There are very few (if any) romantic comedies about people who wind up alone. In fact, it’s almost as if the whole notion of “love and happiness” is precipitated on the idea that love and happiness only comes with the companionship of another. Well, maybe that’s true for some—and when you’re sitting in a restaurant alone on Valentine’s Day, it might feel like it’s true for you—but there are benefits to being single. There’s even some science behind the upside of going solo in a couple’s world.
Being Single: Are there Really Benefits?
The biggest health benefit to being part of a couple is pretty obvious: if you were to slip on a banana peel, your significant other would be there to point and laugh and, if you need it, call an ambulance. But! Studies have found that married couples have higher BMI’s than single individuals.
Another study from Psychology Today found that on average, single men exercise almost two times more than men who are married. And most couples (about two-thirds) gain around 14 pounds while being in a relationship. This is not to say that simply being in a relationship will suddenly make you heavier, but being in a relationship can promote habits that don’t include as much physical activity.
Besides maintaining a healthy waistline, single individuals often have less stress and stress less about being in a relationship. After all, it’s almost an inevitability that a couple will fight.
In addition, studies have found that we sleep better when we are alone. The simple science behind this is that you and your partner sleep very similarly. So whenever either you or your partner wakes up in the night, both of you would likely end up waking up. On average, couples wake up more and receive less quality sleep than single individuals. Being in a relationship can really put a dent in your physical health, especially if you are not mindful of the habits you are adopting.
The Freedom to Do You
One great benefit of being single is your freedom to choose whatever you want to do all the time. And when you have more time to spend on yourself, you’re more likely to spend time participating in the hobbies you love, focusing on your well-being and dedicating more time to achieve any career goals. In a sense, you’re able to really experience who you are.
When you spend more time focusing on the things that you love, you are more likely to be in better mental health. There are a handful of reasons for this. Research has shown that being in a relationship could make you lose up to two friends within your inner circle. With the amount of time you spend with your significant other, you can easily put your friends on the backburner.
Another benefit of being single is your ability to focus on the activities you enjoy on your own time. When you’re single, you’ll probably be the most devoted person to your hobbies, passions, or interests. You have more time to travel, you can experience the world in your own way, and ultimately become more connected with yourself. Therefore, the main benefit of being single is the ability to dive into your own desires, fears, interests, and ultimately—yourself.
The single life isn’t for everybody. Sometimes people really do need someone to clean up after them or encourage them to get off the couch and go mow the lawn. But the positives that come with forging a solo path in this couples-centric world are undeniable (and backed by science).
Remember that the next Valentines Day when you’re sitting alone at the restaurant, pumped from hitting the gym and about to dig into a big steak all by yourself.