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How to Cope with Being Single and its Psychological Effects

Some people consciously choose not to get involved romantically and remain single, and others might yearn for a loving connection yet not succeed in their search for a partner. While the former group usually feels empowered in their decision to stay free and independent, the latter may grapple with the psychological effects of being single for too long, made worse by societal pressure to be in a relationship.

That reality can be quite challenging, as it might fill you with heightened uncertainty about your future, frustration, or grief for the life you’d wish to experience. In the long term, continuing unwanted singlehood might lead to mental health issues like loneliness, depression or anxiety.

In this blog, we answer the question: “How to cope with being single?” by discussing this issue and sharing practical tips to boost your confidence and support your well-being along the way.

Understanding the Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long

Understanding the Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long

Being single by choice differs quite a lot from wanting to find a partner yet not managing to do so. The more time passes, the more difficult it might be to cope with, but it can also be a great time to focus on personal growth, exploring a new hobby and becoming your best self. If you’ve been grappling with overwhelming loneliness or low mood for over 2 weeks, consider depression counselling or relationship counselling. Getting professional help and discussing your struggles in a safe space with an experienced therapist from our team might help you:

  • process your difficult emotions,
  • learn how to deal with being single effectively.

Clear and Ambiguous Loss, What’s the Difference?

In his 2020 research, Jeffrey Jackson [1] describes the two experiences of prolonged singlehood as experiences of clear vs ambiguous loss:

Clear Loss

Ambiguous Loss

an individual accepts their single relationship status

an individual is uncertain about their single status

making a choice to remain single

choosing to search for their match

clear focus on career / personal development / social interactions, etc.

deep yearning for romantic connection / marriage / starting a family, etc.


clarity aids grieving the loss and healing process


uncertainty and ambivalence can make one feel stuck in limbo, unable to move on

achieving closure and moving forward

ongoing hope makes closure difficult to achieve, locking those individuals in a process of never-ending grief

Such experience can negatively impact your wellbeing, leading to:

  • feeling not good enough[3] ,
  • social isolation,
  • mental health issues, such as depression or loneliness.

How to Stop the Loneliness When Single?

How to Stop the Loneliness When Single?

Loneliness is one of the most prevalent psychological effects of being single too long among those looking for a romantic partner. Research indicates that in comparison with individuals who are single involuntarily, those who embrace their singlehood tend to:

  • feel less lonely,
  • experience higher levels of wellbeing,
  • struggle with fewer mental health issues [2].

Accepting your reality rather than rejecting it is always more beneficial, and likely the best way to improve your wellbeing. Instead of building up more frustrations and tension, you can let go of the pressure, approaching your life as a single with more ease.

To cope with feeling single and lonely:

1. Name Your Feelings

Part of learning how to cope with being single is about acknowledging and naming your emotions. Ambivalence can be an uncomfortable experience as it might leave you unclear and confused. Try dispelling it by confronting it gently rather than running away from it.

Set an intention to be compassionate and accepting when acknowledging, recognising and naming any arising emotions or dilemmas. Frustration, guilt, sadness or anxiety are common reactions to the loss. Allow them to take place[8] [9]  by:

  • taking time to observe your emotions, see what triggers them, how do they impact your thoughts, etc.
  • opening up to aspects of your life that make you feel low or tensed,
  • journalling about your experience as the last thing before bet. This can helps in decreasing discomfort and fear of the unknown, while fostering higher self-acceptance and emotional vulnerability essential in healing.

2. Find Balance by Checking in

Usually, trying to control all aspects of reality causes significant distress and pain. Tend to those feelings by stepping into a role of an observer and ask yourself:

  • What are the areas of my life I can change?
  • What is out of my control?

Recognising when to take action and when to let go and accept reality is a skill that will only help you heal, i.e.:

It’s impossible to predict when you’ll meet your future spouse, maybe while out socialising, or at the grocery store. Still, you can take the initiative and put yourself out there by asking your friends to connect you with other single, new people, engaging in social activities or trying out online dating apps.

