The Single Files

Singled Out

It seems like everywhere you look, people are getting married. Media is inundating us with rom-coms, commercials and television shows: Say Yes to the Dress (should that dress really be white?), Four Weddings (you don’t need to invite three strangers to judge your wedding, the mothers and other wives are already doing it), or good ‘ol  Bridezilla (your makeup is running).

In case you choose not to watch the shows on t.v, there’s always social media where we can see couples who post everything from the day they got engaged to the hairstyle the soon-to-be bride wants. (The Sock Bun Curls are a smash this year.) With Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook, you don’t even need to be invited to be able to see the wedding pics. And those who aren’t in relationships, whether they choose it or not, watch it all unfold from the front row.

Our culture puts so much emphasis on “coupledom” it overshadows those who are single, as though they just haven’t found their happiness yet. And the sad part is that some people will never get to know how liberating being single really is. It’s the only time they’ll get to experience the world however they wish; without compromise. I have friends who have never gone longer than a few months being alone.They are the most perplexed about my choosing not to be married. I do not judge them, nor do they judge me, we just have different views–or perhaps, different fears.

I learned to appreciate my independence when I was in college. I didn’t want to be single, but I didn’t have a choice. I was forced to be my own companion. (And I’m not talking about Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself either, get your mind out of the gutter.) I was lonely and I hated it. However, after a while, I learned to become comfortable with my own thoughts and I faced my fears of being alone.

The reason my relationship with Mike has lasted as long as it has is because we both enjoy our independence and we both allow each other to have it. If I had never been single during those years that I had, I would never have realized that I’m okay on my own which adds a little security and removes a certain dependence in my relationship.

“We don’t need stories of how to become couples. They are legion. We need stories about how to be single. We need them whether we are gay or straight. We need them whether we are single by choice, through separation, divorce, or bereavement or because this, for you, is how life has turned out.”- Jim Friel, Is It Really a Sin to be Single?

If you are single, you’ve got company…

All the single ladies.

According to the United States Census Bureau:

In year 2011, there were 102 Million unmarried people in the United States. ‘Unmarried people’ include those who were never married, widowed or divorced.

  • This group comprised 44.1% of all U.S residents 18 years or older.
  • 53% were women, 47% were men.
  • For every 100 unmarried women, there were 89 unmarried men.
  • 62% had never been married, 24% were divorced and 14% were widowed.
  • 55 Million households were maintained by unmarried men and women, 46% of households nation wide.
  • 33 Million people lived alone in 2011, 28% of all households. Up 17% from 1970.

…and my favorite fact:

Single Origin Middle English : via Old French from Latin singulus, related to simplussimple.’

Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


19 thoughts on “The Single Files

  1. I can really appreciate this post, especially right now. As someone who’s never been single more than a few months at a time and never by choice, I’m taking a step back from the dating world to try to learn to love myself a little more. It does feel like a social stigma to be single, as though I’ve failed. Reading these stats helps to renew my resolve!

    • Good for you! It’s tough to do when you are not used to your single self, but eventually the thoughts start to settle and you kind of become your own best friend.The stats surprised me too. Our culture isn’t very good at giving the single people any recognition, it might be the very reason we have so much trouble with our marriage rates… Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great post! My sister has been single forever and she is gorgeous! She trains for quadrathlons every day and goes drinking with the girls on a weekend and has a hig powered job. I heart her, going off on fun holidays and doing things I wouldn’t dare do.

  3. My sister is single and very independent. I am not saying that she would resist being swept off her feet, but she has maintained some amazing friendships and has a great quality of life.
    You are right. It is not for everyone. Nor are children!
    Thanks for coming by the blog and dropping off this link! Love this post!

    • So true, children are not for everyone. There is romance in independence! It sounds crazy doesn’t it? But there really is, we just aren’t conditioned to see it that way. Ooh, I love that I just learned that. Thanks for the enlightenment. I’m toasting your sister right now.

  4. Stopping by your blog to check it out – loving your post today! The bridal experience is at a whole new level. I enjoyed being single and independent for 29 years and then met my best friend and married him. I love that we are independent and each other’s best friend. We spent monies on a house and investing in our future retirement and very little monies on the wedding. One thing I have encountered is the whole other issue as to why we do not have kids yet and to me that is a personal matter.

    • I now the wedding thing is getting out of hand. I don’t know what it is going to take to get us to swing back in the other direction on the pendulum. The last book I read said the wedding industry was $161 billion dollar industry. You were smart you invested your money in your future. It’s tough to do with all the hoopla surrounding weddings- it’s easy to get sucked in.

  5. I love the fact that more people are choosing single-dom, and that we have so many more choices nowadays—women especially. I’m married, but also enjoy and need my independence. Thankfully I fell in love with a guy who embraces that.

    Glad to have found you blog!

    • Thank you! I agree, it’s all about how comfortable your partner is with your independence. If Mike or I go to a party alone because the other can’t make it, some people think it’s weird. But maybe their reaction is from a cultural perspective and they don’t even realize it. Does that make sense?

  6. Great post. I found you from Susie’s blog. I’m on my second marriage and think your opinions on remaining single are well founded. You make some very good points. If I screw my second marriage up, I vow to be forever single.

  7. After two failed marriages, I chose to LEARN the art of being single. I spent a lot of time exploring my heart and soul. I did not date at all. Those years were paramount to my growth. I have married again, and the great thing is…he married ME. The real me. The one I met when I was single. It truly is a gift to give yourself. Great post. Visiting from Susie’s. 🙂

  8. Love your blog! Great post. As a 35 year old male, although it hasn’t been my goal, “still” being single seems to be somewhat of an accomplishment. Sure, I’ve missed the boat with some great women, but I’ve also lived a big, exciting life on my own terms. Not to mention that I get to fall in love over and over, which is pretty awesome. That said, getting dumped or falling out of it offers repeated heartache.

    Stigmas abound for single men and women as we get older. Lacking coupledom, people (relatives, co-workers, etc) are quick to judge and wonder “what’s wrong with him?” Maybe it’s pity. Or is it envy?

    Regardless, whenever it happens, I’ll be thrilled to put an end to this epic search.

    • Hi, thanks for stopping by. You make some really good points. I always thought that women had all the pressure and judgement put on them if they weren’t married by a certain age. However, in my research, I’ve realized men also get a bad wrap. If you are 35 and single, you are either afraid to commit to one woman or you are gay and haven’t come out yet. So either way, both genders are judged or misunderstood. I do think there is more behind it than pity, like you suggest, perhaps it is envy or perhaps it’s fear and insecurity. It is interesting though, the perspective gained from not being a part of the cultural norm.

  9. So, I was kicking myself earlier about not having read your blog in so long. After reading this post I know why . . . I needed to read this today. I have been single for 5 years and am very comfortable with it. I know how to be me and how to be alone. However, the holidays always creep in and amplify the you-need-to-be-married culture that surrounds us. Thanks for this, it was a nice reality check.

    • I know what you are talking about. For some reason, it’s like all of your beliefs about the way you live comes to a head during the holidays and you are challenged by everything mainstream. I guess it’s because it’s the mainstream culture that keeps us all united until we go our separate ways again. Like it says, you might be single, but you are not alone. But, you already know that.

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