In previous generations, being single was something that was frowned upon, leading many people to believe that the only way to find real happiness was to be in a romantic relationship. As time has gone on, there is less pressure to be in a relationship, and more people than ever are single, but that doesn’t mean single people don’t still struggle with not having a partner.
Whether it’s because you’ve come out of a long-term relationship and you’re having trouble finding your feet as an independent person, or because all your friends seem to be moving on, getting married, and starting families and you feel left behind, there are plenty of reasons why you might be struggling with singleness.
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the ways you can cope with being single and how you can get comfortable with being on your own.
Statistics about singleness
Before we delve into some of the methods you can use to embrace single life, it’s helpful to look at some of the key statistics around the topic.
- Around 35% of the UK population is single (never been married or in a legally recognised partnership)
- The number of single females increased by 2.5% from 2009-2019, and the number of single males increased by just under 2% across the same period
- The number of married people is decreasing over time
- One in four people do not live in a couple and have never been married
(Source: Office for National Statistics)
From these stats, you can see that increasing numbers of people are single and haven’t been in a relationship, and this is an ongoing trend. So, if you feel like the odd one out because your peers are all in relationships, don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, there are millions of other people just like you, so you don’t need to feel like you’re going wrong somewhere or are ‘abnormal’ for not having found the ‘right person’ yet.
Common issues with singleness
So, what are some of the common gripes people have with their relationship status being single?
Perhaps one of the most prominent feelings amongst single people is loneliness. A large part of this comes from the fact that humans are social beings by nature, meaning we all have an innate desire to be loved, accepted, and doted on. Some researchers have found that being loved and receiving affection could be thought of as a basic human need, but that’s not all.
As much as humans like to receive affection, they like to give it, too. Just like we need to feel loved and accepted, we have a similar need to give love and acceptance to those around us. It’s why many people feel the urge to protect children and nurture animals, and why we get so much joy out of giving people gifts and doing good deeds for them.
For a lot of people, their main source of love and affection comes from romantic relationships, meaning it can be hard to sustain those needs when you’re single, resulting in feelings of loneliness. You might have the company of family members and friends, but it’s not unusual for single adults to feel like other relationships (platonic ones) can’t make up for feeling lonely.
- Fear of missing out (FOMO)
FOMO can happen with anything; from not being invited on a night out with your friends, to missing out on a holiday due to other commitments. It’s a natural part of life, but it can be more prevalent if your friends are hitting milestones in their lives that you’re not as ‘the single friend’.
For example, you might feel like you’re missing out on key developmental steps if you’re not engaged, married, pregnant, a parent, or moving in with a significant other. This type of FOMO can be compounded by the likes of social media, as well as societal pressures to have hit certain milestones by a certain age. It may also be that you imagined your life looking differently to how it does, and that internal pressure from yourself can also contribute to FOMO and feeling like you’re being left behind.
Coping with singleness
Now, let’s look at some of the ways you can cope with being single:
If you’re struggling with loneliness, it’s a good idea to throw yourself into socialising, whether it’s with friends and family or chatting to strangers you see when you’re out and about. There are lots of online communities where you can make new friends and chat with people if you’re feeling lonely, away from the online dating scene.
Make plans to do things like go on holidays, days out, and seasonal events with close friends. These things aren’t just for couples; as long as you’re with good company, you’ll have a good time and feel all the better for it if you’re battling loneliness.
Dive into hobbies
Being in a relationship can make it hard to find time to spend on yourself, so being single is the perfect time to throw yourself into your hobbies. From sports to arts, this is the time to really hone in on your interests and do something for yourself.
What’s more, if you join a club relevant to your hobby, you can meet like-minded people and develop friendships, again helping to quell feelings of loneliness. You might even meet your future spouse there – who knows!
Focus on personal development
On a similar sort of wavelength, being single presents the ideal opportunity for personal development. You can commit yourself 100% to your career and work on building a solid foundation for your future. You can also take time to go to therapy, get to know yourself, and really understand who you are, what you like, and where you want to go. This will ensure you’re the best version of yourself when the time comes for you to meet someone, and make sure you don’t settle for the wrong person because you’ll be firm in what you want. After all, the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself.
Take a break from being online
As mentioned, being online can be tough if you’re a single person and all your peers are all in relationships. Don’t be afraid to tackle that FOMO head on and come off social media for a while if it’s all getting a bit too much. Everyone is on their own path and no one’s life is all sunshine and rainbows, despite what their Instagram page might look like.
Whether you remain single for a while despite seeing other people move on, or if you get married when you least expected it, there’s no linear path to happiness and your self-worth isn’t defined by having a spouse – even if it seems like that’s where everyone else is getting their happiness from.
Dealing with singleness at The Awareness Centre
Lots of emotions can crop up when you’re single, from loneliness and isolation to anxiety and even depression. It might be that you just want to figure out what went wrong previously or how you can be the best version of yourself moving forwards. Whatever it is, we can help. Some of the issues we can help with that relate to singleness include:
We are experts in all manner of mental health conditions and talking therapies. Speak to us today if you’re feeling overwhelmed about being single or simply need advice about pursuing a healthy future relationship.