With so many dating sites and social media hook-ups these days, it seems that we’re all in it just to find that special someone. But what if you actually don’t want to be with another person all the time? What if you’re happy with your apartment, your dog, and that sofa you’ve had since college.
Well, a social scientist has been reaching out to show that, yes, those things are okay, and yes, you can actually be single and happy.
Bella DePaulo, a researcher and Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara has been putting in over two decades of observations and study on how living single can actually push us to be more active in our own lives, as well as others. Drawing upon other surveys and studies, she points out that in opposition to rising trends for Americans to be moving into suburban homes and not talking to their neighbors, single people are actually engaging more in their neighborhoods and communities; reaching out to elders, participating in more social events, and taking better care of their properties.
Not only that, but it looks like single people aren’t all just dying alone, huddled under their blankets in the corner of some old apartment, with no one and nothing. In fact, Bella points out that it could just be that single people are actually pursuing more meaningful and complete lives without the influence of a significant other. This is a huge difference from the norm, and could actually help change the way we look at being single.
What sets singles apart the most, it seems, is that they don’t focus on just their partner as being the center of everything in their life. When we get married or hitch up, we start to circle our attention on that other person; singles do the opposite and include people in their lives like exes, friends, and co-workers. This inclusion looks similar to the way in which extended families operate, and that sort of inclusion leads to happier, healthier lives.
So what’s the biggest take away from all of this? Bella states that “if trends continue” and more and more people chose the single life, perhaps we can start breaking the stigma that the single life is all doom and gloom. If we allow ourselves the chance to really get to know ourselves, and choose our partners with care, we might be able to put down our insistence that marriage is all that and a bag of chips. We can choose whether or not marriage works for us and, if not, we won’t have to worry so much about mom breathing down our necks about that awesome person who is supposed to come along and “make us happy.”
That, in itself, makes living single look like a choice well chose.
This article was inspired by Bella’s amazing original that you can find here.