Single? Work It To Your Advantage

Are you single? Work it to your advantage! Let's show you how to stop feeling sorry for yourself and use this 'single' time as a period of self discovery and personal development. There are all kinds of research these days, some proving that married people are happier and more content; and on the other hand, others insisting that single people live longer and have more fulfilling lives. Meanwhile, in our real world, these results do not address the seemingly opposing views displayed in the reports of rising divorce rates, or the constant drive for unmarried people to find that ‘special someone.’

Regardless of what you believe, and how you view your status – whether married or single, there is one fact with which we all agree.  It is best to wait until you find that person you want to spend the rest of your life with, rather than settle for someone just because your friends are pairing up all around you.

Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and public holidays seem to be the times of year when single people find it hardest to cope with their status. I know that this was certainly true for me as a young adult, before I got married. 

Single? Work it to your advantage

even Bridget Jones needed relationship help

Understand that you don’t have to have a partner to start living your life

Many single people plan to go travelling, learn to dance, play sport etc., but they put this off until they can find someone to do it with! This is a waste of your time. Your life and your personal advancement should not be put indefinitely on hold simply because you are single. In fact, you should use the time you have on your own to do exactly what you want to do - allowing your life to take the direction you’ve always envisioned. You are not subject to another person’s choices or preferences, you can do things exactly the way you like them, and at the time and pace you wish to.  If you have goals in life that you want to achieve, or events in which you want to participate, go ahead and do just that. Waiting for the right person to come along to help you start living your life makes for a very boring existence.  Get out there and start living. Who knows, there may be someone else with the same ideas, at the very place you want to be.

What to do with your single self:
Book the holiday, the tour, the dance class, the sports activity you want to do and get it done. Waiting sips your life drip by drip, down the drain of loneliness and boredom. You don’t need a man to start living your life. It’s your life – not anyone else’s!

Understand that marriage does not cure unhappiness

If you’re thinking that all you need now in your life to make you happy, is someone to love you, then you’re vastly mistaken. If you are an unhappy person, then you will go into marriage with the same outlook in life. Having someone there will not change your views or your level of contentment.  In fact, having someone to witness your bleak, negative outlook on life, often makes it worse because they cannot understand why their efforts to make you happy falls on infertile ground. If you are unhappy within yourself, you should first try to find the cause of your discontentment. Happiness comes from within ourselves, and is then shared with the people around us.

Using a partner as a plaster for a wound of the heart is a practice in futility. The healing has to come from somewhere much deeper than the surface, from a place so far into your being, that only you  can reach it. 

What to do with your single self:

It is advisable to clean out the junk from your life, before inviting someone else to share it with you.

Understand that men don't cure loneliness

No, they don’t. Many married women are still lonely, and some are even raising children on their own. You are lonely, not because you don’t have a man in your life, but because you have not made the best of the life you already have. Women are generally able to maintain  extremely close relationships with others of our gender. Most of us have family around us, and certainly, there is enough to do in the world (with people who need our help) to keep us occupied for a hundred years. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. In fact, being alone can be therapeutic if we know how to use the ‘me’ time. Many married mothers would give anything to be alone for one day.

Being alone gives us a chance to get to grips with what helps us to refresh our resilience. It gives us the breathing space we need to arrange our lives and minds in a way that benefits not only us, but the people who know us. I say this, because within the hour of meeting someone, you can tell the difference between a person who knows exactly what they want, and one who is still feeling around in the dark for inspiration to fall into his hands.  Which one is easier to be with? 

What to do with your single self:

Arrange your single life in such a way that you’re adding to your character and personality all the time. Invest in yourself – mentally and emotionally – so that when the time comes for you to share your life with someone, you will be the one that’s the catch.  Spend time helping others, as this builds you as a person and creates lasting relationships with people who enrich you. Volunteering is an asset, not only for the people who are being helped, but more so for the helper who is giving of herself.

Understand the value of your friends

Single girls have it a lot easier than single men. Women have close bonds with our girlfriends.  We are able to share our secrets and our heartaches. We're able to talk about our concerns and troubles. We engage with each other about our single status and what we hope to find in an eventual partner. This is not usually the case with men. They hang around with each other, but their conversations tend to be a little lighter than ours. They may talk about their concerns of ending up alone, but hardly ever share their deeper feelings about relationships with their male friends. 

