SEX & RELATIONSHIPS ∙ 4 minutes read

Being single and happy: breaking the stigma for unmarried men

By Dr Parisah Hussain

Although it’s not unusual to be an unmarried man, the historical view that a single older man has somewhat missed out in life remains. Many men (and women) enjoy being single - that’s why we opened up the conversation to happy single individuals. 

Farhan Ahmed is an investment banker who works in London. We chatted to him about how much he enjoys single life and why he’s happy with the life he leads.

“I’m fully satisfied with where I am and what I’ve achieved so far as a single man. Looking back, the person who I was when I was 18 starting university, and when I started working at the age of 22, are completely different to the person I am today. I’ve grown and I’m on an amazing life journey whilst being single. I don’t think I would be where I am right now if I was with someone who expected me to make a huge compromise in my dreams and ambitions or if I was in a dysfunctional relationship.”

We asked him what his current thoughts are about finding a partner. 

“I think there’s a lot of pressure within certain cultures to get married whilst you’re in your mid to late twenties. My parents got married when they were 23 or 24 and they had their first child, my sister, by the time they were 26 and 27. But life doesn’t work like that anymore. People in the younger generation are becoming more socially progressive and don’t want to rush marriage. It’s vital to build your own career and path. I enjoy being single and taking my time. I think a lot of people need to understand that marriage or being in a relationship is not black and white. It’s not straightforward. There are so many grey areas and it takes a lot of hard work to have a successful relationship. What’s the point in rushing to enter a relationship due to pressure from society and then realising that you and your partner are not even compatible? We need to remove this fear in our heads that we’re ‘running out of time’ or being single in your thirties is a bad thing - because it isn’t. I’m not saying people should never get into a relationship and they should stay single forever. What I’m trying to say is that everyone is on their own individual path, it’s not a race and we should never compare our lives with others. We should start to appreciate and be more grateful for what we already have and what we’ve accomplished so far.”

We also asked Farhan what he thought about being financially independent. 

“I also believe it’s crucial to have enough savings before you enter a relationship or marriage. You need to focus on building your career, work your way up the ladder and even have additional incomes if you want to have a good quality of life in an expensive city like London. Life in London is so different to what it was like 20 years ago. It’s ideal to have additional passive income, such as buying property and putting it on rent and investing in stocks and shares.” 

We asked him what he currently gets up to in his free time as a single man. 

“In my free time, I love travelling. I enjoy exploring other countries and learning about other cultures with my university friends and work colleagues. I like going on journeys or adventures where I try to ‘find myself’ whilst being abroad. I haven’t done much travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic, but once we’re clear from the virus and the borders are down, I’m ready to continue this journey. As well as travelling, I catch up with my family after work, go to the gym, eat out in central. I’m also flat-hunting around London and want to put down a deposit soon as well. Housing in London is expensive, so you need to find the right home for you!” 

Why is there a stigma surrounding unmarried men? 

There’s a deep-rooted societal expectation to go to school, study, get a job, buy a house, get married, have children and raise a family. But does life always take this path? Are these the right choices for every individual? Do these societal norms put unwelcome pressure on us?

The question is: what happens if we don’t follow the unwritten rule?

Nowadays, more and more individuals are remaining single. And yes, by choice. 

There used to be a stigma around men and women who are single or divorced. The unmarried population were considered incomplete, lonely, and despairing. Marriage once gave you higher societal status.

But when it comes to what makes a person truly happy, are there single men and women out there who are happier than their married counterparts?

Importantly, marriage does not guarantee happiness.

Here are some of the reasons why being single is actually great. 

1. Financial stability and independence

Focus on your career and start saving up. You shouldn’t rely on someone else for money. It’s crucial to be financially stable and independent in modern society, especially as the cost of living in certain areas in the UK are very expensive. Housing prices are increasing, travel expenses are rising and tax is going up. Many people became financially unstable during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. The UK economy has gone downhill. There’s a hugely satisfying feeling when you make a payment or transaction and the money you used came from your own hard work. 

2. Confidence levels

As a single individual, you have more time to focus on yourself and your emotions. Your mind becomes uncluttered and you rely on your inner strength rather than relying on someone else. You become more mature and your confidence levels will manifest when you meet people from all walks of life. 

3. No need to compromise 

As you’re not tied down to anything, you’re more likely to seize opportunities that come your way. You shouldn’t have to compromise or make sacrifices so early on in your life. On the other hand, being married or in a relationship comes with compromise. One person in the relationship may have to take the back seat whilst sharing the journey together. It’s inevitable. Don’t burn your opportunities for temporary comfort. When you’re trying to find a partner, it’s important to find someone who will add value to your life, rather than someone who will take away the things you’ve already accomplished. 

4. Self-care and reflection 

Having time to focus on your own needs helps you to take proper care of your health. Whether it's your sexual health, appearance, or you just want to take more care of your health in general, being single allows you that extra time for self-care.

Put yourself first. Give yourself time to figure out who you really are. It’s essential to make time for yourself and to understand what you actually want in life. Find your true identity. Reflection is key. Your sense of self-worth should not be dependent on having a relationship with someone else. Moreover, you need to learn to love yourself before you start to love someone else. 

The bottom line

Being a single man or woman doesn’t mean you’re unhappy. It’s not a problem that needs to be solved. It’s genuinely an incredible opportunity to create your own happiness. Never put your happiness in other people. 

Live your life to the fullest. Being single is becoming the norm. 

Dr Parisah Hussain

MBChB, BSc (Hons)

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