It’s a popular belief that single people rarely enjoy Valentine’s Day. February 14 is said to remind the singleton of the large empty space in their life where their significant other should be. But the reverse is true: Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate what is great about being single. There is a lot to love about single life – here are seven often overlooked perks.
An obvious sweetener that comes with singledom is the opportunity to focus on your career. You’re free to take a promotion that requires you to put in long hours working on that project you’re deeply invested in, without having to worry about the effect it will have on your partner. You can take that post in far-flung Turkmenistan or Tuvalu without having to try to sustain a long distance relationship. No kids? Even better. Your work-life balance just became much easier to manage without having to worry about who collects little Timothy from Kindy when he’s sick.
Not only can you change a whole house full of light globes, you can fix the leaky tap, change a tyre and sew a button. You can hang a painting and cook your eggs just the way you like them. You could be the most useful person you know.
You can pursue your passions
A married thirty-something might dream wistfully of learning another language, taking up an instrument or finally starting that collection of 1980s-era snow globes, but she sacrifices her dream out of consideration for her other half – too time-consuming, too noisy, or too weird. A single person has the time – and the space – to do any of the above if they so desire. If a single person’s spare bedroom is stuffed full of collector’s edition Care Bears, it’s because that’s their passion, not the annoying peccadillo of their partner.
There are health benefits that come with a single life too. A 2014 study examining the effect relationship status has on the everyday health behaviours of young adults found that married men were more likely to be obese than men who are single or casually dating. That extra weight might be due to the fact that unmarried people exercise more than their coupled-up counterparts, the finding of a study published in 2004 looking at American adults between the ages of 18 and 64. Work and family commitments curtailed time for exercise, especially if children under the age of five were thrown into the mix.
It follows that when you’re looking after someone else it’s easy to overlook your own needs. It’s hard to find time to meditate every evening when the laundry of a two-plus household is calling. Sleeping in with your lover might trump that Saturday morning yoga class, but in the long run, it’s your health that’s the loser.
His dream holiday destination is a week of hedonistic partying in Ibiza. Your idea of heaven is a seven-day yoga retreat in Ubud. You compromise with an unsatisfying weekend at the Gold Coast neither of you enjoys. Not when you’re single! You can Bikram all you want when you’re flying solo.
Singletons living solo rule the roost. You don’t need to make concessions to a picky partner. You can eat what you want, even if that happens to be pineapple on pizza or sardines for breakfast. You can leave the bathroom in whatever condition you see fit. You can sleep in the middle of the bed, limbs flung out to the four corners of the mattress. There’s no one to complain about your deliciously selfish behaviour.
If you’re single you have time to cultivate close friendships with fantastic people. People in co-habiting relationships frequently find their number of friendships dwindling as time progresses, a trend known as the dyadic withdrawal hypothesis. Conversely singletons, according to a 2006 University of Massachusetts study, are more likely to maintain relationships with friends, neighbours and extended family than married people. Who better to spend Valentine’s Day than these special friends and family?