Living Single and Loving it!
Choosing to live single is a widely shared and rapidly growing lifestyle preference that we need to understand and talk about.
Once upon a time the mere thought of living alone sparked anxiety, dread and visions of loneliness and those who chose to live alone were often viewed as merely biding time waiting for “The One” to appear.
But those images have become dated in modern society as more and more people in the world are using their resources to separate from one another, favoring the luxury of privacy and personal space.
Although we Americans pride ourselves on our self reliance and culture of individualism, Germany, France and Britain have a greater proportion of one-person households than the United States, as does Japan. Three of the nations with the fastest-growing populations of single people — China, India and Brazil — are also among those with the fastest growing economies.
Living alone promotes freedom, personal control and self-realization — all prized qualities of contemporary life.
Not surprisingly there are some who persist in assuming those who are living solo must be plagued by loneliness; living a life that is either hopelessly selfish, or in a perpetual holding pattern longing for that special person to appear and ‘complete’ them.
The fact is singles today find that their solo lifestyle choice affords an obvious independence and spontaneity. According to research, single people are more likely to spend time with friends and neighbors, go to restaurants, attend art classes and lectures and volunteer … and not only the younger ones. Statistically the majority of those living alone are between 35 and 65.
And yet, the stigma persists …
Psychologist and author Bella DePaulo points out that “the societal myth is: If you’re alone, you must be unlovable and the only real root to happiness and a meaningful life is coupling.”
“Society doesn’t want people to be mate-less,” said Ester Buchholz, director of the psychology of parenthood program at New York University. “They want it to perpetuate itself. All the push all the time is toward relationships, and if you resist that you’re just considered antisocial or crazy.”
Under the circumstances it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that research on living single is still remarkably thin, despite the fact that all signs suggest that living alone will become even more common in the future.
The truth is living single (and loving it!) can be a touchy subject.
Coupled friends will naturally drift away from their single friends because they have less and less in common over time, and it just feels more comfortable being around other couples. It can also become a little uncomfortable if single friends happen to actually enjoy living solo and make the mistake of talking about all the things they are doing with their free time.
Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s an exact quote from a current article I found encouraging married people not to feel guilty about going months without talking to their “single” friends …
“Don’t feel guilty that you haven’t called your single friends in months. You’re married with kids. It’s up to THEM to call YOU. After all, they’re single. They have all the time in the world. YOU DON’T!”
Hum, well if this seems a tad hostile not to mention unkind, bear in mind that with today’s divorce rate there’s a very good possibility this person will someday find herself on the receiving end of this same treatment … and trust me, it’s much tougher when you’ve been part of the couples “inner circle” and find yourself suddenly on the outside.
Choosing to live single isn’t for everyone – and the point is that really is okay. As society begins to develop a better understanding of this growing lifestyle preference, hopefully with that knowledge will come greater tolerance because ultimately, choosing to live single shouldn’t be viewed as competing lifestyles; it’s simply about trying to find the same thing we all want … a life that makes you happy.
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