Sometimes being single can feel freeing or even empowering. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want without having to worry about what your partner is doing. But there are also times when being unattached can be lonely and frustrating.
COVID-19 has only helped to exacerbate these downsides for some single people. After all, it’s one thing to feel good about being on your own when it’s your own choice; it can be much harder to cope with when you simply can’t start a new romance because meeting face to face is too risky in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
Even if you are struggling with feelings of isolation and longing for a partner—or at least some romantic prospects—there are things that you can do to help feel better about being single.
Change Your Perspective
FInding ways to overcome loneliness and feel better about your single status isn’t just important for your state of mind; it’s also important for your health. Feelings of loneliness, including romantic loneliness, can have a serious impact on a person’s health and well-being.
Feeling isolated, unsupported, and lonely is linked to decreased immunity, worse sleep, lower cardiovascular health, and increased mental health problems.
Your perspective on your relationship status can play an important role in how you feel about being single. One study found that people who viewed themselves and being voluntarily single were less likely to report feelings of romantic loneliness.
*Stereotypes that portray single people as sad, lonely, insecure, and less satisfied
*Social pressure to find a partner and start a family
*Perceptions of single status as a source of individualism and independence
*Younger men are more likely to say they are single because they want to be free to date and not settle down.
*Younger women are more likely to say they are single in order to avoid being hurt or because they don’t feel they are desirable partners.
*Younger adults—both men and women—are also more likely to say that they were single because they lacked strong flirting skills.
*Young adults are also more likely to say that being single was due to a dislike of commitment.
*Older adults, by contrast, were more likely to report being single in order to have the freedom to do the things they want.
Consider finding ways to reframe your perspective. Rather than focusing on the downsides of being single, focus on the aspects that you do enjoy or the freedom that it brings.
People who felt that being unpartnered was involuntary, however, were more likely to feel emotionally lonely. How you feel about being single can be influenced by a variety of things.
Work on Your Goals
If you’re feeling frustrated by your single status, finding other goals to work on aside from building a relationship can help you feel more confident and empowered. Your goals might focus on your professional life, your hobbies, your family, your health, or other things you’d like to accomplish.
Things you might try include:
Other factors can also influence your perceptions of why you are single, including sex and age. For example:
*Taking a class or enrolling in a program to advance your degree.
*Keeping a journal to help track things you’d like to improve.
*Learning a new language or taking up a new hobby.
It can be anything—the goal is to stretch yourself and work on learning new things about who you are right now and who you want to be in the future.
Not only can this help you develop a sense of satisfaction with your life as a single person, but it can also help you get to know yourself a bit more so you are better able to see what you want in a life partner.
If you’re feeling down about being single, it can be tough to see your friends and family moving forward in their relationships. But it’s important to avoid comparing yourself to others, whether they are your family members, close friends, or online acquaintances.
The reality is that you can never know all of the details of another person’s life or relationship. What looks like a perfect, fulfilling relationship in a social media post might look a lot different in real life.
And just because someone else’s relationship is perfect for them, that doesn’t mean that it is something that you necessarily want. Instead of engaging in social comparisons that leave you feeling like you don’t measure up, focus on finding happiness in your own life and accomplishments.
Invest in Other Relationships
It’s also important to remember that your relationships with other people—your friends, family, and others—are also important to your well-being.
In other words, feeling like you have plenty of social support from the important people in your life is essential for protecting your mental health.
So while you’re single, focus on strengthening those non-romantic social connections. Make plans with friends—even virtual meetups, if need be. Keep up on what’s happening with your loved ones, whether you chat on the phone a few times a week or interact online.
Building new social connections and making new friends can also be beneficial. Joining online groups, volunteering for causes that are important to you, participating in local sports clubs, or even starting something like an online book club can all be ways to build your social support network.
And in many cases, cultivating social support might even lead to meeting someone you are interested in romantically.
Focus on the Benefits of Singlehood
While there are benefits to being in a relationship, research also suggests that being on your own can come with its own set of benefits.2For example:
*Spending more time finding the right relationship means you might be more likely to find a partner who is well suited to you.
*You have more time to spend pursuing things such as getting an education and finding a rewarding career.
*You have more time to get to know your own preferences, needs, and deal-breakers, which can ultimately help you choose a better long-term partner.
Meet New People
Even if you’re not ready to settle down right now, it can be helpful to spend time dating or meeting new people. Online dating apps can be a great option but friends can also be a source of new connections.
And if going out on dates in person isn’t an option, virtual meetups can be an excellent alternative. Consider an online video date where you can meet and chat while both enjoying a meal or other activity can help you get to know new potential love interests.
Plus, many people feel like ‘meeting’ virtually can serve as an icebreaker. When and if you finally do meet in-person, you might find that you feel less nervous and have more to talk about.
By Kendra Cherry