Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What does singleness mean?
According to the dictionary singleness means “the quality or state of being single.” While this may seem like a straightforward and obvious definition, it doesn’t really encompass the full connotation and experience of being single.
A clearer definition of singleness can be extrapolated from pop culture, such as movies, TV series, music, art, and literature. Based on a large majority of pop culture, the definition of singleness can take on a negative connotation. If you look at what’s popular these days, it’s hard to find examples of singleness where a person is content and happy to be single. So, according to popular culture, the definition of singleness takes on a negative connotation: it isn’t good to be single, and you should always be trying to be in a relationship at all costs.
You might also pick up a definition of singleness from your personal religious beliefs. For example, many people believe that singleness can be a gift from God; religious groups even vow to be single for their entire lives so that they may better enjoy God’s presence and influence in their lives.
Your own experience also informs the definition of singleness that you most relate to, as well. For example, people who are coming out of an abusive relationship or a long term relationship that ended badly or traumatically might classify singleness as a temporary state meant for healing. Others might make a singleness definition that is temporary but only applies to time between exclusive or monogamous relationships. Others might see singleness and marriage as opposites, where singleness is defined as a life state or life stage where one is not (yet) married, even if that person is dating or in a committed relationship that isn’t quite marriage.
Are there benefits to being single?
Yes! There are absolutely benefits to being single, and some people prefer it. Singleness or being single is not a bad thing. Some people choose to remain single for the rest of their lives and don’t feel the need to pursue relationships. Single people reap the benefits of getting to focus on themselves. When you are single, you get the chance to get to know yourself better. You can think about what you want in future relationships, and you can work on your own pursuits without romance getting in the way. It’s important not to judge those in your life for being single or wanting to remain single. Know that everyone wants something different when it comes to relationships and make sure that you show respect for other people‘s preferences.
What if I’m single and don’t want to be?
While some people prefer being single, it is hard if you’re single and don’t want to be. Know that, again, there’s nothing wrong with being single and that the right person will come along eventually. Think about the kinds of qualities you’d want a future partner to have, and try to have fun while you’re on the dating scene. Make sure that you don’t lower your expectations for a potential partner just because you don’t want to be single. Look at your needs and wants as they pertain to relationships, family, and lifestyle. What kind of person is going to be suitable for the future you wish to have? Will they want kids? Do they want to travel? Do they want to settle down? Will they be career-oriented and hardworking? These are all great questions to ask yourself to see what kind of partner will be right for you.
Being single when your friends aren’t
If you are the only single person in your friend group, you may feel like somewhat of an outsider. Of course, singleness isn’t an issue but if all of your friends are in long-term relationships, it can feel lonely. Sometimes all of your friends are talking about their relationships, and you’re the only one without a relationship. Maybe, you just broke up with a significant other, and that’s why you’re single. If that’s the case, it can be hard to be the only single person in your friend group. Make sure to spend quality time with your friends when you can, and support them in their relationships.
I was single for a long time, but now I’m in a relationship. What should I know?
If you have been single for a long time, it’s likely that you got into a routine while being single. You’re used to focusing mostly on yourself, your family, and your friendships, but now, there’s another person. Get to know your partner and their personal needs as well as you can. One way to do this is to study love languages and ask your partner what their love language is. The five love languages are:
• Gift-Giving - Where a person enjoys it when their partner decides to give a gift to show love.
• Physical Touch - Touching and being touched both sexual and non-sexually.
• Quality Time - Spending time with another person without other distractions.
• Words of Affirmation - Speaking and hearing words that encourage and lift each other up.
• Acts of Service - Where a person feels loved when someone completes a tangible act to show their affection such as doing a household chore.
People can have a combination of various love languages. When you’re in a relationship with someone else, the most important thing to do is communicate with each other extensively.
Talking about relationship issues in therapy
If you’re interested in talking about being single, relationships, family life, or any concerns related to mental health, the counselors at ReGain can help. Online counseling is a great way to get the support that you need from the privacy of your own home. It is affordable and convenient, which is a common reason that people pick it over traditional therapy. If you have concerns regarding online therapy or are having trouble navigating the ReGain website, the customer service at Regain is here for you. Anyone can benefit from therapy, so don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the effects of being single?
