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The brutal truth about being single in your 40s

Are you in your 40s and single?

A lot of people are. Even if you think that being single in your 40s is a bit strange, there’s nothing wrong with being single in your middle age. Instead, not having a partner or family in middle age is accompanied by plenty of significant benefits.

Still, if you’re unsure about the way you’re perceived in society because you’re already over 40 and single or you don’t understand how you feel about yourself, keep on reading. Why?

Because we’re about to debunk the common myths about being single in your 40s and see why it’s actually a great thing.

What does it feel like to be single in your 40s?

You get up, slowly make your breakfast, dress based on your own preferences, and make plans to spend the rest of the day productively. Or rest, have fun and enjoy the benefits of being all alone because you don’t have any responsibilities towards anyone.

But that’s just one of the many surprising benefits of being single. Being on your own means that you’re free. And when you’re free, you can focus on your personal growth and do anything you wish for. How?

You focus on your needs. You live life according to your own pace and don’t worry about fulfilling others’ demands. You have time for your friends. You have time for your family and even for romantic relationships.

But there’s no obligation. Just you and your desires. That’s how it feels like to be single in your 40s.

Now imagine you’re not single. You and your imaginary partner have three kids together. You wake up, rush to make breakfast for everyone, but they all have different preferences. You need to give your kids a lift to school. But they’re not ready yet. You’re already late to work, but nobody cares.

They have their own lives. They can’t skip school because of your work. And there’s nothing you can do.

And this is just one of the many possible bad scenarios we can imagine. The truth about being single is that you’re not supposed to be sad. Being single doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough for someone. It just means that you’re giving yourself opportunities to discover your passions and know who you are.

Most importantly, you need to know that being 40 doesn’t mean you’re not young anymore. Even if you’ve already lived about half your life, you’re still young. And many people in their forties still don’t know what they want from life yet, which is normal.

Nevertheless, our society is full of stereotypes about being single, and here are the 8 most common myths about being single in your 40s.

8 myths about being single in your 40s

1) Single people in their 40s are emotionally immature

Have you ever heard that being single is a sign of immaturity?

If you worry about being single in your 40s, you probably have. In fact, it’s a common stereotype in society that single people can’t manage to build stable relationships because they’re emotionally immature. Or even worse, some people think that being single is a sign of failure.

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Yes, it’s true that not all single people feel happy. In fact, many of them have low self-esteem and don’t feel happy about their lives. However, being single actually comes with a lot of psychological benefits for your self-esteem. But we don’t talk about self-esteem here.

Regardless of your self-esteem, you can be forty, single, and emotionally mature at the same time. What does it mean to be emotionally mature at all?

Emotional maturity means you can manage your emotions in various situations. It means that you have high emotional intelligence and realize that having a satisfying romantic relationship is quite difficult.

Of course, being emotionally mature often leads to fulfilling relationships. But sometimes, as a result of being emotionally mature, people give up on relationships and choose freedom or self-development instead.

Therefore, being single in your 40s doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re emotionally immature. On the contrary, being single might be your choice due to being emotionally mature.

2) Single people in their 40s are dying to get married

Yes, some people who are over forty want to get married. But it’s not necessarily because they are already in their forties. Instead, the desire to get married is a natural thing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 or 60, you might naturally want to find a partner and create a family, and that’s normal.

That’s normal in your 40s too. However, it doesn’t mean all single people who have already reached their forties are dying to get married. In fact, nowadays, an increasing number of women choose to be single.  As a sociologist, Eric Klinenberg states, the reason is that they prefer having someone to go out with instead of having someone to come home to.

Indeed, contrary to common myths about relationships, having a romantic partner in your 40s is possible without being married. Some people perceive marriage and family as a sign of losing freedom. Therefore, they prefer simple dating rather than getting married.

Of course, not only women, but men in their forties aren’t dying to get married either. For example, Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod, enjoys being single in his 40s and doesn’t feel any need to justify his desire to be single. And he’s just one example of successful people in their 40s who enjoy being single.

3) Most people in their 40s are already taken

Another common myth about middle-aged people is that “all the good ones of our age are already taken.” However, believing most people in their 40s are already taken without having any statistics to rely on,

But have you ever checked out a single online dating app? Do you know how many people in their forties use online dating applications in order to find their partners? This proves that there are thousands of people in their 40s that are single and ready to start new relationships.

What does it mean?

It means that the idea that most people in their 40s are already taken is just another stereotype that is plain wrong.

Besides, we should all keep in mind that not all those people who are over forty and single try to find their lifetime partners. Some of them are looking for partners for casual relationships. And others aren’t looking for anyone at all and take advantage of being on their own.

4) You can hardly find a partner in your 40s

Once people reach middle age, sometimes they automatically think that there’s no way they can find a partner in their 40s.

