Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Embracing Singlehood: Why Living Alone Shouldn’t Be Taboo

Being single in our society means being looked at with curiosity. Not with the awe reserved for the Pyramids of Giza or a solar eclipse, but with the peculiar glance one might direct at a mounted deer or a person with a few too many piercings in their face. It’s a little eerie.

Singlehood flies in the face of traditional family values. So we don’t quite trust it.

But that’s unfair. Since lots of us have no desire to settle down. 

Not because we’re picky, unromantic, suffer from low self-esteem, or afraid to embrace our sexual orientation, but because we’re ill equipped to take care of someone else.

For some of us, cohabitation will always end in disaster. And it’s important for everyone to understand that. 

Otherwise, independent spirits will enter relationships not out of love, but out of fear of being judged for being alone.

To give solo living the prestige it deserves, we need to take romantic love off its pedestal and closely inspect some of its shortcomings. 

If we look closely and honestly, we’ll see that the idea of passionate love is quite far fetched. Being smitten by one person for a whole lifetime is possible. But so is the concept of time travel and that’s something we’re unlikely to achieve either. 

Talk to any couple who has been together long enough and we’ll find out that the passion has long dissipated and been replaced with companionship. Intense desire doesn’t seem to survive shared living for very long.

Especially when the people involved have tricky personalities. And that, unfortunately, applies to most of us. 

We’ve all in some shape or form been inadequately parented, developed bad habits, suffered betrayals, had our dreams broken, and experienced tragic losses. And let’s not forget about our regrettable psychological traits: we’re vain, envious, stubborn, short-sighted, insecure, and impulsive. 

Inviting someone closely into our lives means exposing them to our most nasty sides. 

It’s not without reason that most people accumulate multiple exes throughout their lifetime. Everyone is quite insufferable.

We might feel like we’re perfectly sensible and decent people when we’re home alone. But shack up with a partner and we quickly find out just how annoying we are. 

We loudly slurp tea, we hog the bathroom, we spend too much time reading, we allow the bin to overflow, we let our dirty clothes pile up on the sofa, and we’re no fun in the morning. 

The specifics vary, but we’re all nightmarish in our own ways.

But when we’re on our own, we never need to know. We might even start to like ourselves when we don’t have a significant other who points out all our idiosyncrasies.

Plus, being rejected by an attractive stranger is far easier to deal with than being turned down by the person who’s supposed to like us more than anyone else.

None of this means that remaining single is without its downsides. But it isn’t nearly as deplorable or pitiful as our society lets on. 

If we want happier relationships, we need to promote a culture that sees singlehood and marriage as equally valid options. Otherwise, people will rush to be a couple for the wrong reasons and create unnecessary suffering for everyone involved. 

Living alone isn’t taboo, for some, it’s a necessity.

P.S. A dark yet witty movie that illustrates just how bad things can get when a society condemns singlehood is, The Lobster. I highly recommend watching it.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach