If you want to be happy without a relationship, say goodbye to these 6 habits

Being in a relationship is great and all but what about how awesome it is to be single? It’s easy to forget how great being single is because everything around you from a very young age tells you that life is about finding ‘the one’ and living happily ever after, right? 

Fairytales are fine for the movies but that’s not always how things go in real life. Being in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean being happy and being single doesn’t necessarily mean you’re miserable. 

The problem is: some single people are so desperate for love, they convince themselves that they won’t be happy until they’re in a relationship. They assume their lack of happiness is down to being single. Are you one of those people? 

What if I told you, it’s possible to be happy without a relationship? You’ve just got to let go of a few self-limiting habits that you’ve subconsciously picked up over the years.

And to help you on your journey toward single bliss, today we’re sharing 6 of those self-limiting habits that you’ve got to say goodbye to if you want to be truly happy without a relationship. 

1) Relying on others to make you happy  

I heard a quote from Will Smith about 10 years ago and it’s always stuck with me. It goes like this, “her happiness is not my responsibility. She should be happy and I should be happy individually and then we come together and share our happiness.”

The message is simple, you can’t rely on someone else to make you happy. Or to use the words of inspirational writer William Arthur Ward, “Happiness is an inside job.” And it’s true. 

Contrary to popular belief, if you’re unhappy, getting into a relationship won’t magically fix that. 

If you want to be truly content in life without a relationship, you’ve got to break the habit of relying on others for happiness. The very first step is acknowledging it and committing to change. 

2) Waiting for a relationship to be happy 

This one is simple: you’ve got to stop waiting for a relationship to be happy. Too many people fall into the trap of thinking “I’ll be happy when I’m in a relationship”. 

Waiting for a relationship to be happy is like going through the motions of life but never really experiencing it or appreciating it. Life is short, if you wait too long, you’ll miss it. 

Sure, one day a romantic relationship might bring you some extra happiness but you’ve got other things that can bring you happiness right now. What about your hobbies and passions? Think of your dreams and aspirations. And all the amazing people in your life. 

Research shows that people who’ve got great friends tend to be more satisfied in life so focusing on your friends and embracing those relationships is guaranteed to make you happier.

To find happiness outside a relationship, embrace what truly brings you joy right now, rather than waiting for a relationship to fulfill you.

3) Fearing and avoiding solitude

Does the thought of being alone scare you to the point that you avoid it whenever possible? 

As a teenager and into my early twenties I hated the idea of being alone, even spending just a weekend alone didn’t sit well with me. I was afraid it meant I was lonely and had no friends. But that wasn’t true, I was single but I had a great group of friends that I spent a lot of time with.

As I got older I started to embrace solitude and I realized it’s very empowering. It gives you time to really get to know yourself and explore your interests. There’s a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely.

And research backs this up. Matthias Mehl, author of one study on loneliness and being alone, said “In younger people, aloneness and loneliness are just two different things, Mehl said. They may feel lonely in a crowd, or they may not feel lonely when they are by themselves.”

When being alone is a choice, research finds that it’s linked with reduced stress and increased autonomy satisfaction which means it boosts our happiness by allowing us to make our own choices and live life on our own terms.

One of the most important habits you’ve got to break if you want to be happy without a relationship is to stop avoiding solitude, embrace it, and discover its true power. 

4) Comparing yourself to others

In the age of social media, it’s more tempting than ever to compare yourself to others, right? 

You get to a certain age and it feels like every Instagram post shows your friends in happy relationships, celebrating anniversaries, going on weekends away and even getting engaged. Seeing these things pop up constantly, it’s hard not to compare yourself to them. 

Remember: Social media is only what people want you to see. No one is posting the big fights or the tough times in their relationships. A new survey suggests “over half of millennials portray their relationship as happier on social media than it really is” as noted by Business Insider.  

Instead of focusing on what people want you to see on social media, focus on the positive aspects of your life, right now. Being single gives you a freedom like no other. You’re free to do anything you want. Take a solo trip, sign up for that course, or do whatever sets your soul alight. 

Being single gives you a unique opportunity to focus on yourself, don’t waste it worrying about what everyone else is doing. 

5) Neglecting self-care

Self-care is about a lot more than couples’ spa weekends and cooking healthy romantic meals for your significant other. It’s about prioritizing your physical and mental health. And that shouldn’t stop just because you’re not in a relationship. 

It’s easy to ignore your own self-care when life gets hectic, but you’d never let a friend skip out on theirs, right? You deserve love and nourishment too. It’s time to be your own best friend. 

“Self-care involves valuing ourselves enough to make our health, well-being, and happiness a priority” as noted by clinical psychologist Monica Vermani C. Psych.

My friend Sasha went through a tough breakup last year and was also going through a really busy time at work. About 6 months later, I reminded her she needed to look after herself. She’d been so caught up in everything she’d stopped prioritizing herself. 

It happens, so if you’ve been neglecting your self-care for a while, don’t beat yourself up about it. Break the habit and start prioritizing yourself again. You’ll be glad you did.

6) Letting societal pressures dictate your life 

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems to live by the rules and timelines society sets out for us? 

As someone who didn’t get into a serious relationship until 27, I felt those societal pressures in a big way. Friends and family would say things like “Your biological clock is ticking” or “If you don’t hurry up and find a man, all the good ones will be gone.”

It was like people were more concerned about me finding a relationship than they were about my happiness. Luckily I was able to ignore them and live life on my terms. 

It can be hard to push back and remind yourself that everything will fall into place when the timing is right for you, especially if you’re longing for love and you see your friends hitting milestones that you wish you were hitting. 

The thing is: if you let societal pressures dictate your life, you’ll never figure out how to be happy in the moment because the target is constantly moving. You’ve got to push back on what’s ‘normal’ and carve your own path.  

The bottom line

Don’t worry if you’ve developed a few of these habits without even realizing it. The most important thing is that you’re aware of them now and you’re ready to say goodbye to them, right? 

Ditching these habits isn’t just about saying goodbye; it’s also about being open to a happier, more fulfilled you. 

So, embrace the journey and get ready to let your individual happiness shine through. 

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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