Whats Necessary for Satisfying Single Life?
A few years ago a 58-year-old woman visited me. I thought she was a mother who had concerns about her child but I was surprised to learn that she wanted to meet me to discuss herself.
I listened to her story and learned she was a bachelorette. She had chosen to remain single and had never regretted her choice of lifestyle. However, at a certain point, she suddenly lost her desire to live alone and felt like something was missing from her life.
She told me that when she was younger she had an active social life. However, as she got older and lost confidence about her appearance, she started losing her friends and began to feel quite lonely.
Finally, she decided that she did not want to be alone anymore. She went on a few blind dates but without positive results.
Even though she wanted to get married she was so accustomed to living alone that she had a hard time adjusting to another kind of lifestyle.
Over the past 20 years, I have witnessed many similar cases. Of course, it is possible for people to date after being single for a long time, but a committed relationship or cohabitation will likely prove to be more challenging.
If people live alone for too long, it can be difficult to learn how to live with someone else. People's habits and routines become more and more fixed over time, so people become set in their ways and are often unwilling or unable to accommodate another person.
As the average age for getting married has gotten higher recently, the number of single people has increased. Some who choose to stay unmarried decide to do so based on an idealized concept and image of single life. Of course, everyone that chooses to be single has his or her own reasons.
Many assume that they will be able to continuously remain single due to their financial stability or their physical attractiveness.
Is it really possible to easily live an unmarried life if you posses these two things?
We asked 103 individuals that were unmarried due to a divorce or a loss of their spouse what three things were needed to live a comfortable and fulfilling single life.
Financial stability, health and friends of the opposite sex (sexual partners) were the most frequent responses given.
The effects of health and money on one's quality of life are obvious, but the results regarding sexual or romantic intimacy might be surprising.
The common image of a single person's life is one of unlimited freedom and limited responsibility. People tend to glamorize the single lifestyle while overlooking its drawbacks.
Naturally, there are negative as well as positive aspects of being single. People often forget that when you are single you have to manage many problems and challenges on your own and take extra measures to prevent loneliness.
I am not trying to convince people that it is better to be married than single. Just as marriage is a choice, living a single life is also a choice.
I do not want to discourage anyone from pursuing a single lifestyle; however, if you want to live as a bachelor or bachelorette, you must monitor your finances carefully and be proactive about meeting people and creating a social network. If you are not prepared, I hope you will rethink your choice.
I remember clearly the words of the 58-year-old bachelorette: "Being unmarried is like living a self-service life. Nothing happens if I do not initiate it."
People that are dreaming of living as bachelors and bachelorettes must be able to support themselves economically, handle any health-related issues on their own, and find sources of companionship and intimacy.
Paradoxically, the independent lifestyle of singles often requires more effort and energy.
If you are prepared for all of the realities that a single person will face (especially in older age), then you can live happily alone. However, make your decision to stay single consciously so that you do not end up becoming lonely or regretting your choice.