Some of them think they’re not young enough or attractive enough. Others are concerned about society’s beliefs and prefer to spend the rest of their lives alone in order to avoid rumors and gossip.

However, if you think that the dating pool is thinner after 40 than before, you’re mistaken. In fact, based on the statistics of the Bureau of Labor, 50% of people over 40 are single. This means almost as many people are single in their forties as there are those who are in relationships.

Therefore, you have no reason to refuse to find a partner because you think there’s no one to date. Still, the ability to find a partner in your 40s doesn’t mean that you must find a partner. Instead, there are many reasons why it’s better to be single.

So, no matter if you’re single or taken in your 40s, you should remember that you have numerous opportunities ahead to live your life to the fullest, based on your inner wishes and desires.

5) You’ve already reached your career peak

Think about it. How many jobs did you have throughout your life? Did you feel completely comfortable with any of them? Or maybe you feel that your current job is the best possible thing you could ever do.

In any case, if you’re over 40, you’re likely to have tried various jobs and careers throughout your life. Now, either you’re settled down or looking for new opportunities in your life.

In both cases, it’s completely fine as long as you feel fine.

And the idea that middle-aged people have already reached their professional peak is another myth that needs to be debunked right now.

If you didn’t know before, countless successful people changed their career paths in their middle ages.

  • Did you know that Vera Wang entered the fashion industry in her 40s?
  • Henry Ford was 45 when he first created the Model T car, which changed the entire automotive industry.
  • If you have heard anything about Julia Child and her fascinating achievements, you probably already know that she wrote her first cookbook at the age of 50.

In fact, there are more inspiring people who achieved success later in their lives than you can imagine. This means nothing more than the fact that you’re not supposed to forget about your dreams ever in your life. Why?

Because nobody knows when you will reach your professional peak. And if you don’t feel comfortable about your career, chances are high that the best is yet to come!

6) It’s too late to explore the world in your 40s

Who said that you can’t explore the world once you reach your 40s?

If you’re single, then you probably have all the opportunities to do whatever you wish you could do. And if you feel you want to explore the world, you can just go for it.

Contrary to popular belief, many people believe that the 40s are the ideal age to explore the world. Why?

  • You’re most likely financially independent.
  • You’re wiser than your younger self.
  • You have plenty of time for yourself.
  • You have a better understanding of your dreams.
  • You probably need to try something new.

Traveling around the world, learning new skills, or picking up new hobbies are some of the things you can do in order to explore the world, regardless of your age.

Moreover, if you didn’t know before, taking part in new experiences is one of the proven ways to avoid midlife crises, which is pretty common for people over 40.

So, remember that it’s never too late to explore the world, and if you’re single in your 40s, now might be the best time for it!

7) You’re destined to be alone

Young, energetic, and attractive people don’t need much effort to find life partners and live happily with them forever. Therefore, you should try to find a partner when you’re young in order to avoid loneliness in later life.

That’s a bad stereotype that modern society tries very hard to implement for some reason. However, to me and to all the people who acknowledge the importance of living based on your own needs, none of this makes sense.

Nobody is destined to be alone.

Besides, being alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be surrounded by disturbing feelings of loneliness. In fact, being alone and being lonely are two completely different things. You might not have a lifetime partner but feel better in the company of your friends than people in relationships who don’t even feel happy.

And also, even if you’re single now, it doesn’t mean that you’ll remain single for the rest of your life. Maybe you’ll find the partner you’ve always wished for at the age of 60. Maybe you’ll find them tomorrow or a year later.

In any case, you’re the one who makes your destiny and you shouldn’t let society’s ugly stereotypes decide your fate and well-being.

8) Single people in their 40s can’t be romantic

Being romantic doesn’t have anything to do with your age. Neither depends on your relationship status.

Based on the common myth, people who are in relationships are more romantic. But actually, they just have more opportunities to express their romantic sides. The reason is that they have someone else with whom they can act romantically. And that’s it.

But did you know that as time goes by, couples have fewer romantic feelings towards each other?

On the contrary, people who are single find it easy to express their romantic desires. How is it possible?

They’re not attached to one single partner. And the more people they meet in their lives, the more their perception of romanticism changes.

So, if someone is just single, it doesn’t mean that they are not interested in romance at all. Similarly, it doesn’t mean that single people in their 40s can’t be more romantic than those who are taken.

Why being single in your 40s is a great thing?

A few minutes ago, you might have thought that there’s nothing good about being over 40. However, after debunking the common myths about being single in your 40s, I hope you’re more aware of the benefits of being single in your 40s.

If you’re over 40, you’re more likely to know who you are, what you want, and where you want to go. Considering all this, not only are these good things but being single in your 40s might be the greatest thing ever in your life. And I’m about to prove why.

