It’s time to start viewing single women differently. The media depicts single women as overlooked and lonely. Cultural stereotypes label single women as desperate and depressed. And some cultures even have unwritten rules against marrying late (with 30 often being the age women are expected to be married by).
In reality, more women are single than ever. Remaining single in your 20s and 30s (and beyond!) is becoming the new norm. There are even health benefits of being single. Yet being a single woman can still feel difficult or even shameful.
If you’re struggling to make the most of your singlehood, there are several ways to start rethinking your relationship status and start living your best life.
1. Recognize Societal Pressures
If you feel incomplete as a single woman, ask yourself where that belief stems from. Where are your relationship standards and expectations coming from? In many cases, they didn’t come from you.
A lot of the shame and discomfort women experience in relation to being single comes from external pressures—not from what we actually want for ourselves. While relationships can be fun, being single can be fun too. But sometimes, it feels lonely or shameful when we start comparing ourselves to friends or to society’s norms.
Start to notice, then, if your relationship standards are truly what you want for yourself, or if they’re what others want for you.
2. Set Personal Goals
Being single offers plenty of time to think about yourself and your goals, without the distraction of having a relationship to maintain. Create goals that have nothing to do with dating, and instead focus on you and your wellbeing.
Set goals that give meaning to your life or give you confidence in yourself. And even if you do find someone to date in the future, hold on to these goals and the dreams you create for your life.
3. Nurture Platonic Relationships
As a single woman, you actually have a lot of relationships, and none of them require a romantic partner. There are friends, family members, coworkers, and other people in your life who can offer fun, emotional intimacy, and support when needed.
Focus on building and nurturing these relationships. If you feel like everyone around you is already coupled up, try to make new single friends who share your lifestyle and mindset. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you need to feel lonely. Remember, platonic relationships can be just as (or, in some cases, more) valuable as romantic relationships.
4. Be Your Own Friend and Partner
Aside from nurturing your friendships and other non-romantic relationships, your time as a single woman is also the perfect time to get better at practicing self-care.
Start taking care of yourself the way a loving partner would. Take yourself on dates, validate yourself, and even get physically intimate with yourself! We all have needs, and while some of these needs are fulfilled through relationships (including platonic relationships), others can be fulfilled on our own.
Take this opportunity to learn about yourself, your values, and your needs. Instead of getting to know a new partner, get to know yourself better. Learn about your love language, your attachment style, your triggers, and your boundaries.
Being single reminds us how, as relationships and people come and go, the only constant relationship is the one we have with ourselves. If that relationship is in need of a little care and repair, now is the best time to do so!
5. Reflect on Past Relationships
Another tip for women struggling with singlehood is to stop grass-is-greener thinking. When we always see the other side as being better than our current circumstances, we miss the beauty and opportunities right in front of us.
Instead of sliding into a new relationship, thinking it’ll always be better than being single, take time to reflect on past relationships first. While some of your past relationships may have not been total failures, there are surely some that still offer valuable insights.
For example, you may have missed some red flags in a past partner, or maybe you settled for someone who took you for granted. Recognize what you didn’t like about those relationships and celebrate that you made it out of them, free from those past problems.
6. Look for the Lesson
You can find a lesson in anything, including being single. If you sometimes feel like your life is lacking without a relationship, take an everything-happens-for-a-reason approach. Whether you actually believe that everything happens for a reason or not isn’t so important. What matters is that you’re able to find a lesson or purpose in being single.
You may not find a worthwhile partner for a month, a year, or even longer. But what if that’s how long you need to grow on your own? What if there are lessons to be learned and experiences to be had before entering into a relationship? Rather than viewing your single life now as time wasted, see it as a necessary opportunity to keep learning and improving yourself.
Without this time, you may settle for an unhealthy relationship with the wrong person. So view this time now as a meaningful opportunity to prepare yourself for a happier, healthier relationship awaiting you in the future. Look for the lessons, and don’t rush the process. While the uncertainty of being single can be scary, it can also be a gift.
7. Rethink Your Single Woman Identity
While the media and culture may emphasize a woman’s singleness, really, who we are isn’t dictated by our relationship status.
You, as a single woman, aren’t so different from you as a woman in a relationship. These two identities don’t have to be drastically different, nor do they need to compete. Regardless of who is or isn’t surrounding you, you are you. You are the main character of your life.
Start to rethink how you view your identity based on your singleness. Realize that a relationship won’t change your character or your values. And, in most cases, a relationship won’t really make you happier or more fulfilled either.
While this might sound a bit bleak, it’s actually a blessing. It means that whatever you want is available to you now, even while you’re living life as a single woman.
Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission to start living your best life except your own.