There’s this misconstrued stigma that single life is sad a life. That it’s a lonely journey that people, usually women, are desperately trying to claw their way out of.
So instead of taking the time we need to cope after a break-up or really understand who we are as an individual, we jump back into relationships. And I would know — this was my life since I was sixteen. My relationships were back to back and often ending in the same exact ways.
About a year ago, I found myself single once more. But instead of desperately finding another boyfriend, I intentionally stayed single. I promised myself I would stick to this for at least six months.
It’s been one year now. And let me tell you, single life has surprised me. There’s been a lot of outcomes that I was surprised and, to be frank, shocked by.
So if you’re considering the single life, take these side effects into consideration:
1. Your weekends are spent doing whatever the hell you want. And you can use that time to chase your dreams. Or re-watch every episode of The Office again.
2. Additional forks will no longer be picking at your meal. There will be no one there constantly taking a fry or asking for a bite. Those burger and fries are all yours — enjoy.
3. The bed becomes yours; all yours. There’s no questioning, “Which side do you want?” because every side is now your side. Spread out like a goddamn starfish and enjoy your slumber.
4. A lot of free time to pursue your goals. You’re no longer wasting every night driving over to his place only to smoke and binge watch Game of Thrones. You no longer have to hang out with his obnoxious friends. Your nights are yours.
5. A lot of free time to get comfortable being with yourself. You’ll start to realize the nuances of your own interests and quirks. You can take up all of those self-care practices you’ve always read about and see which work for you.
6. Figuring out what your interests are. You no longer have to pretend to be into competitive cycling. Gone are the days of watching indie films that drag on. Pretending to be interested in his miniature figure painting hobby that you never fully understood is no longer something you have to do. You get to embark on the journey of finding, or re-finding, hobbies that you love.
7. Being able to watch whatever you want on Netflix. All those cheesy romcoms that Netflix is coming out with? There is no one to judge you. Want to watch Friends for the 60th time? You do you, baby.
8. Being able to watch The Holiday several nights in a row. And this doesn’t just apply to Netflix. You can watch that cheesy movie that you love, as many times as you want. Watch Jude Law use his charming smirk to win over a badass Cameron Diaz every night of the week if you wish.
9. You can dye your hair pink. This is more of a metaphor. You can finally do that thing you’ve been wanting to do that your significant other never wanted you to do. Dye your hair pink, get a tattoo, start going to that quirky bar you’re interested in, listen to the music he always hated.
10. Raising your standards. You no longer have to set your standards to any significant other. You decide for yourself what you want in a relationship because there’s no pressure to get into one.
11. Mental energy is reserved solely for you. No more late night talks about different habits your partner doesn’t like or that thing you said two weeks ago that bothered him, but he didn’t want to bring up until now. Instead, your mental energy can be spent on yourself.
12. Learning the difference between being alone and loneliness. Being content with solitude comes from enjoying time by yourself. You don’t have to feel empty or like a part of you is missing. This time can be spent learning to fall in love with the most important person in your life: you.
13. Being able to flirt with whoever you want, whenever you want. Cute guy at the bar? Make eyes with him. Charming Uber driver that seems into you? Pretend you lost something after the ride and get his number. And I know this works because a driver did this to me once.
14. Not waking up with an arm across your face and snoring echoing through the room. This side effect is the best. I love my sleep. I prioritize sleep highly, and nothing is worse than groggily waking up to a dead-weight arm slewed across your face.
15. Not living up to anyone’s expectations but your own. You decide what you get up and do for the day. You set the bar as high or low as you want. No longer do you have someone else’s preconceived notions of what success looks like being hovered over you. You’re chasing your dreams on your own terms.
16. Saving money. The pressure to go out on dates, buy each other presents, and purchase two of everything like toilet paper are no more. You get to save that money or, better yet, spend it on yourself.
17. Redefine what love looks like for you. When you’re single, you’ll have a lot of time to reflect. You’ll consider what you liked about your relationships and what you refuse to put up with again. You’ll start to create boundaries and consider dating men that aren’t like the ones you chose in the past.
18. Hanging out with all your guy friends. There’s no longer someone there to get jealous. You can hang out with your co-workers of the opposite sex. You can call up all your old guy friends. You can literally hang out with whoever.
19. Friendships become stronger. For whatever reason, people tend to disappear when they get into a relationship. But that’s no longer you! All your free time can be spent having girl nights with your besties or spending hours on the phone talking about whatever the hell you want.
20. The last slice of pizza will always be yours. No question about this. You are the master of your own pizza. Every. Single. Slice. Is. Yours.
21. Traveling the world on a whim because no one is there to insist you wait for them. Have a four day weekend and want to go visit someone? Buy the ticket and go. There’s no one nagging to come along.
22. Realizing your soulmate is not your best friend—you are. At the end of the day, you’re going to be the one you’re with the most in life. Knowing who you are outside of a relationship is the best gift you can give yourself. Being happy being alone will be the key to always enjoying life.