It's cold, it's dark and it's the season you become painfully aware of your lack of significant other.
But it's not just the season that has single people feeling down. Dating apps and sites urge us to find partners, and the ever-present storylines in movies and TV continue to feed the narrative that our lives will ultimately be better if we're in a relationship. We're now spending more time on Tinder than we are on Facebook, and those who aren't finding anyone still face dated stigmas.
But you know it, more than half the adult population knows it and even science knows it: There are definite benefits to being single, even during the chilly holiday season. Here are five unexpected reminders that going solo can be even better than what your partnered-up counterparts have going.
Single people are healthier.
Research has shown that people who are in a relationship are more likely to be in worse shape than singles.
A study from Psychology Today shows that both men and women who were married tended to exercise significantly less than people who were single. Single men exercised almost two times as much as men who were married. Along with that, almost two-thirds of people in a research study were likely to gain up to 14 pounds while being in a relationship.
Will being in a relationship make you unmotivated and fat? Not necessarily (plus those single nights sitting by the TV with a pint of Ben & Jerry's might be worse). But being single means having more time free and more lifestyle decisions to make on your own, which can mean great things for your waistline.
Single people have less debt.
Not only will being in a relationship cost you a few close friends, it could affect your wallet as well. According to Debt.org, "about 21% of single people had credit card debt, 27% of married couples without children and 36% of married couples with children."
Being in a relationship will, on average, negatively impact your finances whether you have children or not. And the expenses go up with each kid you have. Raising a child in the United States until the age of 18 will cost a family an average of a quarter of a million dollars, and that doesn't include college.
The less money you need to spend on a partner and a kid means you get to treat yourself more often. Plus, think of all the money you're saving on anniversary gifts.
Single people have less stress.
Being single can get dark. But being in a relationship can also be very stressful. At any point you could be pondering or concerned about aspects of your relationship, including, "Will the relationship continue?" and "Do I have autonomy?" Psychology Today's Susan Heitler wrote.
These are questions single people never have to fret about. Furthermore, single people don't have to worry about sharing a house with another person, which includes a notable reduction in chores:
Research from the University of Michigan shows that both single men and women spend significantly less time performing housework than those who are married. Fewer chores and fewer relationship worries mean less reason for single people to be stressed out. After all, your cat or Netflix account will never bug you about emptying the dishwasher.
Single people can travel whenever they want.
People in relationships have fewer opportunities to travel alone for an extended period of time. While couples can take vacations together, there is a difference between a family vacation and adventurous solo travel.
"Vacation implies an escape, while travel may offer the opportunity for total immersion in a different culture," USA Today writes. In fact, solo travel is on the rise, particularly for women, who say it makes them feel "more invigorated" than a trip with family or friends.
Without any relationship obligation or approval, you can embark on this type of individual journey whenever you want. Plus, there will only be one airfare to pay.
Single people keep more of their friends.
People who are in committed relationships, unsurprisingly, spend a lot of time with their significant other. But what these people don't know is that their relationship with their partner could be negatively affecting their relationship with everybody else. This is especially true for married people who demonstrate they are "less attentive to their siblings, parents, friends and neighbors."
Research shows, on average, that being in a romantic relationship could force you to lose two friends from your inner circle. As Psychology Today's Bella DePaulo points out, these dropoffs in non-romantic relationships is part of a larger, societal pattern.
DePaulo labels some partnerships as "intensive coupling," where "the two people look to one another to be their everything, to fill all of their needs, to make all of their dreams come true." People relying on someone else to make "all their dreams come true" sounds dangerous.
On the other hand, making all your dreams come true on your own? That sounds damn empowering.