What do actresses Emma Watson and Jennifer Aniston have in common? They are both single. "I never believed the whole 'I'm happy single' spiel," Watson said in a 2019 interview. "I was like, 'This is totally spiel.' It took me a long time, but I'm very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered." And they are not the only ones who manage to enjoy life without a partner.
Recently, a now-deleted Reddit user posted a question on the platform, asking: "What is a reason you are glad to be single?" Answers immediately started flooding in. As of now, the thread has over 13,000 comments, providing an interesting insight into the lives of singles. From being able to sleep in the middle of the bed to not being forced to hang out with someone else's friends, here are some of the most popular replies.
#1I read this article a while ago that really clarified my feelings on this. Studies show that people who are married are, on average, slightly happier than people who are not married. Which has been known for a long time, so people have sort of internalized the idea that marriage equals happiness. But when you break down the numbers in that, what it actually looks like is that people in happy marriages are much happier than everyone else and people in unhappy marriages are much less happy than everyone else. So being in a good relationship is the best situation. But being single is the second-best, and far better than being in a bad relationship. So to me, it’s like not the very best, but it is the second-best and that’s pretty good. It’s like you don’t have a Jaguar but you have a Honda, and it’s reliable and gets you where you need to go. And at least you’re not driving a car from the ’70s with a leak in the fuel-line and a plastic Jaguar-sculpture taped on the hood.
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Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1979), a social psychologist and the author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, believes that some people really wonder whether it's normal or not to be single.
"To be single is utterly ordinary, more so now than any time in recent history, not just in the U.S. but in many places around the world," DePaulo writes. "In the U.S., for example, nearly as many adults 18 and older are unmarried as married."
"Staying single for decades, or for life, is also becoming more commonplace. A Pew Report estimated that by the time today's young adults reach the age of 50, one in four of them will have been single all their life. That's a lot, but a United Nations report shows that North America and Europe are behind several other regions of the world in that regard. In Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, and the Caribbean, a greater percentage get to their late forties without ever having married."
#2I don't like spending time with people. I have 1 friend I see once every 2 weeks and that's enough socialising for me
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Powerful institutions such as religion and politics often prop up the perceived normality of marriage beyond what it has actually earned by its numbers—even without assists from religion or ideology, perceptions don't always keep up with the changes that have already occurred. It's what sociologists call "cultural lag."
In the end, we all are responsible adults who craft their own life and if someone finds their fountain of joy, it doesn't mean that it will soothe others too. But not everyone understands that. "When I show that single people are doing well in some way, someone often comes up with a way of explaining it away. Those kinds of discussions can be enlightening, but I'm skeptical," DePaulo says. "They seem to go in only one direction. I don't hear the same kinds of attempts to undermine claims that married people are doing well. It is almost as if some people are invested in putting single people down and dismissing them as not really normal."
The social psychologist said there are, in fact, documented psychological dynamics involved in the stigmatizing of single people. "They include feelings of insecurity in the people doing the stigmatizing, as well as their self-concepts, their search for predictability and control, and their attempts to justify the prevailing social system."
#3God, I remember rushing home every day because if I was even 5 minutes late getting in the door, I would have to explain myself. Then I would walk in perfectly on time and he’d still be in a horrible mood. Now I can spend the whole day driving around doing absolutely nothing and I don’t have to explain it to anybody and going home is actually an enjoyable thought.
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#4Honestly, being single allowed me to put more focus on finishing my undergrad degree, which I just did last week.
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#5I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. If I want to stay up late, I can. If I want to buy something, I can. If I want to watch a movie, I can. If I feel like listening to music, I can. If I feel like reorganizing or redecorating my apartment, I can. I can choose how I use my time. I can choose how I spend my money. I can choose how I save my money. Do I feel lonely? I’ll admit it, sometimes I do. But I have good friends. If I feel like hanging out with my friends, if someone wants to hang out with me, I can. If I don’t feel like going out, I can stay home.
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#6I was engaged but broke it off in July after putting up with a lot of disrespect from him and his family. I had quite a bit of money put aside for our wedding, but now I can spend it on things I’ve wanted for a very long time. I am finally taking care of myself and learning more about who I am as an individual instead of being someone’s fiancée.
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#7Call me selfish, but I like the freedom to wake up and go to sleep when I want to, to decorate and organize my home (that I bought and paid off on my own) as I like, to make my plans and schedule as I see fit, to watch/read/play whatever I want, to buy and wear whatever I want, to cook and eat whatever I want (and not have to share), and to make long term financial and career goals without having to worry about it conflicting with someone else’s.
Image credits: kokoromelody
#8I never want to turn the key in the door and have to worry about what is going on, on the other side again. I don’t want to have to manage another’s emotions or walk on eggshells. I love the peace that my space is mine alone. I also hate the obligations that tend to come with relationships. I don’t want to attend other people’s events, or buy presents for in-laws, etc. Basically, I’m selfish.
