In a world where marriage continues to be a common expectation for adults (2), strong, independent women might find themselves asking: Is it okay to be single?
The answer, of course, is yes.
Singlehood is on the rise – and has been, for some time. As of 2015, only 50% of all adults in the US were married, as opposed to 72% in 1960 (3); for every 10 marriages filed, 4 divorces are being signed (2). What’s more, people are staying single longer, with the median age for marriage being 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women (3). Recent studies even show that single people can lead lives that are just as happy and fulfilling as those of married people, if not better (5, 20):
Of course, this is not to say that marriage is not beneficial! After all, marriage can offer immense physical and emotional benefits, especially if the married partners feel satisfied, happy, and stable in their relationship (21). However, married life is not necessarily guaranteed to be more advantageous than single life, as single life can often provide similar benefits (20), as in the case of a supportive, non-romantic roommate.
Below are some reasons why it may be just as beneficial – if not better – to be a strong, single, and independent woman! It’s certainly an infinitely better option than being in a sub-par relationship with someone who brings you down.
5 Reasons Why It’s Great to be a Strong, Single, and Independent Woman
#1 – You have meaningful time alone
Strong, independent people enjoy their time alone – and all the self-discovery it can bring.
Indeed, research shows that spending time alone can foster creativity and freedom of thought, free from self-consciousness or the judgment of others (7). In this way, solitude may help us discover and confirm our self-identity, reflect meaningfully on the changes that are happening in our lives, and grow in spirituality (7).
Plus, solitude can also make us feel good. Taking a break from intimate social relationships, for instance, may help lift mood (10, 20) and increase life satisfaction (10). Being able to satisfy our own needs and desires may also prove to be an empowering skill (1).
#2 -You can easily recognize the signs of a bad relationship
Self-sufficient people may be better at analyzing relationships without being blinded by some of the most common issues that keep people in bad relationships, like a desperate need to date or emotional dependence on others (12). Being self-aware, they may also know exactly what they want – and thus, how much they should be giving or receiving in a romantic relationship without compromising other aspects of their lives (7).
As a result, strong, independent people may be better at gauging the level and type of emotional investment each partner brings to a relationship – and when their efforts do not line up!
#3 – You have more time for your friends and family
On the one hand, being single and independent can give you immense room for self-improvement and self-care. Indeed, it may be much easier to advance your career, pursue meaningful hobbies, and take care of yourself when you don’t have a significant other (4) – or when you keep a strict “me” time in your daily schedule.
But being single also means that you can choose to devote to your non-romantic loved ones and your community at large. Indeed, single (or “single-minded”) people tend to stay closer to their friends, family, and meaningful others than married people do (11). Single people have also been found to volunteer in their communities (18) and take care of the sick or elderly more often than married people (6, 8)!
#4 – You have the means to chase your dreams
Single people tend to have less financial obligations (e.g. a family to feed)(4), greater financial stability (8) and less debt (16) than married people, and feel more satisfied with their pay than married people (19).
However, single people also tend to value meaningful work and intrinsic rewards (e.g. how good they feel while working) more so than extrinsic rewards (e.g. their salary), especially when compared to married people (17).
In other words, strong, independent, and single individuals may tend to set realistic financial goals in conjunction with heartfelt career goals – and have the time, effort, and means needed to find success in both.
#5 – You’re in great shape – and only getting better
Research shows that strong, independent people tend to be emotionally and physically healthier than those in relationships (14). Single people have been found to exercise more than married people (9), and have less excess body fat than married people, given that satisfying marriages have been associated with weight gain (15). Strong, independent, and single people may also be at lower risk of dying from certain stress-related diseases, like cardiovascular disease (13), as they tend to have stronger and friendlier social circles than married people (see #3 above).
The bottom line? It’s amazing to be a strong, single, and independent woman in the world we live in. Just keep doing what you do while keeping an eye out for a good partner (if and when you want one). You’ll know when the right person comes your way!
- Cdc.gov. (2017). CDC Stats: Marriage and Divorce Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
- Livingston, G., Caumont, A., Livingston, G. and Caumont, A. (2017). 5 facts on love and marriage in America. [online] Pew Research Center. Available at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/13/5-facts-about-love-and-marriage/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
- DePaulo, B. (2017). 23 Ways Single People Are Better: The Scientific Evidence. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201405/23-ways-single-people-are-better-the-scientific-evidence [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
- YouTube: The Atlantic. (2017). Can Single People Be Happy?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEELIrm9JKA [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
- Henz, U. (2006). Informal Caregiving at Working Age: Effects of Job Characteristics and Family Configuration. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(2), pp.411-429.
- Long, C. and Averill, J. (2003). Solitude: An Exploration of Benefits of Being Alone. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 33(1), pp.21-44.
- Gerstel, N. and Sarkisian, N. (2006). Marriage: The Good, the Bad, and the Greedy. Contexts, 5(4), pp.16-21.
- Nomaguchi, K. and Bianchi, S. (2004). Exercise Time: Gender Differences in the Effects of Marriage, Parenthood, and Employment. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(2), pp.413-430.
- Musick, K. and Bumpass, L. (2012). Reexamining the Case for Marriage: Union Formation and Changes in Well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(1), pp.1-18.
- Cabello, R., & Fernandez-Berrocal, P. (2015). Under which conditions can introverts achieve happiness? Mediation and moderation effects of the quality of social relationships and emotion regulation ability on happiness. PeerJ, 3, e1300. http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1300
- Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2010). Should I Stay or Should I Go? Predicting Dating Relationship Stability from Four Aspects of Commitment. Journal of Family Psychology : JFP : Journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 24(5), 543–550. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0021008
- Brummett, B., Barefoot, J., Siegler, I., Clapp-Channing, N., Lytle, B., Bosworth, H., Williams, R. and Mark, D. (2001). Characteristics of Socially Isolated Patients With Coronary Artery Disease Who Are at Elevated Risk for Mortality. Psychosomatic Medicine, 63(2), pp.267-272.
- Cohen, S. (2004). Social Relationships and Health. American Psychologist, 59(8), pp.676-684.
- Meltzer, A., Novak, S., McNulty, J., Butler, E. and Karney, B. (2013). Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage. Health Psychology, 32(7), pp.824-827.
- Fay, B. (2017). Debt Demographics – Statistical Breakdown of Consumer Debt in the U.S.. [online] Debt.org. Available at: https://www.debt.org/faqs/americans-in-debt/demographics/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
- Kirkpatrick Johnson, M. (2005). Family roles and work values: Processes of selection and change. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(2), pp.352-369.
- Bls.gov. (2017). Table 4. Volunteers by type of main organization for which volunteer activities were performed and selected characteristics, September 2015. [online] Available at: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.t04.htm [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
- GORMAN, E. (2000). Marriage and Money. Work and Occupations, 27(1), pp.64-88.
- Bookwala, J. and Fekete, E. (2009). The role of psychological resources in the affective well-being of never-married adults. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(4), pp.411-428.
- Robards, J., Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J. and Vlachantoni, A. (2012). Marital status, health and mortality. Maturitas, 73(4), pp.295-299.
- Image and Video Sources: YouTube: The Atlantic. (2017). Can Single People Be Happy?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEELIrm9JKA [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].