data from 1970. But that’s not so true today. According to the Pew Research Center, only half of all adults in 2014 were choosing to wed. And NPR notes in 2009 that there were officially more single women than married women.
So, why are there more singles now than ever before? Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies, tells NPR the choice not to marry is more about “the ability to live singly if an appealing marriage option doesn’t come along.” Basically, singles today aren’t rushing to the altar if they never find Mr. or Mrs. Right. They’re totally content doing their own thing and taking each day as it comes.
7. Singles are missing out on having a family
Couples who choose to have children may have this question in mind for singles: Why would you want to miss out on having a family? While kids can certainly make life more rich, they’re not a requirement for a happy, fulfilling life. In fact, Time reports more and more women, single or not, are choosing to skip procreation. Yet they’re still faced with harsh judgments for going against the social norm.
And just because some singles choose not to have a big family with a partner, doesn’t mean they have no contact with the younger generations. As Elaine Taylor May, author of Barren in the Promised Land, notes to the publication, “Just ask any devoted aunt, teacher, doctor, childcare worker, or anyone with children in their lives. As one teacher said proudly, ‘I’m not childless! I have 400 children!'”
If you’re flying solo and have no intention of having kids of your own, don’t sweat it — you’re doing just fine.