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There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Single: Releasing the Shame and Stigma

“Single is no longer a lack of options, but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.” ~Mandy Hale

In our society, being single is still heavily stigmatized. Being single is often perceived as something out of the norm. It is more acceptable to be part of a couple (even a dysfunctional one!) than it is to be single. And it is even more acceptable to be divorced than it is to be single.

Unfortunately, our society makes us believe that being single is wrong, and your goal should be to find someone to be in a relationship with. Then and only then are you complete, happy, and more acceptable socially.

Many single people feel lots of shame around being single. They feel like it’s their fault. They feel like there is something wrong with them. They feel like a failure.

This societal pressure makes single people invest themselves in the wrong relationships, just to feel accepted.

The reality is that being single is about being in a relationship with yourself. It is the most intimate relationship you will ever experience in your life. Being in a relationship with yourself should feel like the most natural thing, but it’s often regarded as an uncomfortable one. We find it easier to be with others than to be with ourselves. How crazy is that?

I also want to add that it’s normal and healthy to want companionship. We want to connect with others. We are social animals. We are meant to be with others. Let’s don’t deny it.

The problem starts when your desire to be in a relationship is fueled by the discomfort of being with yourself. The desperation for another person to save you from being single will only create more drama in your love life.

That’s why it is so important to break thought the conditioning and become a happy single before you start looking for love.

Ever since I can remember, I struggled with being single. I struggled with my status because I believed this collective conditioning around being single.

I believed that it’s more socially acceptable to be in a relationship. I believed that there must be something wrong with me if I hadn’t found my life partner by the time I reached my thirties. That I was broken, less of a human being, and not complete, all because I was single.

For the majority of my life, I desperately wanted to change my relationship status and escape all those thoughts and beliefs.

I was ashamed of it. I felt like I hadn’t made it in life, because I couldn’t find a partner.

I didn’t lke being on my own. I didn’t like being alone. I didn’t like having too much time on my hands.

I used to make sure I had plans every weekend and I didn’t spend too much time in my own company, because it felt uncomfortable.

I had plenty of friends. I always made sure I had plenty of things to do. I always made sure my diary was full of crap, all so I didn’t have to face myself.

I became a compulsive dater. For a decade, my only goal was to find the love of my life, because I so desperately didn’t want to be single.

I thought I was running away from being single, but I learned that all I was doing was running away from myself. And as you know, if there is one guaranteed thing in life, it’s the fact that you will spend it all with yourself! There is no way out. There is no escape. You can’t run away from yourself.

At some point, I needed to realise that and see the truth. And I did.

One summer morning, I woke up after one too many dates and decided that enough was enough.

I couldn’t stand the emotional pain of falling for the wrong guys, being ghosted on a regular basis, and failing to find true love.

I had enough of dating. I had enough of running away from myself. I had enough of chasing love, all so I could change my relationship status and feel proud for a moment that I had managed to attract a guy!

This was a brave moment. For the first time in my life, I was brave enough to face myself. I was brave enough to say, “Stop.” I stopped the distractions like the dating, the over-active social life, the full diary, the life without a still moment.

And that was when I started my search for the truth.

That was the moment I started to question all the lies and beliefs that didn’t serve me.

I discovered that my truth was that I am enough without a relationship.

I don’t need a relationship to justify my worth to the world. I am whole and complete without a man. It is up to me to decide how I choose to live my life as a single, and how happy I am with it.

I liberated myself from the collective conditioning, from believing that there was something wrong with me and that I needed to be in a relationship to be happy.

Here are a few mind-set shifts that can help you find your truth about being single:

1. Stop identifying with your relationship status.

You are not your relationship. Your relationship status doesn’t define you as a person. Your single status doesn’t mean anything other than the one true fact: you haven’t found the right person yet. Always remember that, whether you are single or married, you are the same magnificent being. This is constant in your life. Your relationship status will change throughout your life, but your intrinsic worth shouldn’t.

2. Know your worth.

Your worth doesn’t come from the outside. Your worth doesn’t come with a relationship, a partner, or a wedding ring on your finger.

