All the best stories end with “happily ever after”. It’s not just the words, it’s the sentiment. We’re conditioned from a very young age to believe that after a few years of personal and social experimentation we will meet that special someone and live, yes you guessed it… “happily ever after”. In the old stories the hero and heroine fell in love near instantaneously, overcame whatever obstacle impeded the flourish of their love and we left them just as their story was ending. We never assumed that Belle and her (no longer bestial) Prince Charming would have an alternative ending where they get into long arguments about whose turn it was to take the trash out, nor are we led to suspect that Aladdin and Princess Jasmine would spend their evenings sitting to dinner in an atmosphere of quiet resentment. Nope, we’re conditioned to believe that love is instantaneous, forever, unquenchable in its passion and… right around the corner.
Thus, when we find ourselves remaining single after friends increasingly join the ranks of the betrothed we can feel increasingly alienated from those who were once our best and closest friends. We’re given reassuring platitudes and assurances that “someone special” will come along. We’re set up on well intentioned but uniformly dreadful blind dates, we’re directed to numerous dating and relationship apps from Bumble to the iMarriages site. Yet when one would-be suitor after another falls short of our expectations it can feel like we’ll be single forever. Even our supposed patron saint Bridget Jones got married and in the family way in the end… traitor that she is.
Nonetheless, singletons should not feel as though they are second class citizens, for here is a universal truth… All of our supposedly smug and endlessly self satisfied married friends actually envy us. Don’t believe me? Check out these absolutely, incontrovertibly true reasons why…
Pets are better than boyfriends
You may worry that you’ll be perceived as some sort of “crazy cat lady”, but the simple truth is that pets can be awesome company with way less drama than the average relationship. It’s unlikely that you lie awake all night worrying what your cats up to with his college buddies that you’ve never had a particularly good feeling about. Your dog is happy to see you when you get home no matter how stressful her day has been. Your pets give you love and their unconditional trust and all you have to do in return is feed and nurture them. They won’t hog the remote, leave the toilet seat up, fill the DVR up with late night sports or check out other owners when they think you’re not looking.
It’s better to be on your own than to settle
Far too many of us get into “big” relationships in our teens and twenties, and when we do so, we’ve often not quite figured out who we are or what we really want out of life. As such we can tend to look for validation and completion in our significant other. We can expect them to fill in the gaps of our fledgling personalities. While it’s natural and wonderful for two people in a relationship to bring out the best in each other, there’s no mistaking that dawning realization that the wonderful things you thought you saw in someone when you first got together are just projections and that your relationship is not as fulfilling or meaningful as you thought it was. In these cases, we can often perpetuate the relationship for longer than we really should. We can fall into the habit of convincing ourselves that over time Mr Wrong will slowly osmose into Mr Right with a little tweaking here and there. Unfortunately, this is pretty much never the case. It’s kinder to both of you to end the relationship and embrace the single life. You’ll be a lot happier in the long run.
Staying in an unhappy relationship won’t benefit your kids
There’s no denying that the life of a single parent is hard. It brings with it numerous financial and logistical challenges, not least amongst them is the nagging feeling that we should have stuck a bad relationship out for the sake of the kids. However, two happy separated parents are invariably better than two miserable parents together. Kids are surprisingly astute when it comes to detecting unease in their parents relationship and it can actually do their personal and emotional development more harm than good. The challenge and adversity of being a lone parent means that single Moms actually tend to be more successful than their unhappily married counterparts.
You take your freedom for granted, but your friends really envy it!
If you fantasize about your friends’ lives, imagining them to be infinitely happier and more fulfilled than you, be wary as this is not only most likely inaccurate but it can really toxify your friendship. Be aware that you only ever get to see the window dressing; a carefully stage managed version of their relationship, and you’re spared many of the less flattering aspects of the relationship. What you may not know, however, is that your friends will without a doubt envy you for things that you take for granted.
Your friends likely envy your freedom. The freedom to do as you like, whenever you like without compromise.
As pretentious as it sounds you really need to love yourself first
Loving may seem as easy and natural as falling off a log. Sure, infatuation is easy, lust is a doddle, but real and sustainable love can take a lot of time and effort to cultivate and you really have to be happy in your relationship with yourself before you can properly commit to it. In the immortal words of RuPaul…If you can’t love yourself, how the Hell are you gonna love somebody else?
Staying single can actually help you live longer
Seriously. Forget all the “studies” that do the rounds on social media proclaiming that singletons are doomed to die early, miserable and alone. Staying single may actually help you to live longer so long as you keep yourself healthy.