Living Single

Leila Nichols

Finding the right person to spend the rest of your life with is a worthy goal, but there's no reason to jump into a relationship just because all of your coupled-up friends are raving about how happy they are.

What's Worse Than No Relationship?
Many people seek out a relationship because it gives them a sense of validation, a seal of approval, and a feeling that they are "okay." Couples are automatically given societal approval, even if their relationship is neither stable nor healthy.

"A relationship won't give you self-esteem," says Seana McGee, M.A., co-author of "The New Couple: Why the Old Rules Don't Work and What Does" (Harper San Francisco, 2000). Yet some people continue to believe that a relationship can magically eradicate all of their problems, including their insecurities. That's not the case. If it were, the yellow pages wouldn't include a listing for "couples therapy."

Single and Loving Life
If you're single, instead of bitching about it, try reveling in it. Indulge in the things that get squeezed out when you become half of a couple: go to the gym, catch up on your sleep, spend time with your friends, see really bad movies, read epic novels, and flirt like mad. Most importantly, use this time to get to know who you are and think about what you want or expect from someone else.

Overwhelmingly, the people I interviewed for this article agreed that the best part about being single is "freedom, freedom, freedom." Other benefits to being single:

  • You have much more time for yourself.
  • You don't need to listen to anyone whine about his or her day.
  • You can flirt (and fart) with abandon.
  • You don't need to hang out with his/her annoying friends.
  • You don't need to check in with someone before making plans.
  • You don't need to clean up after anybody.

What single people appreciate most is that they don't have to compromise. "I didn't realize that being with someone meant that a decision about taking bath or going out for groceries often requires a discussion," said Emmy Chang, 24, of San Francisco, CA. "Being single allows for spontaneous, unconsidered and inconsiderate decisions. You can skip dinner and stay on the couch all evening watching TV without it having an impact on someone else," she adds.

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