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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Being Single Benefits

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Benefits of Being Single

Quick Access:
What are the befitis to being single?

During holidays like Thanksgiving my family seems to pressure me to bring someone home. When this doesn’t happen I feel bad. What can I say to them and are there any benefits to being single?

A good answer to the question of “Why are you still single?” – or any of its variations – is to say “I haven’t found the right person yet, but I’m enjoying being single in the mean time.” In this era where people can be stigmatized for not having a significant other, I need to say that singles have much for which to be thankful. In fact, I urge all singles to explore and enjoy their freedom rather than cave to pressure to feel unfulfilled without a partner at this point in their life.

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, let’s remind ourselves of some of these valuable gifts that singles have:

  1. You aren't responsible for another's careless behavior. Anyone who has ever brought a significant home to “meet the family” has worried about what s/he might say or do to cause a bad impression. Sometimes those fears of a bad impression come true. Singles can relax instead.
  1. You don't have to tolerate another's moodiness, nagging or anger. Guarding against bad impressions in public is one thing (see above), but there’s also tolerating a significant other in private. Remember all romantic relationships require very hard work to remain lasting and loving over the long term. That work typically requires sacrifice, compromise and accommodation. Singles have the luxury of autonomy and independence on the other hand.
  1. You’re free to do as you please, when you please and with whom you please. This isn’t permission to do whatever reckless thing comes to mind. Rather, the point is that singles have the right to consistently put their needs first. There’s a freedom that comes with singlehood that never occurs while in a committed relationship.
  1. You’re in control of your finances and can do what you want with your paycheck. Sex and money are among the top reasons for relationship break-ups – it’s no surprise to learn that sex and money both lead to control issues. Singles have the luxury of being in control of their resources at all times. A strong sense of self reliance is a wonderful feeling that doesn’t happen to the same degree when you’re in a committed relationship.
  1. You aren't concerned about a partner’s health, and don't have to deal with him or her worrying about yours. Singles often forget how much time couples spend worrying. They worry about money, each other and what the future holds. This is natural and healthy of course, since a person’s focus and priorities change when a significant other is involved. That said, singles have a sense of peace that comes from having much more cut-and-dried priorities. Couples tend to worry about things they are often out of their control, whereas singles have the luxury of worrying about things that they can directly control.
  1. You aren't kept awake by snoring, and the blankets are all yours. Quality of sleep tends to decline as we age – not because of age itself but because of life stages. Sleep is great when we are babies but then decreases as we are forced to adjust to a school schedule and then adjust to a job schedule and then to a partner’s schedule and perhaps a baby’s schedule. Singles, on the other hand, still have some control over their schedules and this often means better sleep. And for those who don’t appreciate the value of quality sleep, just wait until you have children!
  1. You aren't responsible for somebody else's kids. Speaking of children, singles are responsible only for themselves as opposed to increased responsibilities that can come from dating or living with a significant other. In today’s culture, single parenthood is not uncommon. Relationships are hard work by themselves, and adding children to the equation only makes it more difficult.
  1. You can carry extra pounds without becoming overly self conscious. This should be a self evident gift. Looking and feeling your best is important, but it’s much better when your motivation is pleasing yourself and meeting your own standards rather than someone else’s. Singles can set their own standards.
  1. You don't have to please or pick up after someone. These last two gifts are quite similar. Singles have the luxury of taking care of themselves, rather than the wants, needs and even deficiencies of a significant other. This leads to more time for yourself and less types of stress in your life.
  1. You don't have to deal with another's personal habits. Adjusting, accommodating and compromising to a significant other take time, energy and devotion. It can be exhausting and even uncomfortable when your friends and family don’t like the person. Like it or not, even the most independent people in the world still care about what their close friends and family think. Singles aren’t on the defensive the way some couples might be. Moreover, singles can use the time, energy and devotion that would’ve gone to a partner for self improvement or fulfillment. Strong self-esteem and self-worth are critical for happiness – whether you’re single or not.

No doubt readers can continue this list almost indefinitely. These are just teasers to get you to think about singlehood as a gift, not a burden. Send me your thoughts about what other gifts singles have. I’d love to list them in a future article. Happy Thanksgiving from Online Dating Magazine!

Related Links:
» Jennifer's GEMS: Content Being Single

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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