Single with benefits: the self-fulfilling power of not dating

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  • Forget the sad, pathetic tropes of single life. According to stats, being self-partnered is actually physically, economically and psychologically good for you. So forget 'smug couple bakes bread in lockdown together' season – here are five key reasons to stay firmly unattached

    1. Single people are healthier

    Worried all those awkward Zoom dates are killing your liver? You’re probably right – but there’s good news, too. New research from the American Time Use Survey suggests single people are actually more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers. This could be because singletons tend to be more active than married people.

    Research from the Journal of Marriage and Family shows unattached women tend to exercise for around five hours and 25 minutes a fortnight, compared to married women who work out for around four hours. Single people tend to have lower BMIs, too – research from the University of Basel in Switzerland and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany found that singletons weigh less than married people (around 2kg on average).

     2. …and wealthier (yes really)

    It’s easy to despair at your finances when you’re single – pre-pandemic dating didn’t exactly come cheap. (On average, single people would spend £21 a week more than people living as a couple). But there’s reason to celebrate, too: according to, single people have less debt than married couples.

    Typically, 21 per cent of single people have credit-card debt compared to 27 per cent of married couples without children. And, when children are involved, the debt rises further still – worryingly, 36 per cent of married couples with children are in debt.

    3. You’re probably more resilient 

    Navigating a global pandemic is difficult for anyone – but for those without a partner to turn to, lockdown has presented its own unique set of challenges. While nobody aspires to be lonely, the mental clarity and resilience brought about by being alone can be life-affirming. And American studies have found that there’s actually a science behind it, too.

    For example, military soldiers injured in service were less likely to have symptoms of PTSD when they were single. Research indicates that singletons are more successful at overcoming injury or illness, and are also less likely to have emotional or physical health problems, compared to those who are married or divorced. So does being single make you resilient? Or do resilient people just stay single longer? That’s anyone’s guess.

    4. Single people sleep better

    No more noisy bed-mates, hurrah! A study from mattress company Amerisleep suggests self-partnered people are snoozing much better, for longer. Single people get around 7.13 hours a night, which is more than people in relationships, as well as those who are divorced or separated. Ready, set, starfish…

    5 benefits of being single

     5. …and you’re probably happier, too

    A study of 1,000 single people and 3,000 married people determined that single people were more likely to report feeling their life has had growth, learning and development. This could be down to more solo time to work out who we are, and what we want, as well as doing things we actually enjoy, compared to married people. Research even indicates that unmarried, childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. So that’s something.

    Feeling a little perkier now? Thought so.

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