These People Have Chosen The Single Life — And They Are Thriving by Michael Blackmon
June 14, 2021
by Michael Blackmon
…In choosing to be single and child-free, [49-year-old author and educator] Turner’s relationship with herself has blossomed. “All my time is for me. I don’t have to dress up for anyone but me. I don’t have to shave. It’s so freeing to go out and not worry about how I look, will someone find me attractive or not,” she said. “I find that I have more confidence and security within myself. I am not looking to [a partner] for validation.”
Turner is just one of hundreds of singles who responded to a BuzzFeed News callout asking the unattached if they were happy.
The submissions were varied, from people who had been single for just a few months to those who had been going solo for much of their lives.
There were people who had suffered one heartbreak too many, people who had become disillusioned with the dating scene, and former self-proclaimed “hopeless romantics,” but there were also submissions from people who were aromantic or asexual … as well as those whose lives were already so full that they did not necessarily see the need for the addition of a romantic partner.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a romantic relationship. As human beings, we all desire connection and companionship, but there is a dominant narrative in American society that there’s one perfect match for everyone and, once we find this person, life will, presumably, all fall into place.
But being single, especially for the millennial generation and the oldest members of Gen Z, is a growing trend.
According to a 2019 Washington Post article, more than half of people between the ages of 18 and 34 “do not have a steady romantic partner.”
Additionally, celebrities like (Link): Tracee Ellis Ross have publicly embraced their singleness, helping to destigmatize being single and childless past a certain age.
…William Ryan, 65, a Brooklyn-based psychologist who specializes in couples therapy, would agree. “We can find all kinds of companionship,” he told me. “It’s not [just] with a romantic or sexual lover.”
Ryan wants to support and facilitate the idea of autonomy, he said, especially for people with romantic love, who may not deem themselves complete or whole without a romantic relationship. “[Therapists] want people who can stand on their own two feet. We don’t want people who are jonesing for a relationship like a fix that they can depend on,” he said.
… While there are singles who are content with being by themselves until they find a match, there are a faction of folks who are single and have completely divested themselves of the idea of romantic relationships altogether.
…The pandemic was the “defining moment” for Lisa, who has been single for most of her life, for her to accept that being in a relationship wasn’t what she actually wanted. Before the pandemic, she had been in a relationship with someone for two years, and last March it finally became clear what she wanted her life to look like. “I don’t want kids, so the traditional family trajectory wasn’t something that I was going to do. I’ve known that for a while,” she told me.
…She [Elyse] credits reading articles from the “Every Single Day” series by the former (Link): Refinery 29 dating and relationships writer (Link) Shani Silver, as well as simply allowing herself to view the idea of relationships from a different perspective. She ditched what she calls her “woe is me” attitude and began to be inspired by how her single friends were living their lives. “I saw that [being single] wasn’t something to fight against. It was something to experience.”
Comments by readers below that article:
comment by andreag4f2ca146a
I’m 38, and don’t know if I will ever meet someone. I’ve kind of resigned myself to, “if it happens, it happens”.
I’m just doing my best to be happy no matter what. This really makes me feel less alone and less strange for not being in a relationship or married. I hope others read this and feel better too.
comment by audreys4a6196a57
After a very acrimonious divorce followed by a long term romance that ended because he cheated, I’ve decided I am better off single.
No checking in with anyone, and I can do what I want to do when I decide to do it.
I prefer living alone, too. Hanging out with friends just for fun is the way to go. It’s the single, childless life for me!
comment by Purpleburner
I was in such a bad relationship that made me rethink ever wanting to get married or have kids. Ex was such a leech.
When we broke up, it was so hard and I embraced singlehood whole-heartedly.
I really fell in love with myself and let go of the toxicity of that relationship and reframed how I wanted my life. I choose loving me completely over a shitty relationship from then on out.
That time and reframing is the reason that when I found my now-husband, I didn’t make rash decisions, or expect things from him that should come from me, or also put up with him when he wasn’t behaving okay. I got comfortable calling myself out and him, too, lovingly and kindly.
Maybe some of these people will choose to be single forever and love it.
But for those that still want a partner and need to embrace singlehood to heal, I fully stand by it. I found out how awesome I am, that communication is key, that we all can learn and grow forever, nothing is permanent, and people can be trusted.
(Link): The Selfish, Lazy Husband Who Kept Blowing Off His Stressed Wife to Go on World War 2 Reenactments – Male Entitlement in Relationships: Why Women Divorce Men – and Churches and Culture Support This Male Entitlement