Maybe you’ve never married, or perhaps you’re widowed or divorced. Whatever the reasons, as a midlife single you’ve probably experienced the sympathy of others, hearing them say they hope you’ll eventually “find someone” and become half of a couple again. However, many people discover advantages to being single in midlife—being alone doesn’t automatically mean being miserable. Here are ten good reasons to appreciate and enjoy your life as it is.
1. You can make your own decisions
An inevitable part of being in a relationship is that decisions often have to be reached jointly—sometimes with a degree of compromise—so that life runs smoothly. When you’re on your own, this isn’t a problem. You can make your own decisions about minor issues (e.g. what TV program to watch), or you can suddenly decide to change your life entirely, with no reference to anyone else.
2. You have control of your own finances
Arguments over finances can be one of the biggest stressors in a relationship. Being single may mean you have less income, but what you do have is all your own. No more arguments over the monthly budget or whether to buy a season ticket to the ballgame!
3. You become more self-reliant
While your heart might still sink when you need to hire a contractor or the car grinds to a halt, in time you’ll realize that you are more than capable of solving the problem (or that you know how to find someone who can!).
4. You’ll become more confident
Once you begin to handle everyday problems, you’ll develop greater independence and self-confidence that will spread to other areas of your life. “If I can handle that, I can do this!” will become your mantra. You’ll learn to visit the movies alone or enjoy dinner in a restaurant without needing to make arrangements with a friend—unless you want to.
5. You can choose how to spend your time
Relationships require commitment, and part of that commitment comes in the form of time. Spending time together is the lifeblood of any partnership, but sometimes the strains of a demanding job or a pastime can interfere with that, causing you to feel guilty for shifting focus away from the relationship. Being single lets you prioritize your time without experiencing guilt.
6. You can have a vibrant social life
You’ll have more time to spend with friends and family when you’ve only got yourself to consult. You can go out for drinks at the drop of a hat, take a last-minute weekend away, or stay out overnight without having to call home. You can be as impulsive and creative as you like.
7. You can travel the world
Taking an exotic holiday is certainly less expensive as a single! Travel alone if you feel confident, or join a designated singles holiday of you want companionship along the way. You could even take a break and take longer to travel the world—once again, you only have to make arrangements for you.
8. You can devote more time to kids and grandchildren
Being single gives you a fabulous opportunity to spend more quality time with your kids or their offspring. If you live nearby, you can babysit when you want, or you can go and visit more frequently if you’ve only got to make your own arrangements (though be wary of overdoing this!). You could take vacations together, or have the grandchildren stay for sleepovers—all without worrying whether your partner might feel overwhelmed.
9. You’ll get better quality sleep
Research has shown that we sleep better when we’re not likely to be disturbed by someone else’s presence in bed with us. Your partner might suffer from problems such as snoring, getting up to the bathroom frequently, or even insomnia—all of which can disturb your sleep pattern. Sleeping alone means you can please yourself and not be disturbed by someone else.
10. You can start a new relationship
In time, you may feel ready to give up some of these advantages to start a new relationship with someone special. More and more people are beginning rich and fulfilling relationships in midlife—ones that are likely to be successful because you’re both older and wiser. Being single in midlife does have its advantages, but you can always change your mind if a different opportunity comes along!