40 And Single: How To Navigate And Enjoy Singlehood In Your Forties

Updated September 12, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Prepare to forget everything you've previously learned about the sadness 40-something singles are supposedly saddled with. One ridiculously common misconception about this decade is the notion that being single equals eternal loneliness and longing.

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Truth be told, singlehood could be the key to making your forties the most amazing, exhilarating decade of your life! In this article, you'll find tried-and-true tips for making this era fantastic. We'll also cover what's truly awesome about navigating your forties sans partner and what to do if you're struggling to find contentment.

You don't have to wait one more day (or until you're part of a duo) to start fully living—and enjoying—every moment.

5 Tips For Navigating Singlehood In Your Forties

No doubt, navigating life alone has its disadvantages. Still, if you've ever been in a relationship with Ms. or Mr. Wrong, you know that the downsides of being in a bad partnership can be far worse than the pitfalls of flying solo. Still, recognizing the drawbacks of singlehood can help you preserve your precious time and energy.

Below, you'll learn how to steer clear of the most common problems 40-something singles face:

1. Fight The Stigma

Instead of hiding or harboring shame regarding your single status, why not flaunt it, or at the very least, enjoy it? Societal norms are slowly shifting, but marriage continues to be the ultimate goal for many. It's believed that if you are part of a pair, you're happier. Statistically speaking, this is not true.

According to the American Psychological Association, over 90% of people say "I do" by the time they're 50. Sadly, nearly half of marriages end in divorce, and subsequent marriages have even worse odds, banishing the belief that marriage leads to lifelong happiness for most people.

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Despite the lackluster odds, the stigma attached to singlehood in middle adulthood is still alive and well. The good news? You don't have to fight the stigma alone, as the U.S. Census Bureau reported that there were 35.7 million single-person households in this 2018 press release. That's a whole lot of singles!

2. Make Time For The People And Activities You Love

Instead of burying yourself in your work and sticking to a rigid daily routine, be sure to regularly make time for family, friends, and activities you love. Keep your single life exciting by trying new restaurants and hobbies and going on fun adventures.

The best part? You don't have to compromise with a partner on how to spend your time, and you'll save money by traveling solo or splitting costs with a friend.

3. Never Settle

The pressure to find a mate often leads to poor relationship decisions. Whether you're embracing the single life, or you'd prefer to be part of a duo, never settle for an incompatible partner. Don't ignore red flags or that gut feeling that something isn't quite right. The good news is, your intuition is likely stronger now than it was in your 20s and 30s.

4. Give Yourself A Confidence Boost

Research suggests that self-esteem tends to improve throughout childhood, adolescence, and young/middle adulthood, often peaking between 60 and 70 before declining in older age. If your self-esteem requires a boost, there are many ways to improve it. Try one (or all!) of the suggestions below:

  • Become A Mentor: Not sure where to start?  has valuable information and mentoring opportunities to explore.

  • Engage In Social Activities: Making new connections and bonding over common interests can liven up your social life and bolster your self-esteem. Meetup sites are a great place to find groups in your area where you may have similar interests.

  • Start meditating: If you haven't started a meditation practice, now is an excellent time to start! Not only can meditation increase your confidence, but it will also likely lead to greater self-trust and letting go of negative emotions.

  • Move More: We all love a good endorphin rush, but engaging in physical activity, you enjoy much more than just a temporary natural high. Moving your body can make you more confident, increase your energy, and make you happier overall.

  • Commit To Healthier Habits: We all have our vices, but challenging ourselves to adopt healthier habits can have a serious impact on our confidence level and overall well-being. Start with one habit you'd like to work on, whether it's beginning a yoga or meditation practice, limiting your TV or social media time, or starting a walking program. Spending your time more effectively and replacing not-so-great habits with healthier ones will make you feel amazing and inspire you to continue your self-improvement journey.

5. Live In The Moment

Perhaps the most common stumbling block of 40-something singlehood is the tendency to dwell on the past and worry about the future. When you live in the moment, you have no time to regret past mistakes or fear what lies ahead. Take life one day at a time, and ground yourself by practicing deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and yoga. Award-winning author Gabby Bernstein says, "Stillness is the secret to success," and we couldn't agree more!

