By Lynn Cadet

Singledom can come coupled with a lot of pressure and loneliness. Society often likes to place a ticking clock on our internal timetables, influencing how we live and plan our paths. Many women I know, including myself, put pressure on themselves to be married or even have children by 30. 

“Go to school, find a job, get married,” they say. Simple? Wrong. 

Navigating a dating scene muddled with complications and a range of (sometimes strange) characters can be difficult and downright exhausting. It can be a lonely place when you see other friends or family members find their partners and start a family, leaving you to fend for yourself in the crazy dating world. You may begin to feel you’re behind in life when it’s definitely not true. 

Being single can come with so many freedoms and luxuries with the right outlook. Trust me, people with the “in a relationship” status have their fair share of problems that we single gals don’t have to deal with. 

You also don’t have to have everything figured out by a set age. 

Comparison is only a thief of joy. Everyone leads different lives synchronised to their own clocks and personalities. I would 100% rather wait to find someone I love than settle for less. There is ultimately more joy and fulfilment. 

I Won’t Settle For Less!

While waiting, I can find more time to focus and work on personal growth. What is marriage or partnership without love, anyways? My mom likes to call it “mariage intérêt”, which means married for interest in French. It’s where two people get married for benefits—like a contract—outside of love. Sometimes, it’s even one-sided, and the partner has no idea that the other is settling, and messiness and confusion ensue. 

Simply, settling is not worth it for me when you can have the better alternative. with love, integrity, and trust.

Pressures And Judgment

The combination of pressure and judgment surrounding singleness often pushes people into a state of fear, one they think only relationships can cure. For centuries, society has made people believe they’re more valuable when married. Fear of being alone can cause people to rush into relationships or stay in unfulfilling partnerships to assuage the anxiety around people and own their perception of themselves. 

Singlism, a term describing anti-single sentiment, is based on how people judge others for being single and stereotype them as miserable or unfulfilled. Those with stronger fears of judgment tend to lower their standards and have less satisfying relationships. 

Some people even suffer from ambiguous grief when longing for a relationship. They feel like they lack something without any clear understanding of why or when they will find what is missing—in their minds—a relationship.  

When we settle in relationships, we often overlook quality for quantity and enter with false joy and fulfilment. Settling can end up hurting the other person if the feeling isn’t mutual. You can also feel miserable in your relationship as your needs and desires may not be fully met. People also settle because dating is complicated, they are too lazy to start over, don’t believe they deserve better, or they don’t want to hurt their partners’ feelings. Breaking up can be complicated, but being tied to someone who makes you unhappy can be worse. 

Liberated In Single-hood 

If you look at it through the right lens, singleness can deliver unique opportunities not always accessible in a relationship. You can have liberty in all your decision-making, schedule set-ups, and interests. In relationships, partners have to focus on the “we” and make tons of sacrifices. When you’re single, you can go where you want when you want. You can travel or even move to a new place and start over if you wish. No worrying about making plans impacting another person’s life or impressing anyone other than yourself.

Many women have also found solace and pride in singleness. According to the New York Times, more than 17.9 million people use the #single over the 12.9 million who use the #engaged on Instagram. 

Actress Emma Watson opened up to British Vogue about her singleness, “I’m very happy. I call it being self-partnered.” Emma and several other women have found happiness in their platonic relationships, careers, and in themselves. It may sound a tad bit selfish, but it’s so not. You can take this time to take care of yourself and your friendships, and build your life without rushing and be ready for a more fulfilling relationship when the time comes.

Singleness shouldn’t have to feel like a stigma, but a normal part or step in your life as you find yourself and make awesome memories through the other relationships and interests in your life. Being single does not lead to unhappiness unless you focus on seeing it that way. Look at the beauty of it, and your next relationship will totally be worth the wait.