According to science, it’s okay to be alone

The stigma attached to being alone seems to be easing up a bit. Being single doesn’t mean what it used to.

A shift in social and economic standards has effectively mugged courtship of its exigence. Without the prod of outmoded traditions and the fear of instability, people are suddenly free to decide to shack up if and only if they meet someone they genuinely want to spend their time with for the rest of their life or the next hour.

Follow Ladders on Flipboard!

Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and more!

The psychology of loneliness

The 2017 U.S censuses bureau reports that 45.2% of Americans over the age of 18 are living single. 63% of that percentage has never been married, 23% are divorced, and 13% are widows.

As previously reported, Millennials are both getting married later and staying together longer. The daylight between these two statistics seems to out curiosity as an enemy of longevity. Extended periods of time spent alone allow us to sufficiently explore every aspect of our character. Getting to know yourself takes practice and it’s hard enough already without the racket of commitment perplexing our interests. The better we know ourselves, the better we are at determining our emotional needs.  Warm bodies can be nice, but any will do knee jerk reaction to loneliness rarely yields lasting comforts.

Randi Gunther Ph.D. talks about the way rushing into relationships comes at the price of our personal integrity and value. “Entering a new relationship with clarity and self-confidence, you will automatically be able to discern early-on whether a potential partner is worth your investment,” says Gunther

That isn’t to say being single should be exclusively viewed as the preparation period before you inevitably settle down forever. The merits of singlism stand all their own independent of how they will inform your ability to maintain a long-term relationship.

Sociologist, Elyakim Kislev recently sat down with VICE to promote his new book, Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living. 

Kislev believes being single is still a brand that earns some disdain from many people, despite its growing popularity. “We used to think of people who had responsibilities as people we could trust. If you’re responsible for your spouse and children, you probably won’t be a threat to society. So we need something tangible to know you’re responsible.” says Kislev. “Our thinking didn’t change at the same pace as reality; we still think that we cannot trust singles.”

Kislev is right in citing the way we still use old fashioned metrics to asses character. Marriage is a pretty unreliable shorthand for moral stability. Taking a quick survey of my married friends and single friends in my mind does not create an obvious demarcation of ethics.  Additionally being meanly thought of is the siren call of compromising. The derogatory terms meant to explain long periods of time being single is blinding us to the freshest of benefits afforded by solitude.

A study conducted by reports that single people are 21% less likely to be in credit card debt. The Journal of Marriage and Family sampled 1,300 individuals and found that single participants were much more likely to stay active and go to the gym than their married counterparts.  A survey conducted by Amerisleep of 2,000 Americans found single people get about 7.13 more hours of sleep a night than married people.

That idea that if you’re single, you’re likely unattractive or socially inept is a regressive one. Being alone is in vogue and for good reason.

You might also enjoy…