5 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Single

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5 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Single

It’s sad to that most people look at relationships like they’re the end-all, be-all of personal happiness. “I can’t be happy if I’m not taken!” seems to be the mantra of millions.

I empathize because I used to be one of those people. Looking back a few years, I was insecure, unhappy, and I felt like the only way I could change all that was if I was dating someone.

Well… My first relationship wasn’t exactly the healthiest and I wasn’t really happy. I don’t regret it because it taught me what to avoid in future relationships, but I shake my head when I think about the person I was then.

I was so needy and dependent on the relationship that even while things were breaking apart, I desperately held on and tried to pick up the pieces that should’ve been left alone. My heart would be racing if she didn’t respond to my texts in less than a few minutes. I’d check up on her all the time. I was suspicious of all her male friends.

That’s the sort of behavior that was normal for me. I couldn’t even imagine how it felt to go back to being… single.

So of course, I kept holding on.

Eventually, we broke up and I fell into what I call my darkest hours. I’d be trying to sleep and feel this intense pain throughout my body. My heartstrings felt cut. I’d wonder to myself, “How do people handle being alone?”

That was 5 years ago.

If this is you right now, trust me when I say I get it. I remember how it felt to be reliant on one person for your own happiness. It’s a miserable way to live.

How can you be happy in the long run, 5/10/50 years from now, if you’re dependent on someone else to fix all your personal problems? That’s a sign of a larger issue.

You need to be satisfied with who you are before you can get into a healthy relationship. Neither person could accept the responsibility of being a crutch for the all of the other’s issues.

If you truly believe there’s no possibility of happiness because you’re single, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, pain, and the inevitability of entering a toxic relationship. The relationship you eventually enter won’t last and you’re going to spiral down. Hard.

Here are 5 mindset shifts I had to finally internalize before I realized how to be self-content outside of a relationship.

You have the chance to build a better lifestyle

Relationships won’t transform you into a captivating person filled with unique hobbies and interests.

That’s on you.

I used to believe that having a girlfriend would somehow make me more interesting. The truth is, the bulk of the work lies on your shoulders, whether you’re single or otherwise. In my case, I began to deep dive on subjects I enjoyed.

Fashion interested me so I went out and bought clothes. New clothes made me feel good because I knew I looked good — and I had a new conversation topic to fall back on. Boom, more interesting.

Then I played more sports. Tennis, Bowling, Ultimate Frisbee, and Disc Golf became hobbies that kept me busy and gave me things to talk about.

Having interests makes you interesting.

Being single can be just as self-improving as a relationship

They say your significant other brings out the best in you. That’s only if you’re in a healthy relationship (which most people currently dating aren’t.)

You can still work on building self-confidence, self-esteem, and everything in between. Personal growth doesn’t suddenly halt when your Facebook relationship status is set to single.

If you condition yourself to believe you can’t grow on your own then your mindset needs a serious shift. Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution you can drink and to realize this. It’s something you’ll have to come to yourself.

Toxic relationships drain you more

Rush into one and you’re bound to be desperate. You’ll fall for the first girl that displays any interest in you and you’ll stay with her because you’ll tell yourself it’s better than being single.

Ferris Bueller’s comment on his best friend, Cameron, says it best: “…he’s going to marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”

Is this you? Do you want to be in a soul-sucking relationship just to avoid being single? Relationships aren’t the end-all, be all of human existence. Don’t be Cameron.

There’s no such thing as wasted time

One of my closest friends is in this situation right now. I asked him how his relationship was doing and he was unenthused.

I asked if he felt happy but his response was that he didn’t know what that meant. Then I asked him why he’s still dating her. He said he didn’t want all their relationship’s work and effort to go to waste.

Okay, you put effort into something that didn’t quite meet your expectations, but so what? You learn what to avoid in the future. You get stronger. You emerge as a freaking beast.

Did I regret my first relationship? I sure did at the time, but I realized I had grown so much from my experience. I know more about what I want, what I don’t, and I learned something valuable; holding onto something broken only delays the disappointment when it shatters.

Learning to be content with yourself allows you find a higher quality partner

After learning to be happy with myself, my expectations for my future girlfriend has been raised much further than just physical appearance. The way I look at it, I’m living an adventure of my own. I want my partner to add onto that and I’m not willing to settle for less.

