5 Advantages of Being Single

April 25, 2012

in Singledom

Happy Being Single

Lying naked on the examination table with a paper gown covering very little, I waited. After a few minutes of staring at a wildlife picture taped to the ceiling, the doctor breezed in with a nurse by her side, ready to complete my annual gynecological exam. As she started the exam, she initiated a conversation about being single (she knows I am) and the current state of dating at our age (we are both in our 40′s). This was not exactly the discussion I was hoping to have with a speculum in me and a doctor poking around my cervix.

The conversation went something like this:

Doc: “Are you still seeing the same guy from the winter?”

Me: “I am. It’s going really well with him.”

Doc: “I don’t know how you do it. Being single, I mean. The dating process these days and so many losers out there. I wouldn’t want to be single.”

Me: “Well, um, it’s been okay for me. I am really happy.”

Doc: “My husband is far from perfect and he has his issues, which I have to deal with, but it’s not like he beats me or anything. Knowing what it is like single in your 40′s, it makes my husband a lot more appealing than the alternative.”

Me: {shock-silence-disbelief}

Why do married people assume single people are unhappy?

This isn’t the first time I have had a conversation about being single with someone who had pity in her eyes as she discussed my martial status. On another occasion last fall, out to dinner with a group of women, one asked me how I was doing. I told her I was doing great–I had just shot a wedding, the photography school had hired me to teach part-time,  contractors just completed three home improvement projects, and my kids were doing great in the new school year.

“Yes, but tell us how you are really doing. It must be so hard to be alone,” she stated in a condescending tone.

Did I not state clearly enough that I am doing well and that I was happy?

People who are married and take this approach with singles should wipe the sad look off their faces and realize we could actually be happier alone than they are in their married life. Being alone is nothing to fear. I actually find it preferable to being in a bad relationship.

Are there times I wish I had a partner? On occasion, yes. It is a rare and fleeting thought though. But stating I wish I had a partner at times would bristle The Boyfriend. I can hear his response now:

“You do have a partner; we just don’t live under the same roof full time.”

He would be right with that rebuttal of course. So let me be more clear: the type of partner that requires a divorce attorney to break up.

For those who are married and pity singles (and for single people who have forgotten the advantages of being single), I have made a list. If this list shines a light on the advantages of singledom and saves just one single person from a poor-you conversation with a well-meaning married friend, I would have accomplished something with this post today.

5 Benefits of Being Single

1- Complete Independence- There is a great freedom that exists when single. I don’t answer to anyone and I don’t have to argue or negotiate over my decisions.

2- No Other Family- I only have my family members. I don’t have a meddling mother-in-law who will never approve of how I am caring for her precious son. I don’t have in-laws weighing in on my relationship with my partner or parenting skills. {Note: This is not a reference to my ex-mother-in-law. She is a wonderful woman.}

3- No Emotional Roller Coaster- The best thing about dating vs. marriage is the ability to hop off the roller coaster whenever I like without needing aforementioned divorce attorney. I don’t have to stay in a bad relationship because staying is less complicated than getting out. If the relationship isn’t going well, it’s over without  a single check cut to an attorney.

4- Financial Freedom- Speaking of money, it’s all mine. And I don’t have to have discussions about what I do with it.

5- Better Sense of Self- The freedom, independence, and solitude I have now that I am single has led to a greater understanding of who I am and what I want in life.

Do you agree?

Disagree?

Can you add to the list?

Leave a comment to weigh in on the topic.

Photo/quote credit


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Lara April 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

Yes, in a world where many women think it’s better to be with anyone that no one, we do need to remember all the perks to being single. One of many is that we are free to find out what we really want! This way we are not just stuck with anyone but can find someone we actually want to be with. Being single is a perfect opportunity to give ourselves a little self-pampering and do a little exploring to make ourselves the best girlfriends and find the best boyfriends. Here is a link from my blog about that – http://www.theloveinhereyes.com/2012/01/24/how-to-attract-the-guys-you-want/

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thanks for sharing a link Lara!

After all the work it takes to divorce and move forward with your life, who wants the risk of dealing with that a second time? To me that doesn’t mean you never remarry, you just are aware of your needs and focus on never settling for less than you deserve.

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ruta fox April 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Well put. And so right!

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Thanks Ruta!

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in bed with married women April 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

“He doesn’t beat me.” That’s some high standards! I can see why you married him.

xoxo
jill
in bed with married women recently posted.."Don’t you fucking move," Reader Mail from a Feminist SubmissiveMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I know! I was speechless.

As an aside, “vagina” doesn’t appear once in this post. That had to be a let-down for you.

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in bed with married women April 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm
David April 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Why do married people always assume that other married people are happy? Trust me darling, if it were not for having the glorious honor of having to care for my house of Autism I would be gone so fast that the vacuum effect would pull every building behind me in a huge vortex of flotsam and jetsam. I’m not scared of divorce attorneys – eat ‘em for breakfast – but the thought of all of them spinning out of control through this life is unpleasant at best. Kelly, I’m really honestly delighted for you. And if you ever find that you know – I mean really know – that you are with your true soul mate then marry away. Married and oh-so-deliciously miserable about it all in Austin, Texas. xoxoxoxo
David recently posted..My Monkey is Now Too Old to SpankMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm

You always crack me up! Now I am off to learn on your blog why your monkey is too old to spank….