For so long, so much of my own worth was attached to my relationship status. This was the very reason I suffered as a single. For some reason, I believed I would be a better and more accomplished person if I had a boyfriend. My worthiness depended on it. So, for as long as I didn’t have a boyfriend, I felt useless about myself.

But your true worth comes from within. Your true worth is intrinsic. You were born worthy and good enough. Nothing external can add to your true worthiness, and nothing external can take away from your worthiness. You are worthy just the way you are.

3. There is nothing wrong with you.

The only reason why you are single is you haven’t met the right person yet. End of the story. It’s not because you are not attractive enough, not educated enough, people don’t find you interesting, you need to lose weight, you need to get a new job, or anything else you can think of to disparage yourself.

Don’t build a negative story that will make you feel miserable. Accept the truth and end there. The only reason you are single is the absence of the right person in your life, not because there is something wrong with you.

4. It’s not your fault.

Stop blaming yourself. Stop beating yourself up. It’s not your fault that you are single. If you met the right person, you would be in a relationship now, right? So why feel ashamed of something out of your control? Being single doesn’t make you right or wrong. It is just what it is. Just accept that the time hasn’t come yet, and enjoy your life until it does. Live it to the full!

5. Rise above collective conditioning.

The collective conditioning is so wrong, but it’s also strong and deeply ingrained. That’s why it’s difficult to see beyond it and believe the opposite. Regardless of your relationship status, you must rise above it and value yourself.

We as a society have created this massive collective belief that being single is difficult and must be miserable, which is based on our biggest fear—the fear of being lonely. But relationships can be difficult too. It’s entirely possible to feel miserable in a relationship.

Once you have befriended your solitude, you will see the truth of the experience. Being single can be as awesome as you make it. You are in charge of how you want to use your time as a single.

6. Stop glorifying relationships.

Being in a relationship is not better than being single. Being single or married is not better or worse. They both come with different challenges, lessons, and benefits. They challenge us in different ways. It’s all about embracing your current challenges and enjoying the benefits. If you learn that while you are single, you will be able to apply the same philosophy in your future relationship, especially when it becomes challenging.

7. Stay true to yourself.

Staying true to yourself is about self-respect. It’s about respecting your values and standards. It’s about making choices based on what you truly want rather than caving to others’ expectations. It’s better to stay single and go for what you truly deserve in love than it is to settle for less and waste time with the wrong people, and lose yourself in the process.

Staying true to yourself will help you feel more independent, confident, and happy. But it also means that sometimes you will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. It won’t be easy all the time. But what is worse would be doing something against yourself and betraying your values.

Being single happened to be the most transformational period of my life. It can bring a transformation to your life too if you start living it more intentionally as a single.

Being single can be fun. Being single can be explorative. Being single can be expansive and happy.

It’s up to you what you make of it and what you choose to believe.

If you want to start changing how you feel about being single, start exploring the stories you tell yourself.

Our stories are very powerful. When you repeat a story regularly, it becomes your truth and you start to believe it.

Examine what being single means to you and what meaning you give your single status.

Your story might be that being single means your life is empty, that people in relationships are having more fun, or that you will only be happy if you have a partner.

Once you have identified your story, ask yourself how to create the opposite of what you believe. For example, how can being single be full of life and joy? How can I have or create more fun while I’m single? What can I do to be happier here and now?

Let your answers guide you to take more positive actions and start living your life as a single to the best of your abilities.

Maximize this time and regularly step out of your comfort zone. Start up new hobbies and learn new things. Cultivate the most important relationship you have–the one with yourself! Use every opportunity that comes your way to grow. Make every day the best day of your life. When you live your life as a single in this intentional way, you won’t even have time to notice that you are single!

About Aska Kolton

Aska Kolton is a Dating Detox Expert who helps single women love and value themselves more so they stop making mistakes in love, start making more empowered romantic choices, and finally attract the quality guy they deserve. Grab a free Love Life Makeover Session with Aska HERE, and download her Get Ready For Love With The Dating Detox Guide HERE, and join her Facebook Group.