Find Balance by Checking in

3. Embrace Mindfulness

Integrating mindfulness and meditation into your daily life can really transform your experience of singlehood. Mindfulness can be a key strategy in how to cope with being single, helping you appreciate the present and find inner peace. Try starting with:

  • Brief Meditation: Spend 3 minutes focusing on your breath—notice its natural rhythm without trying to change it.
  • Observe Details: Choose any item around you (a cup, a book, a plant, etc.). Spend a minute noticing its colours, textures, and how it makes you feel.
  • Gratitude Moments: Each night, think of one thing you’re grateful for from the day. It can be as simple as a sunny morning or a good cup of coffee or something happening at the end of the day.

4. Leverage Technology for Genuine Connections

Technology can be a double-edged sword when it comes to feelings of isolation. If misused it can make you feel even lonelier, but it caU also be a great tool to create new connections. Here’re some tips:

  • Select Interest-based Platforms: Check out online forums or social media groups centered around your hobbies or interests. Whether it’s art, books, coding, or gardening, there’s likely an online community waiting for you.
  • Mindful Engagement: When interacting online, try focusing on being real and having genuine conversations instead of superficial ones. Share your thoughts, ask questions, and express support if you want to create deeper connections.
  • Set Boundaries: Allocate specific times for online interactions to avoid overwhelming yourself. Less is more here.
  • Transition Online to Offline: Use technology as a stepping stone to in-person meetings. Many online communities organise local meet-ups. Perhaps you can join these gatherings to solidify your online friendships in the real world.
  • Use Dating Apps Wisely: Choose apps that cater to the type of relationship you’re seeking, whether it’s something casual or more serious. Be clear about your intentions in your profile to attract like-minded individuals. Even here, balance this out without overdoing it, or you’re at risk of feeling even more lonely.

Overcoming Feelings of Rejection or Failure

Overcoming Feelings of Rejection or Failure

Finding your match requires perfect timing and compatibility, which is rare and can be emotionally taxing, as rejection and failure are inherent in dating. Remember that many other lonely singles might go through similar struggles.

Rather than putting yourself down with negative self-talk or harmful beliefs about being undesirable or unlovable, lift yourself up by:

  • connecting to the belief that you are a lovable, interesting, dateable person,
  • recognising that someone else not being suitable for you doesn’t make you wrong or flawed by design. It just means you wouldn’t make a good match together.
  • exploring the root cause of your negative feelings to gain the confidence necessary to fulfill your potential when going out with your potential partner

Building Positive Relationships and Finding Happiness

Coping with being single can be a lot of fun – it all depends on your attitude. Here are some ideas to reframe your perspective:

List the benefits of singlehood to change your mindset:

Consider the positive impact of:

  • being independent and free,
  • having more time to get to know yourself,
  • knowing well what you look for in a potential partner [3].

Engage in other relationships

Engage in other relationships

  • social support is vital to our wellbeing,
  • make plans with your friends,
  • go on trips together,
  • keep up with their lives.

Find meaning

  • reflect on the lessons that single life has taught you thus far,
  • identify areas of improvement, i.e.:
    • career,
    • health.
  • realise your goals or dreams, i.e.:
    • extra classes, learning a new language
    • volunteering,
    • starting your business.

Redefining Happiness: A New Perspective on Being Single

Redefining or finding happiness when you’re single challenges the societal norm dictating that happiness can only be found in a relationship. But is that so? Rather than viewing being single as a negative state, you can see it as an opportunity to know yourself better and focus on your needs and desires, not to mention the freedom that singlehood can give you to explore your interests, pursue your passions, and build a strong sense of self-worth. Perhaps this might form a stronger and more stable basis to build romantic relationships in the future!

Can Singlehood be a Blessing in Disguise?

If you’re able to shift your perspective and focus on self-love and personal development, you can create a life filled with value and purpose. Take case of Alex, a 35-year-old software developer, who found that being single allowed him the freedom to pursue his passion for travel and photography, leading to a fulfilling project that combined both. Whilst singlehood was tough at the beginning, during this time he was able to realise that his prior relationships where mostly focused on his partner’s needs, which made him feel unfulfilled and ultimately unhappy! So almost paradoxically, it was being single that gave him the opportunity to discover his own needs and passions, enabling him to build a life that was truly his own and deeply satisfying.

