7 Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long

Single and Dating | | , Writer
Updated On: October 3, 2023
psychological effects of being single too long

The psychological effects of being single too long often go unnoticed. We all know that love changes us, what we don’t know is that the lack of it, changes us even more. The question is: In what way? What is the impact of being single on a person’s psyche? Is being single better than being in a relationship in some way?

We explore the answers to these questions from the prism of psychology. Psychology might not always be based on hard numbers and strong figures but it states greater truths than data sets ever will. It is common knowledge that people in a relationship notice positive as well as negative changes in themselves over the years.

Most of the time, these are more positive than negative, especially in functional, well-rounded relationships. When two people who are compatible try to make a relationship work, their cooperation and harmony bring about a beautiful balance in their lives. But what about those who have been single and unattached for far too long? Does being single affect mental health?

A recent study published has proved that when it comes to pain tolerance, people in a relationship are able to get through any physical discomfort when they are made to recollect some fond memories of their partners. In contrast, the same discomfort seems to be troubling for those who have been unattached for a long time. That itself makes the psychological effects of being single for too long abundantly evident.

7 Psychological Effects Of Being Single Too Long

You may be lazy when it comes to exercise and she may not be great at displaying her affection. But she can egg you on to keep up with a workout routine and you can help her lean into her emotional side. When you help each other, you bring about the best versions of yourself and improve each other – physiologically and psychologically.

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That sense of partnership is missing from the lives of those who are single. That’s why the psychological effects of being single too long mostly manifest in the form of poor mental health. So, is being single too long unhealthy? It can be said, given that being single causes depression, anxiety and a reduced will to live.

According to the Health and Human Services Report, people in a relationship are much more likely to be happier and have higher immunity against mental health problems. They are ready to fight against any inconveniences for the sake of their loved ones as compared to those who have been single for too long.

There is enough research-backed evidence to suggest that single-hood – especially when it is not a choice – can have a substantial impact on the body and mind. Let’s explore some of these with 7 most significant psychological effects of being single too long:

Related Reading: The Top 10 Single Moms Dating Apps | Starting Afresh

1. You become less cooperative, more assertive 

When you have someone in your life to take care of or someone who takes care of you, it sure feels amazing, right? What relationships also give us is a tendency to be more adjusting and flexible. Sharing your mental or physical space with another human being is not easy – it never was and never will be. Eventually, you learn to give a piece of yourself to someone else and be okay with it. That makes you a little more selfless.

In comparison, the psychological effect of being single too long reflects in your assertiveness when asking for something. Whether that be your possessions, time, physical space – you’re sharing less, in simple words. As weird as it sounds, the same logic applies to children who grow up with siblings and those who grow up without any. 

Is being single too long unhealthy? A direct relation between happiness and relationships has been established, and according to Harvard Business School research, happy people give more than unhappy ones. Life gets a little easier when you know how to give more and take less. They say the people who have been single for too long are the hardest to love, let’s prove them wrong!

2. You are less aware or intuitive about others’ emotions 

As someone rightly said, when you’ve experienced pain, it’s much easier to perceive or be aware of someone else’s pain too. That said, a relationship teaches us many lessons that go beyond pain. It allows us to view the importance of wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve. 

But when you’re on your own for too long, you become oblivious to the worries or joys of the ones around you. Oftentimes, you end up being the last person to know about a tragic or a happy incident in your colleagues’ lives because they begin to assume you don’t care. You’re so used to worrying about your own issues that you forget to inquire about other people’s lives or be involved. 

The psychological effects of being single for too long cannot be measured in numbers but they become evident in our everyday lives. Think about the last time you asked your close ones if they were all right. Has it been too long? Don’t wait any longer, pick up the phone and start dialing! 

3. Reduced stability and self-worth

A healthy relationship lends a feeling of stability and security in life. Humans are forever in search of a home. Sometimes, the home is a house built of bricks and other times, it is a person we can call our own. When we achieve that, we are at a stable place in life, which allows us to plan ahead and live longer and stress-free.

According to a recent study, researchers have found that reduced emotional stability and diminished self-worth are among the psychological effects of being single too long. The study elaborates that although untrue in the case of young adults, a person who has been single for too long or is well into adulthood is most likely to psychologically suffer in the absence of a relationship.

Does being single affect mental health? The answer is yes. Stability in a relationship often leads to higher measures of self-worth and contentment. You view yourself as a person who is loved and wanted by others. When you feel loved, you automatically feel validated.

Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long
Does being single too long start affecting your mental health?

4. Reluctance toward new relationships 

Only if we open our hearts to love, with a hundred percent faith and belief, will we find the one we’d love to spend an eternity with. Although it is tough trusting someone again, it is not impossible. Take small, firm steps toward rebuilding your faith in love, we’re sure you’ll get there. Don’t stop trying!