When I go on dates I’m seeing if I’m interested in them, not the other way around.

This lets me be a lot more relaxed and confident in myself when I’m meeting women because I have all my shit together. There’s no secretly hoping she’s “the one” every time.

All of this because of these 5 mindset shifts.

I had previously wrote this for a buddy of mine, Nick Notas, who runs The Dating Specialist. With his permission, I decided to rewrite this piece for my own audience because this is an important lesson that I haven’t previously covered on here before.

Photo Credit: Porto Leland Francisco – Flickr

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway. After landing his dream job with Empire Flippers, he dropped out of college and began living a location independent lifestyle (still always drawn to coffee shops though.) Don't worry, he still publishes every Monday and hasn't missed a single week since starting this site in January 2013.

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31 responses to 5 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Single

  1. To me the last point is the most important. To a few couples this post might sound like an excuse, but I think most more versed ones understand and appreciate that a SO is not the end-all-be-all of the pursuit happiness.

    There is such a thing as wasted time(for example time spent worrying about wasting time), but I completely get what you’re trying to say.Why would you invest more time into something that blatantly is not working for either of you, just because of the time already invested. The time you spend now will not change the past. Some appreciate the “duty” of sticking with your decision for life, but most people in our generation, me included, don’t understand that point of view. If at some points I have children, in spite of my plans and expectations, and end up hating my spouse, i hope that there’s a general acceptance for separation as long as there is continued cooperation regarding to the raising of the kids. I don’t know, maybe my views will change with age. But without kids in the picture, I would hope that I never delay ending a relationship out of pure obligation to my past self.

    I think the whole idolization of relationships stems from the fact that it’s basically a shortcut. It’s a quick fix. You believe that all that’s missing from your life is a relationship, and you get a sense of righteousness, because your misery is not your fault. And when you go out searching for one, and it doesn’t “fulfill you”, that’s when things like cheating and all that good stuff happens. It’s easier to blame your situation on an outside influence than yourself. It’s harder to take responsibility.

    • I’m currently seeing someone right now that I think is just awesome. (If you’re reading this, hi!) But I’m not sure if I want to be in a relationship. Would it fix the personal issues I’ve got going on in my own life right now? No.

      Going back to past-Me, I would have taken it far too fast, dived right into a relationship, and crossed my fingers hoping it’d make me a happier person. If it wasn’t working then I’d cling on for dear life.

      Idealizing anything is bad and I think relationships (as a whole) is one of the more dangerous things to have the wrong idea about. It’s like when people say, “oh you two are fighting? Make a baby and it’ll fix all your problems.” That’s delusion and just terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE advice.

  2. Very common fallacy.

    The grass always seems to be greener… It’s not until you lose what you have that you start appreciating it…

    I could go on with these clichés, but I won’t.

    They sound cheesy, but they’re true. And I think this is important to remember when it comes to relationships as well.

    • I’m definitely not dissing relationships as they can be the catalyst someone needs for change. It’s the ones that tell themselves they can’t be happy without one that will ruin themselves.

  3. “Holding onto something broken only delays the disappointment when it shatters.”

    That’s so true. Holding on to a relationship you’re not happy in just because you’ve put in a ton of effort into it, is just being a victim of the sunk cost fallacy. Though sometimes when it comes to matters of the heart, knowing when it’s a lost case can be tough.

    • I think it’s tough in any situation. Take entrepreneurs for example. How do you know when to put a bad idea to rest? You can latch onto a bad one for years hoping that the next day will be your outbreak success but… When do you call it quits?

      You’ve got to focus on intuition and don’t ignore the signs.

  4. A humorous and stark but true commentary on relationships and love lost is: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/06/how-i-met-claudia/
    There are many fish in the sea, play and have fun. You’ll know the right one when it happens. Meanwhile, all of your reasons are excellent. I’d just add one. Ego loves relationships ’cause it can play with your head. Learn to keep the demon under observation first.

    • Ah, got to love James’ articles. His older ones are the best because they’re just so real (and dark!)

      Note to people who still want to pursue relationships: it’s not bad to do so, but don’t expect each date to lead to “the one.” Persistence and understanding that sometimes it’s a numbers game will keep you sane. I find that the best people enter your life when you’re not expecting.

