“Are you seeing anyone these days?” is a question that is sure to pop up when catching up with both family and friends.
If you answer “yes,” then you’ll get a nod of approval and a slew of follow-up questions. But if you answer “no,” it’s likely that you’ll receive an “oh…” and an awkward silence. Or even worse, the dreaded “you’re not getting any younger, so when are you getting married?!”
Although these concerns may be expressed with the best of intentions, they obviously belong in the ‘two is better than one’ school of thought. However, being single can actually be a good thing. Given that there are currently over 2.5 million unmarried Malaysians aged 25 and over, there must be some positives for those of us who are in that boat to focus on, right? I decided to dig five of the health benefits up. Read on and see the single life in a new light.
1. You have more time for yourself
We all have at least one friend who disappears the moment that they get a new partner. Or maybe you are that person. For better or worse, relationships require large amounts of time and energy. Watching movies, going for walks, eating out and even phone calls and texting; they all take time. But what happens when you are single? Well, you have all of that time that would’ve been spent with your significant other all to yourself. You’re free to do whatever you want, whenever you want without needing to check your phone every half hour. And this brings me to the next point.
2. You can get back into shape
Although relationships can help you live a healthier lifestyle, they can also do the complete opposite. They can make you lazy. With the chase and courtship process done and dusted, it is just all too easy to let your exercise regime slide. According to a survey conducted in the UK, over 60 percent of respondents gained weight once they got into a comfortable relationship.
Although breakups will always be emotionally taxing, the shift to the single life will give you the time and motivation to get your body back into shape, which will pay off in both the short and long-term.
3. You can pursue your passion projects
Got a project that you’ve been meaning to work on or a new skill that you’ve been putting off learning? With the free time on your hands, you can direct it towards things that really matter to you. Investing in yourself, your education and your passions are rewarding and will positively impact your mental wellbeing.
According to Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of ‘Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret to Making the Most of Your After-50 Years’, lifelong learning gives us the benefit of “real perspective and enables us to find true meaning in the hills and valleys of our past.”
4. You can limit your spending much more easily
Although having a partner can lower costs in some respects (e.g. splitting the bill and rent), the outgoing lifestyle associated with dating as well as the high price of actually getting married can have a huge impact on your savings. Notice that I haven’t even mentioned the costs related to having kids either. So how is this connected with your health? A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2007 found that 73 percent of respondents claimed that money was a significant source of stress in their lives. So if you’re low on cash, there’s a good chance that the fear of making ends meet and stress will creep in.
In contrast, being single can be really cheap as the only person that you need to pay for is yourself. Take into account the fact that the majority of financial woes are due to the amount that people spend, rather than how much they make, and the entire onus of financial freedom shifts to your own shoulders.
5. You can be yourself
There’s the saying that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This is all well and good, but if you’re spending all your time with other people, including your partner, how will you truly know yourself?
Being alone gives you the time and space that you need to reflect on the past as well as carve out the identity that you want to have in the present. Playwright, Evelyn Smith even goes as far as saying, “women who remain single have grown to know themselves and what they want out of a relationship as well as life in general, and may have happier marriages later on.”
So if you’re single, there is a lot to be optimistic about after all. Just spend the free time that you do have wisely to invest in yourself and your own personal well being!