We live in a society where the concept of marriage is so glorified that most of us are conditioned to think that everyone has to get married at some point. But, times have changed and a lot of people today prefer a single lifestyle! Read on to know everything about it.
In this post, you will learn –
- What is single lifestyle
- Is being single better than being in a relationship?
- The concept of being single and lonliness
- Myths about never-married single people
- Why the single lifestyle doesn’t bring greater social acceptance?
- Tips to be single
What is a single lifestyle?
A single lifestyle is all about going solo without your knight in shining armor. For some people, singlehood is a temporary phase for they know they will get married sooner or later. Some people are single because they are divorced and widowed. For some people, singlehood is permanent for they choose to never get married and be single for the rest of their lives. The prime focus of this blog is never-married single people and their lifestyles.
This group of never-married single people treat single life as a lifestyle and not as a passing phase. Because they don’t run behind the idea of finding the perfect one and never regret their decision of being single. Single people like companionship, but not as an obligatory plus-one.
People who are yearning for a single lifestyle do not fantasize about having bridesmaids or finding their soul mates. They are single by heart and strike the right balance between the time they spend with friends and family and the time they spend in solitude. They love pursuing their passions and living a meaningful life. Being single just feels right to them. They never fear loneliness. Single is who they are!
Are you riding solo?
Then congratulations! You are having the best time of your life.
Is being single better than being in a relationship?
This is the common question asked by people who want to embrace a single lifestyle but hesitate due to social resistance. I am 30 years old never-married single woman. I made a choice to be single and so far no regrets. A lot of people including me believe being single is better than being in a relationship. See the trend – the number of single people is growing in the US and all around the world.
A population survey in 2019 showed that in the US there are 117.9 million adults, 18 and older, who are divorced or widowed or have been single all their lives compared to 115.8 million found a year before.
The 2019 Census Bureau press release showed graphs of men and women in four different marital statuses, from 1993 through 2018. Surprisingly, the percentage of people who are married is going down year after year and the percentage of single men and women is going up.
Both married and single lifestyles have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, the first and foremost thing is to stay clear about your current priorities and values. Ask yourself –
- Why you want to be a never-married single person?
- How deep is your desire to be alone?
- How do you want to live your life?
- Are you currently happy being single?
- Do you feel the need for a romantic partner when you are in distress?
For those who want to marry go for it – if you believe in love, marriage and romance, and the idea of a committed partnership.
Don’t marry for the sake of societal (or social media) pressure to be in a relationship or assuming that a long-term partner will give you life-long happiness.
You need to believe in yourself, your choices, and your actions. Else you will fall into the trap of listening to what society thinks is best for your life. Many people ignore their inner voice when it comes to making important life choices and end in despair. When you are sure and happy with your decision of being single, nothing can stop you from embarking on your solo journey
That said single lifestyle doesn’t mean you are happy 24/7. “The ability to be on your own without becoming lonely is a skill,” says Russell Thackeray, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the UK. “it is one of the greatest learnings a single person accomplish.”
Always remember, you must fall in love with yourself before you can let someone else love you. So, keep aside everything and first master the art of how to be happy being single. Only then you will better know if being single is better than being in a relationship or not.
Being single and loneliness
When it comes to being single, the question of loneliness always arises. The culprit is the popular MYTH – “single people are lonely and miserable!”. In one study, some people described themselves as “single at heart,” 95% said they enjoyed being alone, while 5% were worried about loneliness.
It’s all about your desire to be alone. Deeper the desire, you are less likely to be neurotic and more likely to be open-minded as compared to people who hate being alone.
Moreover, a single lifestyle doesn’t mean you are living alone in the Himalayas engrossed in the never-ending meditation.
According to longitudinal research, people who had been married or cohabiting for more than three years were no happier or healthier than single people. They were also no less likely to be depressed and no more likely to have high self-esteem. The only way married people (both in the early years of marriage and the later ones)
According to longitudinal research, people who had been married or cohabiting for more than three years were no happier or healthier than single people. They were also no less likely to be depressed and no more likely to have high self-esteem. The only way married people (both in the early years of marriage and the later ones) differ from single people is– those married have less contact with their parents and friends.
Never-married single people spend a lot of time with family and friends than people who are married. The personalities of lifelong single people differ in important ways from those who are married or have been married.
In case you have doubts about your decisions to be single for life then read on to know why a single lifestyle is awesome.
