Not Married? Singleness doesn’t mean loneliness!
By: Vicki Larson | Single Edition
You know the stereotype about people who live alone and have never married: They must be weird, self-absorbed, selfish or gay — or perhaps all of those. (SheNOW adds: Specifically for women, we get the stereotypes of spinster, cat lady, lonely old-maid, etc. argh!)
Because we’re not supposed to want to live alone, right? We’re supposed to couple up at some point.
Even celebs don’t escape the raised eyebrows and questioning looks of others who wonder, “Why aren’t you married yet?”
“People are really concerned about my relationship status,” singer Kelly Clarkson has said. “When I tell people I’m happy being single, they don’t believe me. They say: ‘You have to be miserable being alone.’”
Oh, yeah? Says who?
More of us are living solo than ever before, according to Eric Klinenberg, author of the new book, “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” a look at why some 31 million Americans — about one out of every seven — live alone.
Whether we’re consciously choosing to live alone for life, viewing single living as a phase “until someone comes along” or readjusting to being single again because of divorce or widowhood, there’s an unprecedented amount of Americans who are making it — happily — on their own. And that has huge ramifications for all of us.
“The rise of living alone has been a transformative social experience. It changes the way we understand ourselves and our most intimate relationships. It shapes the way we build our cities and develop our economies. It alters the way we become adults, as well as how we age and the way we die. It touches every social group and nearly every family, no matter who we are or whether we live with others today,” Klinenberg writes. (SheNOW adds: We recommend all women spend at least a few years living alone. You’ll learn how LOVE being alone, how to support yourself financially, and who YOU are separate from you in relation to your partner. You’ll also meet new people, get out of your bubble and spend some time living it up!!)
So, while some of us may indeed be weird, self-absorbed, selfish and gay, many more of us are celebrating the freedom and joys of going solo — temporarily or for life.
While I doubt we’ll ever get to a point where that age-old question will be reversed — “Why are you marrying instead of staying single?” — there just may come a time when, “Why aren’t you married yet?” won’t automatically roll off the tongues of random strangers and co-workers.—> (One of the SheNOW Goals!) But, let’s face it; we can always count on our own mother and busybody aunts to ask, especially when we show up at a holiday gathering solo — again.
Being prepared with a good comeback is essential, but just regurgitating statistics on, say, the 50 percent divorce rate isn’t going to necessarily shush them up for long. You can try being sassy (“I’m waiting for your husband to dump you”), but perhaps the best answer to well-intended-but-still-rude questions is to ask the questioner a question right back — “Why do you ask?”
There will be a few million of us rooting you on.
Photo Credits: Image 1 from 123rf.com; Image 2 from myspace.com