Nobody Tells Single Women How Much Fun it is to Live Alone
Surprise! Marriage is an Option, Not an Answer
It is not possible to turn on the television, go to the movies, or even search the library shelves without finding a story about women who landed their Prince - and a happily ever after. Real life is a bit different.
Don't get me wrong. For many years I was one of the faithful and believed that marriage and a husband guaranteed bliss. Like many women, I thought that my life of cooking, cleaning, caregiving, and working at a full-time job was "the good life". It wasn't until divorce turned my world sideways that I got an inkling that there was something else out there.
But I'm a slow learner and it took many relationships for me to realize what smarter women have known all along. Marriage, or even living with a partner, isn't for everyone. In fact, the dark little secret no one mentioned to me is that living with another person often feels like hard work and women stay for all kinds of reaons which have nothing to do with their wants or needs. We often get in and stay in because we've been taught that's it's the right thing to do.
It's not an easy thing for a woman in America to shake off her addiction to relationships, and really, who wants to give up the idea that there's someone out there who can come galloping up and complete them?
Answer: Any woman who is determined that she will live life on her own terms, be in charge of her own feelings, and wants to bask in the heady freedom all of that brings.
There are a lot of people who believe that a woman lives on her own because she's somehow defective, can't get a man, is waiting for a relationship, or is just rationalizing that she enjoys her lifestyle. I have no doubt that this is true of some women, but it's equally true that more and more women are discovering it's just as easy to become addicted to the joys of self reliance and freedom as it is to become hooked on marriage. Sometimes it's even easier.
Glad You Like the Life, But What's In It For Me?
I can only imagine my readers are thinking that I am a freak of nature - that one-in-a-million woman who really, truly does love living without marriage or even a committed relationship. That would be wrong. Both statistics and my experience have proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that many people (perhaps even most people?) can thrive in the single world.
Author Michael Cobb has recently written a book about the single life. His point of view is that alone doesn't always equal lonely and he goes on to talk about the way society views singles. Some of his observations include:
“…an isolation free of loneliness could ideally give…the capacity to be productive and creative…” (p. 39)
“…the American citizen is not a he or a she, but a ‘we’ [and] not ‘we the people’ but ‘we the couple’ (and a couple ideally with kids).” (p. 19) -"Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled" - Michael Cobb
Like Mr. Cobb and many others, I have unearthed a lot reasons to appreciate the uncoupled life. Some, but by no means all are:
- Making decisions alone and taking responsibility for them makes you stronger
- Without the distraction of constant compromise, you can accomplish a lot
- It's easier to stay in a good mood and feel well when you have the time to take care of yourself
- Being single makes it much easier to get an education or focus on your career
- There is real joy in discovering things all on your own, even if you decide to share them later
- Sleeping alone is actually lovely and really easy to get used to
- Choosing and furnishing your home with things you love feeds the soul like compromise never could
- Nothing beats waking up on a beautiful morning and knowing you alone will choose how the day will go
- It's thrilling to choose life changes without having to temper them for anyone
- You can enjoy as much or as little company as you like
- You can enjoy as much or little noise as you like
- Being single means never having to say you're sorry you slept as long as you wanted and didn't do a single chore on Sunday
I'll admit the above is a personal list and wouldn't appeal to everyone. It's also obvious that some things I love could be accomplished with a mate, I find more joy in doing them alone.
So Which is Best, Single or Married?
"Marriage is a great institution, but who wants to live in an institution?" - (author unknown)
Just to be clear, I am neither for nor against marriage, although I have to say that I've enjoyed being unmarried more than married. However, this is an individual choice which others will make based on factors such as religious, cultural, and personal beliefs.
My only purpose is to make the plain statement that the single life, just like being part of a couple, is a terrific option. It can bring joy to those who are "uncoupled", either by choice or circumstance. Some people will always pine for the romantic ideal and continue to try to find the perfect relationship. Wise people, and especially wise women, will learn to enjoy the single life's changes, opportunities, and challenges.
Despite the television or movie stereotype, being or becoming single isn't just a reason to date or begin a frantic search for The Right One. It's a real chance to relax and learn to enjoy some delicious pleasures, such as quiet, freedom, and choice. Those who do may find - perhaps to their own surprise - that they no longer welcome the ups and downs of a committed relationship.
Many of the points I've made could be a revelation to women but have been well-known and loved by single men for centuries. There's a reason for the cliche of the reluctant bachelor who has to be dragged to the alter. Of course society, and American culture in particular, tends to lionize the single man and criticize the single woman.
Girls, you don't have to buy into it. Learn what the boys have known all along - it's actually fun to be single.