10 unexpected reasons women are choosing to stay single

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Far from something to dread, lots of women are choosing a single life.

It’s no longer simply about meeting the right one. The truth is that going it alone can bring much more fun and freedom.

Why do some women prefer to be single?

The answer is —plenty of reasons.

1) They’re no longer buying into the fairytale

Sorry Prince Charming but you were a bit late, so I went and saved myself.

The ‘happily ever after’ narrative is starting to feel pretty outdated to many of us. Stories we grew up on about women being rescued by a man no longer ring true to 21st-century ears.

What’s more, a lot sound pretty sketchy.

Sleeping Beauty was awoken by a kiss when she was unconscious. Er, I’m sorry, but I think the Prince needs a lesson in consent.

Luckily, these days a lot more women see the fantasy for what it really is — just an illusion.

That’s not to put a downer on relationships. But real life is never so easy, and neither are real relationships.

They’re actually a lot of effort, and understandably not all women want to make it.

2) Relationships are hard work

Far from magically fixing everything in your life, relationships take time and energy.

There’s also evidence to suggest that women may have to contribute more of that time and energy to a relationship.

For starters, the burden of emotional support can often fall disproportionately on women.

According to Harvard Business Review, we can blame stubborn gender stereotypes for this:

“Women are often expected to be communal, which is typically reflected in caring for and nurturing others. There is more pressure on them to be “kin keepers” who manage relationships within the family and the community. Men are traditionally expected to be more agentic from a young age — rational, strategic, and assertive — even if this results in being less cooperative and considerate.”

And it’s not just the emotional work. Studies have shown that women spend double the amount of time compared to men caregiving, tackling chores, and doing housework.

Researchers looked at 19 studies that used data from over 70,000 individuals all over the world.

They concluded that women spend far more hours on unpaid labor in a relationship and that this has a negative impact on their mental health.

No wonder then that single women may well be healthier.

3) Because it’s better for your health

Yep, that’s right. Being single could be a lifestyle choice that offers health perks.

As well as having stronger social networks, there’s evidence that single folk may be physically fitter too.

It turns out that this idea of ‘letting yourself go’ when you are coupled up may not be so far off the mark.

Researchers looked at the health habits of 13,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 64.

What they discovered was that single people (who had never married) worked out more often each week.

Meanwhile, another study found that single people weighed on average 5 lbs less than their married counterparts, and had lower BMIs.

Why?

Well, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that when you’re single, you simply have more time for yourself.

4) They’re enjoying their freedom

Casual dating can be great fun. It’s a chance to connect, without getting tied down or making a commitment.

More women are taking this opportunity to sample what’s out there. Apps provide us easy access to a whole host of potential suitors at the swipe of a screen.

Of course, plenty of women choose not to date at all, and they still find they have perfectly full lives without romantic partners on the scene.

In fact, studies have shown that single women lead busier lives than single men do. They do more activities and have more friends.

In short: they have a lot going on and aren’t looking to fill any kind of void.  

Single women get a whole lot more time to focus on their own interests, education, career, and life goals than women in relationships.

They value their independence and want to make themselves the main focus and priority in their lives.

So many of a woman’s needs no longer need to be fulfilled exclusively by a relationship— including the next on our list.

5) Sex and relationships no longer go hand in hand

Sure, for some people, sex out of a relationship is still taboo. But for many more, it’s not.

Women’s sexual freedom has increased in large parts of the world. Sex can be enjoyed outside of a relationship with far less stigma.

Hookup culture lets ladies get certain itches scratched, without committing.

After all, having sex isn’t just about making babies. Many women, myself included, have decided that kids just aren’t a part of their life plan.

Who says women don’t want to sew their wild oats too? That’s exactly what some single women are choosing to do.

But don’t they get lonely?

There’s a world of difference between being alone and lonely.

6) They prefer solitude

I am currently in a relationship. But hands down one of the most difficult adjustments was losing a lot of the peace and quiet I’d become accustomed to.

You see, I am one of the many women out there who genuinely enjoys and values alone time.

It doesn’t make me feel sad. I’m not bored. I feel deep contentment spending time by myself.

So, rather than longing for a man in my home, I took great pleasure in having a space that was my own.

We’re all built differently. Some of us like our solitude, and aren’t in any hurry to give it up.

Of course, liking alone time relies on liking yourself too!

7) They get their self-esteem from within

Far too many of us are still defining ourselves and our self-worth based on our relationships. But it’s a lot easier to be single when you don’t look to someone else for your happiness.

Far from making you weird, in so many ways choosing to be single is a reflection of strength.

We can be led to believe that a relationship is the missing piece to the puzzle, but it’s not.

The notion of self-love can feel like a bit of a cliched buzzword. But we should never underestimate the value and power of self-affirmation.

We’ll always be left disappointed if we look to anyone else for the bulk of our validation.

When you find the main source of your self-esteem from within, you probably notice that your standards rise simultaneously.

8) They won’t settle for less than they deserve

Some people feel so lost being single that any relationship will do. So they bounce around from disaster to disaster, wondering why it never works out for them.

Of course, there’s a difference between high standards and impossible standards. But having a healthy and fulfilling relationship should be everyone’s baseline.

Women who feel confident and content as single gals aren’t frantically looking for anyone to fill the vacancy.

If they do ultimately want a partner, they are prepared to wait and find a person and situation that works well for them.

That may take some time. But luckily, there’s no longer the same rush.

9) They don’t feel any urgency to settle down

The average age for getting around to all that grown-up stuff is rising.

We’re all putting off relationships, marriage, kids, mortgages, etc. until much later in life.

According to The Conversation: “Today, the number of single adults in the U.S. – and many other nations around the world – is unprecedented. And the numbers don’t just say people are staying single longer before settling down. More are staying single for life.”

When we hit certain life milestones is increasing. Perhaps that’s down to the fact that what we consider to be “old” is also changing.

Whilst your grandmother may have been married and pregnant by your age, you may be still dragging your ass home from a club at 4 am.

Women are enjoying active and youthful feeling lives for much longer.  

10) It’s no longer socially unacceptable

Let’s be honest, once upon a time in the not-too-distant past, women were considered “left on the shelf” if they hadn’t “settled down”.

Words we used to use for single women, like spinster, didn’t exactly have positive connotations. It made you sound unsexy and unwanted.

Meanwhile, the male version—bachelor—was far cooler, and brought to mind the James Bonds of the world, who admirably had avoided being “tied down” by a woman.

I’m not suggesting patriarchal notions don’t still exist, but they have eased off.

There are no raised eyebrows when a woman attends a dinner party alone. There are far fewer questions thrown your way when you say you’re single.

More women are choosing to stay single simply because they can nowadays.

Whether single or coupled, it is merely a choice. And whichever you decide to make is no longer a big deal and certainly doesn’t define you.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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