Five dangers of leaving it too late

> If you think you have many choices you risk leaving it too late.

The book The Paradox of Happiness tells us that in generations past, people had less choice in where they lived, who they married, what religious beliefs they followed, and where they worked. Yet those generations seem to have been happier, less stressed and less anxious.

One major antecedent to unhappiness is 'choice', and we have an overwhelming influx of choice coming at us at every angle. These choices have led to social comparison and a lot of supposition over other people being happier, more confident, in better relationships, and having better sex.

If you feel that the grass is always greener somewhere else, it can lead to a constant quest for your 'perfect partner'.

> The pool is smaller if you leave it later. And unfortunately, when you are a fully functional adult who has been busy building a career and enjoying a single life, there's a good chance you'll turn around one day, and feel your life is missing something.

It's not a given, it's a generalised rule of thumb to make life easy for statisticians. But don't just be in a relationship for the sake of it.

> Nature waits for no man, and especially for no woman. There is a clock, and a big one that determines when you can have a baby for a number of sound evolutionary reasons. When it comes to having a baby later in life, there is a greater likelihood of fertility or pregnancy issues and thus potential disappointment.

> The danger of not appreciating what you have. You may miss an opportunity in a previously good relationship that you forgo to find 'the one', or just one more. When you realise you had 'the one', they may now be in another relationship or just not into you anymore. These are the precarious gambling chips you dice with when you play the waiting game.

> You may end up feeling a general sense of being unsettled in yourself, or in your life. You may feel perpetually conflicted in your single life, with all that allows you to do, while also wondering what it would be like to go home to a warm meal and a nice smile to greet you.

For more information NEXT WEEK: 10 Things the Forever Single person is doing wrong in their pursuit of love. Anna Coogan asks the experts