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7 Reasons Why Being Single At 40 Is Fabulous

Now that we've covered how to sidestep the common pitfalls of singlehood in your forties, let's dive into the reasons you should cherish every minute of this decade:

1. You Call The Shots

Whether you're newly single or you've never chosen to partner up, you may need to remind yourself that you are in charge of your life, and you can do anything you want to do, whenever you want to do it. Have you always wanted to take a tropical vacation? Plan it! Do you dream of writing a book or taking up painting? Do it!

2. You Can Be Spontaneous

Being single in your forties means having the freedom to say yes to last-minute dinner dates with co-workers or friends or booking an impromptu weekend getaway to your favorite destination.

3. Your Living Space Is Completely Yours

Unless you have a roomie, being single means you have complete control of your living space. You can arrange your furniture and decorate any way you wish and make your little corner of the world an oasis just for you. Feel free to sleep in the middle of the bed, set the thermostat to keep your space extra toasty or refreshingly chilly, and keep your home as tidy—or as messy—as you please.

4. You Don't Have To Negotiate How To Spend You Downtime

Many couples fall in love quickly and later realize they have nothing in common, which can make planning together time downright exhausting. When you're single, you can choose how to spend your free time without having to compromise. You can catch up on your favorite TV shows, spend time at your favorite café, or read a great book without annoying interruptions.

5. You Think More Clearly

If the love bug has ever bitten you, you know that falling for someone can affect how you act and even think. Romantic love changes the brain's chemistry, resulting in a surge of feel-good chemicals, preoccupation with the new partner, and a decrease in negative emotions. Changes in the brain make it virtually impossible to assess others—including a new love interest—critically. By remaining single, you'll retain the ability to think clearly and avoid being blinded by love.

6. You Can Learn To Love Yourself Just As You Are

Many 20-somethings are so preoccupied with maintaining their appearance that they miss out on truly living. Folks in their thirties often spend time fretting about aging and trying to look ten years younger. By the time we reach our forties, we tend to be more at ease with ourselves, letting go of the fruitless mission to find the nonexistent fountain of youth. Many modern-day 40-somethings refuse to waste more time, money, and energy to fit society's definition of beautiful. They embrace their flaws, flaunt their curves, and let go of anyone who doesn't accept them just as they are.

7. You Won't Waste Precious Time Arguing

As mentioned previously, many people settle for a less-than-ideal partner due to the pressure to find a suitable mate. Sadly, many of these partnerships are riddled with constant conflict and repeated arguments. In some cases, there are core differences between partners that make them incompatible. Many duos spend years trying to make their relationships work, hoping and praying their situations will miraculously improve. By refusing to conform to the notion that the wrong partner is better than no partner, you won't waste precious time in conflict with an ill-suited partner.

What To Do If You Aren't Enjoying Single Life In Your Forties

Being single in your forties can certainly be a fantastic adventure filled with contentment, fun, reflection, and self-acceptance. Not everyone, however, feels instant gratitude and joy the moment they hit the big 4-0. If you're struggling to accept this new era, you are certainly not alone. According to an article published by John Hopkins Medicine, individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 are at an increased risk of developing depression.

If you can't seem to find joy in everyday life and you're experiencing other signs of depression, it's important to reach out for help. Regain offers online therapy services that can help you identify problems and offer solutions. Fill out the questionnaire, and you'll be matched to one of the licensed therapists available in your area. You can meet with a therapist anywhere you have an internet connection, and your sessions can take place via text, telephone, or video chat.

Many people find that online therapy is more convenient than in-person therapy. You don't have to fight traffic to get to a therapist's office, and sessions can happen whenever you have time in your schedule. Even if you live in a rural area, online therapy can help you work through whatever issues you may find yourself dealing with.

We understand that your forties can be a difficult time to be single, but you don't have to go it alone, and you certainly don't have to suffer through this decade.

"Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been." - David Bowie

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