You don’t have any obligations

You can get up whenever you want, stay out late, go to bed whenever and wherever you want. You can eat any kind of food you like. You can tidy up the house when you have free time. You can go everywhere, meet anyone, and live as you desire.

All these things are only possible if you’re single. Otherwise, you will need to be accountable to another person.

People in relationships always have to ask their partners how they feel about certain decisions before they take any steps forward. Therefore, in relationships, you’re not completely free. You have to take others’ interests into account and behave accordingly.

But when you’re single, you can easily take advantage of your freedom and live exactly as you wish in the here and now moment. You have zero obligations towards others, and the only person you’re obliged to take care of is yourself.

All the free time is completely yours

Time becomes a more and more precious resource in our fast-paced world. We work, we study, we communicate with other people. Our everyday routines are so overloaded that we rarely have time for ourselves.

Relationships make things even more complicated. When you have a partner, spending time with them, going on dates, and making plans together is a must. However, when you’re single, all the free time is completely yours!

You don’t need to argue about what to do or where to go. You’re the one who decides how to spend weekends. You make decisions about going out or staying at home based on your mood and needs.

Consequently, being single means that you can better organize your daily tasks and have as much time as you need either to develop your skills, learn new things, explore the world, or just rest.

You can make tons of new friends

When you’re single, you’re open to new relationships. And being open to new relationships means you’re open to new friendships too.

In your 40s, you have enough experience to easily make new friends. You already know what kind of people attract you; you already realize who you can trust and who you can’t.

Besides, you acknowledge that it’s the quality of friendship that matters, not the quantity. At least that’s what Oprah proves and what I also believe.

On the contrary, when you’re in a relationship, you dedicate most of your time to your partner. And when people see you’re taken, they’re not likely to communicate with you. Of course, it’s another ugly stereotype of our society, but it is what it is.

But being single is perceived as a synonym for openness to new experiences. And this also means that you can make tons of new friends.

You can spend the money however you want

Have you ever heard anything about money-killing marriage issues? If you haven’t, you should know that no matter how much you adore your partner, you’re likely to experience some sort of money-related problems at some stage of your relationship.

That’s especially true with marriages. When people marry each other, financial boundaries diminish, meaning there’s no such thing as your money and my money anymore. Instead, all the money is “ours.”

But what if you want to spend the money you earn by working hard for yourself? Why should you consider others’ needs in order to spend your own money? What if you earn more than your partner? Why are you the one who pays bills?

These are just some of the financial issues married couples are often concerned about. There is much more than that. And in the long term, such concerns have a bad impact on the emotional bond of couples.

Even if you’re not married but are dating someone, you still have to spend tons of money on meeting their needs. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about buying a  heartfelt gift or going on a date together, dating requires financial resources.

However, when you’re single, all the money is completely yours. You don’t have any obligations, and you don’t want to consider anyone’s interests. You’re the one who earns and spends all the money. And this actually feels great.

You can shape your own happiness

And finally, being single in your 40s allows you to be happier. How?

When you’re single, you have more time to get in touch with yourself. All you’re concerned about is your own desires. People often say that they lose themselves in relationships. The reason is that you stop doing things independently and start thinking about your partner’s desires.

On the contrary, if you’re single, you have more time to focus on your own personal development, explore your needs, and find your inner self.

To me, being single is equal to having an opportunity to figure out what you want out of life. And how are you going to achieve whatever you want?

As a result, you’ll learn to enjoy being in your own company. You’ll become more confident in yourself. And needless to say, you’ll feel happier as a result.

Can you be happy and single in your 40s?

If you’re in your 40s and still single, you should omit the word “still” and change the phrase to “40s and single”. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why you can be happy and single in your 40s at the same time.

Happiness isn’t necessarily defined by relationships. Personally, I define happiness by who I am. Who I am alone, free from common stereotypes, social influences, and the people around me. And I believe you also shouldn’t define happiness by your relationship status.

Of course, if you’re in a relationship and you feel happy because of your partner, that’s amazing. Nobody’s trying to tell you to avoid being in a relationship in your 40s because it’s irrational.

However, you should only start dating someone or getting married to someone only if you feel you want it yourself. And not as a result of social pressure.

To me, the key to happiness is living a life based on your desires and needs. If you need to be in a relationship, go for it. But if you feel you’re much more comfortable being single, then it’s completely fine to be single in your 40s.

What do you think?

Written by Nato Lagidze

Nato is a writer and a researcher with an academic background in psychology. She investigates self-compassion, emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and the ways people make decisions. Writing about recent trends in the movie industry is her other hobby, alongside music, art, culture, and social influences. She dreams to create an uplifting documentary one day, inspired by her experiences with strangers.

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