More than half of single women are not looking for a partner, so they are happy: study. And it is that throughout history this sector of society has been stigmatized, believing that being single is the same as living in depression and sadness and it is not like that.
“In various parts of the world, the proportion of adults living without a spouse or partner has grown,” stated a report just released by the Pew Research Center. The document also points out the ways in which singles are falling behind economically compared to people with a partner.
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The report has unleashed a torrent of singlism (the stereotypes and stigmatization of single people) and matrimony (the glorification of marriage and mating). On PBS, for example, statements were released that single people were “failing in life” or showing “arrested development.” In Time magazine, anonymous sociologists were said to believe that “having a partner suggests having a future.”
That is why psychologist Bella DePaulo has dedicated the last decades of her life to rejecting such disparaging narratives of single life. Instead, he has been providing a more affirmative account of what it means to be single, one that is based on research, not prejudice.
Half of single women are not interested in finding a partner
Discussions in the Pew Report often obsess over romantic prospects. If men are falling behind financially, will women still want to marry them? Don’t they want men who are at least in the same league as them? And if women don’t find suitable men, they can end up being single.
Last year, Pew published a report on the romantic interests of single people – those who weren’t married, who didn’t live with a romantic partner, and who weren’t in a committed romantic relationship. Based on a national, random sampling of Americans 18 and older, they found that 50 percent of those single people are not interested in a committed romantic relationship, and are not even interested in a date.
All that confusion about marriages is of little relevance to people who just aren’t interested in getting married or even dating.
For many, single life is a great life, better than any alternative
People who fear the growing number of single people have an outdated view of single life as a sad fate that some people are stuck with. It is true that some single people yearn to be attached, but as I just showed, not as many as our prevailing narratives would suggest.
For people who are “single at heart,” single life is their best life: it is more joyful, fulfilling, and meaningful than any alternative. For them, and even some who love living single but are still open to coupling, the single life offers profound rewards, as I described in a recent “Living Single” post.
Discussions about the declining financial fortunes of single men have missed some important points
Of course, the decline in the financial fortunes of single people is a bad thing. Single men, especially, have lagged partner men in their employment rates and the amount they are paid. Those findings triggered a series of predictable proclamations about the supposed superiority of married men as workers.
I researched that for Singled Out and found research showing that married men tend to spend more time on the kind of work that is worthwhile for them. They tend to work longer hours than single men.
But if they divorce and then remarry, they work fewer hours than when they got divorced. Single men tend to put more hours into the types of work that have the potential to benefit many other people besides themselves. For example, they spend more of their time with agricultural organizations, unions, and professional societies.
More recent research, published in 2020, shows that lower employment rates and lower pay for single men are likely attributed, at least in part, to discrimination against them, rather than higher merit from married men .
In a study in which single and married men had identical credentials and characteristics, employers wanted to interview more married men, and they also wanted to pay them more. It’s also possible that one of the reasons married men work longer hours (when they do) is that employers are giving them more hours when single men also wanted more hours.
The power of single people is growing
In celebration of Singles Week in 2019, I documented the growing power of single people, in 10 major trends. That growing influence begins with their growing numbers and continues with the ways in which single people, and the important people in their lives, are commanding more positive care and more respect. Even a potentially worrying report, like the recent one from Pew, can’t reverse those trends.