***Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical, legal, or health advice and is not a substitute for mental health services
If you find yourself being the only single person in your social group, this can be a hard position to be in. You might feel lonely and depressed. You could get a lot of questions about when you will start dating (or when you will start dating again if you’ve just gotten out of a relationship). You could feel a bit awkward during social events if you are surrounded by couples. It can also be hard to carve out time for just you and just your friends if they attend as a couple in most social engagements. There’s no doubt – this can be a really hard life phase to go through.
While it’s important to acknowledge and validate the discomfort you may be feeling, there may also be some coping tools and alternative perspectives to keep in mind that can help you cope with your current single status. These ideas are outlined below.
1. Recognize your power and strength in letting go of a relationship that no longer serves you
If you have just found the strength, determination, and resolve to leave a toxic or abusive relationship, then you have made a truly life-changing decision for the better. This would have understandably been very challenging, but is a choice that will benefit the present and future you. Now you can begin to focus on healing.
And, if you were feeling stagnant and unfulfilled in your romantic relationship, then it is ok to choose to be single as it is often better to be single and happy versus being in a relationship that leaves you feeling disgruntled, let down, and disappointed.
2. Remember that you are not alone
You might feel that you are the only person you know who is single. And, even if the immediate social circle that surrounds you is made up of people who are all in relationships, it may be comforting to know that there are many people outside of your network who are single – just like you!
Do your best not to berate yourself – there is nothing wrong with being single. Your relationship status doesn’t define you. You do. Try to minimize playing the comparison game – just because other people around you are in relationships doesn’t make them better than you. You have value in and of yourself.
Also, consider the fact that you don’t have to pursue the first relationship that comes along after a breakup– evaluate whether this person has the potential to meet your needs - and if you have the mental and emotional capacity right now to do the same for them.
3. Make your own dating timeline that suits you
Just because everyone around you might be suggesting that you get back out there on the latest dating apps, be set up on blind dates with people who your family or friends know, or even if you are feeling a sense of internal pressure to find someone soon and settle down or based on expectations stemming from your family, your cultural community, or society in general that suggests that you should be married by now, just know that there is no right or perfect timeline.
What makes more sense is being in a relationship that is right for you rather than rushing into a relationship because you feel you are behind in some way or have to rush to settle down. Feeling cared for, supported, valued, and respected are much more important indicators reflecting the high quality of a relationship rather than the time it takes to find that special person.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people
When you’re feeling low, it’s more important than ever to know that the people around you have your back and will be there for you no matter what.
Be sure to connect with those family and friends who will support you throughout hardships in life. You want to be with people who don’t judge or criticize you and who will do their best to lift you up when you most need it. There’s nothing wrong with asking for support and leaning on others. There will be times when you will be there for them just the same.
5. Work on being your best yourself
Take this time to expand your horizons – sign up for a new class, identify your goals, meet new people, and spend time on a personal hobby or interest. Who knows the many ways you will learn and grow from just trying something different!
Building yourself up as an individual will not only be helpful when the time comes to begin dating again as you will have so much to share about yourself, but this can also be helpful in all of your relationships as you will generally be feeling happier and more fulfilled!
This article is for all the single people out there who are struggling with their self-worth. You are seen. You are heard. And, remember, you have value regardless of your relationship status. I hope these tips are helpful for you as you navigate this current life phase. And, when the time comes where you meet someone who lights you up just as you do for them and you see long-term potential, that is a great sign that you are ready to make a relationship transition with a clearer mind and heart.
Wishing you well on your mental health journey.
Davina Tiwari MSW, RSW, CSFT
Registered Social Worker and Certified Solution Focused Therapist
If you are an adult in Ontario or Alberta seeking online therapy and would like to request a free 15 minute phone consultation, please Book An Appointment or reach out directly under the Contact page.