  5. The best relationships are of coursed based on mutual attraction and completion, not mutual need. So of course they will have lots of flexibility built into them. That said, I like that if my car breaks down or I’m sick I’ve got someone who has my back. And I like being there for that person…who just happens to be my wife and the mother of my kids. :)

  6. I was in a relationship for nearly 3 years, when I came out of it I thought my world was over but it is when my real journey began towards the person I always dreamt of being I still have a fair way go but I honestly don’t think I would of had that drive and hunger to achieve my goals if I had of been in a relationship it forced me o focus on myself.

  7. I totally agree that you can be happy when you are single.

    I was single for almost 2 years and that was probably the happiest and most content time of my life. All of a sudden, I had time to pursue my long-lost hobbies, spent more time with friends and family, learnt new skills and I had fun. It allows you to get to know yourself all over again and you realise you don’t have to settle for the first man that comes along, because you have a renewed sense of confidence and you know what you want! I have met someone in the meantime who not only makes me happy, but also adds value to my life. I think the fact that I was single for so long (by choice by the way! :) ) made me realise that if I ever have to be single again, it won’t be a dreaded black hole as many people perceives it to be. I am now a happier person overall, and I am enjoying my new relationship. I think it is because I had myself some precious me-time.

  8. ‘You have the chance to build a better lifestyle’ – no point being a nickel looking for a dime, huh?!

  9. Interesting article. We’re all like cups of water. We can’t share unless our cup is filled and overflowing.

  10. Hi Vincent. A few days ago, a cousin of mine (single and in her 40s) shared on her Facebook an article about ‘ things not to say to single people’. I must say a lot of people marry out of pressure.

    Well, I had my share of tension when I actually committed myself to singlehood for a while. My wish back then was that ‘singlehood’ is a popular or at least clear pathway and is not just a state where people find themselves in because they ‘ missed’ the trip.

    I have to say – it’s time that the singlehood become a choice.

    • Hell yeah! Pressure is everywhere and it gets annoying. I can’t even imagine marrying someone simply out of pressure and then spending the rest of my life (or until divorce) regretting it.

  11. Great thoughts, Vincent. I’ve been single more than not, most of my life. I would say it actually gives you more room to grow, rather than just as much. As a single dad right now, I would love to start a new relationship, but it gets more tricky with kids and age.

    • It really depends on the individual, I think. Growth can be quick when you’re single or in a relationship, but just don’t forget being the former doesn’t mean you stop growing.

  12. breathofoptimism January 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    There was a time when all I wanted was someone to be with. But then I started to focus on improving myself and became really happy I was single. There was a lot that I had to work on to make me a better person and I think that is how I ended up with the love of my life. I focused on me and being happy with who I was and was becoming instead of obsessing over needing someone else to complete me.

  13. This post reminds me of myself in relation to others.

    People around me seems to be begging and dreaming all day long about finding their soul-mates/loved ones and conversations will always revolve around the topic of love, the other sex, and marriage.

    I’m the outlier because I don’t think that much about it because I’m focused on other thing (some even called me gay and some say that I like older woman haha). I know that it’s normal to yearn to be in a relationship but the thing I see is most people aren’t at the point where they are suited to start one. That’s why marriage can be a rocky path.

    They don’t consider the responsibility, hardship, occasional ‘back-stabbings’ and all sorts of problems that is far from the happy ending people envision as a result of a marriage.

    There’s a reason people start a relationship and the reason is definitely not the typical “everyone’s doing it I need to do it too.”

    Thanks for the post Vincent.

    • Good to hear this resonated with you. It can get quite frustrating when everyone is asking why you don’t want a relationship. I’m sure plenty of people enter one just to relieve the pressure they receive from others. I hope that doesn’t happen often but I’m sure it does.

  14. Excellent points! So many people think a relationship is the solution to all of their problems — when in reality, a relationship that is formed on those terms tends to just create even more trouble. Thanks for posting.

