Being single can help you become more self-aware, self-sufficient, and focused. Over time, this can strengthen platonic and potential romantic relationships.

Sometimes, being single can carry a negative stigma. But there are many benefits to choosing to stay single before entering a committed relationship.

It’s even suggested that being single is an important part of being ready for a committed relationship.

Even if you decide to not be in a relationship, embracing your singledom can potentially improve your relationships with loved ones.

Here are 6 benefits that being single can have for your mental health and relationships with others.

In a large 2022 study of single people, participants reported that the number one benefit of being single was getting more time to yourself. When you’re single, you don’t need to plan your life considering someone else’s time and schedule.

You can choose to spend your time in any way you’d like and engage in hobbies and interests that provide value to your life.

Research from 2021 suggests that spending more time in leisure activities is linked to better health, including mental health. Consider setting aside time doing voluntary, non-work activities to fully reap the benefits of the extra personal time that you may get by being single.

One of the benefits of being single is having the time and energy to invest in other important relationships in your life.

According to a 2015 study, single people are more likely to stay in touch with, receive help from, and provide help to friends, relatives, and neighbors compared to their married peers.

The authors hypothesized that this might be explained by the way married people, in a sense, tend to become so focused on each other that they don’t have the same need or desire for outside social connections.

Strong social connections have long been documented in research to promote good mental health. In one 2022 longitudinal study, people with more social connectedness were found to have a decreased risk of depression and anxiety.

You may find that spending some time being single gives you the opportunity to get more clarity about your values, dreams, and needs.

In a committed relationship, you’ll likely spend a lot of energy focused on getting to know the other person. In doing so, it may be difficult to remember the importance of continuing to get to know yourself.

When you’re single, you spend more time alone, which means you get the chance to dig deep into profound self-awareness.

The authors of a 2022 paper state that self-awareness and self-connection improve well-being, including providing:

  • a greater sense of meaning in life
  • social connectedness
  • psychological well-being

Many people choose to be single for some time because they’re focused on reaching their goals.

In the aforementioned 2022 study, the second most highly mentioned benefit of being single was being able to focus on goals.

Bringing intentionality to your single season can possibly allow you to have a more single-minded focus on taking the required steps to accomplish other important life goals, like those related to education and career.

One of the great things about being single is becoming self-sufficient and learning that you can be alone, said Dr. Karen Stewart, PsyD, a sex and relationship therapist in Beverly Hills. This can provide you with an increased sense of self-efficacy and confidence.

Knowing how to be alone can also serve you when re-entering the dating world.

Dr. Stewart said, “A different perspective I like to share with patients is to think about the control they have in entering the dating world. They have just spent time by themselves being single, and they know they can do life alone.”

Stewart adds that this could possibly reduce the intimidation of feeling as though you need to quickly find a partner.

When you’re single, you’re able to explore romantic relationships with different people without commitments.

This is a valuable benefit that’s about more than just “dating around.” By exploring different romantic possibilities, you learn what your strengths, weaknesses, and needs are in intimate relationships.

This can help you learn more about yourself and clarify what you’re looking for in an eventual partner.

Reports show that more and more people are staying single. According to the Pew Research Center, 38% of U.S. adults are without a spouse or partner, compared with 29% in 1990.

But if you’ve been single for some time, you may wonder when you should enter into a committed relationship. What are the signs that you may or may not be ready for this commitment?

According to Rachel Goldberg, LMFT, a licensed therapist in California, one way to know is to consider your motivation for wanting to enter into a relationship.

“When someone is feeling fulfilled in their current family and friend relationships and desires close connection with a partner, but doesn’t feel pressured by external timelines or judgments about their single status, it could be a sign they’re ready for a serious relationship,” she said.

The self-awareness gained from being single is an important factor here. Goldberg explains, “It’s important to be aware enough to know if the desire is coming from wanting connection and closeness, rather than seeking it solely to counter feelings of loneliness, insecurity, or something like lack of financial stability.”

Mark Verber, licensed professional counselor and founder of Epic Counseling Solutions in Camp Hill, PA, offered sound advice: “It can be helpful for people to ask themselves not just, “What do I want from a relationship?” but also, “What am I prepared to give to one?”

He said that being single, and knowing how to be alone, is also an important factor in deciding whether you’re wanting a relationship for the right reasons.

“Serious relationships should be about empowerment, not simply escape. Once people realize they don’t need to be in a serious relationship they are in the best position to decide if they truly want one,” Verber explains.

Being single has many benefits, including increased self-awareness, freedom, and focus. If you are currently unpartnered, try to enjoy these benefits and spend the time in positive ways, like strengthening other types of relationships, working toward your goals, and engaging in leisure activities.

By enjoying your time being single, you can put yourself in a better position to be a good partner if and when you choose to enter a relationship.