“Be with someone that makes you happy.”
Ah yes, Valentine’s Day. Whether it is just the day before the candy goes on sale or the day you wonder if you’ll die alone, one thing is for certain, it’s one of the most annoying days of the year for single people.
But the fact of the matter is that “single” is not just a box on a form, sadly positioned after “married.” It is a word that describes someone strong enough to be alone occasionally and enjoy life without depending on other people.
Single, and staying that way, is also an up and coming movement for Millennials who look around and don’t see why coupledom is so revered.
A recent Gallup Poll reveals that 12% more 20-somethings are staying single in 2014 compared to 2004. And more 30-somethings are opting to live together instead of marrying. Not a terrible move considering a young couple marrying for the first time today has a lifetime divorce risk of 40 percent. Between those single by choice and those by divorce (still choice), there are 10 times more people living alone today than there were in 1950.
For many single people, the stigma of being and living alone is fading. Singleness is no longer equated with brokenness, no matter what grandma says when you go solo to cousin Emma’s wedding.
Perhaps it’s because young people grew up reading Shell Silverstein’s The Missing Piece, which allegorically reminds us that true love doesn’t complete us, even though at first it might appear otherwise. The reality is, if you’re not happy being single, you will not be any happier in a relationship.
Coming to terms with some of the challenges of being single -- comfortable being and doing things alone, able to be independent financially and psychologically -- is vital to maintaining a satisfying relationship. In fact, studies are beginning to find that married people can feel more lonely and isolated than singles. And Psychology Today expert, Bella DePaulo, has amassed a ton of evidence against the supposed benefits of coupledom.
But what if you really want to find the special someone? Well, it turns out you still need to get right with your single status. There is actually a pragmatic reason to find your happy place. Turns out a fear of being single is a meaningful predictor of settling for less in relationships and staying with a partner who is wrong for you.
So, for all those people wishing for candlelight dinners and flowers, it’s time to embrace your independence, make yourself whole and drop the being-single stigmas you may still harbor.
As author Miya Yamanouchi says, “Don't let society fool you into believing that if you don't have a girlfriend or boyfriend then you're destined for a life of misery. The Dalai Lama has been single for the last 80 years and he is one of the happiest people on earth. Stop searching for happiness in places outside of yourself, and start finding it where it has always been: within you.”