With all the “We’re engaged!” pics popping up on social media, it may seem like everyone you know is one half of a happy couple. But if you’re riding solo these days, you’re far from alone: A whopping 64 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 reported being single in 2014, up from 52 percent in 2004, according to a Gallup poll. And for the first time in U.S. history, single people now outnumber married folks at any age. Translation: There’s no time like the present to be swiping right.
First, let’s get this out of the way: Coupling up does have its benefits. Research suggests that happily married people are healthier than singles and less likely to have chronic diseases than their single peers.1 However recent research points to the fact that we’re not all meant for relationships—and the many benefits of staying single. A massive 2015 study from New Zealand found that men and women who tend to avoid conflict and confrontation were happier alone than paired up.
These people belong to a bigger group of folks that psychologist Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., social scientist and author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, likes to call “single at heart.” These are people for whom single life is their best, most authentic, most meaningful life, DePaulo says.
Whether you’re consciously uncoupled, living it up as a single guy or girl, or trying to find solace until you meet the right per…