Just like there are countless reasons that people are single, there are also a lot of effects that singleness can have. The effects that a person feels will depend on their perspective when it comes to singleness. For example, a single parent – especially a single mother – will probably feel some heavy economic effects of being single. On the other hand, a teenager who wants to fall in love for the first time is likely responding to the social and emotional effects of singleness, especially if all of their friends are starting to date. The effects of being single will depend largely on the specific life circumstances of each person, but talking through these effects with a trained professional is a great way to process the impact of singleness on your life.
What is singleness purpose?
The purpose of singleness can be different for different people. A lot of it boils down to the definition of singleness that a person adopts, as well as their reasons for being single. For example, someone who is choosing to be single for a set amount of time before going out on the dating scene (or going back to the dating scene) will have a completely different purpose for their singleness than someone who is actively searching for a partner but just hasn’t found the right person yet. Whatever a person’s reasons are for being single will definitely contribute to whether or not they feel a sense of purpose in their singleness.
What does singleness of mind mean?
Singleness of mind, sometimes referred to as singleness of purpose, refers to when two or more people are totally agreed about a given situation or topic. Singleness of mind and purpose is also encouraged in many faith communities. St. Paul wrote in Philippians, exhorting Christians to remain steadfast and unified, rejoicing and praying in every situation. He summed up these exhortations by saying, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” So, different communities who are working towards a specific and common goal usually describe a singleness of mind or a singleness of purpose as one of the necessary and guiding components for their success.
What does the word single mean?
The word single means solitary, or existing alone.
Is it okay to be single for life?
There’s nothing wrong with being single for life on its face, but you should ask yourself if this is what you really want. Of course, many people would say that being single is better than being in an unsatisfying, toxic, or abusive relationship. If you’re getting into a long term relationship or getting married just to avoid being single for life, then you might want to take a step back and consider your motivations for entering such a relationship.
It’s also important to remember that choosing to be single for now doesn’t mean that you’re choosing to be single for life. Even if your singleness now isn’t a choice, but instead springs from circumstances outside your control, it’s not permanent unless you commit to making it permanent.
You might feel that being single for life is the right choice for you, and that’s perfectly fine! Many people enjoy the freedom of a single life and don’t want to trade that in for a committed, long term relationship. Others feel called to a job or purpose that prevents them from pursuing a marriage or long term committed relationship. In these cases, it’s perfectly fine to be single for life, or to remain unmarried or uncommitted to one person. And no matter what your life situation or choices are like, choosing to be single, whether just for now or for life, is perfectly acceptable, despite any external pressure you might feel from your family, faith community, or society.
Are single people happier?
When it comes to measuring people’s happiness, there are several factors at play – and it doesn’t help that these factors are often quite subjective. If you’re wondering if a person is happier if they’re single or married, it’s hard to arrive at one concrete answer. A lot of it boils down to a person’s expectations and what they think will bring them happiness. For many people, the prospect of being in a long term, committed relationship holds the key to happiness. In these people’s minds, it’s impossible to be happy while staying single.
However, studies have shown that people who put all of their hopes of being happy into one relationship are often disappointed in the long run. They often find that this one relationship alone doesn’t bring them the happiness that they thought it would; some people in this situation even report wishing they were single again.
The best way to work against this disappointment is to not put all of your hope for happiness into a relationship or marriage. Instead, even if you’re single and it looks like you’ll be single for at least a while longer, focus on building deep, intimate, and meaningful relationships with those around you. These relationships by no means have to be romantic or sexual. Instead, focus on strengthening the bonds between you and your family members and close friends, while also looking to make new friendships that could eventually deepen and develop over time. Removing your ability to be happy from your relationship status takes off a lot of pressure, and you’ll be more likely to find a lasting happiness, if you are single for a while.
Is it healthy to be single forever?
When you’re weighing the health effects of being single forever, it’s important to first determine your definition of singleness. If you’re comfortable and content, or even committed, to being single forever, then it can be perfectly healthy for you to be single forever. You can also be less likely to experience the health effects associated with lifelong singleness due to the lack of stress and anxiety you would feel if you were not comfortable or content with singleness.
However, if being single for the long term causes you stress or anxiety, then there are a number of health issues associated with being single forever. For example, the stress or pressure to be desirable in order to find a long term partner can take a toll on your sleeping patterns, appetite, and general ability to fight off disease and infection.