  15. I like the topic, especially from a male’s point of view =)

  16. Hi,
    Ive said nothing for 6 years but feel like I have to say something now. I was in a bad relationship the guy didn’t even realize he was treating me like shit. I really did feel like destroying the whole world when I was around him during that time. He kept saying things like “dont hate the whole world”. So thats why I thought that it was out of rebellion but dont really regret it I know who cares about me and whose fake. Anyways I’m really glad I got something like this out. Most would probably be wondering why I didn’t contact a psychiatrist or something, well that’s because he took that away from me. I even said I already had helped but he insisted anyways so I felt bad and let him try to help me, seriously he ended up destroying my life. I felt kind of bad if I just refused it and that’s when this whole drama between me and the group started. At the time I was suggested to go to the psychiatrist because I wrote something about “suicide” on an academic paper it wasn’t actually that though but you get the idea. It was very hard for me to refuse their offer though and than I completely broke contact with the psychiatrist at my university. Now that I think of it it was wrong for him to offer help in the first place. Even if he could to him it comes at a price which was listening to all his poison, thats what one of my friends called him a “parasite”. Wish I wasn’t to nice during that time though. At least Im not now. I dont have any friends now but I know how to do lots of things that will make me lots of friends and not allow me to be so dependent on them. I never thought much about it growing up because my family was so nice to me. They weren’t like Americans always wanting something in return for doing something for me. They just gave me what I wanted on a daily basis and I usually wouldn’t give them a hard time with anything well it wasn’t like that with my whole family but didn’t affect me as much. He’s just a hypocrit anyways. Only reason im saying this is to discourage me from listening to him any longer. Doing so will only destroy me as a person and be miserable. The less I listen to him or not at all the better I feel about myself. Lets just say I really felt like throwing all the strength away at the time, its something I can’t just say/explain in words though. And you can’t like everyone especially in business or maybe even wars. If I was like that I would be taken advantage of not to mention people that don’t even care about you and only see you as annoying. Im not so concerned now though. Its better to have fewer friends than have many and have no clue what your doing or better yet who your trying to please. Ive learned it while reading articles of marketing online than drew my own idea from it. To be honest my arch enemy is named Vincent Nguyen not you though a different person. It doesn’t matter to me the more I hate him the closer I am to my actual future. If I agreed with him I would be totally miserable he’s just spreading propaganda to his friends trying to make me feel bad. I thought he was a bother from the beggining but never did I know he would just completely ruin my life putting all the blame on me. Its been 6 years and he still puts the blame on me. Even has the nerve to talk shit about me at Banh Me & Che Cali when both of my grandpa’s died just recently during that time. It was very insensitive what he did considering I didn’t even bother him during that time. Think he’s to attached to me now I didn’t even say anything to him than he saying all these things like “he loves me” or “Im his friend, which im not never was”. I didnt say anything because real life wasn’t my speciality so I just let him handle it didn’t know he would want something from me for it. Always made me feel bad/guilty for every single thing. Now I just dont care anymore. His friends couldn’t even forget about me either. This is a person thats 24 years old and still acting like this and I met him at a University Club so thought everything would be ok but he acted way to desperate/needy. I dont care if he has his filming company but he shouldn’t act like he’s so important that no one else’s goals matter. He still is like that hasn’t changed at all. He kept saying how it was important to tell everyone everything but I knew deep inside he was just depending on people to take care of his problems never trying to figure it out himself. There’s a problem with that though it’ll just make you demanding and inconsiderate of others. At least now I know how much money/time/skills it takes to actually fix things so I can appreciate others around me. I just felt deep inside that he was just treating people like slaves really. He always questioned how I was using people yet he does it to me all the time. Honestly I dont think people care if I use them anyways since im so quiet anyways they may be annoyed but once they see the final product (me) they’ll appreciate it more. Its not like im married to anyone, people have their bad & good days if someone can’t handle that reality not my problem. I made the mistake of throwing all my gaming friends away to get a university education which was foolish but I wanted to make money thats why I studied hard in school. It was very hard for me to break that considering society expected me to have real life friends but I knew that made me so miserable. Anyways just thought I would post not looking for relationship right now. Im managing fine without friends anyways which is surprising but its better at least I dont have to deal with other people’s problems now well except maybe family but I can handle that for now, I dont mind though but dont feel like getting into it to much. Oh there was one more thing only reason I never said anything was because I was scared he was going to kill me just because I didn’t agree with him. I know that’s how most guys are. Ive hanged around girls all my life so I dont really understand guys so much even if I tried to.

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