Also, read Loneliness vs. Solitude: It’s About Choice
Benefits of a single lifestyle
There is a bulk of literature claiming that married people are happier than singles and a majority of people across the globe believe it too. However, Bella DePaulo, social psychologist, and professor of the University of California, Santa Barbara, argues that “happily married” is a myth.
She gave a standing-room-only talk on her research on single lifestyle at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Denver. Based on her research she claims that single people “live their best, most authentic and most meaningful life”. A single lifestyle is not the “life of sadness and bad outcomes.”
Here are some science-backed benefits of being single:
1. More space to think
Being single means more alone time to think and reflect on your life, career, family, and personal relationships. Connecting with your inner self expands your self-awareness and broadens your perspective. You attain a mental clarity on your wants and needs that help you better regulate your emotions and deal with adverse situations. You are more accountable for your choices and actions and you’ll have fewer regrets.
On the other hand, those married tend to keep aside their own interests and passions because they mostly prioritize the needs of their spouses and kids. It’s not uncommon for them to have less chance to explore life on their own terms and experience regret.
2. Live healthier life
Bella DePaulo discussed in one of her articles titled – Is It Healthier to Live with Someone? – that women who have been always single are healthier than currently married women, and also have fewer sick days and fewer doctors’ visits. On the other hand, married people tend to get fatter over time.
Research published in the Journal of Marriage and Family showed that single men were less likely to suffer from heart disease than those with any other marital status. As per 2015 BLS statistics singles in America spend on average about 3 minutes more a day exercising or playing sports. More exercise means better metabolism, better health. When you exercise daily, your brain releases feel-good hormones like endorphins that is crucial for physical and mental health.
3. You can have more sex
Well, survey data collected from more than 26000 people between 1989 and 2014 shows single people are having sex more often than married people are.
4. Financial advantages
Singles are better with money because they are less materialistic and have more opportunities to save up. You can spend your money as you wish to do. Therefore, you have less debt compared to married people with or without children.
5. You’re better at keeping friends
According to DePaulo, singles are more likely than married people to help, support, connect and maintain contact with siblings, friends, and folks. Single people tend to have a bigger social network (including a diverse range of people) than married adults. Married people are bogged by family responsibilities and social restrictions. That explains why sociologists call it “greedy marriage”.
6. You’re better at work
Single people are not worried about maintaining relationships and taking care of kids or remembering important dates all the time. They have fewer responsibilities and liabilities plus more resources and ways to break the monotony of life than married adults. Hence, they are less stressed and able to focus better on work.
A 2012 report suggests that singles find employment faster than married ones. They value meaningful work more and have a higher level of self-determination than their married counterparts. Consequently, they experience continued growth and development in career and life.
7. You can decide for yourself
You have complete freedom to make all the small and big decisions of your life all by yourself. No approval is required! No fitting someone else into your life or plans. You are the only one to bear the consequences of your decisions.
8. Single life is less stressful
A single lifestyle is stress-free because you don’t have to go through heartbreaks and be on an emotional rollercoaster. Neither worry about power and autonomy – the root cause of most conflicts in relationships. Your happiness is in your hands!
9. You’re more self-sufficient
DePaulo says that married adults have a tough time spending time alone and are highly likely to experience negative emotions. On the other hand, single people are always high in personal mastery and self-sufficiency, so they always believe they can achieve what they have set their minds to.
Few more reasons why a single lifestyle is best:
- You become fiercely independent not just financially but in every way.
- You don’t have to deal with irrelevant fights and arguments.
- If you feed yourself with positive thoughts in your singlehood, you can build a high self-esteem.
- Most people are upset or frustrated because of unmet expectations. Singles don’t expect anything from anyone and no one expects anything from them.
- Party whenever you want. No permissions are required! What an incredible level of freedom, isn’t it?
- You can wear whatever dress you want, wherever and whenever you want.
- People without partners sleeping next to them enjoy a better quality of sleep according to a 2017 survey. No snoring, hogging, or kicking!
- You can spend your time the way you want without any guilt- engage in meditation or spa sessions or choose to be in the library reading books for hours or plan a solo trip to a hill station or simply binge-watch Netflix on the comfy couch of your cozy apartment.
I hope these are enough reasons to not feel about being single.
Myths about single lifestyle
Our society has a negative outlook towards never-married single people. If you are contemplating a single lifestyle then you should know about these myths based on Bella DePaulo’s research:
- Single people are lonely, unhappy, “unlucky in love”, fear rejection.