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  • Vid

    you should be thankful that you are not an Indian woman, else people not let you live either married or single. Because the only aim in your life should be to be a maid to a man as you don’t count as human enough. Your existence is justified only when you cook and clean and look after babies.

  • Cianna Johnson

    “The only reason why you are single is you haven’t met the right person ”

    Wrong.

    I’m single because I have made the active decision to avoid relationships, I have chosen to be single! Not because “I am single, but that will end once I find my sweet Cinderella, or Schmexy Romeo.

    Although much of the article I liked, this disturbs me and is a toxic message.

    As you said the following

    “our society makes us believe that being single is wrong, and your goal should be to find someone to be in a relationship with. Then and only then are you complete, happy, and more acceptable socially.”

    “Your worth doesn’t come from the outside. Your worth doesn’t come with a relationship, a partner, or a wedding ring on your finger.”

    “We as a society have created this massive collective belief that being single is difficult and must be miserable, which is based on our biggest fear—the fear of being lonely. But relationships can be difficult too. It’s entirely possible to feel miserable in a relationship.”

    All I agree with 100%, but than you go on to say the following which is where you lost me

    “Your single status doesn’t mean anything other than the one true fact: you haven’t found the right person yet.”

    “The only reason why you are single is you haven’t met the right person yet. End of the story. It’s not because you are not attractive enough, not educated enough, people don’t find you interesting, you need to lose weight, you need to get a new job, or anything else you can think of to disparage yourself.

    Don’t build a negative story that will make you feel miserable. Accept the truth and end there. The only reason you are single is the absence of the right person in your life, not because there is something wrong with you.”

    “Stop blaming yourself. Stop beating yourself up. It’s not your fault that you are single. If you met the right person, you would be in a relationship now, right?”

    Not only is this slightly offensive, contradictory and certainly not true, it flat out disagrees

    With the quote at the beginning on the page

    “Single is no longer a lack of options, but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.” ~Mandy Hale

    Yes being single can mean because your an unlucky fella ( in need of a lover who hasn’t come to save you yet) Like a person who wants the love of their life to come in their life. It can also mean you don’t care but would openly allow romance to seep into your life. But it can ultimately mean because you want to be single.

    To say “you’re single because you haven’t found the right person yet” Still agrees with people who think being in a relationship is the de facto inevitable part of life, and that it’s impossible to live life without a romantic partner. It denies the existence of thousands of people who are single, have chosen to be single, want to stay single, and are happy about it. Aromantic people who walk a different path to happiness, one without romance. I’m single and it’s not because “it’s my current status until a man or woman comes to sweep me off my feet.” “I’m single because romantic relationships are not what I want.” I am quite happier with my friendships perhaps. There really is nothing wrong with me, I just don’t like the idea of being in a romantic relationship. Our society keeps saying “You won’t stay single for long, you just need to meet the right person, there’s no such thing as Aromantic” ? “Being in a relationship is the only real way to happiness” which is a toxic message unfortunately.

  • J.C.

    Great article Aska that really hit home for me. I feel like I need to have a girlfriend for validation that I am “good enough.” I struggle alone, so much so that I can’t even pay attention to what I’m watching on the TV. I can only seem to focus on anything when I have another girl that shows interest and is thinking about me. It’s fkd up and I need to learn to love myself so I can be happy alone. I need to remind myself that I just haven’t found the right one yet, which is easier said than done. Thanks for your advice!

  • SLS41

    I don’t feel I am avoiding myself, running from myself, insecure, or feeling non worthy…at all. I am proud of myself and what I am accomplishing. I just want to share it with someone. I want someone to talk to about my day. I want a companion, an intimate partner. I know what it feels like to have it, I miss it. I’m sick of being lonely. And to suggest that any solo trip to the museum, or learning to “eat alone,” or being at ease alone at home is a substitute for love is just silly and irritating.

  • Pieter

    Interesting article.
    I wonder if being single is a choice or a something that a person comes to accept as a choice?