See? Singlehood is not always doom and gloom, but can be an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Could it be for you too?

If you’re navigating this journey, we’re here to help you explore your values and add more meaning to your life!

Contact us today!

Single, Lonely and Depressed: Navigating the Social Stigma

Figuring out how to cope with being single and its psychological effects can be more challenging as years go by. While your friends settle down, find their partners and start families, you might feel like you’re falling behind, unable to catch up. Others might jump into relationships out of fear of loneliness and end up even more unhappy, resentful or divorced. Yet, there’s no point in making comparisons. Each person has their unique path in life, neither being better than the other. Instead of engaging in comparisons that leave you feeling like you don’t measure up, focus on finding happiness in your own life and accomplishments, including working on your goals and learning new things about yourself and spending quality time with your friends and family members.

Nevertheless, you might feel inadequate and misunderstood due to:

  • social pressures to get married and have children,
  • hurtful stereotypes about single people being sad or insecure,
  • pity, judgments and assumptions of other people.

When that happens, talk to your friends about the psychological effects that their comments about being single too long have on your wellbeing. They might not relate, but they’ll surely empathise with you and remain mindful of your situation.

Start here to learn how to set healthy boundaries.

Single, Lonely and Depressed: Navigating the Social Stigma

When to Seek Professional Help

Navigating the psychological effects of being single and learning how to cope with them is vital in supporting your mental wellbeing. If your feelings of loneliness or social isolation start concerning you or become overwhelming, don’t wait and contact our team for professional help.

Options such as depression or relationship counselling can provide:

  • insight and understanding into your issues,
  • practical tools to help you:
  • valuable guidance in finding your way as a single person.

Get a 15 minute Free consultation today!

Reassuring Therapy Context where to find a solution to relationship disconnection.


Most frequent questions and answers

Yes, feeling lonely while being single is completely normal. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings instead of ignoring them. Engaging in activities that you enjoy, connecting with friends and family, and exploring new interests can help mitigate these feelings.

Embracing single life is about focusing on personal growth, exploring new hobbies, and appreciating the freedom it offers. Being single is an opportunity to invest in yourself, discover what truly makes you happy, and build a life that feels fulfilling and rich, irrespective of your relationship status.

The best way to meet new people, whether you’re single or not, is to engage in activities that interest you. Join clubs, attend workshops, volunteer, or participate in community events related to your hobbies. Online platforms can also be a great tool to connect with others who share your interests. The more you’re involved in stuff you really like, the more likely you’ll meet people you’ll match with!

Being single for a long time can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which may impact your mental health. If you feel this way, it may be a good idea to address these feelings by seeking social connections, practicing self-care, and, if needed, reaching out to a professional for support.

First of all, try to recognise and acknowledge your jealousy without judgment. Then, see if you can redirect your focus towards the positive aspects of your life and singleness (see above). Keep in mind that everyone’s life path is different, and being single offers its own set of unique opportunities for growth and happiness.

The right time to start dating again is different for everyone and depends on your state of mind and readiness to start a new relationship. Feeling content with your own company and having a clear understanding of what you want from a future relationship before you start dating again is a great opportunity that being single can offer. Take it!

If loneliness or sadness feels overwhelming, or if you’re looking to explore the values of your life more deeply, professional guidance can be invaluable. We’re here to help you view singlehood as an opportunity for personal development and discovering what truly fulfills you. Get in touch today!

Further Reading

Self-Help Resources


[1] Jackson, J. B. (2018). The ambiguous loss of singlehood: Conceptualizing and treating singlehood ambiguous loss among never-married adults. Contemporary Family Therapy, 40(4).

[2] Adamczyk, K. (2017). Voluntary and involuntary singlehood and young adults’ mental health: An investigation of mediating role of romantic loneliness. Current Psychology, 36, 888–904.

[3] Apostolou, M., O, J., & Esposito, G. (2020). Singles’ reasons for being single: Empirical evidence from an evolutionary perspective. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

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