Any love expert will tell you that all relationships require work, and can offer tip after tip on how to get past boredom, frustrations, and ruts, but oftentimes they're talking about romantic relationships. What about our dating lives? What about the relationship we have with ourselves? With more singles in the U.S. than ever before — 61 percent of people under 35 are single, according to 2017 data from Pew Research Center — it's certainly worth looking into how to upgrade other relationship statuses too. Because, after all, anyone who's single can tell you that it'll require a refresh or change in perspective every now and then.
That's why we asked 427 Bustle readers, women ages 18 to 35, about their love lives and their biggest frustrations when it comes to their relationship status — whether they are single and not dating, single and dating, or in a romantic relationship. The responses from singles ran the gamut — some people said they found their single relationship status to be "liberating" and "refreshing," while others described it as "exhausting" and "incredibly frustrating."
Any type of relationship is going to have its ups and downs. Here's what the 35 percent of participants who said they were single shared about their status, from their priorities to the downsides.
Single & Not Dating
The relationship you have with yourself is often overlooked as a relationship to begin with, but it's the most important one you'll ever have. And when you're single and not dating, it's the perfect time to focus on — and improve — that relationship. We often tend to think that everyone who's single is looking for love, but that's certainly not true. In fact, the majority of singles in Bustle's survey said they were not dating (19%) versus dating (16%). When asked to select two areas they're currently prioritizing over dating, participants who were single and not dating listed self-care (60%), their career (56%), and family and friends (49%) as their primary focuses right now. But that doesn't mean they don't face hardships as single women who aren't dating. Here's what they said frustrated them the most about being single and not dating:
Single & Dating
The majority of survey participants who are single and dating have active dating lives, with 47 percent going on a couple of dates a month, and 21 percent going on them once a week. And the majority of them (67%) are dating to find a long-term partner. Participants were asked to select their top two methods of meeting people; dating apps are the top way they're finding dates (76%), followed by bars (43%), and then meeting through friends (40%). But there's no doubt the process of dating can be daunting, whether you're going on two dates a month or one every single week. Here's what singles who are dating say the most frustrating thing about their status is:
Of course, there are tons of reasons to be frustrated with your relationship status, so when we gave participants the option to write in their answer, they did not hold back. From loneliness to financial concerns, here's what they said in their own words.
When we asked those who were single and not dating how they'd describe their status in five words or fewer, some said it was "refreshingly freeing" and "my choice," while others said it was "anxiety-provoking," and a "frustrating process." For singles who were dating, we heard it described as everything from "fun" to "tragic" to "way more infuriating than anticipated." One person summed it up this way: "Exciting, exhausting, annoying, worth it?"
It all goes to show that we can have completely different experiences being single. But whether you're generally on team "freedom!" or a longtime member of the "it's the worst!" side, there is plenty you can do to freshen up your single status whenever you're feeling frustrated.