    I am ok with being single. As an introvert, I really do need to time apart from others and that does impact relationships. However, I would not choose to be single as a choice – if such a choice involved simply choosing between option A or B… I would choose option ‘relationship’ every time.

    My reality is that my nature is not well suited for life partner type relationship at least not as typically thought of by current social and cultural expectations. (that is not a statement of surrender or fatalism)

    I am single; however, I don’t feel it was/is a choice to be single. As you wrote the state of being single becomes a problem when we make it one, primarily by defining ourselves by the label and or equate it to the experience of loneliness… which, though connected to the concept of being single is a different issue.

  • Christie Leanne

    I love this! I have just come to terms with my own single-hood. I spent my 20s and early 30s looking for that perfect relationship and staying way longer than I should because of this fear of being single. Break ups to me were an indication that I failed to either be loved or love the other. I now realize this is far from the truth.
    Loving yourself first is important, as you say in the article – you are the only one you are guaranteed to be with!
    These tips are amazing – I have shared this with some friends in the hopes it can help them too!

  • Wow this is a terrific and very relatable article! I’ve had a lot of people (especially relatives) who have made me feel (or I ALLOWED to make me feel) like less of a person for being single. I actually had one clueless aunt recently tell me that my ‘time is over’ – which I thought was ironic since she has been married for years to a man whom I think she actually hates. ? Society really puts the pressure on single people and I feel that the pressure is even more intense for women, which is sad. No one should settle or compromise what they want out of life. Sure, love is important but it should be real love as opposed to the ‘Hey! You’ll do’ person you met on Tinder. Thanks for the beautiful article.

  • That’s so sad! ❤️

  • Helena

    Thank you so much, I needed to hear this! As a 25 year old female, I have never been in a serious relationships, only those few monthly ones, never been in a real love. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Now it’s the time to focus on myself, get my life in line and just enjoying those lone evenings without feeling guilty… ,,what if I missed my chance to find somebody”. Ever since I was 18 years old, the mocking word ,,virgin” was all I could hear from my so called ,,friends”. Thanks to that, I developed really unhealthy believe that in order to be valued, you have to be experienced in relationship and sex. But no more…I’m still young and have my whole life ahead of me, I’ll be young in my 30’s and 40’s, there’s no need to hurry. Of course, I know that the right guy will come eventually. Have a wonderful day!

  • Sam

    Same here. It’s fine doing stuff alone and living alone, but it would be nice to have someone to spend it with. Just like having friends is healthy, I think having a romantic partner is healthy too, but it’s a bit more difficult to find evidently. Especially because all of my friends are in relationships themselves now, they have less time to spend with me and I feel like I should be having someone like that too. Maybe I need more friends in general, idk lol.

  • JJ Blank

    This is great advice. I have always been single and the world always tries to make me feel bad. Especially, other women but, deep down in my soul I always knew that it is better to be alone than in a bad relationship. It terrible that other people make you feel like there is something wrong with you if your not married and stand on your own 2 feet. I meet so many men that marry women for their money anyway. These women make a lot more money than the men and they don’t realize they are being used. Its sad that the women don’t see it. These men use them hop on their health insurance plan try to take their homes etc.

  • Renee

    Single is a marital status, not a disease. I know that waaaay back when,
    there were some societies that arranged marriages for their children (and some
    still do today), and societies who married very young because it was important for
    them to propagate the species to ensure the society would continue. Well, I don’t
    know what the world population is at the moment, but I think it’s safe to say
    we got the procreation thing down pat. There are plenty of humans on this
    planet and we are not in any immediate danger of going extinct due to lack of
    people to carry on our society. With that problem successfully dealt with, I
    think modern society has lost its collective noodle in trying to make us think
    that we can only be happy if we have someone to share our lives with.

    Ms. Kolton had several good points to make in her article, as well as several
    good tips for readers to help them understand that being single is not the horrible
    stigma that we are taught to believe. I love that she encouraged readers to focus
    on their relationship with themselves first, before opening to another. That is
    smart advice, because if you know who you really are, you are less likely to get
    into relationships that turn out to not be in your best interests.

