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Sometimes, you may find yourself saying, “But how come my friends all seem to be settling down, yet here I am, still single, let alone planning to settle anytime soon!”

As we grow older, many people may find a partner, settle in a long-term relationship, and eventually maybe even decide to tie the knot! But there are also those who are currently not in the dating game, or just haven’t found the right person to settle with yet.  In our society, there seems to be this ever-present pressure that once you hit a certain age, you need to start working on finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. The pressure of settling down and marriage can be burdensome for many, and this is felt most especially once someone’s close friends start getting married and  building their own families.

Apart from that, a qualitative study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that in fact, a person’s relationship status has much to do with their sense of mental security, and for some people, not having that security can be a cause of distress. A combination of the above mentioned factors can result in a person not forming a secure sense of self when they find themselves identifying as single (Spielmann et al., 2013).

In reality, there is no rush to get partnered up! There is no specific time or age when a person has to think of settling down, it’s societal pressures and pressure from the family that might make us think so. In fact, many people choose to remain single for a period of time for a variety of reasons.

Bella DePaulo, a psychologist at the University of California Santa Barbara, states that the idea of single people being unhappy, lonely or possibly desperate for a partner, is just a myth (Brodwin, 2018). In fact, in a study conducted by two social scientists, it was found that people who are single are more likely to have a larger social network of friends and are more likely to have an active social life, having the time to enjoy social meet-ups and activities (Gerstel & Sarkisian, 2006).

Feeling lonely is not necessarily the case when it comes to being single. Solitude is often sought out by those who are looking for time to connect with their self, maybe after a tough relationship, or a distressing life event. Sometimes, taking time to just connect with your emotions, and enjoy doing what you love is just what someone needs to ground themselves again. Solitude can present as a great opportunity for self-reflection, and gaining insight into things which may have been unclear.

Other people may choose to be single because they have a lot going on in their life, such as career opportunities, academic studies or other areas that may require their time and energy, and simply choose to hold a relationship off till it feels like it is the right time.

Being single can be used as an opportunity for self-growth, and it is important that everyone sets their own pace when it comes to partners and getting serious. Rather than focusing on time as running out, focus on finding a person that feels right for you.


References:

Brodwin, E. (2018). It’s better to be single, according to science. Retrieved 25 September 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/why-single-is-better-according-to-science-20182?utm_content=bufferdbf8a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer-biuk&r=UK&IR=T

Gerstel, N., & Sarkisian, N. (2006). Marriage: The Good, the Bad, and the Greedy. Contexts5(4), 16-21. doi: 10.1525/ctx.2006.5.4.16

Spielmann, S., MacDonald, G., Maxwell, J., Joel, S., Peragine, D., Muise, A., & Impett, E. (2013). Settling for less out of fear of being single. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology105(6), 1049-1073. doi: 10.1037/a0034628

Becky Faenza is one of the Triage Officers that form part of the Triage Team with Willingness. She is a University graduate, with a B.A Degree in Philosophy and Psychology, and also a Higher Diploma in Psychology (H.DIP).