Not Everyone Needs a Partner to Thrive—Here's How to Be Happy Alone
For many centuries, being part of a couple was essential in order to survive and thrive. Two incomes meant a better ability to gain financial success, and gender inequalities prevented women from owning property or opening bank accounts without a man. Luckily, times have changed significantly, and now, it's no longer a requirement to be married or part of a duo to live a fulfilling life. Even so, being alone can carry a heavy stigma—and a lot of people wonder how it's possible to be happy alone.
As Paula Flidermauz, MHC-LP, mental health counselor at Empower Your Mind Therapy, explains, many of us grow up thinking there must be something wrong with us—or that there's no way to be truly happy—if we're not in a romantic relationship. This is largely thanks to societal pressures, media influence, and unwelcome comments from friends and family members. "More and more people realize they can find happiness outside of partnerships," she continues. "It says nothing about your worth as a person if you are or are not in a relationship—despite what your Aunt Shirley may think."
Flidermauz says there are many reasons people choose not to be in coupled relationships, whether it's in reaction to a negative past experience or simply comes down to personal preference. These might include:
- You just came out of a long-term relationship and want to reconnect with or reestablish your identity as an individual outside of a couple.
- You were in a co-dependent, abusive, or generally unhealthy relationship in the past, and now you suffer from trigger trauma responses.
- You simply enjoy your alone time, and you don't want to share it with another person.
- You prefer to focus your energy on your work, career, and time spent with friends.
- You identify as asexual or aromantic, and you may not necessarily feel the need for a relationship to experience emotional fulfillment.
Sound like you? You're not alone in being alone, since a recent PEW research study found that almost half of single individuals today are choosing not to be in a relationship. If you're part of this crowd—or considering cutting out the aspect of traditional dating/coupling—here are some helpful pointers on how to nurture your best self and be happy alone.