40 And Single: How To Navigate And Enjoy Singlehood In Your Forties
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.
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.
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!
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
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it OK to be single in your 40’s?
It is most certainly okay to be single at any time in your life, including your 40s! If you’re single in your 40s, know that you’re not alone. Research indicates that, in the United States, 23% of adults aged 30-49 are single, 28% of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 are single, while 36% of those 65+ are single. Some of those individuals are looking for a partner, and some are happily single. No matter what category you fall into, know that it’s okay. As stated in the article above, there are most certainly upsides to being single in your 40s and beyond. When you’re single in your 40s, you’ve got control over your own space, your own time, and if you do decide to date, you’ll have an understanding of what you do and don’t want.
Is dating harder in your 40s?
In some ways, dating when you’re single in your 40s is easier than ever before. First, it’s easier to meet people than it used to be, and you can do it without playing a guessing game about how old someone is or what they’re looking for. With the rise of dating apps, you can set your age and the age range that you’re looking for when you sign up. You can also specify what you’re looking for using online dating websites or apps. Those with a dating history under their belt—or even for those with life experience but without much dating history under their belt—being 40 and single means that you likely have a better idea of what you want than someone who is, say, 18 years old would. Remember this Stephanie Perkins quote: “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” Knowing what you want is something that’ll benefit you in many life situations you encounter, including those within the world of dating, so no matter what age you are, think about what you want in a partner or partnership and let it help guide you.
Is 40 too old to date?
40 is not at all too old to date. Plenty of people date in their 40s and beyond. Some dating websites are even designed specifically for those over a certain age. While you may not be old enough for websites that are 50+ if you’re 40 and single, there are some great options out there. Additionally, marrying too young is a potential risk factor for divorce, and statistics say that 60% of divorces occur among people between the ages of 25 and 39, so being single in your 40s is not a bad thing for daters who want a lasting connection. Date confidently, and never settle.
Do relationships move faster in your 40s?
Some sources do say that relationships have the potential to move faster for people in their 40s. However, it is vital to remember the signs and indicators of a healthy relationship so that you don’t move too quickly. Being 40 and single does not mean that you have to rush.
How do I start dating again at 40?
If you’re single in your 40s and would like to start dating, there are a variety of routes you can take. Some people who are 40 and single, or single at any other age, prefer to meet organically. Some of those who are 40 and single may have their eye on a particular person, where others might want to enter the dating pool in the absence of a current crush. If you’re single in your 40s and want to meet someone who has similar interests, consider joining a club or taking a class. If applicable, based on your area and other factors, you may also consider in-person dating or social events. As stated previously, dating apps or websites are another fantastic option for those who are 40 and single because they allow you to specify the age range you’re interested in and other match-making factors. When using online dating options, make sure to maintain your personal safety by taking all of the necessary recommended precautions.
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