When you’re single and don’t want to be, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the downsides of being without a steady S.O. You dislike cooking for one, you hate flying solo at weddings, you’re sick of your parents asking you when you’re going to meet someone special, and you wish you had someone to order takeout with on a Saturday night. All of this feels extra-depressing during cuffing season, when the need to get cozy is at an all-time high. We totally get it. But at the risk of discrediting your feelings — we promise we’re not trying to — we’d like to challenge you to consider all that’s positive about choosing to be single. According to a recent survey from Tinder, nearly three-quarters of people age 18-25 have actually opted to be single for a certain period of time, and 55 percent believe that fellow singles are more fun and more open to new experiences. Still skeptical? Scroll down for thoughts from eight lifestyle and relationship experts on all the best benefits of singledom.

A warmly smiling woman holds a paintbrush

1. You can focus on exploring your passions. No one says you can’t take the time to learn more about yourself and your interests when you’re in a relationship, but doing so definitely feels more complicated when you are constantly (subconsciously, perhaps) worrying about another person’s needs and schedule. Use your single years to make Y-O-U the priority. “Knowing yourself and knowing how to take care of yourself are attributes that will make your future romantic relationships more balanced, healthy, and sustainable,” says relationship coach Lisa Hayes.

2. There’s no drama. There’s plenty of good that comes with being part of a couple, but it’s not always easy. At least some arguments and tensions are unavoidable within even the most healthy romantic relationships. Wellness strategist and author Dawn Burnett encourages the singles out there to take advantage of the correspondingly low drama level. After all, that’s a huge part of the reason that being single affords you more time and mental space to focus on what matters most to you personally.

3. You’ll save money. This is pretty much the least romantic thing you might think of… but it’s also so true. “When you’re in a relationship, it can cost a lot of money, whether it’s going on regular dates or buying large gifts for milestones,” life and relationship coach Jonathan Bennett points out. “When you’re single, you can spend your money on yourself, which includes investing in yourself and saving for the future.” Practically speaking, you can use your time as a party of one to put cash away so you can comfortably enjoy future relationships and experiences.

4. You can travel more. “The ability to travel becomes increasingly difficult when one is in partnerships with others, as the demands of that relationship supersede traveling,” notes licensed professional counselor Connie Omari. “If millennial women are able to travel first, they develop interpersonal skills by getting into relationships with people from other cultures.” Instead of stressing about your relationship status, book your bucket list trips. You’ll see the world and learn more about what you’re looking for in a partner in the process.

A happy woman rests a barbell on her shoulders for a moment

5. It’s easier to reprioritize healthy habits. If you’re always trying to figure out how to sync up your schedule with your partner’s, it’s easy to let things like your workout routine fall apart. (Who wouldn’t rather see bae than hit the gym?) “One of the many benefits of not relying on anyone else when you get home is that you’re able to exercise according to your own schedule,” says Maple Holistics health and wellness expert Caleb Backe. “While some people love the commitment of exercising with a partner, it’s proven that it’s harder to match schedules. More often than not, a gym session is missed. That doesn’t happen when you’re on your own!”

6. You’ll get clearer on your personal goals. With a little distance from an intimate partnership, you’ll finally have the time and headspace you so desperately need to effectively focus on what you want to accomplish and achieve. And without the pressure to account for another person’s needs and desires in your pursuit of those goals, you’ll feel more motivated than ever to actively go after them. Being single “is a great time to think about what you really want,” agrees dating and relationship coach Lucio Buffalmano.

7. Your social life might feel less stressful. Singles, say goodbye to the days of balancing your pals and your partner! You no longer need to agonize over spending a whole weekend bingeing Netflix on the couch with your besties or skipping out on a dinner date for happy hour. Justin Lavelle, chief communications director at PeopleLooker, asserts that the uncoupled among us have less stress about who they hang out with, which then leads to more memorable social experiences and stronger friendships.

8. Dating is good for you! Just because you’re choosing not to be in a long-term relationship doesn’t mean you can’t meet new people and go on dates. Not only is dating without chasing commitment fun, but it gives you a chance to figure out what you’re looking for in a long-term partnership. If you see the future potential of this kind of commitment, dating while you’re single can help you get there. “Take this time to figure out what is important to you in a partner,” advises WhatsYourPrice.com dating expert Kelli Tellier. “You’ll learn exactly what you like and dislike, essentially building a checklist for the person of your dreams. When you’re ready to take that next step, you won’t settle for someone less, because you already know what you want.”

What do you think is the best part of being single? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)