When it comes to love, it's easy to focus on couples, especially on Valentine’s Day. However, it's important to remember that all forms of love in our life (platonic love, familial love, and of course, self-love) have a place on this special day.

For many people being single in middle-age wasn’t part of the plan but divorce or the unexpected death of a loved-one has thrust this new status on them.

So, following a recent study1 that found that as some people get older they’re more satisfied with their solo status, we took the opportunity to speak to our members about how being older, single and loving yourself can be a positive force in your life.

It’s better to be single and happy

Our member Emma Cullinan, an integrative therapist, says, “While it’s a social construct that says everyone should be in a couple, it’s not worth staying with someone if they are negatively impacting you. Also, you can feel lonely in a relationship.”

In a society that often idealises the companionship of a significant other, the journey of growing older alone without a partner is often depicted as a variation from the norm, says relationship psychotherapist and member Vasia Toxavidi.

“However, I believe that it's crucial to understand that being an older single person is a unique path with its own set of benefits, and not a void feeling that needs to be filled in order to bring fulfilment and happiness.”

Learning to love yourself

“Among the many great things about being older and single, is the chance for personal development and self-understanding,” says Vasia, 

“People who deal with life's challenges on their own terms tend to make more substantial progress towards self-acceptance, resilience and understanding of who they are. As a result, they develop a closer relationship and a deeper connection with themselves.

“They become empowered and more trusting within themselves, and more independent and able to embrace their own individuality.”

Emma agrees, “The most important part of strengthening your relationship with yourself is to be compassionate and get to like yourself. You could explore yourself on your own or with the help of a therapist.

“Accepting yourself will make it easier to create the connections you will need: whether that be friendships, joining group activities and/or seeking a new partnership.”

Appreciate the freedom

Vasia says, “It’s a period offering a unique opportunity for self-discovery and self-care, embodying the freedom to spontaneously explore the world.

“Whether it's a lastminute night out or an impromptu visit to friends in another city, or country, or even to go on holidays on your own, this freedom is empowering.”

“There are challenges and positive aspects of being on your own and older these days”, says integrative therapist and member Lou Baker,

“In a world of increased connection to others through social media and online, there seems to be an increase in people embracing and advocating single life as we get older. 

“In my work I meet people who feel empowered realising they have a choice at being single and a confidence at the freedom this can bring - particularly if this has come through the end of a marriage or long-term relationship.

“There will be the process of working through the ending and the loss but there can also be a big transformation in each person as they rediscover themselves and their options.”

Focus on you and a living a fulfilling life

“While social media bombards us with images of perfect couples and grand romantic gestures of love, it's essential to recognise that these depictions aren't the only catalysts for a fulfilling life,” explains Vasia, 

“Older singles can redefine happiness on their terms, unburdened by societal expectations. They have a freedom that to focus on themselves and a hope that life still can bring so much to them, a kind of hope that some couples seem to lose along the way.”

“I’m a strong believer that the journey towards self-fulfillment lies in embracing the present moment, finding joy in the simple pleasures of life, and cultivating gratitude for the opportunities that unfold each day and not in finding the ‘perfect’ partner.

“Being older and single is not a state of lack but an empowering choice that allows for a deeper connection with oneself and the world.”