Maud Purcell, Coach & Corporate Consultant
By Maud Purcell
Does the phrase “single and satisfied” sound like an oxymoron? For all too many women, it does. Our movies, books and songs often promote the notion that being single equals being alone and lonely.
News flash: Being single doesn’t have to mean feeling unfulfilled or lonely. As a practicing psychotherapist, I have clients who believe that they cannot find happiness without a mate, but I also have clients who don’t let their relationship status prevent them from living the lives they want. As one of my clients has found, with hard work and the intent to be happy no matter what, you might even find that there are blessings to being single.
Don’t take the blessings you do have for granted –
- You are free to develop yourself in any direction you choose. If you want to learn to fly an airplane, pursue studies in World War II history, or take ballroom dancing, you don’t need to explain yourself to a partner or get their buy-in. You can sign up for online classes or take courses at a local university. No one will be standing over your shoulder asking, “What about me?”
- You can design your own schedule. You only have to consult yourself about working late, going to the gym, getting together with friends, or visiting that art exhibit that caught your eye. If you decide to throw a last minute get-together with friends, you don’t have to worry about inconveniencing your partner or encroaching on his space. Don’t underestimate the value of this flexibility.
- There is little need for negotiation. Did you ever consider the blessings inherent in being able to do things at your own pace? You can let the laundry pile up as long as you wish – or never let it pile up (no one will be working against you on this one), eat pizza for breakfast or cereal for dinner. I spend countless hours meeting with couples who can’t seem to compromise on these and other issues. Ironically, these folks often long for the good old days when they were still single.
- Your living space is yours alone. You can paint, wallpaper, decorate and arrange your living space exactly the way you want it. If you decide to change it next week, you can do so without consulting anyone. You can play your favorite tunes at home, be they classical, jazz, rock and roll, blues or hard rock. It is your space – you make the rules.
- In-laws are a non-issue. How many comedians make a living just on in-law jokes? Embracing a second family isn’t always the easiest proposition and generally requires tremendous patience and understanding. How great that at least for now, this is a non-issue. It can be difficult enough to iron out problems with your own family, no less someone else’s!
- Holidays and travel plans are your call. Do you have special holiday rituals that you look forward to each year? As a single person you can continue to enjoy them, at each and every holiday. Is it your dream to go hostelling across Europe, backpacking in the Rockies, or to rent a villa in the South of France? And what about that trip you wanted to take to Istanbul? This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you are free to plan the trip for whenever, stay where you like, and poke around Topkapi, sun bathe, or shop to your heart’s content. The possibilities are endless, and the choice is yours and yours alone.
So why not enjoy the freedoms of singlehood, even if your end goal is to be in a relationship? If you focus on your blessings, you’ll discover that “single and satisfied” isn’t an oxymoron after all.
Maud Purcell, MSW, LCSW, CEAP, is a skilled and seasoned psychotherapist, as well as a trained Coach and Corporate Consultant. She is the owner of Maud Purcell & Associates Inc., and she writes a regular column for The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, The Danbury Times and CT Post Newspapers.
More by Maud Purcell:
A Family Survival Guide for the Holidays
When Your Family Doesn't Cut It, Create a New One
Overwhelmed? Dump, Delegate & Deal