- Married people are healthier and live longer than single people.
- There is a dark aura around single people..
- Singles are self-centred and immature.
- Never-married single people are incomplete, they don’t have anyone, and don’t have a life.
- People who are single grow old and die alone.
- Marriage is a way to social security benefits, rights and privileges.
- Kids of single parents are doomed.
- Single men are horny, slovenly, irresponsible and gay.
- Single women are promiscuous.
Now that you know these statements are myths, don’t let them get in your way of living a single lifestyle. The hard part is you have to go on even if people criticise your decision. I think that won’t matter as long as you have a strong desire to be alone and you are happy inside out. Below are some tips to enjoy your singlehood.
Tips to live your best single life
- Accept who you are and wear your single status as a badge of honor.
- Stop complaining about wjhat you don’t have and focus on what you have.
- Be more spontaneous.
- Spend more time alone.
- Travel a lot. Experience life in different places.
- Say yes more, be more open-minded.
Why single lifestyle doesn’t bring greater social acceptance?
- A plethora of studies claim that marriage brings happiness and wellbeing
- Media influence and confirmation bias
- Single people are led to believe there is something wrong with them
- No studies on single life studied from the perspective of single people
Below are the insights from DePaulo’s research and explains why society has a negative outlook towards single life.
1. Flaws in research
DePaulo reviewed around 800 studies on marriage and well-being conducted in the last three decades and the results were shocking. From the very first study, she got to know that the most cited research about the effects of marriage includes methodical flaws.
These studies mainly included groups of people who were currently married and excluded divorcees from the population of married people. And we know that divorce makes people unhappy so the research failed to accurately address the question of the effects of marriage on a person’s life. The researchers should have considered groups of people who had ever been married.
She also found that in some studies divorced and single people were grouped together and the findings point out how unhappy this group was. The truth is the studies are artificially deflating that group’s happiness, defeating the very purpose of the study.
Many studies with such flaws showed very small gaps between married and single people. Then, there are some studies and meta-analyses that do not clearly present the well-being benefits of getting married. She mentioned a 2012 meta-analysis of 18 studies that says people who got married did not report being happier or more satisfied in the long term except for some brief, temporary effects.
In conclusion, there is a serious dearth of research that validates – married people are happier, healthier, and more satisfied.
2. Confirmation bias
In journal articles, authors never make casual claims but when it reaches media and the study findings are translated to the broader audience through press releases or review articles, the claims somehow end up being casual. Maybe because people want marriage to be good news indicating serious confirmation bias at work here.
Sometimes results are less conclusive than they are portrayed to be.
According to DePaulo sometimes, even small results get overblown in translation. For example, the Washington Post “Married Folks Still the Healthiest” states “People who’ve exchanged wedding vows tend to be healthier than their single, divorced or widowed peers, but new research shows that health gap may be narrowing.”
Please note that the Washington Post contains neither numbers nor it is impressive to read. Even if it highlights that 92.9 percent of currently married people self-reported themselves as healthy, compared to 92.6 percent of lifelong single people – that’s a difference of only 0.3 percentage points.
3. No studies on single life
DePaulo also said in the convention that there is hardly any study focusing on single people from the perspective of single people. Upon searching journal articles published between 2000 and 2015, she found 19,582 academic articles about marriage and just 501 about people who have always been single.
In that 15 year span only 34 published articles, research reports, and book reviews – focused on a single life. But the prime focus was on the desire to understand single life than to address the question – how do single people shake off their singlehood?
There are no in-depth studies on how never-married single people spend their time, their mindset, what they value, and ways in which they differ (or not differ) from married people. Else, the data could have helped us understand what sorts of people are likely to benefit from staying single for the rest of their lives or from getting married.
Marriage is causing unnecessary harm to people who want to be single and this is due to social norms driven by a lack of proper research. Married people compel single people to believe that there’s something wrong with them, and their lives. There are many married people in wrong or abusive relationships secretly cursing their partner and still thinking – “If I become single, maybe I’m going to be even more unhappy.”
Enjoy the single lifestyle!
People who believe that marriage is the only source of unlimited happiness and the only way to fulfill all your dreams will keep criticizing happy single people. Based on Bella DePaulo’s research and from my personal experience of never-married single life, all those who have decided to take a solo ride are on the right path. I have never regretted my decision and I’m sure you too won’t. I can say with conviction that single people will be happier, healthier, and morally superior. Live life the way you think you should live.