If you think being single will bring sadness in your life one day, you are probably wrong. Single people can also have satisfying lives, researchers have found.
“It is a well-documented finding that single people tend to be less happy compared to those in a relationship but that may not be true for everyone,” said lead researcher Yuthika Girme, psychology doctoral candidate at University of Auckland.
People who fear relationship conflicts are just as happy when they are single or in a relationship.
In a survey of more than 4,000 residents, people with high “avoidance social goals” – who try at all costs to avoid relationship disagreements and conflict – were just as happy being single as other people were in relationships.
Being single may remove some of the anxiety triggered by relationship conflicts for those individuals, the team noted in a paper published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Conversely, the study found that participants with low avoidance goals who aren’t concerned about the ups and downs of a relationship were less happy when they were single.
The study participants ranged in age from 18 to 94 years old with long-term relationships lasting almost 22 years on average.
One-fifth of the participants were single at the time of the study.
“Trying too hard to avoid relationship conflicts actually may create more problems,” Girme added.
While high avoidance goals may help people be happier when they are single, it can have negative effects in a relationship, contributing to anxiety, loneliness, lower life satisfaction.
With a high divorce rate, solo parenting, and many people delaying marriage to pursue career goals, the number of single people is on the rise.
“Having greater approach goals tends to have the best outcomes for people when they are in a relationship, but they also experience the most hurt and pain when they are single,” Girme concluded.