    I do hope that everyone who sincerely wants a life partner, finds one
    and is deliriously happy, because it is what THEY want, and not because they
    feel any pressure from family, friends or society as a whole to get married.

    That being said, I firmly believe that not everybody should get
    married, or even wants to get married. Yes, we are social animals and we do
    crave connection with other human beings, but who says it has to be a romantic
    relationship? Some of us are simply happier flying solo and nurturing good,
    solid, meaningful friendships in lieu of a romantic relationship. If that’s
    you, own it. Don’t apologize for it. It doesn’t make you selfish, or weird, broken,
    or anything else. It’s simply a marital status, which, incidentally, is really
    nobody’s business anyway.

  • Nivea Magalhaes

    This is interesting. I feel the same. I want a relationship, but I feel my nature is to not want anyone else to depend on me or want something out of me for an extended period of time. This and my asexuality make me the perfect candidate for a single forever life. But oh boy, I cry every night with loneliness and the burning desire of being with someone who would match up with me. It is hard.

  • A. Maria

    I don’t think that’s the point of this article—I’m single, and live by myself, but that does not mean I’m alone in the world, have no romance in my life (I do). I have so much love coming from every direction and so many people in my life who enrich my life, I actually savor my time on my own. It’s the wrong thinking that you must have a partner or you are not whole or healthy if you don’t that is at issue.

    Obviously there is nothing wrong with wanting to share your life with someone. What is at issue is the collective conditioning that you MUST have a partner or there is something wrong with you.

  • VioletaDiaz

    I wish I were like you… but unfortunately I’m one of the “everyone who sincerely wants a life partner”, and because of that I’ve ended up in “relationships that turn out to not be in my best interests.” 🙁

  • VioletaDiaz

    Same here! I’ve been living alone for over 7 years now. I’m super-used to being by myself, I enjoy going to the movies/traveling/going out for a meal alone/etc… I’d just like to share all that with someone else, but my time never comes and everyday I grow more frustrated/impatient.

  • VioletaDiaz

    I think it’s easy to say “there’s nothing wrong with being single, blah blah blah” when you already found someone. You’re speaking from the “other” side of the fence now, I can’t take your word into account in that case.

  • Renee

    VioletaDiaz – Sweetie, I believe that if you make the investment in getting to know yourself, you will learn from even those “bad” relationships and grow wiser as you go along. Then you will start to make better, and healthier relationship choices.

    In reading over my previous comment, I realize that even a so-called failed relationship is not a failure if you learn from it. Never let anybody, including, and ESPECIALLY, YOURSELF, tell you that you are a failure if a relationship ends without a ring on your finger. Please do not internalize any shame, blame, or anything else of the sort, because it will weaken your ability to make smart choices for yourself. Contrary to what others may say, it really is okay to be single while you figure things out.

    Take a bit of time between relationships to process what happened in the last one. Own what is yours and let the other person do the same on their own, as tempting as it may be to provide a former partner with some “constructive criticism.”

    Looking at it from a spiritual (not religious), soul-evolving standpoint, sometimes relationships are meant to be short-term. There was a lesson that needed to be learned, and that person provided the lesson. Likely, you also provided a lesson for that person, and maybe that’s all the relationship was supposed to accomplish.

    I know it’s much easier said than done, but as much as is possible for you at that time, learn what you can from it and move on as best as you can. Journal it out, meditate, volunteer, exercise, get out of your own head for a while. Allow the other person do the same. In that way the relationship will have been a success for both of you, and you will be that much further along in finding your life partner.

    Wishing you love, joy and peace in your journey.

  • VioletaDiaz

    I’m aware that all of that is needed, but the mere thought of it makes me furious. I’ve been officially single for 4 years now, and while I haven’t been exactly alone, I’ve had several mediocre relationships. I’m kind of – sort of tired of learning, meditating, living my life, etc. etc etc. I just want my time to come, and it never comes.

