Being single and dating

Learning to be single and happy

Sometimes being single can feel freeing or even empowering. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want without having to worry about what your partner is doing. But there are also times when being unattached can be lonely and frustrating.

Even if you are struggling with feelings of isolation and longing for a partner—or at least some romantic prospects—there are things that you can do to help feel better about being single.

Your perspective on your relationship status can play an important role in how you feel about being single. One study found that people who viewed themselves and being voluntarily single were less likely to report feelings of romantic loneliness. People who felt that being un-partnered was involuntary, however, were more likely to feel emotionally lonely.

How you feel about being single can be influenced by a variety of factors, including:

  • Stereotypes portraying single people as sad, lonely, insecure, and less satisfied
  • Social pressure to find a partner and start a family
  • Perceptions of single status as a source of individualism and independence

The pitfalls of dating

Dating can be a great way of meeting and getting to know a potential partner or new friend.

And while the rise of dating has meant some good things – allowing us, in many ways, to have more control over the kinds of people we meet and to think in more detail about the kind of partner that might work for us – it has also come with a few potential challenges and pitfalls.

In some ways, dating is a somewhat artificial way of getting to know someone. Going on a date can sometimes feel like a fairly formal interaction: you meet up, you spend time together and, hopefully, you figure out whether you want to meet up again. Dating can sometimes feel like a means to an end: figuring out if you could work as a couple or friend.

For this reason, it can sometimes feel like quite a pressurised activity. It can be fairly anxiety-inducing, and, somewhat inconveniently, it can also make it difficult to actually settle into the experience of getting to know the other person.

You might be worried about not understanding how it all works or whether you will be any ‘good’ at it. It can feel like it’s a bit of a strange way to meet people – perhaps a little unnatural or awkward. You may also have concerns about the kind of people you’ll meet online, and whether it will be safe.

There are lots of ways I can support you to cope with this new way to connect.

Finally, don’t forget – you don’t have to meet people online. Although it may not always seem it these days, it’s still perfectly normal to prefer meeting in a more natural environment. Often this can mean just being social by doing things you like: joining a club or making an effort to join in with group social occasions. This can give you the chance to get to know someone a little without having to enter into that more formal ‘dating dynamic’.