5 reasons why being single doesn’t mean you’re lonely or incomplete

So you’re single and going through the motions of feeling lonely or incomplete?

As someone who is recently single, I get it.

There’s a lot of emotions that come up when you’re single, including feeling like there’s something wrong with you.

I know what it’s like wanting to jump into something new and to find someone that makes you ‘complete’ once more. 

But this is a construct. Let me tell you why with these 5 reasons:

1) Being single is a chance to meet yourself again

When we’re tied into a romantic relationship with someone, we give away far more of ourselves than we realize.

Simply put, we are sharing ourselves with another person and thinking about their needs as much as ours.

In my experience, your sense of self can become more fragmented and you can lose who you really are while spending so much time thinking about another person.

I’m speaking from experience.

You don’t just go about your day thinking about what you would like to do, and you don’t hop on a plane and just go where you want to go. 

Instead, you consult another person. 

In short: you ask them what they would like to do and where they would like to go.

You’re in a dynamic of compromising and collaborating when you’re in a relationship, and the idea is that you two can meet somewhere in the middle.

This means there will be compromise.

What’s more, in particularly codependent relationships, you can actually end up merging your sense of self with another person and feeling like you don’t even know who you are. 

I’ve just come out of a two year-long relationship and I’ve come to realize it was incredibly codependent.

You see, I completely lost my sense of self and became very incomplete.

I found myself feeling like I was reliant on him to feel wholeness.

It’s fair to say that my sense of self dissolved during the relationship where I felt like I was part of a ‘we’ and not just ‘I’. 

Maybe that resonates with you.

Now, coming to realize the relationship made me feel more incomplete was a bit of a headspin, given that we’re told that we’re incomplete when we’re single.

In truth, we have the opportunity to be far more complete when we are single.

Better yet, when we’re single and we find this sense of wholeness, we can lay a solid foundation to go forward and meet someone else when the time is right.

2) Being single means you can embrace your self-development

I spent so much of my previous relationship thinking about our life together…

…Days were spent imagining our future family, the places we could travel together and all of the ways we could grow together.

I was constantly thinking about the relationship and how we could work together to design a life.

I thought of both of our lives as a single life, a single world.

You see, I never really stopped to think about what I wanted from life during the relationship.

It was all about ‘us’.

I’m not blaming it on him for this, but I’m just aware that simply being in a relationship took the focus away from me and my development.

In my experience, sometimes we think we’re ready for a relationship but we’re really not… 

…And when we’re not, we can feel all the more incomplete for being in one as it takes away from what we need to give ourselves.

What does this mean for you?

It’s really important that you take the time to really be single and to focus on getting to know yourself.

There’s no set timeline for how long any person should be single and focused on getting to know themselves. 

It could be one month, one year or five years.

Simply put, it’s highly personal and dependent on where you’re at in life.

You’ll know when you feel whole and able to open yourself up to meeting someone. 

Simply put, you’ll know when you feel entirely complete by yourself.

Being with another person can increase the feelings of being incomplete if you were already in that space.

So be honest with yourself!

Remember, rushing into a relationship to avoid the idea of being lonely or incomplete will just make the feelings get worse.

3) Being single allows you to reflect on your values

personality traits that show youre a smart man 1 5 reasons why being single doesn't mean you're lonely or incomplete

When you’re single, it’s a chance to get to know yourself in a totally new way.

You get to really meet you.

Truth is, no longer are you attempting to see yourself through the eyes of another person, and no longer are you attempting to align with their values.

In my experience, something shifts when you’re single.

You start to sit with what your values look like, and it prompts an introspection that makes you consider what really matters to you.

You see, being single is a time of getting clarity on what you want, without the influence of another person.

It’s a time of pure power that can be used to redirect your life in a beautiful way.

It allows you to start feeling complete and whole by yourself.

Personally, I’ve found this recently in my new singledom.

One thing I’ve found myself doing is actually mapping out what I believe my values are:

I’ve sat down with a pen and paper, and written down what they are – from the little things to the big important stuff.

For instance, some of my values included:

  • Authenticity 
  • Spontaneity 
  • Growth 
  • Connection

What’s more, I ranked values in importance to help with that clarity.

I found that looking at what these values actually are in practice helped me get crystal clear on their importance. For example:

  • Authenticity – Having a strong work ethic and producing authentic work 
  • Spontaneity – Being able to hop around from places
  • Growth – Keeping up with mindfulness practices
  • Connection – Meeting with curious people

I’ve decided that it’s something I’m going to review every month and I encourage you to do the same, so you can really feel that you’re living in alignment with your truth.

In turn, you’ll feel all the more complete.

4) Being with someone doesn’t fix loneliness 

A lot of people in couples these days meet through dating apps.

Now, while everything might look and sound right on paper (or should I say, on screen), there can be a lot of incompatibility between people that causes more feelings of loneliness.

You see, people get together to try and soothe feelings of loneliness, and to fill a void within themselves, but dating the wrong person can actually make it ten times worse.

We’re constantly fed the idea that we need to download more dating apps and to keep swiping, or to keep putting ourselves ‘out there’, when we’re single. 

But this isn’t the answer to fixing feelings of loneliness. 

Justin Brown, in his honest and raw video about what it’s like to be single and lonely in Singapore, explains that this conventional advice doesn’t work.

It was affirming watching his YouTube video that highlights loneliness comes about when people don’t get us, and when we’re ultimately with the wrong person. He says:

“Loneliness comes when people who we’re surrounded with don’t understand who we are at a deeper level. That’s the problem with dating apps in a big city like Singapore. We’re surrounded by endless opportunities… This doesn’t fix that feeling of loneliness. Loneliness comes when the people we’re going on dates with don’t understand who we are at this deeper level.”

YouTube video

It was a mic drop moment for me.

In other words, it’s far worse dating people who don’t get you and trying to make something work with someone for the sake of not being single.

It actually causes us to feel more lonely and incomplete when we’re forcing something.

Think about this next time you feel like reaching for your phone and swiping to find The One.

5) It allows you to figure out what an authentic life is

In a relationship, you’re not only moving at your pace.

Ultimately, you’re moving at the pace of another person and trying to find a pace that feels good for you both. 

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

One of the reasons my recent relationship ended was because our pacing was off.

You see, he wanted to settle down and to have a base and routine… And I didn’t.

In fact, I wanted the complete opposite with a total freedom to move around from place to place.

For a while I tried making it work, but I just couldn’t and I started feeling incredibly trapped.

Simply put, I was living in a lot of discomfort internally because I was trying to shapeshift in a way that fit around someone else’s life.

In short: I wasn’t being authentic. 

However, I didn’t really realize this until I was finally single. 

Only when I was by myself did I realize that I’d been feeling such discomfort because I was out of alignment and not being true to my desires.

Being single really allowed me to lean into what feels authentic for me.

It gave me new breathing space and a new perspective, which allowed me to come back into my wholeness.

My advice?

Don’t be afraid, but be fully embracing of the opportunity of singledom to find your authenticity and true self! 

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.