Romantic love can be great, but being single definitely has plenty of benefits, too. What are the main benefits of being single? According to new research published this month in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, the best part is having the time to really focus on yourself.
While we already know that many people choose to be single because they enjoy being single, this new research looks deeper at the reasons why happy singletons are living their best lives.
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‘What Makes Single Life Attractive’: a study
In the study “What Makes Single Life Attractive: an Explorative Examination of the Advantages of Singlehood,” researchers sought to find what factors made the single life most appealing to people. The opportunity to dive into self-development — like having more time to focus on your goals without having to worry about someone else dictating your actions — were the most highly rated benefits of single life, according to the study.
“Singlehood appears to be on the rise especially in Western societies,” study author Menelaos Apostolou, a professor at the University of Nicosia, said in PsyPost. “One reason may be that people see benefits in being single, which motivated me to ask the question ‘what people perceive as beneficial in being single?’”
To explore this question, Apostolou and co-author Chistoforos Christoforou conducted two studies on the advantages of singlehood.
The first study was an online questionnaire. In the questionnaire, 269 Greek-speaking men and women were asked to write down what they thought were some of the advantages of being single. A duo of independent researchers then analyzed the answers to identify 84 distinct benefits.
In a follow-up to help narrow down the list of benefits, Apostolou and Christoforou then presented the list of 84 advantages to a larger sample of 612 Greek-speaking people. Participants rated how important each advantage on the list would be to them if they were single.
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Then, the researchers used a statistical technique to classify the 84 items into a smaller number of categories. This gave the researchers 10 factors to consider, among which the three most highly rated factors were “more time for myself,” “focus on my goals” and “no one dictates my actions.”
While less highly rated, the other seven factors were: “no getting hurt,” “better control of what I eat,” “freedom to flirt around,” “save resources,” “peace of mind,” “no tension and fights” and “not do things I dislike.”
Notably, there were some differences between men and women when it came to ranking the top benefits of being single. Men, for example, rated “freedom to flirt around” as more important of an advantage than female participants did. On the other hand, women respondents rated things like “no tension and fights” and the ability to “focus on my goals” higher.
See also: What is the origin of the ‘spinster’? How society villainized the single woman.
Are there times in life when it’s better to be single?
It looks like there may be times in life where being single can be an advantage — such as when you want to focus on a big career or academic goal
“Instead of only asking whether mated or single life is better, we can ask when it is better for an individual to be single and for how long,” Apostolou and Christoforou wrote, according to PsyPost. “Considerable more research is necessary however, in order to address such questions.”
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should break up with a current partner or avoid a relationship forever. There are also, obviously, advantages to relationships.
“There are potentially several benefits in being single, such as the freedom to do whatever you want,” Apostolou told PsyPost.
But “I would predict that the costs of singlehood are probably higher than its benefits, which possibly explains why many singles prefer not to be single, and why most people eventually enter into a relationship,” he added. “These costs remain to be researched.”
While the results of this study are certainly interesting, it’s important to note that the study size was relatively small and conducted only among Greek-speaking participants in the Republic of Cyprus. More study would be useful in allowing for more wider-reaching conclusions.
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