Have you ever found yourself wondering what exactly is so appealing about being in a relationship in the first place?
Once the initial butterflies quit fluttering and that can’t-keep-your-hands-off-one-another feeling fades, it’s clear to see that some people — no matter how romantically inclined or sexually attracted they may be — just aren’t really the relationship type.
And obviously, that’s OK. If you identify with any of these seven signs, you may be better off single.
1. You have high avoidance goals
Not all relationships are riddled with baggage, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that’s never seen any glimpse of conflict at one point or another. For people who absolutely cannot deal with disagreements, being single just may be their happy place. Although modern society and a social media-obsessed culture often dubs people in relationships happier than those not in relationships, some research begs to differ. In a study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science, researchers evaluated the connection between being happy, or unhappy, and being in a relationship, or being single.
The study found that single people who had high avoidance goals, meaning they are most concerned with preventing relationship conflict and disagreements, were just as happy as those who were in a relationship. On the flip side, people high in approach goals, meaning they strive to enhance relationship closeness, experienced greater life satisfaction, and were particularly happy when they were in a relationship.
Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone who’s in a relationship is a drama queen (or king), but it’s interesting to hear just why a person may be happier flying solo.
2. You are single at heart
As Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. puts it in Psychology Today, being single is all in your perception of it. And as she prefers to explain it, a person is single at heart when they see themselves as single, as opposed to referring to being single as some sort of personal failure. Whether your life includes the occasional romantic relationship, someone who’s single at heart doesn’t aspire to live as part of a long-term couple. So, just as some people feel they are meant to have children, the same can be said about those who are at their best when they’re single.
3. You have a sense of personal mastery
Lots of people have a can-do attitude, and regardless of relationship status, this outlook delivers a sense of accomplishment, pride, and positivity. If you’re certain you can do anything you set your mind to, consider yourself a contender for single at heart.
When a person has a sense of personal mastery, they are less likely to experience negative emotions. Just think about when a toddler is taught to dress himself, rather than always having his parent automatically do it for him. He’ll be left with feelings of pride and a sense of accomplishment because he’s done it himself. Similarly, DePaulo says that for singles, the link between personal mastery and freedom from negative feelings is stronger than it is for people in a relationship.
4. You are highly self-sufficient
Being self-sufficient doesn’t just mean you’re capable of dealing with things on your own, but that you actually like to deal with things on your own. If a person has been single for some time, it’s obvious they’re likely to do things on their own, regardless of whether they want to at first. However, as time goes on and they repeatedly take decision-making into their own hands, they’ll likely become more confident in doing so. “For people who have always been single, the more self-sufficient they are, the less likely they are to experience negative emotions,” DePaulo says. “For people who are currently married, though, it’s the opposite — the more they like dealing with things on their own, the more likely they are to have negative feelings.”
5. You don’t like being tied down
While not all relationships require a person to be attached to their partner’s hip at all times, if you’re someone who feels your freedom is totally revoked in each and every relationship you’ve been in, the single life may be best for you.
Remember the Sex and the City episode where Carrie starts hyperventilating while trying on wedding dresses? Well, just as she felt stifled in her relationship with Aidan, so too do many other people. In Carrie’s case, sure, it was more the person and less the fact she was destined for single life forever, but you get the idea. As relationship expert and author April Masini told Bustle, “Some people simply know they want to stay single. They enjoy the freedom, and they don’t have nay anxiety about missing out on being part of a couple.” And trading in your freedom for a life partner better be something you’ve put a lot of thought into.
6. You’re afraid you’ll miss out on something better
You’re familiar with FOMO, right? Good, because the fear of missing out is a very real thing in today’s social media obsessed world. Just as The Huffington Post explains, many people are concerned they may be missing out on something more fun, more beneficial, or more productive. Well, the same can be said about relationships … but in a good way.
While FOMO often comes with a negative connotation, it may also help explain why you choose to be single, and are happy doing so. Maybe you’re hesitant to choose a long term partner because you’re constantly concerned something better may come along. And not even just a better person, either. Maybe you’re worried being in a relationship will someday hinder your chances for a job promotion, because you know you lose focus on your career whenever you’re in a relationship. Well, there are lots of smarty pants out there who have chosen to direct their life’s attention to plans that don’t require a significant other. So, don’t waste your time in a relationship if you’re constantly on the hunt for something better.
7. You’re an opportunity addict
There’s nothing wrong with seeking various opportunities and running with them. And maybe you’re that kind of person. Although this Inc. article describes the addiction to opportunity in business terms, the same can be applied to relationships.
Think back to the previously mentioned notion of being single at heart, regardless of occasional (often short-lived) romantic relationships. Even if you’re a person who likes to date around or isn’t afraid to get to know someone new, that doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t choosing to be single in the long run. When a new person enters your life, you’re intrigued by them, and are interested in becoming closer, which isn’t a bad thing in the least.
No matter where you are in your personal life — single, married, divorced, or otherwise — it’s yours, and yours alone to decide how you want to define your relationship with others, and most importantly, with yourself. Perhaps you’re simply not designed for a long term relationships, and that’s perfectly fine.