Dreamy teen sitting on river bank and thinking about sense of life, back view

The five stages of living alone

For many of us, living alone represents the ultimate landmark in claiming the sense of freedom and independence that we crave. That feeling of being able to come and go as we please with no one to answer to, in a space that’s truly ours, evokes emotions of happiness and joy

A recent study from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the amount of people living by themselves in the UK had increased from 6.6 million in 1996 to 7.7 million in 2017. The same research forecasted that, by 2039, that number will have risen further to 10.7 million.

There’s no denying that more and more people are going solo when it comes to their living arrangements, but what’s perhaps not always taken into account are the vast array of emotions that come with living alone.

Stage One: Excitement

You’ve taken the plunge and made that decision to move into your own place and there seems to be a world of possibilities open to you now. There’ll be no parents keeping a watchful eye over you, or no messy housemates to tidy up after – you can make the place your own and live your life in blissful freedom.

Stage Two: Apprehension

However, reality starts to hit home when it becomes obvious just how much there is to organise when you’re living by yourself. Paying for furniture is expensive and could require you to seek financial assistance, while there’s so much more to sort out including insurance, gas, water and electric providers and other amenities such as a TV licence and internet. You didn’t sign up for this!

Stage Three: Delight

Once those things are in place, you can really start to enjoy yourself. You revel in the novelty of having your own space and designing it to your tastes, while the number of friends popping round to see your new home leaves you wondering if you should have fitted a revolving door. 

Stage Four: Loneliness

That can’t go on forever, though. Eventually, all your closest friends and family have been round; they’ve had the tour and you’ve cooked them a meal in your lovely new kitchen. Now what? It’s back to the humdrum of everyday life and the novelty has perhaps worn off a little after those early weeks of heightened excitement.

Stage Five: Contentment

But after that rollercoaster of emotions, things begin to settle down and you find yourself slipping comfortably into a routine. You come home from work, cook tea, perhaps go to the gym, watch television, read a book, visit friends or have them round to see you. At this stage, you’re perfectly content with life and you’ve truly nailed living alone.