Touch: Relationship Status: Single; “The New Normal”
“I would much rather be single than to keep bad company.”
What do you think when you meet a man or woman who is still single in their 40s, 30s, or 20s? I’m sure your perception of them changes with the age group they are in, right? If they are in their 40s and single, “Something is wrong” or “You’re a loser”; single in their 30s, “What are you waiting for?”, “They must be afraid of commitment”; 20s “You still have time”. The fact is, singles are a growing portion within our population. In 2012 it was determined that 102 million people in the United States were single. Being single today is so celebrated that it even has its own holiday “National Singles Week” (September 16-22). I can only imagine the debauchery going on in Vegas and all other party cities around the country during this time.
I am 24 and single; have been for 2 years now. Not too long ago, a male friend of mine asked me why I was still single, and instead of the usual answer I always gave when asked that question “Just haven’t met the right person”, I paused and reflected on what may be the real reason I have been single for two years. While thinking of the reason, I quickly had a mental rendezvous with my past and the men I had come across. I pondered on the many reasons they never worked and the tons of excuses I would come up which always happened to be centered around the answer, “I don’t have time”; it was the simplest excuse that many understood. I had pranced around as though being single was liberating and there was evidence that I was “doing me”, and with every accomplishment that I had made there was yet another reminder that I didn’t have anyone to share it with. Although I claimed to be a woman on a mission, sometimes the pressure from family and friends made me feel as though I was doing something wrong for not being in a relationship or trying to settle down. For women, we want to have it all, a successful career, family, and a social life. The unfortunate part is, it appears you can’t have one without the other ones suffering.
The pressure for women to settle down is greater than that of men. Women who want to have kids have a shorter amount of time with their ability to have kids lessening each year past 30. Therefore, the pressure to settle down hangs like a cloud and creates anxiety like a ticking time bomb. All the while, our society has begun to develop a culture where the single life and single parent homes are much more common than marriage.
“Most people who are single seem to want to eventually be married,” says Michael Rosenfeld, author of The Age of Independence, about young adults living on their own. “But they’re putting it off. In the past, there just weren’t that many single, young adults supporting themselves. It’s a new phenomenon, post-1960, and getting stronger every day.” (USA Today)
I asked several people about their views on being single and its benefits:
“Being single allows me to focus on my goals; but the downfall is that you don’t have anyone to share your accomplishments with.” (Male respondent)
“Being single allows you to discover yourself and your desires without hurting someone, but you just don’t have anyone to share it with.” (Female respondent)
“ Its only good to be single because you don’t have to answer to anyone and you’re free, yet the bad part is that you spend many nights alone and have no consistent sex.” (Male respondent)
“Being single is bitter sweet, bitterer in my case. I prefer someone to take on the world with someone rather than alone.” (Female respondent)
“If you are bringing baggage from an old relationship into a new one, it is best to stay single. People bring their baggage to a new person expecting them to be ok with it. It’s not fair to the new person you are with.” (Male respondent)
“Being single is everything.” (Male respondent)
I agree that being single is a time for reflection and discovery, however I think that being in a healthy relationship is far more beneficial. That takes me back to answer my friends question about why I’m still single. And to that I can say that I would much rather be single than to keep bad company.
To the reader: What are your views on being single and the future outlook of our society with the growing amount of people choosing to remain single?
Written By: Danielle White