Being single isn’t always easy. But inevitably, there will be times in our lives where we find ourselves on our own, whether by choice or by circumstance. And although it’s certainly more acceptable to be single in today’s society than it was 50 years ago, (thankfully the terms “old maid” and “spinster” have been all but eradicated), today’s singles can still face emotional or mental challenges during these periods of time. As we all know, being prepared is half the battle, and it’s through being informed of what we may face that we can meet those challenges head on and deal with them directly.
The Challenges of Being Single (And How to Benefit From Them)
1. Fighting Loneliness. Wanting companionship, (whether it be physical or emotional) is one of the most natural feelings for us to have. As human beings we have an inherent need for physical affection and touch, and when we don’t receive this on a regular basis, the fact that we’re single can be greatly amplified. This is where we can often run into trouble, making less-than-smart choices, like getting back with an ex, having a one-night stand, or getting involved with someone incompatible. It’s important to realize in these moments of loneliness, that you can receive care and affection from family and friends as well. A good hug from a friend can go a long way in making you feel cared for, so don’t be afraid to ask!
2. Outside Pressure. We’ve all seen them – those looks of pity when coupled people find out you’re single. Add to that your family’s expectations of a wedding and grandkids, and it’s enough to make you crazy sometimes. When it comes down to it though, it’s YOUR life! Just because someone has an opinion about your marital/dating status doesn’t mean it should influence how you feel about yourself. Being single is the best time to go inward and really work on the parts of yourself you’d like to improve, so that when your next relationship comes around, you’re the best version of yourself you can be.
3. Being the Third (or Fifth) Wheel. There’s not a lot of social situations more dreaded than being the single person amongst a bunch of couples. It’s like the elephant in the room, blatantly obvious, yet no one really mentions it. Sometimes these situations are unavoidable, in which case you need to acknowledge to yourself that you’ll probably feel uncomfortable. This can be a wonderful learning experience however, if you use the time to observe the couples in the room. What are the aspects of your friends’ relationships that you admire or reject? This is a great time to figure out what you want and don’t want in your own relationship. It’s also a healthy idea to hang out with other like-minded singles so you can enjoy the freedom that comes along with it.
The reality is, being single can be a lonely time in our lives, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for the deep self-awareness that can be so difficult to achieve when we’re in a full-time relationship. If we keep in mind that being single is only temporary, then it can be a wonderful time to really get to know ourselves. Once we figure out what we do and don’t want from a partner, it will help our next relationship be that much more fulfilling.