If there was ever a time to embrace the single life, this is it.
At 43 years old, single lady (and co-host of CBC's The Goods) Andrea Bain has had her fair share of boyfriends and gone on even more dates. She's also dressed up, bought gifts and smiled her way through innumerable weddings, baby showers and first birthdays—often plagued by pitying comments like "Don't worry, he's probably just around the corner."
Bain is beautiful, successful and well-travelled, but even in 2018 many people still think her single status is a problem that needs fixing. "We've made strides, but there's still this old idea that a woman's worth is connected to a man," says Bain. "Or her worth is connected to her ability to make children. If you're not doing that, regardless of your accomplishments, people look at you like you're missing a piece of your life."
In her new book, Single Girl Problems, Bain wants to flip that script—because a woman can live a full, vibrant life without a husband or children. Though Bain would love to get married one day, she refuses to let it be the only goal in her life. And you don't have to let your desire for a relationship take over your every waking thought, either.
Here are five reasons why it's time to embrace your singlehood:
1. You can be completely selfish.
"You have all your money to yourself, you can sleep star-fished on the bed, you make your own schedule and you come and go as you please," says Bain. "And you don't have to watch a movie starring Jason Statham ever again." Three cheers for decorating your living room any damn way you please (no collectables or unframed posters, thank you) and hoarding all of last night's Chinese leftovers.
2. You have uninterrupted time to figure out what you want—and whom you want.
"Being single is a gift," says Bain. "It's a time for you to date, figure out who you are and discover what you need in a partner." She suggests looking back on past dates and relationships to discover why they didn't work out, what part you may have played and what you might want a romantic partnership to look like in the future. There are a lot of crummy marriages out there (hello, divorce rate!), so don't be desperate to rush into something that's not right.
3. It forces you to expand your social network.
Bain has friends who are 25 and friends who are 65. Her best pal is a 34-year-old guy. Because she didn't follow the same path as many of her female friends of the same age (many of whom married and had children), she chose to look beyond that group—and she's better off for it. "I like making friends from different walks of life," she says. "It isn't about their age. It's about their energy. It's great when you have friends who are 22. You think that you're cool and then you have a conversation with a 20-year-old and you're like, ‘OK, I'm old.' And I also make friends with people who are older and I learn from them."
4. We're living in a time when issues of enthusiastic consent and sexual pleasure are at the forefront of cultural conversation—so it's a great time to be having sex (or saying no).
Sex is on everyone's minds these days and, since Aziz Ansari was called out on Babe.net for pressuring a woman to take part in sexual activities, the conversation has focused in on what it means to have good sex (i.e. enthusiastic consent and a fun time for both parties) and the trouble many women have saying what they want—or don't want. Now is the time to figure out what you're comfortable with and be proud to shout it out, whether that means having sex on the first date, waiting until date six or holding off until marriage. "Make no apologies," says Bain. "You should be having sex because you want to and don't want to be anywhere else. Let the guy be judgmental. You shouldn't have to please anybody but yourself."
5. Technological advances mean biological motherhood can happen later in life.
If you've always wanted to be a mother, embarking on a desperate search to find a partner to sire your offspring is kind of understandable. Women's biological clocks are real, after all. Thankfully, "we're living in a great time when women have options," says Bain. "You can find out what your fertility is like with a blood test. It's expensive, but you can freeze your eggs. We even see tech companies like Google who are stepping up and offering that benefit to their female employees." If there was ever a time to be single after 30, it's now. And technology will just keep getting better.
Even if lifelong singledom doesn't fit your vision for the future, try to embrace it while it lasts. Whatever you do, don't let anyone make you feel bad about flying solo—whether it's a lifestyle decision or you simply haven't found the right person. Shaming a woman for her lack of significant other is so 2017.