10 Reasons You'd Be Better Off Single, Therapists Say
Some alone time might be just what you need.
Romantic relationships can be a beautiful thing—one in which both individuals learn, grow, care for, and support one another. However, single life has its benefits, too, and these often go overlooked. Mental health professionals say that many of the reasons you might be better off single are directly tied to common flaws in dating or married relationships, but others pertain to your priorities, goals, or desires as an individual. Wondering if you should spend some time solo? Read on to learn the top 10 reasons you might be better off single, according to therapists.
You're in a toxic or abusive relationship.
Let's get the most extreme case out of the way first. If you're in a toxic relationship—one in which your partner disrespects you, lies, exhibits controlling behavior, or puts you through physical, sexual, or emotional abuse—you would unquestionably be better off single.
Besides being a direct threat to your safety, "these behaviors can eat away at an individual's self-esteem and self-confidence more and more over time," says Julie Robinson, LMFT, MEd, a therapist and the president of Las Vegas Therapy Center.
You'd also be better off being single if you struggle to control your own toxic behaviors in a relationship. By taking some time and space for reflection and asking for help from a professional mental health expert, you can explore the root causes of those behaviors and set healthier patterns for the future.
Your partner is harming your finances.
Many people are familiar with the ideas of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse—but fewer people understand the effects of financial abuse. However, Robinson says that if you notice a pattern of financial control or irresponsible spending that puts your well-being at risk, you are definitely better off single.
"If you find yourself paying for everything in the relationship without much if any reciprocation, that is a sign that you're being used. You can find better ways to spend your hard-earned money," she says.
Even if there's no financial abuse going on, Bayu Prihandito, a life coach and the founder of Life Architekture, says financial independence is still a valuable feature of single life.
"Singles have the autonomy to manage their own finances without having to consider a partner's financial habits or goals. This can lead to more freedom in decision-making, from spending on a spontaneous trip to investing in a personal project," he tells Best Life.
You don't truly want a relationship.
Heather Browne, PsyD, LMFT, a psychotherapist and relationship expert, says that many people enter relationships because of societal pressure to find a partner, rather than from a place of genuine desire. If this is the case for you, you might be better off single.
"Some people truly desire connection but not commitment. If you are not wanting monogamy or a serious relationship, you might want to be single and explore," she explains.
You recently went through a breakup.
After a breakup, you may feel that you need to get straight back into the dating pool. However, Browne says this is often a mistake.
"If you recently ended a relationship, it's important to give yourself some time to reacquaint yourself with you. If you jump into a new relationship quickly, you will most likely look for what was missing in the last relationship. There might be more important aspects to look for if you give yourself time to evaluate what is actually best," notes the psychotherapist.
Your partner makes you feel bad about yourself.
Some relationships make you feel like the best version of yourself and help you reach your potential. Others can make you feel low, even if that's not your partner's intention, says Robinson.
"If your partner is tearing you down, potentially unconsciously, this can cause your sense of self-worth to plummet and prevent you from being able to thrive as you should. Nothing is worth losing your self-worth over. If your relationship is causing you to feel bad about yourself, you would be better off single," she explains.
You're lonely or looking for validation.
Sometimes it's important to take a step back and examine why you want a relationship in the first place. If the answer is that you are feeling lonely or looking for validation from a partner, you may be better off being single.
"Looking for another to choose you or tell you you are worthy is not the reason to get into a relationship. Wait until you know you have a lot to share," Browne suggests. "Learn to enjoy you and feel complete on your own. When you do, a relationship becomes a desire, not a need. The energy and purpose is very different—and the outcome will be as well."
You want to focus on personal growth.
A great relationship can help you learn about yourself and grow in meaningful ways. However, the flexibility many people experience while single can also be a catalyst for personal growth.
"Without the influence or expectations of a partner, people can explore their interests, passions, and dreams more freely. This period can be a transformative time for personal growth, where one can learn about their strengths, weaknesses, and what truly makes them happy," says Prihandito.
Angela Jackson, MA, LPCC, a counselor with Denver Couples & Sex Therapy, agrees that periods of singlehood can help you get to know yourself. "Being single allows individuals the time and space to embark on a journey of self-discovery… without the influence or expectations of a partner," she says.
You want to invest more in other relationships.
Romantic relationships get an outsized amount of our attention, but they're not the only important relationship in your life.
"Being single can provide the time and space needed to nurture other relationships in one's life, such as friendships, family, and professional connections. These relationships can also offer support, joy, and fulfillment in different ways than a romantic relationship," says Prihandito.
You're launching your career.
Yes, you can be in a meaningful relationship while also thriving in your career—and in fact, the support of a good partner can help you reach your goals. However, experts say that some people find it easier to build up their professional lives with fewer distractions and more free time.
"Without the need to compromise or balance their career goals with those of a partner, single individuals can pursue their career aspirations more freely, possibly achieving higher levels of success and satisfaction in their professional lives," says Jackson.
You crave more emotional stability.
Healthy, established relationships often provide a sense of consistency and comfort, but those early months or even years of dating can put you all over the emotional map.
Mike Laauwe, a certified life coach and the founder of Positive Thinking Mind, says you might be better off single if you're not up for the rollercoaster of early dating at the moment.
"Relationships, while beautiful, can be turbulent. Being single often shields you from the high highs and the very low lows, promoting a stable emotional state," he tells Best Life.
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