Many single people savor solitude; they don’t dread it. Remember that Supreme Court justice who said marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out and find no one there. Well, my fear is that I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and find that someone else is there, hogging the blankets, snoring and farting, all of that adds up to a story very different from get married and you will never be lonely again.
The third story we are told is all you need is love; love is all you need. When Kaye asked the advice columnist, is love enough, she already had romantic love. She was mesmerized by her partner. Other single people value other kinds of love, like the love of close friends or family or spiritual figures, just as people so often have done over the course of history. But a happy life, a good life is not just about love, not even the most expansive kinds.
We humans also crave autonomy and mastery and purpose and meaning. Single people have that autonomy. They are in charge of their own lives. Single people develop mastery, you know that thing married people do where they split up all the tasks, so you deal with the car and the money, I’ll handle the meals and the relatives.
Well, single people figure out how to do all of it. Single people also have purpose and meaning. They can pursue what matters most to them and often they do. For example, people who stay single value meaningful work more than married people do.
Lifelong single people also experience more personal growth. They are more likely than married people to say that their lives have been a continuous process of learning, change, and growth.
So that third story we are told is all you need is love. The untold more revealing story is that we also yearn for autonomy, mastery, purpose and meaning. And single people have those things in space.
The untold stories of single life have never been more relevant than they are now. More people than ever before in many nations around the world are single. Living single is the norm even for people who get married. Americans, for example, spend more years of their adult life not married than married. So that means single life really is the better part of hard life.
For way too long, we single people have been told that the only way we can be truly happy is to get married. Now we know that’s just not so. And everyone can benefit from that.
So married people, now that you know the secrets of a successful single life, feel free to steal them and add new shades of bliss to your lives. And single people, you know what to do: go out and live your single lives fully, joyfully, and unapologetically.