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Charlotte April 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm

*stands up to applaud*

Okay, first things first: if you’re dating someone, you’re not technically single, right? Or have I missed something? Only if you’re MARRIED are you no longer single? Ugh.

N-E-Way, I couldn’t agree more. Better happy and single than in a relationship and miserable I always say. It really ruffles my feathers when people assume you must be sad because you aren’t in a relationship. While there are partners that may bring joy to our lives, we must find it within first. LOVE this post! And boo on your gyno! With or without a cold tool wedged up my hooha, I don’t think I would have been able to restrain myself the way you did. You clearly get the Bigger Person of the Year award :)
Charlotte recently posted..yes, i still love youMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I am so happy you enjoyed this post. The gyn conversation has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks. I knew it would hit my blog, just not sure in what form. Maybe if I said something in the moment it would not be eating at me this long so I am not sure it was the right decision. Also? She is a bit odd that way. I was in for an appointment yesterday and she said, “You again! I feel like at this point it would be more fun if we just went out for drinks.” She’s a bit nutty, but fun. Well, in an odd sort of way.

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Meredith P. April 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I don’t understand why married people think that way either, I’m married and I don’t feel sorry for single people…at times I envy them ;D.
Meredith P. recently posted..30 Day Photo Challenge (Gratitude) Day 25: ArtworkMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

And sometimes we envy you married people. Just not as often as you envy us. Kidding! (Sort-of)

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Lance April 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I was terrible at being single. The way I’m wired, I’m defintely a relationship person. After my divorce, everyone tried to set me up with their lone single friend they knew. This was stupid and insulting.

Once, at cookout at a married friends house, they made sure the two circus freaks, me and the other single person, a woman a few years younger, were in the same room alone.

we played it off with humor. we had no chemistry and no interest in each other.

My sister in law in single. I’m her best friend. she loves me because i NEVER mention her being single.
Lance recently posted..Just What I NeededMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Good for you Lance, remembering the single days and not falling into the well-meaning married person role.

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Martin Cooney April 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

Being single is good and being married is good too.
Providing you love yourself, know who you are and want it is you want in life, single is just as ‘OK’ as being in a long term relationship. It’s just a mindset thing.

And the mindset is happiness, whatever the situation you happen to be in. I’ve got friends who are single and some are miserable and some are fantastic happy. Same goes for married friends I know.

Other people’s opinions of your ‘state of being’ is irrelavant, as far as I’m concerned.

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Naked Girl in a Dress April 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

You have an excellent point. I agree completely.

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Vanessa April 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I think the thing that made me speechless when I was first single was the time I went to a co-workers retirement party and one of my other co-workers was all “look at you, making your way here all by yourself!” Why? Does it take a husband to google a map, dress your best and drive yourself to a party?

Personally, I am convinced that people – men or women, who learn to be content and even happy when they are on their own have a better chance of making good relationship decisions down the road.
Vanessa recently posted..5 Things About Brad and Angie’s EngagementMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I am so sorry you had that experience, but it really is telling about that person. Clearly your co-worker can’t handle being alone because he/she thought it was so brave of you to attend solo. Crazy!

When you are comfortable being alone, you don’t make rush decisions to remarry. There’s no need to do that.

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Kimberly April 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I agree completely.

I really may never marry again. Then again, I might.

Who knows what’s in the cards for me? But I’ll tell you this…I’m happy. I have a wonderful life…and don’t often feel like I’m missing out.

I could have stayed with my ex. Then I wouldn’t be single. But I wouldn’t be happy there either. And if I have to choose between being happy and alone and being miserable with someone else, I choose the former.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm

We are so similar in our outlook on life. I could have stayed too, but I would not be happy. It’s a great life now and it has worked out to be the best thing for all of us.

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Julia April 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Love this. I’ve been married for 5 years and it’s going fine. Not fairy tale ending-ish, but fine. I mostly love being married and I definitely love begin a stay at home mom to my little boy. My hubs works ALL THE TIME, so loneliness is something I experience all the time even though I am married.
Being married doesn’t mean you won’t ever be alone or ensure happiness. I have sometimes been envious of my single friends because they can do whatever they want and answer to no one! And yay no mother in law!
If I had never gotten married, I’m sure I would be sad I was still single. But if I ever find myself single now, I think it could be empowering.
Great post.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Thank you Julia–for visiting and sharing a comment.

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Classic NYer May 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

People who assume that single people are not happy are people who have only been talking to single people who are not happy.

When I was single, I used to hang out with single men who were as old as you are and some older. Not one of them was happy. They were all terribly bitter people. But then again, they were all also hanging out with a twenty-something (and not succeeding at sleeping with her), which means that they probably had deeper issues than just being single.

Also, people want to find something to be better than, and for married people, singleness is an easy target.
Classic NYer recently posted..On the Wives and Girlfriends ClubMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

We are an easy target. What always makes me laugh is the ones who weigh in with the “poor you” comments the most are the ones absolutely miserable in their own lives. At least that is my experience.

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