DivorceMy friend’s boyfriend broke up with her recently. When I asked what I could do to help ease her pain, she said I could push her into oncoming traffic.

(I was hoping she would say something like, “Take me in your strong arms and pleasure me like he never ever could,” but it’s not a perfect world.)

“Come on. Being single isn’t that bad,” I said.

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I’ve been alive for 26 years. In that time, I’ve been in two serious relationships. The longest – and most recent – lasted about seven months. It ended in mid-2008.

The girl I most recently hung out with in a romantic capacity texted me 30 minutes ago (from the point when I sat down to write this) to end things, because we did not get to see each other often enough.

So, in my time as a perpetually single guy, I’ve been able to discern the silver linings of being single, and I often preach them to my friends when they’re getting back into singledom and are down about it.

I relate to women because I have too much estrogen in my system. I wish this were a joke.

There are worse things than being alone. Here are a few reasons why:

1. You get to sleep alone.

I advocate for cuddling in bed, because it’s fun, intimate, and a better way to watch a movie than with your hand down your own shorts. (This is, like every other thing I’m about to list, arguable.)

But as a light sleeper accustomed to certain Scott-engineered bedroom particulars (cold temperature, feet sticking out the end of the covers, fan on high for noise, and occasionally, some manufactured rainfall sounds), I sometimes find it difficult to sleep with another person. The transition from cuddling into slumber is a tough one. And I always feel badly, like the person will think I’m just not that into them because I’ve broken my embrace and rolled over, when really I just want to get a few solid hours of rest. I don’t want to wake a girl up by kicking her (while I’m unconsciously sleep stretching), or my arm to fall asleep, or for your warm body to settle against mine and make me sweat the night away all over both of us.

2. You don’t have to care about someone else’s cell phone.

I talk daily to many platonic female friends. (I relate to women because I have too much estrogen in my system. I wish this were a joke.) For folks in relationships, “platonic” is often difficult to accept. I know that when I have a girlfriend, it’s difficult not to be wary of dudes she talks to, because I don’t know what the other person’s intentions may be. Or whether or not they would hesitate to homewreck a stranger. You should obviously be able to trust your better half, but it’s unsettling to think other people are in love with her and potentially trying to sabotage your bliss.

3. You can slack on self-maintenance.

I can grow my carpet long enough to braid it and nobody can chastise me for it because a) not just anybody gains access to Scott’s Erect-a-Set and b) if they do, they don’t have any say in whether I should manscape my junk or not.

And, if I’m Jungle Booked out and I do luck out with a girl, it’s testament to them that a) I wasn’t banking on getting laid that night and b) I probably haven’t been sleeping with anybody for an extensive period of time.

4. Going out can be more fun and carefree when you’re accountable for only yourself.

It’s been years since someone has said “Don’t get too drunk tonight,” and I’ve felt like I should listen. I usually just laugh dismissively and wonder aloud if bouncers will let me into bars with 12 flasks attached to my body as long as I tell them I’m the Booze Traveler.

Sometimes I like to go out and get really, really drunk, like I’m trying to win some sort of public humiliation contest. Then I wake up at 3:38 a.m. on a subway station bench.

You can’t always do things like that when you have a girlfriend. They really don’t like sleeping in the subway.

Sometimes you have to make sure your girl comes home with you without fighting one of those friends who sent you some text messages earlier in the day (more phone drama!), and other times you have to quit binging early because your plus-one needs her hair held back because she drank two shots of Firewater in rapid succession and is out of commission as a functioning human being for the next 15 hours, during which she will take up all the space in your bed and complain about how she is, totally hung over, but somehow still wants to cuddle.

Things like this don’t happen when you’re single.

5. You can dress however you like.

Personal style can be an important, I think.  The more comfortable you feel, the more confident you appear. Sometimes, when you’re dating somebody, they’ll gradually try and edge their style preferences into your wardrobe. Before you know it, you’re wearing Ed Hardy shirts and sequined skinny jeans, and turning in your calculator watch for one that only tells time. And then you’ll have to bust out your cell phone to figure out the tip after a meal, at which point she’ll grill you about which girl, who is a friend, texted you during dinner.

The phone stuff never ends.

6. There’s no couple-fueled indecisiveness.

When I’m out with a girl, I feel like I refer to myself often as an indecisive individual, but I don’t really think I am.  I always decide quickly what I want to eat and where I want to go if I’m alone or with people I don’t want to see naked.

But if I’m on a date or with a long-term girlfriend, I don’t ever seem to care all that much, and opt to do whatever the other person is going to enjoy. Girls also tend to employ this attitude: I don’t care where we eat. Whatever you want to do is fine with me. It’s the worst, and I often end up spending way too much time before or during dates deciding what to do.

But maybe I am just indecisive. I’m not sure. I’m not sure this is helpful.

7. Life decisions are made based on what’s best for you.

Millions of relationships have died because people have followed their dreams, and vice-versa. When I was in high school, I dated a girl who wanted to go to college in Arizona. But to stay close (I decided to stay in Pennsylvania to play Division III college basketball) she offered to go to a Keystone State school.

We broke up before she made a decision (partially because a girl offering to stay behind for you is really daunting), and she hasn’t moved back East since. Had we stayed together and had she gone to school here, we probably would have broken up. If not, she would have still resented me, at least in some vague way.

As it is, we’re best friends. I don’t have to manscape every week and I don’t care she does with her cell phone.

8. You attend zero awkward family dinners or other functions.

If you’re in a serious relationship, the day will come when your significant other will ask you to hang out with their extended family. Thanksgiving anyone? If you say you are really excited to attend/meet the fam, you’re either a liar or a weirdo.

9. You save money.

I haven’t had to buy a girlfriend a birthday present this year, and unless something really crazy happens I’ll avoid doing the same for Christmas or Hanukkah. I can use this money along with the rest of the funds I’ve saved to acquire and care for a puppy, who will never leave me and will himself serve as a girl magnet.

10. You learn to be alone.

I have friends who go from one relationship straight into another and never take the time to understand that being single isn’t the end of the world.

My aunt and I were talking about my perpetual singleness one day, and she said it’s important to have single times so you can work on self-improvement and not rely on someone else for happiness.

“You get the chance to become the best gift you can be for someone else,” she said.

So take the time the time to be happy on your own.