Serious, long-term relationships have long been a hallmark of adulthood, the first step in a clear path towards marriage, a mortgage and 2.4 kids. But according to new research conducted by Tinder and reported on in USA Today, that milestone may hold less meaning for young people. The research helps explain why: Young millennials, ages 18-25, are savoring the many benefits of being single.

This cultural shift towards a celebration of singledom doesn’t mean young people are anti-relationship. USA Todabrings up recent statistics on divorce amongst millennials as a sign of that. Millennials are marrying later, but they’re are actually staying together at higher rates once they do settle down. In other words, their marriages are lasting.

A celebration of the single years may have something to do with that. Unafraid of being single, millennials have the confidence to wait for the right relationship before they settle down: USA Today reports, “According to Tinder’s survey, 40 percent of young millennials said they weren’t willing to settle for the wrong person to find a long-term relationship.”

There’s a lot to love about being single, according to the survey respondents. These are some of the things they appreciate — and that you might find worth celebrating, too:

1) Staying single leaves more time to focus on yourself

USA Today spoke with Darcy Sterling, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker and Tinder’s relationship expert, about the trend. She explained, “Millennials invest more time in careers, social lives and personal time when single.” They appreciate that periods without a partner give them more time to cultivate other arenas of their lives.

2) Being uncoupled can make you more open to new experiences — and more fun

When you aren’t comfortably deep in a routine with a partner, you can find yourself more open to new experiences, experiencing more fun and generally enjoying your time with others. As USA Today reported: “These single millennials find their time with others more enjoyable. More than half said other young single people were more open to new experiences and that they view themselves as more fun due to their single status.”

3) Being single can make you feel more independent and empowered

“For many young women, single can mean feelings of independence and empowerment,” the analysis revealed. According to Sterling, this is “a positive for society” — millennial women are placing a high value on their social lives, personal growth and careers, and it’s making them feel strong.

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  • Nora Battelle

    Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive

    Nora Battelle is a writer from New York City. Her work has been published on the Awl, the Hairpin, and the LARB blog, and she's written for podcast and film. At Swarthmore College, she studied English and French literature and graduated with Highest Honors. She's fascinated by language, culture, the internet, and all the small choices that can help us thrive.