They say the ones who are single for too long are the hardest to love but in reality, they’re the ones who have a tough time loving someone. Being single causes depression and a heightened distrust in others. Those who have been on their own for far too long, refuse to believe – for obvious reasons – that anyone is here to stay for good. 

Doubting everyone’s intentions, they progress on a self-destructive path. Does being single affect mental health? Certain psychological impacts of long-term single-hood definitely suggest so.

Without the determination to make it work, you will find more than enough reasons to quit. And every unsuccessful attempt at forging a lasting bond further fuels the reluctance to invest in new relationships wholeheartedly. This can be a vicious circle that can leave you feeling trapped.

Related Reading: 10 Best BBW Dating Sites For Plus-Size Singles

5. Self-sabotaging your relationships 

Even if you end up convincing yourself that you should be in a relationship with a particular someone, staying happy with them is a task too. When things finally start going well, you may begin to question everyone around you. All the right things suddenly seem to be wrong and you lose interest in your relationship

As I spoke to a couple of friends from work, I noticed that most of us are scared of failure. Whether that be in our careers or relationships, we are desperate to be successful. Sometimes we are not, but that does not mean we stop trying. A majority of my friends seem to view their current relationship on a comparative scale. Past relationships are not your current ones for a reason – let them go. If you wish to find reasons to stay, only one will also be good enough.

You may even begin to wonder, “Is being single better than being in a relationship?” However, these niggling doubts are nothing but a way of self-sabotaging your relationships, triggered by a long spell of singlehood.

It is quite simple to look for signs of wreckage. There are plenty of ways in which a relationship could go wrong – possibly only a couple of ways it could go right. However, when you’re in a relationship with someone, you are supposed to scavenge for the little good that you can find. Not every day is a bed of roses – there are good days and bad. Whether you let the bad overshadow the good or not, is your choice. 

on being single

6. Increased confidence in social situations 

According to a study published in American Psychological Association, individuals who have been on their own for too long have a better social life. So, is being single better than being in a relationship? Well, it certainly is in certain aspects of life. For instance, singles can hang out with friends and colleagues more, which results in a better social status and connections. This also helps in personal and professional growth because better networking results in better opportunities, both for leisure and work.

The psychological effect of being single too long also includes an increased level of confidence when dealing with people outside of your family. This is because the more time you spend around people, the less shifty and more put together you become. 

So, is it true that the people who have been single for too long are the hardest to love? Their friends would surely disagree! People in relationships tend to avoid going out too much or mingling with new people every day, which reduces their social life tremendously. It is also one of the reasons why people who are single have more friends. However, this is a little subjective and might vary depending on one’s personality.

Related Reading: The 12 Mantras Of Being Happily Single While You Are Single

7. Reduced will to fight for life 

Is being single too long unhealthy? Well, not wanting to get healthier cannot be good. A peer-reviewed publication by the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine explores people’s willingness to undergo clinical trials for serious diseases. The research proves that people who were not married are more likely to refuse treatment. 

In this particular study, Alzheimer’s patients who were in a relationship were more determined to beat their condition and come out stronger than those who were alone. One of the psychological effects of being single too long is that you lose your purpose to live. When that happens, life becomes a little dull and nothing excites you anymore. 


So, is being single too long unhealthy? We might have answered your question by now, but if not, let’s look at some statistics. If you’re married or in a relationship, you are 14% more likely to survive a heart attack, according to another recent study. 

In order to avoid being morose, it is important to be surrounded by those who love us. When we know that people are waiting for us to get better, we naturally give our best to get through any hardship that life throws our way. It becomes quintessential therefore to recognize the power of having love in one’s life. 

Is being single better than being in a relationship? Certainly not. Many studies prove that people in a relationship are happier than the ones without. So, isn’t that chance worth taking? How long has it been since you wore your heart on your sleeve? Are you ready to get back into the game?

Related Reading: 7 Things To Do When You’re Single But Not Ready To Mingle

It is easy to question the necessity of a relationship when you have been single for a while. Ask the ones in a relationship about the joy of returning home to a smiling face. Ask them if they aren’t naturally in a hurry to rush home at the end of the day as compared to those who return to empty walls and a lonely couch. Being alone isn’t always bad but being always alone is certainly no delight either.

So does being single affect mental health? If you find yourself not wanting to go home, you might be ready to answer that question yourself. Being single causes depression and anxiety about one’s future. Having someone by your side to reassure you, surely makes life a whole lot easier.

Is being single too long unhealthy? Definitely. Unless you have come out of an abusive relationship and need a long time to recuperate. Even in such circumstances, sometimes the best answer is in the question itself. If you’ve been hurt by a partner you loved so dearly, perhaps opening your heart and life to someone new can reinstate your faith and make you want to believe in love again.

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