Single women are afforded the privilege of hanging out with each other for long periods of time, we grow close to each other, and often, if or when our relationships fail to work, we’re able to fall back on our friends. Many times these friends are the very same ones we knew even before we met the latest ex ‘man of our dreams.’

What to do with your single self:

Plan to spend time with a group of single girl friends – especially on Valentine’s day, birthdays and holidays - go out to dinner and catch a movie together. There will be a lot less stress on this date than there would’ve been on a date with a male counterpart.

Understand that you do not have to live on your own if you're single

Many single women I know share a house with other single people. With the financial situation as it is at the moment, it makes sense to share a house or a flat with a few of your girlfriends (or sister/s). Many people do it for financial reasons, but quite a few do it for practical reasons like sharing the cleaning, for the company, and for safety reasons of having someone else there if you ever need help.  Being single does not have to mean being on your own. If you say you don't like sharing your space with other people, how are you going to find being married? There's always someone else there, and he is more likely to leave hair in the sink and the wee on the toilet rim than a female house mate. He's also going to be in your bed from here on out! :-) It may actually be good practise to have the experience of sharing your surroundings with someone else.

What to do with your single self:

If you aren’t already sharing your home with housemates, have friends of both genders over at the week-ends, on birthdays and holidays. Have each of them bring some food and drinks, and have a get-together. They wouldn’t mind picking up some finger foods on their way over, as this would save you the big preparation cooking. You’re already providing the accommodation, the lighting and heating – plus the good company and great music, right? 
If you have a sofa or some sleeping bags, friends can always sleep over at your place on occasions.

Why being single is a great time of life

For a singleton, it may seem like your married friends are having all the fun. They have the husband, and maybe some kids. They have a mortgage and a few white picket fences and all looks well from the outside. This is probably true in half of the cases, but what about the other half? Don’t try to place your life inside theirs, because you really don't know of all the disappointments and hurts the other half are going through.

If you’re waiting for someone else to complete you, you will be sadly disappointed. Your life can only be completed by one person – you. When that knight in his one-and-only dark Armani suit comes along, he is not looking for a half-completed woman. That means you’re not the one he’s going to ride off into the sunset with. Concentrate on finding you, loving you, and getting the best out of your life. Be a good person, do your job well. You don’t have to ever get hitched, but if marriage and kids are what you’re after, one day, the investment you’ve put into making you the person you are, will also work towards qualifying you as the sought-after wife and mother that everyone needs.

Be happy, and if you want to read more on the matter of being single and using it to your advantage have a look at: Find me love, articles for singles.


Harleena Singh October 28, 2012 at 6:12 PM  

Absolutely Anne!

Being single surely has it's own benefits, and I remember the time when I was single and the good time I had.

I won't say that being married isn't good, because it has the pleasures of having a family, kids, and someone whom you can share your life with. But being single you are totally free to do and live the life as you want. There is no one to bind you, which is what I miss most in the present life. I guess we are committed and bound to our families and kids, and for me, they always stand before me. So, one tends to live a little for ourselves and more for them.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Anne Lyken-Garner October 29, 2012 at 9:49 AM  

Thanks for your input, Harleena. I too remember with pleasure, when I chose to be single for a long time. I invested so much in myself and got so much done.

It was a fantastic time for me, because looking back, it was the time I became to know who I was and who I wanted. It was an investment for my years of being married because now I'm ready to live with someone else (having found out what I was really like).

Icy BC October 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM  

I am happy being single, not by choice, but happy nevertheless! I can't imagine living in conflict with anyone at this time in my life!

Anne Lyken-Garner October 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM  

I'd rather be single than live with someone in conflict too, Icy. I know being single is not the choice many women make. I made the choice a long time ago (before I was married) and was happy with it.

However, women who don't have this choice have to live as though it were their choice. Life fulfilment can come in many ways.

I know you're content with your life, but many women make the mistake of picking the wrong person (or people) just because they don't want to be on their own.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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