  • Renee

    I can understand your impatience. I have to believe that your persistence will pay off in the end with the relationship that you have been dreaming of. I wish you the very best! 🙂

  • VioletaDiaz

    Thanks a lot. If there’s anything I don’t give up, it’s hope. My best wishes for you as well 🙂

  • Renee

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Aska Kolton

    I was single for 7 years before I found my partner. The first few years were a nightmare. I purely hated being single. I dated like a maniac which didn’t create anything positive in my life. I went on a dating detox and I conquered all my fears. The fear of being lonely, the fear of being single forever, the fear of not finding the right person etc. I fell in love with being single. I believe I found the love of my life because I became a happy single woman. So although I am in a relationship now the insights about being single came to me while I was happily single;-)

  • VioletaDiaz

    Good for you. Congratulations.

  • Aska Kolton

    The girlfriend y dear will only trigger your insecurities. So it would be beneficial to start believing that you are enough just the way you are regardless of your relationship status. Spend some time meditating. I found this to be the best remedy for my loneliness and enoughness. When you feel better about yourself you will attract better people to your life.

  • Aska Kolton

    spot on! I am glad to hear you are enjoying being single. In my opinion this is the first step to a healthy and happy relationship.

  • Aska Kolton

    SLS41 sorry to hear you feel irritated but it’s a sign that something is not healed within, something needs to be embraced. I absolutely know where you are coming from. There is nothing wrong with wanting a partner and missing companionship. But your life would be easier if you embraced your loneliness. There were days in my past when I felt like you. In fact, my loneliness and inability to be on my own contributed hugely to me becoming a compulsive dater. I hit the wall one day. I got exhausted. Life forced me to go within and be with myself as I couldn’t face another day and got tired with looking for love. This was the best thing which has ever happened to me. I started my dating detox. I learned to enjoy being single. I stopped craving a relationship. I even stopped feeling lonely. I became much happier. And I found the love of my life effortlessly. There is something beautiful about being alone. It doesn’t need to be a negative experience. As a woman in a relationship and a mum of a toddler I absolutely envy you:-) I crave loneliness daily now.

  • Aska Kolton

    Hun, your story sounds like mine. And I am so happy to hear how beautifully you have evolved. With this energy one day you will attract someone amazing. And thanks so much for sharing the article;-)

  • Aska Kolton

    Oh, So sorry for the aunt. Actually, I have a similar aunt who very often used to remind me that being single was wrong and felt very sorry for me on many occasions even when i actually started to love it;-). It is the collective conditioning. And I know there is lots of pressure on women. But don’t give in. The price for losing yourself in a relationship with the wrong man is higher to pay than staying single.

  • Aska Kolton

    There is nothing wrong with being single. There is nothing wrong with wanting a partner. The problem starts when you want a partner more than yourself because you believe that your partner will make you feel better and happier. Relationships also come with challenges. And by learning to be resilient as a single you are getting ready for being resilient in a relationship.

  • Aska Kolton

    your acceptance sounds absolutely divine;-) you are very wise woman.

  • Aska Kolton

    people are generally afraid to be alone. That’s why the conditioning that we need someone is so strong. It gives us safety. You follow your rules my dear. And you will never regret following them because you are being true to yourself:-) well done!

  • Aska Kolton

    good question. Some people choose to be single. But this choice usually comes from hurt or fear. It can be a defence mechanism. I suppose the majority of single people want to be in a relationship. And this want is healthy as we are social animals and we want to connect. But in my opinion first we need to be connected with ourselves, know ourselves, fill our own cup ourselves…so we don’t desperately look for anything on the outside. This is in my opinion a healthy approach to finding a relationship. Wanting one but not needing one. You can find your match in this big world. Someone who has similar needs, wants and values. This person will understand you and accept you just the way you are.

  • Aska Kolton

    As I said above, you need to find your match to have your needs satisfied and understood in a relationship. There are billions of people in this world. You just need to find your match.

  • JJ Blank

    Thanks Aska!!

  • JJ Blank

    Well said Pieter being single is only a problem when you make it one.