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#9I have been single most of my adult life and I find it really annoying when I am living with a partner. I had a partner who snored and that really affected me with the lack of sleep I was getting. You get set in your ways then all of a sudden you have someone wanting you to do a whole bunch of things another way. I don’t necessarily prefer to be single, but I prefer to live on my own.
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#10My apartment is clean and neat and most importantly, 95% empty.
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#11I can eat a sandwich or popcorn for dinner if that’s what I want.
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#12Learned to love myself without needing anyone else’s words of affirmation after being single for the first time in a few years.
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#13Wanna watch a movie? I pick what I want and don’t have to debate what we’re both in the mood for, or whose turn it is to pick, or “I don’t like scary movies, let’s watch a rom-com!” Wanna get something to eat? I go get what sounds good to me and don’t have to hem and haw for an hour over what sounds good to you but not to me, then me but not you, and then finally settle on something that neither of us really wants but we can both deal with when all I want in this world is sushi. Wanna sleep till noon on my day off then get up and just play video games all afternoon? My choice and mine alone and nobody can try to shame me for it, or complain that I’m not paying attention to them. Having an off day and don’t feel like talking at all or expressing my feelings? I don’t have to talk to anyone or feel pressured to “open up” to them because we’re dating.
Image credits: DomLite
#14I have been single for the last 10 years. All my money is mine. All my time is mine. All my attention goes where I want it to go. I just try to get fulfillment in life.
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#15Christmas is coming and I have no stress and it's not expensive
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#16That fear of coming home just for the sake of not knowing your significant other’s mood and being extra cautious to not trigger anything in any way. Then struggling to find out if it’s a good day and I am expected to say hi with a kiss or a bad day and I’m expected to not interrupt them at all, such a bad feeling. I am just learning to love coming home again.
Image credits: ElDschi
#17As someone who got out of a 3-year-long relationship about 4 months ago, I would say one of the biggest things that makes me happy about being single is being able to see myself clearly again, you don’t realize how much being in a relationship can blind you to how you’ve changed, or how love can numb you to certain things. When I got out of that relationship and once the initial crying and being depressed phase ended, I slowly realized how much happier I was and how much I’ve changed, some of it good and some bad, but it was like being able to see myself through a clear lens and not through a distorted one.
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#18No longer being forced to hangout with their friends.
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#19I don’t have to worry about what I look like or what I’m wearing while I’m just chilling on my days off. Hair up in a messy bun, no makeup, no pants, no problem.
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#20I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, without checking in with anyone. Also, no woman should have to be subjected to my toxic family.
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#21I’d rather be single than be with someone who doesn’t appreciate my love and affection.
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#22I learned who I am after I decided to stop dating. It’s been 4 years being single, and I really love who I’ve become. I was able to establish myself, my goals, and who I want to be.
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#23I’m not a huge fan of the single life, but in the past when I’ve been in a relationship, I always felt like I needed to check my phone 24/7. I like being able to just chill and play video games, watch a movie, or hang out with friends without checking my phone constantly.
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#24I can talk to myself aloud and it won’t seem weird to anyone. If someone else is around when you talk to yourself, you’re a nutcase, but if no one hears you, it’s fine.
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#25Stuff in my home is exactly where I left it. I’m not actually single but this is what I remember from when I was. Other people have all kinds of weird habits that make your life difficult. Want to wash a pan? Someone’s filled the sink with plates! Go to find your keys? Someone couldn’t find theirs and has borrowed yours and thinks they may be in their coat pocket! Where’s the coat? They can’t remember!
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#26I have so many hobbies. When I was in a relationship I couldn’t do any of them. I even had a hard time making time for school work. Now that I’m out of a relationship, I’ve been playing music, painting, coding, etc. Literally today I finished designing and making the wooden case for some headphones I’m making.
Image credits: artisnotdefined
#27I can only hang with my friends when I want to. I am an introvert and used to date an extrovert who couldn’t get through one weekend without going out/socializing at least 5x. He’d insist on dragging me along on or invite his friends over. That was horrible for me, I just wanted to relax on my own or spend quality time together instead of having to entertain guests that weren’t even nice to me half the time.
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#28I can sleep in the middle of the bed with the fan on if I want. I can also leave something on the table, come back 2 weeks later, and it is still there.
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#29The only things stressing me are my own stressors. I don’t have to help support someone else through theirs.
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#30Got off work at an indecent hour? I don’t have to sneak into bed and then have an awkward conversation that I’m too tired to have when I wake them up and they ask what time it is, and why I’m so late, and what kept me, and how was my day, when the only thing I want to do is close my eyes and rest.
Image credits: DomLite
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